What You Need To Know
Blackpool is a seaside resort on the Lancashire coast in North West England. The town is on the Irish Sea, between the Ribble and Wyre estuaries, 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Preston, 27 miles (43 km) north of Liverpool, 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Bolton and 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Manchester. It had an estimated population of 142,065 at the 2011 Census. Throughout the Middle Ages and Early Modern period, Blackpool was a coastal hamlet in Lancashire’s Hundred of Amounderness, and remained such until the mid-18th century when it became fashionable in England to travel to the coast in the summer to improve well-being. In 1781, visitors attracted to Blackpool’s 7-mile (11 km) sandy beach were able to use a new private road, built by Thomas Clifton and Sir Henry Hoghton. Stagecoaches began running to Blackpool from Manchester in the same year, and from Halifax in 1782. In the early 19th century, Henry Banks and his son-in-law John Cocker erected new buildings in Blackpool such that its population grew from less than 500 in 1801 to over 2,500 in 1851. St John’s Church in Blackpool was consecrated in 1821. Blackpool rose to prominence and as a major centre of tourism in England when 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, such that in 1876 Blackpool was incorporated as a borough, governed by its own town council and aldermen. 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. By 1901 the population of Blackpool was 47,000, by which time its place was cemented as “the archetypal British seaside resort”. By 1951 it had grown to 147,000. Shifts in tastes, combined with opportunities for Britons to travel overseas, affected Blackpool’s status as a leading resort in the late 20th century. Nevertheless, Blackpool’s urban fabric and economy remains relatively undiversified, and firmly rooted in the tourism sector, and the borough’s seafront continues to attract millions of visitors every year. In addition to its sandy beaches, Blackpool’s major attractions and landmarks include Blackpool Tower, Blackpool Illuminations, the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool Zoo, Sandcastle Water Park, the Winter Gardens, and the UK’s only surviving first-generation tramway.
Population: Estimate 148,500
Area: 34.85 km²
This is a chart of the trend of regional gross value added (GVA) of Blackpool at current basic prices by the Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling. While Blackpool hosts a large number of small businesses and self-employed people, there are some large employers. The government-owned National Savings and Investments is based at Marton, together with their Hardware random number generator, ERNIE ( “Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment”), which picks the Premium Bond numbers, while other government agencies are based at Warbreck and Norcross further up the Fylde coast. Burton’s Biscuit Company Tangerine Confectionery produce biscuits and other confectionery products, Klarius UK manufactures automotive components, Victrexmanufactures high performance polymers and the Glasdon Group is a plastics manufacturer making litter bins, park benchesand reflective road signs. TVR formerly produced sports cars at its Bispham factory. Blackpool was also the original site of Swallow Sidecar Company, forerunner of Jaguar Cars. The 2015 HSBC research on rental yields ranks Blackpool in the top three cities with the best rental returns. The numerous urban regeneration projects, the property prices which are among the most affordable in the UK, and the high rental yields create a very favourable environment for real estate investors. Retail is also becoming a major contributor to Blackpool’s economy; many Blackpool residents work in the retail sector, either in the town centre or the retail parks on the edge of town. Blackpool’s main shopping streets are Church Street, Victoria Street, Birley Street, Market Street, Corporation Street, Bank Hey Street, Abingdon Street and Talbot Road. There is currently one shopping centre within the town, Houndshill Shopping Centre. This has recently been redeveloped with the opening of a new Debenhams department store along with other major high street names.
Much of Blackpool’s growth and character from the 1870s on was predicated on the town’s pioneering use of electrical power. In 1879, it became the first municipality in the world to have electric street lighting, as large parts of the promenade were wired. The lighting and its accompanying pageants reinforced Blackpool’s status as the North of England’s most prominent holiday resort, and its specifically working class character. It was the forerunner of the present-day Blackpool Illuminations. In 1885 one of the world’s first electric tramways was laid down as a conduit line running from Cocker Street to Dean Street on the Promenade. The line was operated by the Blackpool Electric Tramway Company until 1892 when their lease expired and Blackpool Corporation took over running the line. A further line was added in 1895 from Manchester Square along Lytham Road to South Shore, and the line was extended north, first to Gynn Square in 1899, and then to Fleetwood. In 1899 the conduit system was replaced by overhead wires. The tramway has remained in continuous service to this day. By the 1890s, the town had a population of 35,000, and could accommodate 250,000 holidaymakers. The number of annual visitors, many staying for a week, was estimated at three million. 1894 saw the opening of two of the town’s most prominent buildings, the Grand Theatreon Church Street, and Blackpool Tower on the Promenade. The Grand Theatre was one of Britain’s first all-electric theatres. The first decade of the new century saw the development of the Promenade as we know it today, and further development southwards beyond South Shore towards Harrowside and Squires Gate. The Pleasure Beach was first established about this time. Seasonal static illuminations were first set up in 1912, although due to World War I and its aftermath they only enjoyed two seasons until they were re-introduced in 1925. The illuminations extended the holiday season into September and early October.
