Blackburn (i/ˈblækbɜrn/) is a large town in Lancashire, England. It lies to the north of the West Pennine Moors on the southern edge of the Ribble Valley, 9 miles (14 km) east of Preston, 27 miles (43 km) north-northwest of Manchester. and is 13 miles (21 km) north of the border with Greater Manchester. Blackburn is bounded to the south by Darwen, with which it forms the unitary authority of Blackburn with Darwen, Blackburn is its administrative centre. At the time of the UK Government's 2001 census, Blackburn had a population of 105,085, whilst the wider borough of Blackburn with Darwen had a population of 140,700.
A former mill town, textiles have been produced in Blackburn since the middle of the 13th century, when wool was woven in people's houses in the domestic system. Flemish weavers who settled in the area during the 14th century helped to develop the woollen cottage industry. James Hargreaves, inventor of the spinning jenny, was a weaver in Blackburn. The most rapid period of growth and development in Blackburn's history coincided with the industrialisation and expansion of textile manufacturing. Blackburn was a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution, and amongst the first industrialised towns in the world.
Blackburn's textile sector fell into terminal decline from the mid-20th century and subsequently faced similar challenges to other post-industrial northern towns, including deindustrialisation, economic deprivation and housing issues. Since the 1950s the town has experienced significant levels of migration, particularly from India and Pakistan, and consequently has the third highest proportion of Muslims (c.25%) in England and Wales and the highest in the United Kingdom outside London. Blackburn has had significant investment and redevelopment in the past 60 years through government funding and the European Regional Development Fund.