The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Blackpool wonderland: a fairytale in brick and mortar

BlackpoolI was truly delighted to visit the Tower and Winter Gardens in Blackpool earlier this month. Invited by the Council’s Heritage Team, together with representatives of other amenity societies, for an update on recent conservation projects and the launch of the latest book by Professor Vanessa Toulminon  on these unique complexesProf Vanessa Toulmin, 'Blackpool Tower, Wonderland of the World' cover (“Blackpool Tower: Wonderland of the World”), I found myself totally gripped by this series of fairytales in three dimensions! A visit to the three piers and the Pleasure Beach on the second day of my visit further added to my delight. Contrary to all my faint-hearted preconceptions, I found myself immersed in a world where imagination and playfulness are allowed to reign and was spellbound.

Admittedly, had this visitBlackpool taken place in August, the presence of large crowds would not have worked for me at all. But in low-season November, I had the opportunity to reflect on my own interpretation of these places and take in their magic at my own pace. If it’s been several years since you last visited Blackpool’s principal venues, or a certain reputation deters you from heading that way at all, this is your opportunity: since they acquired the two buildings, the Council have steadily proceeded with necessary maintenance works in close collaboration with English Heritage and the invaluable support of NWDA, ERDF and HCA funders. What is more, since last September, they have made the great move to open the principal public spaces to all, free of charge. Pick the time of the year that would suit you best and… allow yourselves to be amazed!

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