Fotos Do 24o Bibliography

Not to be confused with "black pool" in billiards, or the spring in the United States called "Black Pool".

For other uses, see Blackpool (disambiguation).

Blackpool ( listen) is a seaside resort on the Lancashire coast in North West England. The town is on the Irish Sea, between the Ribble and Wyre estuaries, 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Preston, 27 miles (43 km) north of Liverpool, 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Bolton and 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Manchester. It had an estimated population of 142,065 at the 2011 Census, making it the most populous town in Lancashire.[2][3]

Throughout the Middle Ages and Early Modern period, Blackpool was a coastal hamlet in Lancashire's Hundred of Amounderness, and remained such until the mid-18th century when it became fashionable in England to travel to the coast in the summer to improve well-being. In 1781, visitors attracted to Blackpool's 7-mile (11 km)[4] sandy beach were able to use a new private road, built by Thomas Clifton and Sir Henry Hoghton. Stagecoaches began running to Blackpool from Manchester in the same year, and from Halifax in 1782. In the early 19th century, Henry Banks and his son-in-law John Cocker erected new buildings in Blackpool such that its population grew from less than 500 in 1801 to over 2,500 in 1851. St John's Church in Blackpool was consecrated in 1821.

Blackpool rose to prominence and as a major centre of tourism in England when a railway was built in the 1840s connecting it to the industrialised regions of Northern England. The railway made it much easier and cheaper for visitors to reach Blackpool, triggering an influx of settlers, such that in 1876 Blackpool was incorporated as a borough, governed by its own town council and aldermen. In 1881, Blackpool was a booming resort with a population of 14,000 and a promenade complete with piers, fortune-tellers, public houses, trams, donkey rides, fish-and-chip shops and theatres.[4] By 1901 the population of Blackpool was 47,000, by which time its place was cemented as "the archetypal British seaside resort".[4] By 1951 it had grown to 147,000.

Shifts in tastes, combined with opportunities for Britons to travel overseas, affected Blackpool's status as a leading resort in the late 20th century. Nevertheless, Blackpool's urban fabric and economy remains relatively undiversified, and firmly rooted in the tourism sector, and the borough's seafront continues to attract millions of visitors every year.[4] In addition to its sandy beaches, Blackpool's major attractions and landmarks include Blackpool Tower, Blackpool Illuminations, the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool Zoo, Sandcastle Water Park, the Winter Gardens, and the UK's only surviving first-generation tramway.

History[edit]

Toponymy[edit]

Blackpool gets its name from a historic drainage channel (possibly Spen Dyke) that ran over a peat bog, discharging discoloured water into the Irish Sea, which formed a black pool (on the other side of the sea, "Dublin" (Dubh Linn) is derived from the Irish for "black pool"). Another explanation is that the local dialect for stream was "pul" or "poole", hence "Black poole".

People originating from Blackpool are called Blackpudlians although Sandgrownians or Sandgrown'uns is sometimes used[citation needed] (as too for persons originating from Morecambe and Southport) or Seasiders (although this is more commonly associated with Blackpool F.C.).

Early history[edit]

A 13,500-year-old elk skeleton was found with man-made barbed bone points (probably from spears) on Blackpool Old Road in Carleton in 1970. Now displayed in the Harris Museum this provided the first evidence of humans living on the Fylde as far back as the Palaeolithic era.[5] The Fylde was also home to a British tribe, the Setantii (the "dwellers in the water") a sub-tribe of the Brigantes, who from about AD80 were controlled by Romans from their fort at Dowbridge, Kirkham. During the Roman occupation the area was covered by oak forests and bog land.

Some of the earliest villages on the Fylde, which were later to become part of Blackpool town, were named in the Domesday Book in 1086. Many of them were Anglo-Saxon settlements. Some though had 9th and 10th century Viking place names. The Vikings and Anglo-Saxons seem to have co-existed peacefully, with some Anglo-Saxon and Viking placenames later being joined together – such as Layton-with-Warbreck and Bispham-with-Norbreck. Layton was controlled by the Butlers, Barons of Warrington from the 12th century.

