Blackpool in the 60s
As a coastal town full of attractions, history and character, Blackpool was exploding in the 60s. It was much more than just a seaside resort: Blackpool had an exciting music scene attracting Britons from all over the Country. Here, we take a closer look at Blackpool in the 60s.
After the Second World War, and just before the upcoming low-cost flights, Blackpool was the preferred holiday destinations in Britain. The 1960s were an exciting time for visiting Blackpool. The town attracted the best of the entertainment industry: comedians, musicians and artists were all performing in Blackpool. Tourists could count on never being bored.
Blackpool in the 60s – The Fab Four in Blackpool
Today, old pictures and videos can be found on the internet showing hundreds of tourists enjoying the sandy beaches of Blackpool in the 60s. But that’s not all: the first-known colour footage of the Beatles dates back August 1963. It was taken during one night of the Brit pop group performing at the ABC Theatre of Blackpool.
Between 1963 and 1965, the Beatles played multiple times at the venue in Church Street. Even before that, John Lennon spent many months in the town after his parents’ separation. Actor Aaron-Taylor Johnson can be seen playing the young Beatle discovering the rock music scene of Blackpool in the drama film Nowhere Boy. In the 70s, Paul McCartney had also written a song entitled ‘Blackpool’, but unfortunately was never released.
The Beatles are not the only band who made the music scene of Blackpool in the 60s. Another little-known group named the Rolling Stones was performing in 1964 at the Empress Ballroom, when the gig turned into a riot. The night resolved with a ban: The Rolling Stones were never to return to Blackpool. Although the ban was lifted in 2008, 44 years later, the band has yet to perform in the town again.
Jimi Hendrix is another name to add to the list of great musicians who performed in Blackpool. ‘Experience Jimi Hendrix’ is a documentary released in 2001 showing footage of Hendrix playing at the Blackpool’s Opera House in 1967.
Blackpool in the 60s – The Comedy
Blackpool in the 60s also witnessed a great variety of comedians performing in its theatres. Not only about music, the ABC Theatre hosted the variety show The Blackpool Show in the late 60s, welcoming guests such as Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield and Jimmy Clitheroe.
Famous for being ‘The Clithereo Kid’, the comedian appeared on the stages of Blackpool for many years. In 1965 he performed with Susan Maughan and Kenny Ball at the Winter Gardens. Clithereo also lived in a bungalow with his mother in the town. He died in 1973 and his funeral was held at the Carleton Crematorium, in Blackpool.
The Grand Theatre too got the best of the summer seasons, offering Britons on holiday the best of the comedic scene. Amongst others, the theatre welcomed performance from comedians such as Arthur Askey, Hylda Baker and Sid James. Thanks to its summer successes, the Grand Theatre was able to survive the takeover of the television, unlike other theatres in the UK.
Blackpool in the 60s – The British Holiday Resort
Underneath the rock’n’roll and live shows, Blackpool in the 60s was the perfect holiday destinations for the British summertime. Flocks of workers would find in the Lancashire town the relaxation and entertainment much anticipated. Many videos on the internet show the packed streets of Blackpool welcoming colourful tourists strolling on the sandy beach. Others are seen going shopping through the streets.
Pictures of the Promenade and Central Beach in the 60s are today a symbol of culture and history. You can see tourists being so close together that it’s hard to imagine how they could move around. Striped deck chairs occupied every inch of sand, long queues of people were waiting their turn for an ice cream. Mules were even carrying children on their backs along the coast. Blackpool was bursting with life and joy.
Pleasure Beach also undertook an incredible development in the1960s. Many rides were added to the park, using steel and concrete for the first time in the constructions. The Grand Prix (then called the Turnpike) was built in the first half of the decade. After receiving permission from Walt Disney himself, Alice’s Wonderland was also opened shortly after. Remarkably, Pleasure Beach is known to have been one of the main influences for the creation of Disneyland Park in California.
There is no doubt Blackpool in the 60s was the place to be. If you were either looking for a sun-bathing holiday on the beach, or exciting evenings of music, Blackpool would not fail you. Not a moment was too boring in the town.
The BFI even released an amateur film of a Blackpool Outdoor Dog Show held in 1960.
Blackpool in the 1950s
Blackpool in the 1960s
Blackpool in the 1970s
Blackpool in the 1980s
Blackpool in the 1990s