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English Heritage Champions Blackpool's 'Roaring' Past and Bright Future

English Heritage is coming to Blackpool to launch a book that brings Blackpool's history right up to date. It tells the story of Blackpool from the middle of the 18th century, when the town first began attracting visitors, up to now, when a Masterplan to revive Blackpool's fortunes is in full swing.

Promenade and sea defences. In recent years Blackpool's seafront has been widened, new trams have been created and giant dune grass sculptures sway in the wind. The iconic Tower is in the middle of a lengthy restoration programme. View from south.
Promenade and sea defences. In recent years Blackpool's seafront has been widened, new trams have been created and giant dune grass sculptures sway in the wind. The iconic Tower is in the middle of a lengthy restoration programme. View from south. Front cover image uncropped - Blackpool's Seaside Heritage © Historic England

Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, will be in Blackpool on 25th March with Councillor Simon Blackburn, Leader of Blackpool Council, to launch Blackpool's Seaside Heritage, published by English Heritage, and speak at a seminar on Seaside Heritage organised by Blackpool Council.

English Heritage Chief Executive, Dr Simon Thurley, said: "In 1934 the English novelist, playwright and broadcaster, JB Priestly, called Blackpool 'the great roaring spangled beast'. Blackpool has a rich heritage and it is because this heritage is at the heart of the regeneration project that it will have a great future."

The third Opera House was the largest theatre in the country when it opened just before the outbreak of the Second World War. Its audience of 3,000 was surrounded by streamlined art deco forms and detailing. From Blackpool's Seaside Heritage
The third Opera House was the largest theatre in the country when it opened just before the outbreak of World War II. Its audience of 3,000 was surrounded by streamlined art deco forms and detailing. Pg 107 - Blackpool's Seaside Heritage © Historic England

Cllr. Simon Blackburn, Leader of Blackpool Council said: "The support we've enjoyed from English Heritage over the last 10 years has been fantastic.  We've had some tough decisions to make and have often relied on the specialist advice that English Heritage has been able to provide.

"The seminar will be a great opportunity for people to ask questions about the future for heritage in Blackpool and other seaside resorts. The support of local communities is really important."

The final chapter of Blackpool's Seaside Heritage explains the Masterplan, published in 2003, which aims to regenerate the town's distinctive neighbourhoods, its town centre and its seafront. Major investment has created new sea defences, a modern tram system and a new public realm including the popular Comedy Carpet, a homage to British humour, and four 30m-high dune grass sculptures.

Each year millions of visitors come to walk on Blackpool's three piers, ride donkeys, enjoy shows at the Winter Gardens, scream on the thrilling rides at the Pleasure Beach and ride the lift to the top of the Tower. Generations of holidaymakers have stayed in its hotels, lodging houses and bed and breakfasts and all have succumbed to its fish and chips.

Two centuries of tourism has left behind a rich heritage, but Blackpool has also inherited a legacy of social and economic problems, as well as the need for comprehensive new sea defences to protect the heart of the town. In recent years this has led to the transformation of its seafront and to regeneration programmes to improve the town, for its visitors and residents.

Allan Brodie, one of the book's authors, welcomed the launch and seminar and said: "This is a great opportunity to celebrate Blackpool's long heritage of seaside holidaymaking, which will contribute to making it a destination for the 21st century. Forget Mediterranean Sun - it's time for Lancashire fun!"

Blackpool's Seaside Heritage is written by Allan Brodie and Matthew Whitfield who are both Investigators at English Heritage. It is available to buy at £14.99: Buy: Blackpool’s Seaside Heritage

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