In medieval times Blackpool emerged as a few farmsteads on the coast within Layton-with-Warbreck, the name coming from "le pull", a stream that drained Marton Mere and Marton Moss into the sea close to what is now Manchester Square. The stream ran through peatlands that discoloured the water, so the name for the area became "Black Poole". In the 15th century the area was just called Pul, and a 1532 map calls the area "the pole howsys alias the north howsys".

In 1602, entries in Bispham Parish Church baptismal register include both Poole and for the first time blackpoole. The first house of any substance, Foxhall, was built toward the end of the 17th century by Edward Tyldesley, the Squire of Myerscough and son of the Royalist Sir Thomas Tyldesley. An Act of Parliament in 1767 enclosed a common, mostly sand hills on the coast, that stretched from Spen Dyke southwards. Plots of the land were allocated to landowners in Bispham, Layton, Great Marton and Little Marton. The same act also provided for the layout of a number of long straight roads that would be built in the areas south of the town centre, such as Lytham Road, St. Annes Road, Watson Road and Highfield Road.[6]

Taking the cure[edit]

By the middle of the 18th century, the practice of sea bathing to cure diseases was becoming fashionable among the wealthier classes, and visitors began making the arduous trek to Blackpool for that purpose. In 1781, Thomas Clifton and Sir Henry Hoghton built a private road to Blackpool, and a regular stagecoach service from Manchester and Halifax was established. A few amenities, including four hotels, an archery stall and bowling greens, were developed, and the town grew slowly. The 1801 census records the town's population at 473. The growth was accelerated by the actions of Henry Banks, often considered to be the "Father of Blackpool". In 1819 he purchased the Lane Ends estate, including the Lane Ends Hotel, and built the first holiday cottages. In 1837, his son-in-law Dr. John Cocker built Blackpool's first assembly rooms, which still stand on the corner of Victoria Street and Bank Hey street.

Arrival of the railways[edit]

The most significant event in the early growth of the town occurred in 1846, with the completion of a branch line to Blackpool from Poulton on the main Preston and Wyre Joint Railway line from Preston to Fleetwood. Fleetwood declined as a resort, as its founder and principal financial backer, Peter Hesketh-Fleetwood, went bankrupt. In contrast, Blackpool boomed. A sudden influx of visitors, arriving by rail, provided the motivation for entrepreneurs to build accommodation and create new attractions, leading to more visitors and a rapid cycle of growth throughout the 1850s and 1860s. In 1851 a Board of Health was formed. Gas lighting was introduced in 1852, and piped water in 1864. By 1851, the town's population was over 2,500.

The growth was intensified by the practice among the Lancashirecotton mill owners of closing the factories for a week every year to service and repair machinery. These became known as wakes weeks. Each town's mills would close for a different week, allowing Blackpool to manage a steady and reliable stream of visitors over a prolonged period in the summer.

In 1863, the North Pier was completed, rapidly becoming a centre of attraction for elite visitors. Central Pier was completed in 1868, with a theatre and a large open-air dance floor. The town expanded southward beyond what is today known as the Golden Mile, towards South Shore, and South Pier was completed in 1893, making Blackpool the only town in the United Kingdom with three piers. In 1878, the Winter Gardens complex opened, incorporating ten years later the Opera House, said to be the largest in Britain outside London.

From the 1880s until the First World War, Blackpool was one of the regular destinations for the Bass Excursions, when fifteen trains would take 8-9000 employees of Bass's Burton brewery on an annual trip to the seaside.

The town was granted a Charter of Incorporation as a municipal borough in 1876. W.H. Cocker, son of Dr John Cocker, and therefore grandson of Henry Banks, was its first mayor. The town would become a county borough in 1904.

Electricity[edit]

Much of Blackpool's growth and character from the 1870s on was predicated on the town's pioneering use of electrical power. In 1879, it became the first municipality in the world to have electric street lighting, as large parts of the promenade were wired. The lighting and its accompanying pageants reinforced Blackpool's status as the North of England's most prominent holiday resort, and its specifically working class character. It was the forerunner of the present-day Blackpool Illuminations. In 1885 one of the world's first electric tramways was laid down as a conduit line running from Cocker Street to Dean Street on the Promenade. The line was operated by the Blackpool Electric Tramway Company until 1892 when their lease expired and Blackpool Corporation took over running the line. A further line was added in 1895 from Manchester Square along Lytham Road to South Shore, and the line was extended north, first to Gynn Square in 1899, and then to Fleetwood. In 1899 the conduit system was replaced by overhead wires. The tramway has remained in continuous service to this day.

