on September 29, 2010
I have to confess that all the nights I spent in Blackpool I saw rain. This part of the country is renowned for its inclement weather condition and by the time summer was due I had finished my contract with the company, so didn’t see Blackpool in all its glory. If indeed it has any!!But I did see and check out the Blackpool Tower – one of the features that people the word over know about this coastal resort. The tower was built between 1891 and 1894 and it will be no surprise to read that it was inspired by Paris’ Eiffel Tower. The two Manchester architects (Maxwell and Tuke) responsible for the design of this 518 foot replica never saw the completion of the tower. It took over five million bricks to build the tower and the structure contains 2,493 tons of steel and 93 tons of cast iron. That’s a whole lot of building material for a construction that was only built to pamper the needs of a growing tourist industry.I guess no one reckoned that the tower would become an iconic symbol for the North-West although it did start well with over three thousand visitors on its opening day on 14th May 1894. Those visitors paid the equivalent of 2½ pence to visit this novelty building and a further 2½ pence to ride the lift to the top and then to appreciate the fantastic views of the lake District, the Isle of Man and North Wales. Assuming of course that the weather is good! Nowadays the tower has over 650,000 visitors a year and as a protected listed building it will doubtless be receiving many more over the years to come. The tower ballroom is an amazingly elaborate affair with its superb Victorian Theatrical design and of course the world famous Wurlitzer organ.Blackpool uniquely has three operational piers although their names - North, South and Central – are not that unique. I guess it’s clear where you are on the promenade when you see the pier name in front of you. The North Pier, a listed building, is only 400m away from Blackpool Tower and is therefore the pier that immediately springs to mind when thinking of Blackpool. The North Pier is most famous for its traditional pursuits and it juts out into the sea at over 500 metres. It’s the longest Blackpool pier & perfect for taking a stroll out over the Irish Sea enjoying the view that has remained unchanged since the pier was first built in 1863. The pier itself has changed from the original vision of its designer Eugenius Birch and was widened in order to accommodate more venues and shops. In the 1960s, an arcade was added, and twenty years later the jetty at the far end of the pier was converted to a helipad. Blackpool’s second pier – the Central Pier – was the second to be built and it’s the second longest, and, surprise, surprise it’s the middle of the three piers. It was built in 1868 and originally stretched 460 metres due to its proximity to Blackpool Central railway station. It stands 500m or so to the south of Blackpool Tower, and so is pretty much smack bang in the middle of the action. When it opened in 1868, it was 460m long but in 1975 the final 120m which was designed for use as a landing jetty in times of low tide was removed. The pier is now 339 metres long. This pier was always intended to be a centre for leisure and originally , this was in the form of dancing, but as the years progressed it saw roller-skating, arcades, amusement machines, fairground rides, theatre & bars. It now plays host to a 33 metre high Ferris wheel that was built in 1990 and this required that the mid-section of the pier was strengthened.Work began on Blackpool’s third pier in 1892 and it was originally known as the Victoria Pier but renamed South Pier in 1930. It’s only 149 metres long and included 36 shops, a bandstand, an ice-cream vendor and a photograph stall. In 1958 and 1964 it was severly damaged by fire and a more modern looking theatre was built. Today the South Pier has every kind of modern amusement from bars, electronic arcades, dodgems, and the latest ‘white knuckle’ ride that replaced the now demolished pier head theatre in 1998. From here you’ll get a sensational bview over the famous pleasure beach.Blackpool’s Pleasure beach is exclusively for lovers of rides Blackpool’s and is extremely popular. It’s "not my bag" but walking the promenade it gives a true sense of what makes Blackpool still a popular resort. Of course Blackpool is also known for its Christmas lights and that makes it a resort for all seasons. Along the prom are numerous modern sculptures which look doubly impressive when the sun has gone down. They do look a little less impressive when it’s pouring with rain so I have to have imagination about how truly impressive they might be.
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