Category Archives: Blackpool Tower

Blackpool Tower Circus set for £1m repair works

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Blackpool Tower Circus is to undergo a £1m revamp to safeguard its future after surveys found the ceiling was in need of urgent repairs.

 

Blackpool TowerIMAGE SOURCE,BLACKPOOL COUNCIL

Image caption,

The circus, located inside Blackpool Tower, was founded in 1894

Widespread repairs will be made to the venue, located inside Blackpool Tower, after a survey showed the structure to be in a “poor condition”.

A council report warned not doing the work would mean the century-old circus could not continue to operate.

Blackpool Council approved the investment in an urgent decision.

The estimated cost is £643,629, which will be paid by the authority through borrowing with annual repayments over 25 years totalling just over £1m, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The work will be done while the circus is closed for winter, with operator Merlin expecting to welcome audiences back for the 2022 season.

In previous years the attraction has hosted a pantomime, but no shows were scheduled for Christmas this year.

The circus dates back to 1894 and is the oldest permanent circus arena in the world, able to seat an audience of 1,300 people.

It is the fifth ceiling in the council’s portfolio of listed buildings to require urgent investment.

In 2018, the ceiling of the town’s Empress Ballroom was restored at a cost of £750,000, while a £1.1m refurbishment of the Tower Ballroom ceiling was completed earlier this year.

In August 2019, the council also spent £13,000 on repairs to the council chamber ceiling within the Grade II-listed Town Hall.

And in October this year it was revealed repairs are needed to the roof of the Grade II listed Central Library, which will cost £290,000.

The Frost Fairies Coming To Blackpool Tower

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Two talented brothers have adapted a children’s fairy story and turned it into a magical projection show on the front of The Blackpool Tower.

Matt and Rob Vale’s company, Illuminos, was specially commissioned to create a festive show as part of the resort’s Christmas By The Sea experience on the Tower Festival Headland.

The result is a beautiful adaptation of The Frost Fairies, based on an original tale by Margaret T Canby. In it, King Frost tasks his fairies with taking his hoard of precious jewels and treasure to Father Christmas to be used as gifts for children. Along the way, they hide the jars of jewels in trees when they pause to play.

As the story unfolds, the building becomes an ice palace with frost creeping across the windows and the frost fairies gliding and swooping through a forested winter garden.

The show, which includes a newly-created soundtrack, is projected several times a night on to the front of The Blackpool Tower building.

Illuminos, based in Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester, have worked around the world on a range of high-profile events including the closing ceremony for the 2017 Capital of Culture celebrations in Cyprus. They also created a vast chocolate factory for City Of The Unexpected, a city-wide centenary celebrations of Roald Dahl in Cardiff.

The Illuminos commission formed part of a £48k Arts Council National Lottery grant made to the Blackpool Illuminations team to deliver a new artists’ research and development programme.

It led to two artist-in-residence opportunities at Lightworks, the manufacturing base of the Illuminations, and resulted in new works being created for the Grundy Art Gallery and Lightpool Festival.

The Frost Fairies projection show, which is free to view each night, forms part of Blackpool’s Christmas By The Sea village on the Tower Festival Headland. It also includes free-to-use skating rink, magic forest, log cabins, artificial snowfalls, and light installations.

At the VisitBlackpool cabin, there is a range of Christmas By The Sea merchandise, including a limited edition jar of Frost Fairy sweets produced by local rock company, Stanton.

Rob Vale said: “We have been interested in creating a projection artwork for the iconic Blackpool Tower for a number of years, and were delighted to be given this opportunity.

We wanted to bring a sense of wonder and storytelling to the project, and it was fantastic to have the opportunity to develop our ideas with the highly knowledgeable Lightpool team.

“There were some great conversations and sharing sessions with other commissioned artists, and the end result we hope really makes best use of this world-famous building to bring the Frost Fairies to life.”

Alongside Blackpool’s Christmas village is the Star Flyer, Europe’s largest aerial ride and a short distance away is the Winter Gardens Wonderland with indoor and outdoor festive market stalls, virtual reality experiences, and funfair rides.

The Christmas programme is complemented by the extended Blackpool Illuminations season which sees the famous lights shining every night until January 3.

On New Year’s Eve a free family fireworks display will be staged in front of The Blackpool Tower at 5pm.

Note: Parts of the Christmas season and fireworks display are weather-dependent. Check out the visitblackpool.com website for updates.

New Year’s Eve Family Fireworks and some elements of Christmas By The Sea are part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Bongo’s Bingo Christmas at Blackpool Tower – how to get tickets

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Final release tickets are available for the afternoon shows at Blackpool Tower on December 18 and 19

Bongo's Bingo is certainly not your regular bingo
Bongo’s Bingo is certainly not your regular bingo (Image: Bongo’s Bingo)

It’s bingo like you’ve never experienced before, where staying silent and civilised it out of the question.