By the 1890s, the town had a population of 35,000, and could accommodate 250,000 holidaymakers. The number of annual visitors, many staying for a week, was estimated at three million. 1894 saw the opening of two of the town's most prominent buildings, the Grand Theatre on Church Street, and Blackpool Tower on the Promenade. The Grand Theatre was one of Britain's first all-electric theatres.

The first decade of the new century saw the development of the Promenade as we know it today, and further development southwards beyond South Shore towards Harrowside and Squires Gate. The Pleasure Beach was first established about this time. Seasonal static illuminations were first set up in 1912, although due to World War I and its aftermath they only enjoyed two seasons until they were re-introduced in 1925. The illuminations extended the holiday season into September and early October.

Towards the present[edit]

The inter-war period saw Blackpool attain pre-eminence as a holiday destination. By 1920, Blackpool claimed around eight million visitors per year, three times as many as its nearest British rivals, still drawn largely from the mill towns of East Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire. Stanley Park was laid out in 1920 and opened in 1926. The area round the park has become renowned for some of the most desirable residences in the area.

In 1937, Littlewoods opened its first department store in the town.[7]

Documents have been found to suggest that the reason Blackpool escaped heavy damage in World War II was that Adolf Hitler had earmarked the town to remain a place of leisure after his planned invasion.[8] Despite this, on 11 September 1940, German bombs fell near Blackpool North railway station and eight people were killed in nearby houses in Seed Street This site today is occupied by the new Town Hall offices and Sainsbury's Supermarket. No plaque is erected to remember the injured or dead.

In the same war, the Free Polish Air Force made its headquarters in exile at Blackpool in Talbot Square, after the force evacuated to Britain from France. The nearby Layton Cemetery contains the war graves of 26 Polish airmen.[9] The famous No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron[10] was formed in Blackpool, and became the most successful Fighter Command unit shooting down 126 German machines in only 42 days during the Battle of Britain.[11]

Blackpool's population boom was complete by 1951, by which time some 147,000 people were living in the town – compared to 47,000 in 1901 and a mere 14,000 in 1881.[12] In the decade after the war, the town continued to attract more visitors, reaching a zenith of 17 million per year. However, several factors combined to make this growth untenable. The decline of the textile industry led to a de-emphasis of the traditional week-long break, known as wakes week. The rise of package holidays took many of Blackpool's traditional visitors abroad, where the weather was more reliably warm and dry, and improved road communications, epitomised by the construction of the M55 motorway in 1975, made Blackpool more feasible as a day trip rather than an overnight stay. The economy, however, remains relatively undiversified, and firmly rooted in the tourism sector.

The Blackpool Co-operative Society Emporium, a flagship store built in 1938, which incorporated the Jubilee Theatre, stood on Coronation Street, until 1988 when it was demolished for a planned shopping centre. The site remained empty until eventually becoming a car park and then was re developed when the Hounds Hill Centre was expanded to include the Debenham's Store.[13]

Local government[edit]

See also: Blackpool local elections

Though the Blackpool Urban Area extends beyond the statutory boundaries of Blackpool to encompass Fleetwood, Cleveleys, Thornton, Poulton-le-Fylde and Lytham St Annes, Blackpool remains administratively separate.

Between 1904 and 1974, Blackpool formed a county borough independent of the administrative county of Lancashire. With the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, Blackpool's county borough status was abolished and it was made part of the shire county of Lancashire. On 1 April 1998, however, Blackpool was made a unitary authority and re-formed as an autonomous local government unit. It remains part of Lancashire for ceremonial purposes, however.

As of the 2015 electionBlackpool Council is currently controlled by the Labour Party, who took control from the Conservatives in 2011. They are the largest party represented with 29 councillors followed by the Conservative Party with 13 councillors.

