Honouring orphanage’s ‘old boys’ killed in Great War

Melanie Warren
Melanie Warren

Young men from Blackburn Orphanage who lost their lives in the First World War will be remembered in a special project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to mark the centenary of the start of the Great War.

Child Action Northwest has been granted £7,800 to work with children at nearby Salesbury School on a documentary DVD which will involve the children taking a trip to the trench at the Museum of Lancashire, visiting Fulwood Barracks and studying records of the orphans who grew up and went to war.

Along the way they will find out more about the 10 “old boys” of the orphanage who lost their lives, and plant trees in their honour with plaques to commemorate the war dead in a special memorial garden in the grounds of the original orphanage, now the home of Child Action Northwest, in Wilpshire. A film will be made of the project which will be distributed on DVD and online.

Author, archivist and historian Melanie Warren, who recently published the story of Blackburn Orphanage, entitled “James Dixon’s Children”, will be working with the pupils on the project.

She said: “It’s appropriate we are working with Salesbury School, as that’s where the children from Blackburn Orphanage were pupils.

“I think this will be a great way for the children to learn about history. By creating a memorial garden we are sharing the stories with the wider community for generations to come, so they will never be forgotten.”