Bongo’s Bingo is chaotic, loud, riotous and raucous, and special festive versions of the popular event are currently taking place at Blackpool Tower.

The Bongo’s Bingo Christmas: Winter Wonderland Specials are taking place this weekend, and there’s limited tickets remaining for the two-hour afternoon shows on Saturday, December 18 and Sunday, December 19, starting at midday.

Expect sing-a-long to your favourite Christmas classics, games, cash prizes and dance-offs and somewhere among the carnage, a couple of games of traditional bingo.

Revellers should expect strong language, adult content and general provocative behaviour, therefore it is strictly an over 18s event.

Final release tickets at £15 are available here, with all other sessions already sold out.

 

 

This is why six fire engines have been at an incident at Blackpool Tower today

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool Tower had to be evacuated, and the reason is now known.

 

This morning, six fire engines and an aerial ladder platform were deployed to Blackpool Tower following reports of smoke in the building.

Taking to Twitter two hours ago, Lancashire Fire and Rescue confirmed that there was full evacuation of the Tower, and no injuries had been reported.

Now, after firefighters have completed a full search of the building, Lancashire Fire and Rescue have identified the cause of smoke as being an electrical issues in the basement of a neighbouring property.

Today's incident at Blackpool Tower was over an electrical fault found in a neighbouring building.

Today’s incident at Blackpool Tower was over an electrical fault found in a neighbouring building.

Fire crews are now making up their equipment and are set to leave the scene shortly.

A spokesperson for Lancashire Police also confirmed they had received a call at 11:30 am regarding smoke presence at Blackpool Tower, first appearing at around 10:15 am, however police did not attend the scene.

The cause of the smoke has been identified following a full search of the building.

The cause of the smoke has been identified following a full search of the building.

Six fire engines and an aerial ladder platform sent to fire at Blackpool Tower

Home | Blackpool Gazette

More information from the scene is due to come in.

 

This morning, six fire engines and an aerial ladder platform have been deployed to Blackpool Tower following reports of smoke in the building.

Taking to Twitter, Lancashire Fire and Rescue confirmed that there was full evacuation of the Tower, and no injuries have been reported.

Firefighters are now doing a full search of the building to establish where the smoke has originated.

Firefighters are currently searching Blackpool Tower, to establish where the smoke has come from. Image: Lancashire Fire and Rescue.

Firefighters are currently searching Blackpool Tower, to establish where the smoke has come from. Image: Lancashire Fire and Rescue.

A spokesperson for Lancashire Police also confirmed they had received a call at 11:30 am regarding smoke presence at Blackpool Tower, first appearing at around 10:15 am, however police did not attend the scene.

More information to follow.

Blackpool Tower had to be evacuated and six fire engines attended the scene.

Blackpool Tower had to be evacuated and six fire engines attended the scene.

Strictly champ Ore Oduba pulls off suspenders and heels ahead of Rocky Horror Show in Blackpool

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The TV presenter and Strictly Come dancing winner is relishing his time as Bard Majors in the Rocky Horror Show UK tour

 

(Image: James Maloney/Lancs Live)

TV Presenter and actor Ore Oduba showed us all that he could really dance when he was crowned Strictly Come Dancing champion in 2016 alongside his professional partner Joanne Clifton.

And now he has revealed another on his ever-growing list of talents – effortlessly pulling off a pair of suspenders, fishnet stockings and heels.

During a break in performing as the [apparent] squeaky-clean Brad Majors in The Rocky Horror Show at the Opera House, Ore has returned to the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, where he famously danced the Viennese Waltz to Frank Sinatra’s That’s Life on his way to lifting the glitterball.

Except this time, he’s wearing far more revealing clothing.

“Blackpool holds such special memories for me – performing here at the Tower Ballroom was a real highlight of my time on Strictly” said Ore, who is excited to be back in the seaside town to star in the UK tour of Richard O’Brien’s risque, hilarious and wild musical.

“I’m so excited to be performing again at the Blackpool Opera House – the audiences here are incredible and always up for a party”.

Ore has been embracing having to wear the racy on-stage outfits and says transforming into Brad has helped him release his own inhibitions.

(Image: James Maloney/Lancs Live)

The former CBBC presenter said: “I think there’s a lot of Brad in me and in a lot of people.

“It’s the idea of being kind of caged animals, because we all have a lot of reservations and inhibitions and things we hold back. We’re just waiting to be unleashed.”

Ore is also enjoying utilising the dance skills he picked up during his time on Strictly with the musical numbers on Rocky Horror, which include the famous Tim Warp, Damn It, Janet and Sweet Transvestite.

The London-born star has also taken up tap dancing since winning the BBC show.

“I took up tap dancing….every time I get to do something involving choreography it gets me as excited as I was when I did Strictly. I love it.”