Economy[edit]

This is a chart of the trend of regional gross value added (GVA) of Blackpool at current basic prices by the Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.[14]

While Blackpool hosts a large number of small businesses and self-employed people, there are some large employers. The government-owned National Savings and Investments is based at Marton, together with their Hardware random number generator, ERNIE ( "Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment"), which picks the Premium Bond numbers, while other government agencies are based at Warbreck and Norcross further up the Fylde coast. Burton's Biscuit CompanyTangerine Confectionery produce biscuits and other confectionery products, Klarius UK manufactures automotive components, Victrex manufactures high performance polymers and the Glasdon Group is a plastics manufacturer making litter bins, park benches and reflective road signs.

TVR formerly produced sports cars at its Bispham factory.[15] Blackpool was also the original site of Swallow Sidecar Company, forerunner of Jaguar Cars.

The 2015 HSBC research on rental yields ranks Blackpool in the top three cities with the best rental returns.[16] The numerous urban regeneration projects, the property prices which are among the most affordable in the UK, and the high rental yields create a very favourable environment for real estate investors.[17]

Retail is also becoming a major contributor to Blackpool's economy;[citation needed] many Blackpool residents work in the retail sector, either in the town centre or the retail parks on the edge of town.

Blackpool's main shopping streets are Church Street, Victoria Street, Birley Street, Market Street, Corporation Street, Bank Hey Street, Abingdon Street and Talbot Road. There is currently one shopping centre within the town, Houndshill Shopping Centre. This has recently been redeveloped with the opening of a new Debenhams department store along with other major high street names.

Geography[edit]

Physical[edit]

Blackpool rests in the middle of the western edge of The Fylde, which is a coastal plain atop a peninsula. The seafront consists of a 7 mile sandy beach,[18] with a flat coastline in the south of the district, which rises once past the North Pier to become the North Cliffs, with the highest point nearby at the Bispham Rock Gardens at around 34 metres (112 ft).[19][20] The majority of the town district is built up, with very little semi-rural space such as at Marton Mere. Due to the low-lying terrain, Blackpool experiences occasional flooding,[21] with a large scale project completed in 2017 to rebuild the seawall and promenade to mitigate this.[22]

Climate[edit]

Blackpool has, like all of the UK, a temperate maritime climate according to the Köppen climate classification system. Thus the same cool summer, frequent overcast skies, and small annual temperature range is typical.

The absolute minimum temperature stands at −15.1 °C (4.8 °F),[23] recorded during December 1981. Although, −18.3 °C (−0.9 °F) was recorded in January 1881.[24][better source needed] The lowest temperature to occur in recent years is −11.9 °C (10.6 °F)[25] during December 2010. In a more normal winter, the coldest night averages −7.6 °C (18.3 °F).[26]

The absolute maximum temperature recorded at Blackpool was 33.7 °C (92.7 °F)[27] during July 1976. The highest temperature to occur in recent years is 33.5 °C (92.3 °F) during July 2015.[28] In a more normal summer, the warmest day will likely average 28.1 °C (82.6 °F),[29] with slightly fewer than 5 days[30] a year attaining a temperature of 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or above.

Rainfall averages slightly less than 900 mm (35 in), with over 1 mm of precipitation occurring on 143 days of the year.

Climate data for Blackpool 10m asl, 1981–2010, extremes 1960–
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)14.3
(57.7)
15.6
(60.1)
19.1
(66.4)
24.0
(75.2)
28.6
(83.5)
31.3
(88.3)
33.7
(92.7)
32.2
(90)
26.8
(80.2)
23.7
(74.7)
16.8
(62.2)
14.2
(57.6)
33.7
(92.7)
Average high °C (°F)7.2
(45)
7.4
(45.3)
9.4
(48.9)
12.1
(53.8)
15.5
(59.9)
17.7
(63.9)
19.6
(67.3)
19.4
(66.9)
17.4
(63.3)
13.9
(57)
10.1
(50.2)
7.5
(45.5)
13.1
(55.6)
Average low °C (°F)1.9
(35.4)
1.7
(35.1)
3.3
(37.9)
4.7
(40.5)
7.4
(45.3)
10.5
(50.9)
12.8
(55)
12.7
(54.9)
10.4
(50.7)
7.6
(45.7)
4.7
(40.5)
2.0
(35.6)
6.7
(44.1)
Record low °C (°F)−11.3
(11.7)
−13.2
(8.2)
−9.7
(14.5)
−6.1
(21)
−1.9
(28.6)
−1.0
(30.2)
3.3
(37.9)
1.9
(35.4)
−0.7
(30.7)
−4.3
(24.3)
−7.0
(19.4)
−15.1
(4.8)
−15.1
(4.8)
Average precipitation mm (inches)78.8
(3.102)
57.6
(2.268)
63.7
(2.508)
52.3
(2.059)
54.1
(2.13)
62.8
(2.472)
61.1
(2.406)
77.1
(3.035)
82.4
(3.244)
103.6
(4.079)
94.5
(3.72)
94.7
(3.728)
882.7
(34.752)
Mean monthly sunshine hours56.078.9112.3168.6217.9201.2197.8182.9141.998.861.948.11,566.5
Source #1: MetOffice[31]
Source #2: Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute[32]

