A few months ago, I found a set of black and white negatives while sorting through my filing system.  The pictures of children playing in the streets in Blackburn were taken in the mid-1970s for a school photo competition – which I won with a picture of a young girl in a chequered coat.

Anticipating the potential value of the photos, I contacted the community history librarian at Blackburn Central Library.  Mary Painter described the negatives as ‘gold dust’ and introduced me to Bill Jacobs – a journalist at the Lancashire Telegraph.

My conversations with Bill led to the publication of all 17 images in a number of local newspapers and websites with an appeal inviting people to get in touch if they recognised anyone in the old photos.

The response to the article was amazing – generating a buzz across social media channels and a massive surge in traffic to the newspaper’s website.  I’ve been inundated with emails and text messages expressing delight and gratitude for rekindling happy memories of long forgotten childhoods.  As a result, most of the people appearing in the photos have now been identified and many of their life histories during the intervening years uncovered by friends and family members.

I was touched by the warmth and kindness I received and went back to Blackburn to meet some of the people who came forward.  Together we revisited the areas of the town where the original photos were taken over 40 years ago.  Everyone I met had a story to tell – many of which will be featured in a series of follow-up articles in the Lancashire Telegraph.

These photos have now been added to the image gallery on the Cotton Town website that contains a detailed history of Blackburn.

Read the article published on the Lancashire Telegraph website.