(Image: James Maloney/Lancs Live)

Ore, who grew up performing on stage, is delighted to be asked to feature in the smash-hit musical, which has been wowing audiences for 40 years.

But what is the secret to the show’s longevity?

“It’s pure escapism,” added Ore.

“You leave your troubles at the door and you’re taken into a world that’s nothing like the real one. In addition to iconic music and brilliant dance numbers, it’s just such a feel-good show.”

The Rocky Horror Show, which also stars West End performers Haley Flaherty as Janet and Stephen Webb as Frank-N-Furter, at Blackpool’s Opera House until Saturday, December 11, with limited tickets still available from £17.50.

 

 

Blackpool Tower Circus needs £1m revamp to safeguard its future

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Blackpool Tower Circus needs £1m revamp to safeguard its future

 

Blackpool Tower Circus
Blackpool Tower Circus

Council chiefs have agreed to spend £1m to safeguard the future of the historic Blackpool Tower Circus after surveys found the ceiling in need of urgent repairs.

A town hall report reveals the ceiling of the circus inside the Grade I listed Blackpool Tower has been “closely monitored for some time” after a survey showed the structure “to be in poor condition.”

The report warns not doing the work “would not allow the Circus to continue to operate.”

The estimated cost of repairs is £643,629, which will be paid by the council through prudential borrowing with annual repayments over 25 years totalling just over £1m from the Strategic Leisure Assets portfolio.

Coun leader Coun Lynn Williams approved the investment as an urgent decision.

A report setting out the reasons says temporary repairs to stabilise the ceiling were made in 2020 but since then “further significant deterioration to the ceiling has occurred.”

This led to a further detailed survey who findings “require that permanent works are to be completed, in order to stabilise and safeguard the ceiling on a more permanent basis”.

The work will be done while the Circus is closed for the winter, with operator Merlin expecting to welcome audiences back for the 2022 season.

In previous years the attraction has hosted a pantomime, but no shows were scheduled for Christmas this year.

The Circus dates back to 1894 and is the oldest permanent circus arena in the world, able to seat an audience of 1,300 people.

It is the fifth ceiling in the council’s portfolio of listed buildings to require urgent investment.

In 2018, the ceiling of the Empress Ballroom inside the Grade II* Winter Gardens was restored at a cost of £750,000, while a £1.1m refurbishment of the Tower Ballroom ceiling was completed earlier this year including a £750,000 government grant.

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In August 2019, the council also spent £13,000 on repairs to the council chamber ceiling within the Grade II listed Town Hall, and in October this year it was revealed repairs are needed to the roof of the Grade II listed Central Library which will cost £290,000.

In 2019 the council appointed experts to survey ceilings at all its historic buildings as part of a £240,000 contract to ensure they were safe.

 

 

Brave man beats height phobias to stand on Blackpool Tower glass floor

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Paul Maplethorpe appeared on ITV’s This Morning and received held from therapists The Speakmans

 

A brave man has conquered his phobias of tall buildings, heights and enclosed spaces by taking the lift to the top of Blackpool Tower and standing proudly on the glass floor.

Paul Maplethorpe’s everyday life was severely affected by his intense fears and left him unable to take flights abroad or simply visit multi-storey car parks for shopping.

The 49-year-old appeared on ITV’s This Morning and revealed his torment to therapists The Speakmans.

Paul explained how his mother had a fear of heights and he was also told about being pushed off a school stage when he was younger.

Nik Speakman said: “He’s always been brought up in an environment where heights are a problem. So he doesn’t know any different.

“When you’ve known if for 49 years of your life and suddenly you meet me and Eva and it’s like ‘what are you frightened of?’ It’s hard to process.”

Paul was brought to Blackpool Tower and tasked with getting to the top of the 518ft tourist attraction.

However at the first attempt to get Paul to the fifth floor he could barely make it into the lift before ‘nearly passing out’ and quickly running back out.

Paul said: “The thought of going up absolutely terrifies me.

“I cannot move physically. I’m on the floor, I’m shaking. It’s all uncontrollable. It is a daily struggle. The Speakmans are my only hope and my last hope. This is the be all and end all for me.”

Paul’s wife said: “It’s so scary for me as well. His knees buckle, the colour drains out of his face, it affects everyday life and shopping.

“Even in the car park if there’s no spaces up to the second floor he has to drive down and look for another car park.”

Paul Maplethorpe bravely standing on the Blackpool Tower glass floor
Paul Maplethorpe bravely standing on the Blackpool Tower glass floor

After two weeks of speaking to couple Nik and Eva about his fears, Paul returned to the Tower today (November 29) to tackle the challenge again and was filmed live on This Morning.

Nik asked him: “Before now what’s the highest you’ve ever been in your life?

Paul said: “I got up to the sixth floor car park once five or six years ago but other than that like, recently, first or second floor.

Nick then asked: “Right, here we are. Are you ready?”

