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Big Blue Hotel

The history of Blackpool

For centuries Blackpool was a hamlet by the sea. Then during the 18th century it became fashionable for the well to do to travel to the seaside during the Summer. (In those days people believed that bathing in sea water could cure diseases). Visitors came to Blackpool from the middle of the 18th century. However Blackpool remained a very small place until 1781. In that year two men, Thomas Clifton and Sir Henry Hoghton built a private road to Blackpool. That made it much easier to reach.

The same year stagecoaches began running to Blackpool from Manchester. In 1782 they began running from Halifax.

Nevertheless Blackpool grew only slowly in the early 19th century. A man named Henry Banks developed Blackpool in the early years of the century. He erected new buildings. His work was carried on by his son-in-law, a man named John Cocker. However in 1801 Blackpool had a population of less than 500. By 1851 it had risen to over 2,500. Meanwhile St John's Church in Blackpool was consecrated in 1821.


However Blackpool only grew into a substantial town when a railway was built connecting it to the industrial towns of the north. The railway made it much easier and cheaper for visitors to reach Blackpool. The first railway in the area opened in 1840 but it only ran as far as Poulton in the Fylde. Nevertheless the Preston and Wyre railway boosted the growth of Blackpool. In 1846 a branch line was built from Poulton to Blackpool. Then the resort began to boom. Another line was built through Lytham in 1863.

Meanwhile Victoria Terrace was built in 1837 and St John's Market was built in 1844.

Amenities in the fast growing town quickly improved. In 1851 a Board of Health was formed in Blackpool. From 1852 Blackpool had gas light. Blackpool gained a piped water supply in 1864.

In the years 1856-1870 a Promenade was built along the sea front. Then in 1863 North Pier opened. Central Pier followed in 1868. Then in 1871 a company was formed to buy Raikes Hall and its grounds and to turn them into gardens. The Raikes Hall Garden opened in 1872. Winter Gardens followed in 1878.

Meanwhile Blackpool was given a Mayor and Corporation in 1876.

Then in 1879 some electric lights were switched on in Blackpool. At that time electric light was very new and exciting and the event attracted many visitors.

An electric tramway opened in Blackpool in 1885. In 1889 the First Opera House was built. South Pier opened in 1893.

Blackpool is famous for its tower. Blackpool Tower was built between 1891 and 1894. North Promenade was built in the years 1893-1899. The older Promenade was widened in the years 1903-1905.