King’s Head and No. 3 Freckleton Street, Blackburn – Rescuing a Georgian Public House

King Street was a main route westwards out of Blackburn and started to develop from the 1700s. No 43 was built in around 1777 of brick with stone quoins, and occupies a prominent location on the junction of King Street and Freckleton Street. It probably began life as a coaching inn before being purchased by Thwaites Brewery in 1853, when a third storey was added and it became the King’s Head Inn.

The pub was sold in 1996, remaining unoccupied thereafter and acquired for development in 1999, but a fire in 2002 led to an application to demolish, subsequently turned down.

It then lay disused and supported by scaffolding, and was finally acquired by the scaffolding company when the owner refused to pay the bill. The building was then acquired by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council after threat of a compulsory purchase and handed to the Heritage Trust for the North West for £1.

Whilst developing the scheme it became apparent that it was necessary to acquire No. 3 Freckleton Street, also damaged by the fire and then in a derelict condition. It would make the restoration of the King’s Head a viable proposition. It was subsequently acquired by the Council and passed on to the Heritage Trust for the North West.

Following a complex and difficult restoration, the buildings were saved and put to good use. No. 3 Freckleton Street has been turned into a single dwelling, with the former King’s Head converted into offices. The main contractor was the Trust’s building company, Conservation Services North West. Part of the project involved building trainees from Accrington and Rossendale College. The project won a best practice award at the North West Regional Construction Awards Ceremony 2009.