Paul replied ‘I’m ready’ before stepping out of the elevator and receiving a hug from his wife and a round of applause.

Eva then said: “Look, there’s a glass floor there. What’s the chances? Are we doing it?”

Phil and Holly's reaction as Paul Maplethorpe stands on the Blackpool Tower glass floor
Phil and Holly’s reaction as Paul Maplethorpe stands on the Blackpool Tower glass floor

Paul then tentatively looked down before bravely stepping out onto the glass floor.

This Morning presenter Philip Schofield was left open mouthed and aghast at Paul’s phobia transformation while co-host Holly Willoughby smiled on with admiration.

Paul told The Speakmans “I feel really really good, thank you so much” and said his life has now changed “immensely”.

Paul and his wife are now planning to take a flight to the Spanish island of Gran Canaria next year.

He added: “The outlook now, I can go up and down, go to airports, get on a plane. It’s going to change it so, so much for the better.”

 

 

South Shore band Alright to perform at Blackpool Tower

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A band from Blackpool ‘s South Shore are set to hit the dizzy heights – literally.

 

Alright made their performing debut at the Bootleg Social in July

Alright made their performing debut at the Bootleg Social in July

The lads from Alright are performing a gig up on the fifth floor of Blackpool Tower next month.

They will be among the first acts to play a live gig at the Tower’s new event space, aptly called The Fifth Floor.

Their gig, the Alright Christmas Takeover, takes place there on Saturday December 18, when there will be live music from several bands between 7pm and 11pm, although the event continues until 2am with a guest DJ.

The band were at the venue for a run-through on Tuesday night and during that session recorded four self-penned tracks to release on YouTube at the beginning of next month.

Lead singer Joe Darnell, 24, said: “It’s a really nice venue and we’re so glad to get this chance to play there.

“Being able to perform live in front of an audience is a real buzz and we can’t wait for this.”

It is the band’s second live gig, following their successful debut performance at the Bootleg Social, Topping Street, on Saturday July 24.

The band formed when its members were introduced via mutual friends just before the second lockdown last year and discovered they were on the same musical wavelength.

They began writing songs and have already released a number of singles via online music sites, which have proved popular.

Along with Joe and Matt Bunnage , the line-up also features lead guitarist Joe Platt , and Josh Hagan on drums.

The recording at Blackpool Tower features the songs Got Myself to Blame, Nelly, Rat Race and Tangerine Dream.

Next month’s big gig will also feature performances by Liverpool band Columbia, as well as Sea Legs, and Afternoon People.

Tickets cost £12 from the Tower box office or alternatively visit https://www.theblackpooltower.com/explore/events-shows/

 

 

Stunning Blackpool Tower model – made from Lego

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Rob Smith admits he has a bit of a thing for Blackpool Tower – so much so that he spent six weeks making a model of it – out of Lego.

 

Rob Smith's model of Blackpool Tower was a labour of love

Rob Smith’s model of Blackpool Tower was a labour of love

Rob, 36, a health worker who lives in Wootton, Northamptonshire, worked nearly every day on the project until he completed it.

Not content with constructing the three-and-half ft tall model of the tower itself, he has also created a mini-tram track around it and included some of the giant black tulips on Blackpool prom.

His tower, constructed from around 5,000 red Lego bricks, even comes complete with lights.

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Rob said: “I have visited Blackpool many times, usually when I went to see friends in Preston, and I have some great memories.

“Lots of people make models of the Eiffel Tower – I decided to make one of Blackpool.

“It is a fabulous building, it was built on a grand scale and is one of the most iconic structures in the country.”

Rob says his partner, Ryan, is tolerant of his labour of love – providing it is “kept in a room out of the way”!

The beautifully constructed tower may appear to be finally finished, but Ryan still has further ambitions for it.

“I am thinking of installing a miniature Tower Ballroom inside!” he adds.

 

 

Blackpool Winter Wonderland to include Christmas Bongo’s Bingo dates at Blackpool Tower Ballroom on December 16, 17, and 18

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Bosses behind the award-winning Bongo’s Bingo have revealed they are returning to the resort with Winter Wonderland specials this December at Blackpool Tower.

 

Winter Wonderland Bongo's Bingo specials this December at Blackpool Tower

Winter Wonderland Bongo’s Bingo specials this December at Blackpool Tower

When is Bongo’s Bingo coming back to Blackpool?

The original and defining bingo rave phenomenon gears up for the magical season on December 16, 17 and 18.

The dates are Thursday 16, Friday 17, Saturday 18 daytime and evening show) and Sunday 19 December.

Bongo's Bingo Winter Wonderland specials this December at Blackpool Tower.

Bongo’s Bingo Winter Wonderland specials this December at Blackpool Tower.

What is Bongo’s Bingo?

Bongo’s Bingo combines the much-loved quaint pastime of bingo with a mesmeric live show, crazy antics and weird and wonderful prizes which have helped create one of the most talked about nights out in the country.