Green belt[edit]

Further information: North West Green Belt

Blackpool is within a green belt region that extends into the wider surrounding counties, and is in place to reduce urban sprawl, prevent the towns in the Blackpool and nearby Merseyside conurbations from further convergence, protect the identity of outlying communities, encourage brownfield reuse, and preserve nearby countryside. This is achieved by restricting inappropriate development within the designated areas, and imposing stricter conditions on permitted building.[33]

As the town's urban area is highly built up, only 70 hectares (0.70 km2; 0.27 sq mi) (2017)[34] of green belt exists within the borough, covering the cemetery, its grounds and nearby academy/college playing fields by Carleton, as well as the football grounds near the airport by St Annes.[35] Further afield, portions are dispersed around the wider Blackpool urban area into the surrounding Lancashire districts of Fylde and Wyre, helping to keep the settlements of Lytham St Annes, Poulton-le-Fylde, Warton/Freckleton and Kirkham separated.[36]

Tourism[edit]

Blackpool is heavily dependent on tourism. In what is often regarded as its heyday (1900–1950), Blackpool thrived as the factory workers of Northern England took their annual holidays there en masse. Any photograph from that era shows crowds of tourists on the beach and promenade. Blackpool was also a preferred destination of visitors from Glasgow and remains so to this day.[37] The town went into decline when cheap air travel arrived in the 1960s and the same workers decamped to the Mediterranean coastal resorts due to competitive prices and the more reliable weather.[38] Today Blackpool remains the most popular seaside resort in the UK; however, the town has suffered a serious drop in numbers of visitors which have fallen from 17 million in 1992 to 10 million today.[39] Similarly Pleasure Beach Blackpool was the country's most popular free attraction with 6 million visitors a year but has lost over a million visitors since 1998 and has recently introduced a £6 entrance fee.[40] Today, many visitors stay for the weekend rather than for a week at a time.

In July 2010, an independent survey of 4,500 members of the general public by consumer magazine Which? Holiday (now Which? Travel) found that Blackpool was the UK's favourite seaside resort, followed by Brighton, Whitby, Bournemouth and Scarborough. Blackpool has now improved the seawall and promenade, and Blackpool Tower has been revamped.

In February 2012, a number of tourist attractions in Blackpool collaborated to produce the Blackpool Resort Pass which allows for discounted access in one ticket. The original pass included visits to Merlin Entertainments attractions and Blackpool Pleasure Beach. In February 2013, Marketing Blackpool, formerly the Tourism division of Blackpool Council, led the relaunch of the Blackpool Resort Pass which includes additional attractions including Blackpool Zoo, Sandcastle Waterpark and Blackpool Model Village and Gardens.

Blackpool has a pioneering publicly owned Municipal wireless network Wi-Fi, which covers the entire town centre, promenade and beach front. Visitors can take a virtual tour of Blackpool, and full internet access is available.

Conferences[edit]

Outside the main holiday season, Blackpool's Winter Gardens routinely hosts major political and trade union conferences, ranging from that of the Conservative Party and the Transport and General Workers Union with thousands of delegates and visitors, to substantially smaller gatherings such as the Communication Workers Union conference. The Labour Party, though, now uses facilities in Manchester when, every alternate year, its annual conference is in the North of England.

