Rise and Fall. Boom and Bust

That is the way of the world. It always has been. Even the Romans had issues with their economy and went through periods of boom and bust. Although when they went bust in the 4th Century AD, it plungedWestern Europe into the Dark Ages!

But those were different times! The speed of development and the state of our society means this current economic downturn isn’t going to throw us back to the dark ages. But what can we do to get out of this funk and come charging out the other side? As usual my answer would be to look back into history and see what happened. I’m a big believer in idea that no matter what the situation, someone will have experienced the same thing before. Do your research, find out what happened and build from there. One of the more recent (in historical terms) downturns came in the early 1920’s. InEuropemany countries had been hugely affected by the war and were still recovering from the financial and manpower implication of 4 years of drawn out warfare.

One of the solutions in both this country andAmericawas to create large building programs. To make these men employable, or to just keep them employed until the economy improved many public buildings were erected. Bridges, libraries and roads were all built under these programs. The good thing about these programs is that with money in their pockets, these workers were spending at local shops and markets helping kick start the economy. Did it work? Well they weren’t known as the ‘Roaring Twenties’ for no reason.

Workers Plaque

It may not be much, but it means a lot

This sign is a little reminder in the museum of this period and is from the bridge which spans the canal at Whitebirk in Blackburn. It’s apt to use the sign in the blog now as there are big debates around jobs and whether many young people want to work, or how desperately the need jobs. Would there be many who would willingly help build bridges and roads just to get some money and experience? Or are we now a society who wants good, well paid jobs behind a computer straight away without putting the graft in first?


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Blackburn Museum can be found in Blackburn, Lancashire. It houses objects documenting Blackburn's industrial past as well as a world class collection of Fine Art, Japanese prints, Icons, Numismatics and Manuscripts. Come and visit us to find out more.

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