What to expect from festive Bongo’s Bingo at Blackpool Tower

The Blackpool Tower will be infused with more festive magic than Hamleys and stuffed like an Xmas stocking with lashings of merriment, majestic singalong music – including of course Fairytale of New York – and amazing prizes only Santa would approve of.

The December shows promise to be an ‘all-out festive extravaganzas, distilling all of the familiar elements of Bongo’s Bingo and adding a sprinkling of magical festive dust.’

Jonny Bongo said: “Christmas is my favourite time of the year and we are gearing up for a brilliant season of festive shows in Blackpool at the legendary Tower. Our Winter Wonderland dates are always packed to the brim with festive madness and magic – it’s going to be class.”

Are tickets still available?

Tickets are on sale now at www.bongosbingo.co.ukTwitter and Instagram: @bongosbingo www.facebook.com/bongosbingo

 

 

Former Blackpool Tower and Winter Gardens owner Trevor Hemmings passes away at the age of 86

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Preston North End owner Trevor Hemmings has died at the age of 86, it was announced on Monday night.

 

Trevor Hemmings

Trevor Hemmings

Hemmings owned North End outright from the summer of 2010 but his involvement at Deepdale went back to the early 1970s when he joined the board of directors.

A statement released by PNE read: “Preston North End Football Club can sadly confirm the devastating news that its owner Trevor Hemmings CVO has passed away this evening 11th October 2021.

“A further statement will be made in the coming days but in the meantime his family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.”

Tributes paid to Preston North End owner Trevor Hemmings

Over the years he made regular cash injections into North End to keep the club financially stable, clearing outstanding debt to outside parties.

Since buying the club, share issues – his favoured way of investing – has totalled around £37m.

He was a major figure on the horse racing circuit, owning three Grand National winners – Hedgehunter in 2005, Ballabriggs in 2011 and Many Clouds in 2015.

Born in Woolwich, London, Hemmings moved to Lancashire as a youngster with his family and settled in the Leyland area.

Hemmings made his fortune in the building trade and twice owned holiday camp chain Pontin’s.

His business empire included housing and the hospitality sector. For a time he was owner of Blackpool Tower and the Winter Gardens.

In recent years Hemmings had been based in the Isle of Man, controlling his business interests from there.

He attended most of North End’s home games until the pandemic and over the last few months had re-started his regular visits to PNE’s training ground at Euxton.

According to the latest Sunday Times Rich List published in May this year, Hemmings was worth £1.115 billion – a gain of £90 million compared to 2020.

Hemmings was heavily involved in charitable organisations.

A project close to his heart was Rainbow House, a conductive education centre in Mawdsley, near Chorley, which supports children with disabilities.

 

 

Photographer takes image of ‘crane lifting Blackpool Tower’

Lancashire Telegraph

Photographer takes image of ‘crane lifting Blackpool Tower’

 

Blackpool Tower (Photo: Twitter/ @PositiveLee7)

Blackpool Tower (Photo: Twitter/ @PositiveLee7)

In the photo, posted by Twitter user @PositiveLee7, it looks like Blackpool tower is being lifted by a crane.

The Twitter user posted the snap along with the caption: “I had to pull over and take a picture of this when I was coming down Talbot Road, Blackpool”

Many people were quick to share the photo and comment on it.

Lancashire Telegraph: Blackpool Tower (Photo: Twitter/ @PositiveLee7)Blackpool Tower (Photo: Twitter/ @PositiveLee7)

Sangrounder Radio wrote: “We never thought we’d see the day when a crane tries to lift Blackpool Tower”

Bernie Blackburn asked: “Are they moving it?”

Others wanted to praise the Twitter user’s photography skills, writing “epic image” and “nicely caught”.

However, the image appears to be a product of good angles and perfect timing.

Blackpool Tower isn’t actually being lifted and shifted by a crane; the cranes are actually carrying out work miles away from the tower.

A spokesperson for Blackpool Council said: “It’s just clever photography.

“The cranes are working on the Talbot Gateway development near Blackpool North Station, the Tower is about half a mile away.”

 

Blackpool ‘Spider-man’ who dangled at 500ft from town’s iconic tower

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

For Dave Hulme, scaling Blackpool Tower was part of his daily routine

 

David Hulme, the chief rigger on Blackpool Tower, flying the cross of St George for the England football team as he scales the 420 foot landmark wearing an England team shirt and a Spiderman outfit to change some of the 10,000 bulbs on the tower
David Hulme, the chief rigger on Blackpool Tower, flying the cross of St George (Image: PA Archive/PA Images)

For most people, dangling at 518 feet off a 127 year-old structure is the stuff nightmares are made of.

For 62-year-old Dave Hulme from Blackpool however, this was as part of his daily routine.

The Blackpool Tower is visited by 650,000 people a year and needs regular work for both aesthetic and safety reasons.