The National Union of Students last held its Annual Conference in Blackpool in 2009; they will now be hosted by the Sage Gateshead. In January 2011, Blackpool hosted the NEEC Conference (formerly the North of England Education Conference), a key date in the education calendar. The Winter Gardens also hold the National Pensioners' Parliament.[41]

The 'Young Farmers' convention has been held regularly in Blackpool since the late 1960s.[42]

Entertainment[edit]

Blackpool remains a summer entertainment venue, specialising in variety shows featuring entertainers catering to a broad range of tastes, from family friendly Ken Dodd to the 'adults only' humour of Roy 'Chubby' Brown. Ken Dodd can regularly be seen throughout late summer at the Grand Theatre.

The Grand Theatre (locally known as 'The Grand') was designed by Victorian theatre architect Frank Matcham and was opened in 1894 after a construction period of seven months, at a cost of £20,000 between December 1893 and July 1894. The project was conceived and financed by local theatre manager Thomas Sergenson who had been using the site of the Grand for several years to stage a circus. He had also transformed the fortunes of other local theatres.

Matcham's brief was to build Sergenson the "prettiest theatre in the land". The Grand was Matcham's first theatre to use an innovative 'cantilever' design to support the tiers, thereby reducing the need for the usual pillars and so allowing clear views of the stage from all parts of the auditorium.

Sergenson's successful directorship of the theatre ended in 1909 when he sold the operation to the Blackpool Tower Company for a considerable profit.

The success of the Grand continued through World War I and on until the 1930s. The theatre now faced stiff competition from the newly introduced talking films and the building was operated as a cinema outside the summer tourist season. This practice continued until 1938 when the nearby Winter Gardens Opera House was constructed.

The theatre was able to stay open during World War II but the post-war rise in the popularity of television was probably the cause of the theatre's dwindling popularity toward the 1960s.[citation needed] Plans were filed for the demolition of the historic site in 1972 but the Grand's status as a Grade II* listed building was sought and obtained by a group of friends, thereby preventing this from taking place. An agreement was reached with the Grand's owners, EMI, that a refurbishment of the then unused building would take place if it could be used as a bingo hall. After three years of bingo use, the group of friends, now called the Friends of the Grand, with the support of Blackpool Borough Council, negotiated to lease and eventually buy the theatre back from EMI over a period of a few years. The purchase was complete by 1 October 1980 and a refurbishment, achieved partly through voluntary effort, was begun. Finally, on 23 March 1981 the Grand re-opened as a theatre once again to stage an Old Vic performance of William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice featuring Timothy West and Prunella Scales. The theatre's return was further confirmed in May of the same year when a Royal Variety Performance was staged in the presence of Prince Charles.

The town also plays host to the longest running seaside show in Britain, Legends, which features multiple tribute artistes with a live band and dance troupe, first appearing at the North Pier in 1999, then at the Central Pier from 2000 to 2012 and now at the Sands Venue, located in the Palatine buildings (formerly the Palace nightclub) on the promenade near Blackpool Tower. Current tribute artistes include "Neil Diamond", "Adele", "Elton John" and "Robbie Williams".

Events and festivals[edit]

Blackpool plays host to several major events each year. From music festivals and dance competitions, to the greatest free light show on earth.

Event/FestivalYearsDescription
Blackpool Illuminations1879–presentBlackpool Illuminations, consisting of a series of lighted displays and collages arranged along the entire length of the seafront, 7 miles (11 km) in total, attract many visitors from late August to early November.
Blackpool Air Show1909–presentThe air show is an annual free event which features the world-famous RAF Red Arrows, a group of daredevil wing walkers, some of the most spectacular pilots in the country as well as a range of new and exciting displays.
Blackpool Dance Festival1920–presentA world-famous annual ballroom dance competition of international significance,[43] as featured in the 1996 film Shall We Dance?
Punk Rock Rebellion Festival1996–presentBlackpool has played host to the Punk rock Rebellion Festival, an annual event which after a couple of intervening years in nearby Morecambe made its permanent home in Blackpool.[44]

Gay Blackpool[edit]