English is the Official Language.
There are many ways to travel by Air, Bus and coach, Railway, Road, and Tram.
Taking the cure
By the middle of the 18th century, the practice of sea bathing to cure diseases was becoming fashionable among the wealthier classes, and visitors began making the arduous trek to Blackpool for that purpose. In 1781, Thomas Clifton and Sir Henry Hoghton built a private road to Blackpool, and a regular stagecoach service from Manchester and Halifax was established. A few amenities, including four hotels, an archery stall and bowling greens, were developed, and the town grew slowly. The 1801 census records the town’s population at 473. The growth was accelerated by the actions of Henry Banks, often considered to be the “Father of Blackpool”. In 1819 he purchased the Lane Ends estate, including the Lane Ends Hotel, and built the first holiday cottages. In 1837, his son-in-law Dr. John Cocker built Blackpool’s first assembly rooms, which still stand on the corner of Victoria Street and Bank Hey street.
Blackpool is heavily dependent on tourism. In what is often regarded as its heyday (1900–1950), Blackpool thrived as the factory workers of Northern England took their annual holidays there en masse. Any photograph from that era shows crowds of tourists on the beach and promenade. Blackpool was also a preferred destination of visitors from Glasgow and remains so to this day. The town went into decline when cheap air travel arrived in the 1960s and the same workers decamped to the Mediterranean coastal resorts due to competitive prices and the more reliable weather. Today Blackpool remains the most popular seaside resort in the UK; however, the town has suffered a serious drop in numbers of visitors which have fallen from 17 million in 1992 to 10 million today. Similarly Pleasure Beach Blackpool was the country’s most popular free attraction with 6 million visitors a year but has lost over a million visitors since 1998 and has recently introduced a £6 entrance fee. Today, many visitors stay for the weekend rather than for a week at a time. In July 2010, an independent survey of 4,500 members of the general public by consumer magazine Which? Holiday (now Which? Travel) found that Blackpool was the UK’s favourite seaside resort, followed by Brighton, Whitby, Bournemouth and Scarborough. Blackpool has now improved the seawall and promenade, and Blackpool Tower has been revamped. In February 2012, a number of tourist attractions in Blackpool collaborated to produce the Blackpool Resort Pass which allows for discounted access in one ticket. The original pass included visits to Merlin Entertainments attractions and Blackpool Pleasure Beach. In February 2013, Marketing Blackpool, formerly the Tourism division of Blackpool Council, led the relaunch of the Blackpool Resort Pass which includes additional attractions including Blackpool Zoo, Sandcastle Waterpark and Blackpool Model Village and Gardens. Blackpool has a pioneering publicly owned Municipal wireless network Wi-Fi, which covers the entire town centre, promenade and beach front. Visitors can take a virtual tour of Blackpool, and full internet access is available.
Blackpool has, like all of the UK, a temperate maritime climate according to the Köppen climate classification system. Thus the same cool summer, frequent overcast skies, and small annual temperature range is typical. The absolute minimum temperature stands at −15.1 °C (4.8 °F), recorded during December 1981. The lowest temperature to occur in recent years is −11.9 °C (10.6 °F) during December 2010. In a more normal winter, the coldest night averages −7.6 °C (18.3 °F). The absolute maximum temperature recorded at Blackpool was 33.7 °C (92.7 °F) during July 1976. The highest temperature to occur in recent years is 33.5 °C (92.3 °F) during July 2015. In a more normal summer, the warmest day will likely average 28.1 °C (82.6 °F), with slightly fewer than 5 days a year attaining a temperature of 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or above. Rainfall averages slightly less than 900 mm (35 in), with over 1 mm of precipitation occurring on 143 days of the year.