This often requires “at height” maintenance on the Grade II listed building, that was designed by Victorian engineers to sway in the wind.

As former Chief Rigger at Blackpool Tower, Dave earned the nickname ‘the Blackpool Spiderman’ due to the ease at which he scaled and swung off the structure.

Quite literally, he has scaled the tower dressed as Spiderman to lay the cross of St George on it in honour of the England football team during the FIFA 2002 World Cup games. He done this while changing some of the 10,000 bulbs on the tower.

He worked at the tower for 30 years working all the way from the top of the crow’s nest right down in the basement. He has lots of stories and pictures of his time there and has started to write a book about his time there.

Dave Hulme getting the rust of Blackpool Tower
Dave Hulme getting the rust off Blackpool Tower (Image: Blackpool Tower)

He started in 1983 as a chipper and painter. Dave told LancsLive: “I was part of a group who used to go up and knock the rust off. We also worked on the illuminations. I’m not an electrician but the lights were very low voltage so there wasn’t much danger of electrocution!

“A lot of people I worked with were ex-Navy or had come from the shipyards. It was very much seasonal work which meant there were times when we were out of work in the winter before I was offered a job as as a trainee rigger.

“The scaffolding was wooden poles then and not steel as it is today. The health and safety wasn’t like it is now either. We had a harness however there was no safety features and there was a good chance that if you fell the harness could snap you in half.

“It reminds me of the Fred Dibnah quote – who was an English Steeplejack – ‘One mistake up here, and it’s half a day out with the undertaker.'”

Chief Rigger David Hulme working on the Blackpool Tower
Chief Rigger David Hulme working on the Blackpool Tower (Image: David Hulme)

In 1994, the Tower had a makeover when it was painted gold for its centenary year and had to be painted back to its distinctive shade of red due to it being a Grade 1 listed building.

On July 22, the Queen and Prince Philip paid a visit to Blackpool to celebrate Festival 94 and Rossall School marking its 150th anniversary.

A visit was scheduled for Royalty to pay a visit to the Blackpool Tower and meet the people that gave the landmark its amazing transformation.

It’s didn’t quite go to plan however:

“The photographers almost completely missed us shaking hand with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh,” said David. “The visit was all planned however when we were going up in the lift, the lift doors opened and there they were.

“Needless to say it was a bit unexpected however they were really nice and Prince Philip noticed my Duke of Edinburgh award.

Dave Hulme and the team when they met Her Majesty the Queen at the Blackpool Tower in 1994
Dave Hulme and the team when they met Her Majesty the Queen at the Blackpool Tower in 1994 (Image: Dave Hulme)

“We managed to get one photograph as the Royal party were walking back to the lift however we had to line up hastily in front of the Queen again. She must have been thinking ‘what’s going on, I’ve seen these before?!’.

“Everyone was joking saying we better hadn’t bump into the photographers or they’d be leaving the tower the quick way down!”

Dave has done everything on the structure from replacing steel, working on the outer rig, to putting scaffolding top and bottom.

He also used to clean the ‘Walk of Faith’ glass at 390ft above sea level with people watching him.

Dave Hulme cleaning the glass 'Walk of Faith' at Blackpool Tower
Dave Hulme cleaning the glass ‘Walk of Faith’ at Blackpool Tower (Image: Dave Hulme)

This proved so popular there were once discussions about making this into an attraction itself.

Not only has he maintained the outside but he’s used his skills to do jobs on its insides also.

Dave said, “I’ve done a bit of everything in the tower. I’ve worked in the circus repairing the coconut mats for the horses to walk on to fixing things right down in the basement,”

“In the ballroom I’ve helped take down the chandelier to be cleaned which was like Only Fools and Horses. I’ve also abseiled in from the roof dressed as Santa and was terrified my beard was going to get stuck in the rope.”

The most terrifying moments of Dave’s career however have tended to involve bad weather. Before scaling the building he used to check the general forecast and determine if it was safe by the gusting windspeed.

Dave with presenter Julia Bradbury when she was at the Tower filming
Dave with presenter Julia Bradbury when she was at the Tower filming (Image: Blackpool Tower)

If Particularly strong winds were forecast pieces of scaffolding, erected to repair and paint the structure, had to be double checked to ensure safety.

He had to go up and refasten parts of the illuminations down, however had to retreat at times if conditions were too bad.

Dave said: “There times when I would abseil down however I’d have to come back off at another point. The good thing about the tower is that it has so many areas you can cling on to and come back in if you need to.

“It’s quite a unique structure in that it slopes out and the wind blows right through it but if you pick the right side you’re sheltered.

“It sounds daft, but I’ve always felt like Blackpool tower is a friendly structure and it’d look after me.”

