Free Factory Tours for Heritage Open Days 2023

Ritherdon are an 128-year-old family firm and one of the oldest companies in Lancashire and we are opening the doors to the factory for all to enjoy!

We are teaming up once again with the national Heritage Open Days festival. Join us for the inside story into the history of the firm, we promise you there is more than meets the eye!

The company started out in Bolton, originally electroplating and enamelling during the Edwardian bicycle boom. Alongside this endeavour, Ritherdon also traded in a rather unconventional line of products of  ‘Magician’s Tricks and Props’. This came about because founder Percy Ritherdon had a passion for magic and chemistry; he was an amateur magician himself!

Ritherdon became well known in the theatre industry and Percy Ritherdon befriended and worked closely with a famous American magician of the time, Will Robinson, better known by his stage name of ‘Chung Ling Soo’ the Chinese Conjurer.

During the two World Wars, Ritherdon contributed to the war effort making control panels for the military. The experience led Ritherdon to start designing and manufacturing the first types of enclosures of what is now the product range of stainless steel outdoor electrical enclosures, that can be seen installed all around the country today.

As the business kept growing, Ritherdon moved to Darwen’s old Tram Shed in 1947. Keeping up with the times and investing in design and innovation, the product range has kept growing.

Ritherdon's Factory after the old Darwen Trams

Join us for a Factory Tour!

See how the machinery and manufacturing process has evolved over the years and see how Ritherdon has transformed the ‘Darwen Tram Shed’ building into the factory that it is today. Look out for the tramlines on the shop floor!

Plus, see the workspace and behind the scenes of the artwork created by Manchester-based artist Nicola Ellis. Ritherdon and Ellis were brought together as part of the National Festival of Making held in Blackburn with Darwen annually. Inspired by the Ritherdon factory and processes, Nicola Ellis has created various artworks that have been shown at the festival on two occasions (2018 & 2022), as well as a solo exhibition ‘No Gaps In the Line’ shown at Castlefield Gallery Manchester in 2021.

The free factory tours start next week 11th of September and run till Friday the 15th.

Factory Tour Times – Book now and don’t miss out!

Monday 11 September: 1100 & 1400
Tuesday 12 September: 1100 AM Only 🤚
Wednesday 13 September: 1100 & 1400
Thursday 14 September: 1100 & 1400
Friday 15 September: 1100 AM Only 🤚

Booking Details

Please get a free ticket through our Eventbrite page.


Just off Blackburn Road, Darwen (Across from Dixieland Take-Away)

Lorne Street,

Upon Arrival:

Please come to reception which is the wooden door next to the Blue Plaque where the tour will start.

Please contact us with any questions and follow along on our socials. We are actively promoting the event on our Facebook page, connect with us on LinkedIn and find out more about Ritherdon manufacturing and more, on our YouTube. We look forward to showing you the factory.

Heritage Open Days 2023

Ritherdon only opens its factory doors to the general public once a year as part of the nationwide Heritage Open Days festival, England’s largest festival of history and culture. It runs every September and just like us, there’s a host of places that are usually hidden from the public that will open exclusively as part of this festival.

We hope you can join us for a factory tour and hope you will make a day out of it and explore more local events too! We always like to point visitors to the Darwen Heritage Centre as a good starting point to join in more local heritage events. If perhaps we aren’t local to you, we invite you to discover the events happening near you for this year’s Heritage Open Days running from the 8th to 17th of September.

All that is left to say is, please book your free tickets and we look forward to your visit!

Tour with MD Ben Ritherdon

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