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There are more Blackpool heritage buildings than you can imagine, from the Grade II listed old Post Office on Abingdon Street, first opened to the public in 1910, to the iconic Tower built in 1894, the same year as Blackpool’s Grand Theatre.
The Old Post Office is an iconic Blackpool building and is just one of many heritage buildings in the resort, many still to this day go unrecognised in the hustle and bustle of one of the UK’s tourism hotspots.
From the middle of the 18th century visitors came to experience Blackpool. However, until 1781 Blackpool remained a small place. In that particular year two great men, Thomas Clifton and Sir Henry Hoghton built a private road to Blackpool, that made it much easier to reach.
As years passed Blackpool began to rise in prominence (and as a major centre of tourism) and 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. 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.
Blackpool Heritage Buildings are worth taking a little of your packed time to see when you next visit. We’ve listed five here for you to take a look at, if you’re intrigued to learn more visit Blackpool Council’s website where a full list of Blackpool Heritage Buildings (Listed) can be found.
Image (C) Heritage Blackpool – Town Hall Blackpool
Blackpool’s Town Hall was built between 1895 and 1900 by Messrs. Potts, Son and Hennings in a Jacobean style. The extension at the rear was later added in 1937-8 by J C Robinson.
Within the Council Chamber are four windows, (which were replaced in the 1940’s following damage to the originals) these represent the activities for which Blackpool is known Education, Light Industry, Agriculture and Sport, and Recreation. Over in the public gallery is the original window from 1900 (in black and white) depicting a seaside scene.
In the inner sanctum, the Mayor’s Parlour, a portrait of the current Mayor always hangs over the centre of the door. In a nod to the past (to the left) is a photograph of the original crayon drawing of Doctor William Henry Cocker, dated 1876, the first Mayor of the Borough.
Don’t miss the frieze of panels depicting forms of transport.
Grand Theatre (Grade II*)
On the list of Blackpool Heritage Buildings has to be The Grand, designed by Victorian theatre architect Frank Matcham and opened in 1894 after a construction period of seven months (Dec 1893 to Jul 1894), at a cost of £20,000 (£2.5million today). 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.
Matcham’s brief was to build Sergens
on 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.
Today the theatre hosts some of the world’s leading touring companies including English Touring Opera, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Matthew Bourne and the National Theatre.
Blackpool’s Grand Theatre is one of only 29 Grade II* listed theatres and is at the top the list of Blackpool Heritage Buildings overshadowed by only the biggest building/structure in Blackpool, The Tower (Grade I).
The Imperial Hotel was built by Clegg and Knowles, who were based in Manchester but had offices in Blackpool. It’s understood that the Hotel originally had 100 beds in 120 rooms, as well as restaurants, billiard rooms and coffee/tea rooms. Come 1881, the hotel was converted into a hydropathic hotel and grew to 130 bedrooms and 20 private sitting rooms. The increase in size was down to a new wing being built by Mangnall and Littlewood in mid-1870. This increased the number of rooms and added a new restaurant and smoking room. In 1904 JD Broadbent built a substantial addition to the north side of the Hotel. Looking back to 1870 Blackpool’s development was remarkable with two new piers and the construction of the Imperial Hotel suggest that investors had confidence in Blackpool as a resort.
Looking forward and the building of Travel lodges and three new hotels including Hampton By Hilton, and the first Five Star hotel for the resort shows Blackpool continues to make significant changes for the modern staycation traveller and visitors from around the world.
Central Library (Grundy Art Gallery) (Grade II)
Central Library is a public library designed in an Edwardian Baroque style. The building that contains the library and the Grundy Art Gallery has been designated a Grade II listed building by English Heritage.
In 1908, a site was picked for a new library and art gallery on Queen Street. It was partly financed by Bury artists Cuthbert and John Grundy (hence Grundy Art Gallery we can presume!).
Construction started on the building in 1909, and it was completed in 1911. It was designed by Scottish architecture firm Cullen, Lochhead and Brown, who had won a competition for the project.
In August 2010, the library closed to the public to undergo a year-long renovation. It reopened on 26 September 2011. In 2011, during the centenary renovation of the building, 8 new stained glass windows were commissioned. Designed by Nick Robertson with a brief from the Library and library users.
Pump and Truncheon
An independently owned, real-ale haunt at the back of the Golden Mile (behind Madame Tussaud’s), police station and court house. It was an old coppers drinking den (being so close), hence the name.
With a changing brews available, Belgian beers, malt whiskies and the occasional live band (believe it or not called ‘The Great Tune Robbery’) it’s not exactly a quaint old traditional pub, or a party venue either – but you will find a great pint decent pool table and ‘budget’ bar meals, one of those venues you end up staying longer then you expected.
Compared to other Blackpool Heritage Building’s it’s not that old but it is probably one of the oldest buildings in the area because during a big fire in the late 1980s, the Pump and Truncheon was just about the only building not to burn down. It still has its unique charm with a wood panelled interior, open fire, and historic setting.
Robert’s Oyster Bar
The building that housed Robert’s Oyster Bar since the 19th Century. Located at the corner of the Promenade and West Street, besides the Mitre Pub. A Three Story building decorated with simplified, ‘iconic’ pilasters which are believed to have been added after 1876 when the building was taken over by Roberts to use as an oyster bar.
Looking back, Victorian wood-panelled rooms offered a seafood meal for the waged man, washed down with a pint from the Mitre Pub. Unfortunately, now just the takeaway counter continues (the building façade as a whole though still looks just as beautiful), here you can still buy all manner of seaside delicacies including oysters in the shell, mussels, whelks, prawns, winkles and hand sized trays of cockles. If that doesn’t take you back to days gone by, nothing will.
Other great Blackpool Heritage Buildings include;
- Blackpool Tower 1894
- St John’s Market 1844
- Pleasure Beach 1896
- North Pier 1863
- Central Pier 1868
- Grundy Art Gallery 1911
- Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks 1929
Blackpool has an incredible heritage and all these Blackpool Heritage Buildings are a testament to that.
Blackpool recently launched a Culture Blackpool site, telling you more about #theBside of Blackpool, the unique, the unknown.
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