Dave on one of the turrets of the tower 30 years ago (left) and on the Nautical College Tower this year (right)
Dave on one of the turrets of the tower 30 years ago (left) and on the Nautical College Tower this year (right) (Image: Dave Hulme)

Dave left in 2018 and now works at Fleetwood Offshore Survival Centre as a trainer which involves other adrenaline filled activities such as teaching people underwater escapes.

He still does a lot of work at height working on wind turbines for Global Wind.

Dave added: “I’m happy that I still get to climb up things and with the tower I’m old enough to know what I’m doing but my knees might have other ideas.

“I say to people I’m not scared of heights but there’s no shame in being scared of them. Everyone’s scared of something!”.

 

 

Enjoy afternoon tea in spectacular style at Blackpool Tower Ballroom

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Tuck into afternoon tea inside this architectural gem in Blackpool

 

The whole family can enjoy afternoon tea in style
The whole family can enjoy afternoon tea in style at Blackpool Tower Ballroom (Image: Blackpool Tower Ballroom)

Quaint sandwiches, fluffy cream scones and a lovely cup of English breakfast tea is how most of us probably picture afternoon tea.

And sometimes if you’re lucky, you can enjoy this traditional delight in a stunning country house or village cafe on a cobbled street.

But you’d be hard pushed to find a more fabulous and grand setting than the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.

The world-famous venue has introduced afternoon tea packages for all ages, with guests also welcome to have a twirl on the dancefloor.

A selection of sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam and a variety of cakes complete with an image of the Blackpool Tower are all included in the price, which is £50 for two people and family packages are also available from £59.

As you eat, you’ll be treated to live music played on the famous Wurlitzer theatre organ.

Tables inside this architectural gem are available in 90-minute time slots, however, if your dancing feet have really come to life, then you are welcome to stay in the ballroom area for as long as you wish.

A selection of cakes and treats at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom afternoon tea
A selection of cakes and treats at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom afternoon tea (Image: Blackpool Tower Ballroom)

You can also include a trip to Madam Tussauds and immerse yourself in the Strictly Come Dancing experience with the ticket valid for 90 days from when you visit the ballroom.

This deal is £35 for adults and £29 for children when booked online but there are plenty of family packages available too.

 

 

How pieces of Blackpool Tower helped create a Lake District hotel bar

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Why Storrs Hall Hotel in Cumbria has named its bar after Blackpool Tower Ballroom

 

A view of the bar at Storrs Hall Hotel in Cumbria
The stunning bar at Storrs Hall is named after Blackpool (Image: Storrs Hall)

A stunning bar in a Lake District hotel has a little-known link to Blackpool Tower Ballroom – and it’s nothing to do with dancing.

The Storrs Hall Hotel bar’s entire striking design was installed using wood and glass taken from the Lancashire coastal-town’s world famous ballroom.

As a result, it is named The Tower Bar – and the Bowness-on-Windermere hotel says it brings a ‘quintessentially British eccentricity’ with hand carved detailing, colourful glasswork, gothic, thick wooden beams, all enhanced by intimate lighting.

“Its Victorian OTT’ness enhances the hotel and makes for a relaxed, cosy space,” a spokesperson told LancsLive.

“It adds another dimension to weddings and celebrations here at Storrs. We love it”.

A view of the bar at Storrs Hall Hotel
The Tower Bar in Storrs Hall hotel has an interesting link to Blackpool (Image: Storrs Hall Hotel)

Its unclear when or how the bar was transported from Lancashire to Cumbria, with Storrs Hall, which became a hotel in the 1890s, awaiting further information from Blackpool Tower’s archives.

The huge bar fills the space at the back of one of the Georgian ground floor rooms at the luxury four-star establishment.

Storrs Hall also has its own boathouse, stone monument, rotunda, terraced suites, jetty, garden pavilion and is nestled within 17-acres of private land.

Non-residents are welcome to visit the bar and enjoy lunch or an early evening meal from the ‘pub style’ menu, which is popular with families.

Food is served from 12.30pm to 9pm.

 

Jack’s dream to light up Blackpool Tower for Illuminations comes true

Home | Blackpool Gazette

 

From Lady GaGa’s costumes to lighting up his hometown, Blackpool artist Jack Irving has quite the portfolio and visitors to this year’s Illuminations will soon get their first-look at his latest creation  –  a state-of-the-art laser show on Blackpool Tower.

Jack Irving

Jack Irving

London based Jack will present Astral Dreams – an ambitious light depiction inspired by abstract dreams.

It will be beamed directly on the front of the Tower nightly during the Illuminations season.

It is one of two extraordinary new features with Illuminations’ creative curator and renowned interior designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen creating a brand new water feature which will be displayed at South Beach Promenade and turn into a drag-themed sound and light show, Venus Remixed. Two of Britain’s leading designers are preparing to bring a unique twist to Blackpool’s annual Illuminations display.

George CornesGeorge Cornes

Both will be unveiled for the first time at the Switch On event on September 3 with Switch On 2021 star Shirley Ballas.

