Blackburn’s abandoned Griffin Lodge begins to rise from its ashes

This is the historic Griffin Lodge in Blackburn, like you’ve never seen it before.

The Grade II listed building is set to undergo a multi-million pound transformation from a neglected and burnt shell into a state-of-the-art generalist super-surgery serving thousands of patients.

This revival is one more step thanks to a drone investigation by the Burnley Networx3 UAV company that captured the condition of the 197-year-old monument before its redevelopment.

Networx3 UAV General Manager and CAA Approved Commercial Pilot Ian Ashworth led the flight of the Griffin Lodge drone.

He said: “Most of the people of Blackburn have walked past Griffin Lodge in recent years and thought ‘what a pity’ for its deplorable condition. Flying a drone overhead, through broken windows, and hovering past collapsed walls gave surveyors and developers an up-to-date glimpse into the state of disrepair.

“The photos and high definition video we have produced will provide a critical starting point for bringing this unloved shell back to a vibrant and useful public building. “

Flyover and interior of the three-story building using industry-leading Networx3 UAV Elios2 and Matrice 210 drones identified dangerous walls, where the roof remains intact and weather damage without inspectors have to put themselves in danger by entering the dangerous structure in person.

The Networx3 UAV inspection report, which warns Griffin Lodge’s internal layout is in danger of collapsing, will now be used to plan the next step in transforming the heritage building burned down by vandalism and arson in a specially designed health facility providing care seven days a week.

The flight of the drone was commissioned by Accrington-based Chartered Surveyor Michael Holden in conjunction with Burnley CRC Design architectural firm.

CRC Design boss Cyril Cambridge said: “The quality of the photos and videos of the Networx3 UAV drones blew us away. This gave us an immediate and detailed view of the condition of Griffin Lodge. Because you can see from above and from many different angles using the drone, you can see things that a normal inspection would not reveal at ground level.

“There is a real need in our industry for drones. It eliminates the need for scaffolding and aerial work platforms to monitor difficult places. The benefit of drones is not well understood, but it is a great new tool at our disposal and will be of tremendous help in many situations.

“I can see its use in examining buildings damaged by fire or water, roof inspections, and other historic buildings like Griffin Lodge, such as churches, as drones are much safer and provide peace of mind. A drone can take us to areas where we cannot normally safely access. “

The façade of Griffin Lodge and the shed will be retained in the new health center and a modern extension will be added.


1824: Griffin Lodge is built by Blackburn cotton magnate Thomas Dugdale
1854: During Thomas Dugdale’s tenure as Mayor of Blackburn, 50 acres of land surrounding Griffin Lodge was purchased by Blackburn Corporation for use as a public park.
1937: The Dugdale family sells the Griffin Lodge to the Blackburn Corporation.
1974: The entrance and the paving stones are Grade II classified.
1986: The rest of Griffin Lodge becomes Grade II listed.
1990s: Several attempts to sell Griffin Lodge by City Council were unsuccessful.
2006: The last occupant of Griffin Lodge – the North West Museums Service – moves out, leaving the building unoccupied.
2013: Arson in October leaves Griffin Lodge like a burnt shell.
2014: Another arson attack in January destroyed the stables.
2016: Repair work takes place to remove fire damaged materials and secure dangerous parts of the building.
2019: Plans are revealed to redevelop Griffin Lodge into a health and wellness facility housing Limefield, Witton and Redlam GP practices, an on-site pharmacy and parking lot. The center will provide elderly care, NHS check-ups, advice on managing obesity, diabetes services, mental health services for adults, adolescents and children and education classes on health and wellness management.

Networx3 UAV

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