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The foundation stone for the building was laid by Joseph Feilden of Witton Park, Lancashire on 28 October 1852. The building, which was designed by James Patterson in the Italianate style and built by Richard Hacking and William Stones, was officially opened by William Hoole, the mayor, on 30 October 1856. The design for the front of the building involved Corinthian order columns on first floor. It originally housed a police station with 18 cells, a large assembly room, and a council chamber. The town hall became the headquarters of the Municipal Borough of Blackburn on its completion, and the headquarters of Blackburn County Borough in 1889.