Saturday, 27 November 2010

Blackpool

Well after the long run of memories from 1998 - it gave me 23 entries to the blog - it's time to think about what comes next.

I had promised one or two readers that I would take a proper look at my home town of Blackpool so here is a quick introduction to some of the topics I'll be covering about the town.

Blackpool is England's most famous seaside town. Big, brash, bold and in-your-face, Blackpool started out as a tiny fishing village, the insignificant neighbour to nearby Bispham which has a history going back to the Norman times and beyond.

It grew with a passion for sea bathing in the 18th century when stagecoaches ran from the mill towns of Lancashire and Yorkshire to the beach. Hotels and entertainment were not long in coming!

The Tower dates from the 1890s. Half the size of the Eiffel Tower that inspired it, the tower itself is only part of the fun contained wthin the building that surrounds it. As the owners pointed out pityingly, the Paris tower had "nowt t' tek brass!" (nothing to take money!)

Next to the Tower and the sands Blackpool is famous still for a few more things.

Not only was Blackpool the first English town to have electric trams running through its streets (in 1885), but it was the only town to keep them in operation to the present day.

The bulk of the fleet of trams to the present day has dated from 1934. The system is currently being overhauled and new trams are about to replace the older fleet, though some preserved trams will still be operated they tell us. Tram fans are not exactly over the moon about the new plans, fearing part of Blackpool's character is about to be lost, but we shall see...

Blackpool Pleasure Beach started in the very first years of the 1800s and has remained in the ownership of the same family throughout its history.

It started to charge admission fees a couple of years ago and predictably has plummeted from its long-standing position as Britain's most visited tourist attraction.

And there are not one; not two; but three Victorian piers sticking out to sea so that people can walk over the waves. The North Pier (shown) is the oldest and most sedate. The South Pier had to change its name to the Central Pier when the third pier was built further south along the Promenade. They have survived fire, shipwreck and indifference to stand to the present day whilst other seaside towns are losing their piers at an alarming rate around the country.

There are the famous Blackpool Illuminations, an annual display from August Bank Holiday week to the first weekend in November. A tradition that started with the invention of electric lights - an early display was postponed until after World War One had finished and similarly they were reluctantly turned off during World War II - the Illuminations still choke the Promenade road with crawling traffic and yet how much more thrilling they must have been before computers and television!

And the town has its quieter sides too, a zoo and the glorious Stanley Park with its acres of gardens and boating lake, playing fields and sports facilities.

There are many entries on the blog already about Blackpool. There are many more to come!

Large versions of the photos: beach and tower, trams, pleasure beach, north pier, illuminations, stanley park

1 comment:

  1. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working ,great job!.

    ReplyDelete

All comments must be passed by moderator before appearing on this post.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...