Blackpool is often described as the "gay capital of the North" (with Brighton often being described as "the gay capital of the South").[45][46] Blackpool had its first gay pride celebration in 2006.[47] Historically, seaside resorts have been able to provide niches for minority groups.[48] Blackpool, like other English resorts, has had a reputation for being a safe community for gay people.[48] During World War II, there was a proliferation of cafés, pubs and clubs where homosexual men could meet in Blackpool.[49] In the 1990s, the town began to be promoted as a gay tourist destination.[48] Blackpool contains several bars, pubs and nightclubs aimed at the LGBT community. These include Funny Girls (a burlesquecabaret showbar), Buzz, Flamingo, the Flying Handbag, Roxy's, Mardi Gras, and Taboo/Lucys @ tabago.[50]

Pollution[edit]

In the late 20th century and early 21st century, pollution in the seawater at Blackpool caused considerable concern. In particular it was found that bacteria counts frequently exceeded the standards of the Environment Agency.[51][52][53][54][55] However, sea water quality has improved significantly in recent years, with the resort's south beach winning a Blue Flag award in 2016, and three other beaches achieving Seaside Award Status.[56][57]

Regeneration[edit]

Blackpool is continually striving to improve its position within today's tourist industry. One controversial proposal, which had the involvement of the local council, was to transform Blackpool into a casino resort along the lines of the Las Vegas Strip and Atlantic City, making it the centre point of gambling in the UK. During all the seven-year campaign the Council did not allow a single public meeting, where the public could hear the case for, and the case against the proposals.[citation needed] Early in the campaign a survey indicated 95% of Blackpool residents would prefer non-gambling related regeneration.[citation needed] For over five years the Gazette refused to publish any of the concerns of those critical of the slot machine proposals.[citation needed] Ultimately, Manchester was selected for the initial trial by the Government's Casinos Advisory Panel.[58] Since this decision, Blackpool's council and MPs have lobbied Parliament extensively, claiming their bid was misunderstood. The local newspaper, the Blackpool Gazette, sent a petition signed by over 11,500 local residents and visitors demanding the decision be reconsidered. On 29 March 2007, the Advisory Panel's recommendations were approved by the House of Commons, but rejected by the House of Lords, meaning the bill would be reconsidered by parliament.[59] However, in early 2008 the House of Lords voted against the super-casino proposal, and the Government proceeded no further with the idea.[citation needed]

The Talbot Gateway is a planned £285m civic quarter, for which international project management specialist AMEC has been chosen to transform a currently rundown area around Blackpool North railway station into what Blackpool Council hope will be a world-class gateway with new office and retail space as well as a public square, dubbed the Talbot Plaza. The development would be 'wrapped' around Blackpool North railway station so that rail passengers arrive at street level into the new plaza with views down onto the seafront, making their arrival into Blackpool a much more pleasant experience than at present. The regeneration company behind much of the towns current and future development, ReBlackpool, are working with Blackpool Council and AMEC to prepare a planning application.[60]

Regeneration work was completed in July 2009 on Waterloo Road in South Shore that transformed the area into a modern shopping centre. £1 million of public investment is helping to improve the public realm and act as a catalyst for the regeneration of South Shore.[61]

In March 2010 it was confirmed that a deal had been made between Blackpool Council and Leisure Parcs to purchase some of Blackpool's most notable landmarks.[62] The deal, totalling £38.9m, had national and local government backing and included the purchase of:

  • Blackpool Tower
  • The Winter Gardens
  • The Sea Life Centre
  • Louis Tussauds Wax Works
  • The Blackpool Tower Dungeon
  • Indoor Golf Centre
  • Bonny Street Market
  • Mr T's Amusement Arcade

It was also announced that the Tower would be run by Merlin Entertainments Group (who run the London Eye) as well as it seeing a programme of repairs totalling £10m, the first phase was scheduled to be complete for the 2011 season. Merlin Entertainments Group also took over the running of Louis Tussauds Wax Works, converting it into their bigger and better-known brand, Madame Tussauds Wax Works.[63] The Winter Gardens were purchased by Blackpool Council; the complex is operated by Crown Entertainment Centres Ltd.[64]

Both the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA) and Blackpool's regeneration company ReBlackpool were crucial players in securing the deal.

TVR was a major employer in Blackpool
The Tower and Illuminations
Blackpool's Central Pier in winter
Blackpool's regenerated Promenade
Unique street lighting on Birley Street

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