Blackpool is Britain’s premier seaside holiday resort. Its buildings and attractions have been repeatedly extended and adapted to suit the tastes and amusements of succeeding generations of holidaymakers. Despite its reputation for cheerful vulgarity, its historic sites provide a rich heritage of surprising sophistication, ranging from Victorian opulence to the virtuosity of Art Deco.
The town’s pre-eminent symbol, the Tower (1894), is a unique monument to Victorian enterprise, a pier set on end, with a multi-purpose fun-palace at its base, still operational alongside the Winter Gardens (1878 onwards), the three piers (1863, 1868 and 1893) and the Pleasure Beach (1904 onwards).
The town’s modern claim to fame, its unrivalled Illuminations (begun 1912), originated from another unique survival, the tramway system, (1885). To view the Blackpool Illuminations from the top of a tram is to experience an essentially Victorian sense of wonder – admiring electricity.
For background information about some of the places included in the lecture, please click here.