Jack, 27, a graduate of London’s prestigious Central Saint Martins art school, said: “The Blackpool Illuminations are a huge part of my life and have been since I was a child as I grew up here.

“The lights were always such a huge driving inspiration behind my work so they mean so much to me.

“It’s so incredible to work on this laser show and to be able to use the Blackpool Tower building as our canvas for the installation is amazing.

Laurence Llewelyn-BowenLaurence Llewelyn-Bowen

“The show is a journey through light and sound and a depiction of the abstract visions we have when we dream.”

Five high-powered lasers will beam the display on to the historic frontage, accompanied by a new soundtrack composed by local music composer and producer, George Cornes.

George, who is based in Fylde, added: “The Astral Dreams project has brought together a group of artistic-minded people to construct a laser show unlike anything Blackpool has ever seen before – with original musical scores and tailored laser programming to give a unique experience to those who attend.”

Laurence, who has just seen the revival of show Changing Rooms alongside new host AnnaRichardson on Channel 4, said: “This year, perhaps more than any other year, switching on Blackpool’s Illuminations marks an important moment of brightness as the country moves into autumn and winter.

Turning the lights on has always inspired an optimism and positivity of which Blackpool is understandably proud.”

Other immersive light-based installations include a Spiro Light Tunnel on Tower Festival Headland to provide some ‘selfie and Instagram moments and Sandcastle and Beach Balls, two giant seven metre pixelated beach balls – made up of 7,000 tiny lights.

Other features to watch out for in 2021 include:

n Princess Parade the closest to our modern-day Illumination displays first appeared in May 1912 to commemorate Blackpool’s first royal visit as Princess Louise opened the new section of promenade named after her – Princess Parade.

n Spitfire Island – back by public demand, a replica Spitfire returns to Gynn roundabout courtesy of Blackpool’s Hangar 42 Visitor Centre. For this year’s display, the fighter plane will once again

be tastefully illuminated with sweeping search lights

This year’s Illuminations season will run every night from Friday 3 September, 2021 to Monday 3 January, 2022.

 

Blackpool Illuminations Switch On 2021: It’s Strictly Shirley! Strictly Come Dancing icon Shirley Ballas is ready to bring all the glitter to Blackpool Tower Ballroom as Switch On star

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Strictly Come Dancing icon Shirley Ballas has picked up many honours in Blackpool Tower Ballroom but is to lay claim to her biggest most prestigious title to date as Illuminations Switch On star 2021.

 

The Queen of Latin and multi-winning world dance champion, who has competed at in the resort throughout her glittering career, will be the first-ever star in the history of the Lights event to pull the switch in the world-famous Tower Ballroom.

Shirley, who will join the extensive roll call of famous stars including Robbie Williams, David Tennant, Shirley Bassey Tim Burton and the late Dame Barbara Windsor, has spoken of her joy in scoring the golden call up to light up the Fylde coast.

Guaranteed to bring some sparkle and dance magic to the proceedings, she said: “I have been coming to Blackpool since I was a child and it will always have such a special place in my heart.

“I’m honoured to be asked to turn on the iconic Illuminations this year, I can’t wait.”

But the 60-year-old, originally from Wallasey, Merseyside, who has served as head judge on the BBC’s award-winning entertainment programme Strictly Come Dancing since 2017 won’t be returning to the ballroom with Strictly for its 19th series,

Strictly Come Dancing show bosses have revealed they have been forced to pull the plug again on the series highlight, with competitors missing out on their annual outing to the resort and chance to dance on the famous sprung dancefloor.

The decision has been made to scrap the Blackpool special due to ongoing production constraints against the pandemic.
Queen of Latin Shirley Ballas has served as head judge on Strictly Come Dancing since 2017 picture: BBC PicturesQueen of Latin Shirley Ballas has served as head judge on Strictly Come Dancing since 2017 picture: BBC Pictures

Show executive producer Sarah James said: “We are all so sad that we won’t be able to get to Blackpool this year but can’t wait to be back dancing at the one and only Blackpool Tower Ballroom in the future.”

Organisers have hailed Shirley’s role in this year’s Illuminations concert – hosted by VisitBlackpool and MTV – as ‘very fitting’ given her deep-rooted connections with the resort and her success on the world dance stage.

She is the only person to have ever won the British Open to the World Latin American Championships in Blackpool with two different partners and reached the finals 17 times.

Her titles include three-time ‘British Open to the World’ Latin American Champion, 10-time US Latin American Champion, and multiple-times British National Champion.

Strictly Come Dancing star and world dance icon Shirley Ballas gets Blackpool Illuminations bosses vote as first celebrity ever to light up the Fylde Coast in 2021 from the world famous Tower BallroomStrictly Come Dancing star and world dance icon Shirley Ballas gets Blackpool Illuminations bosses vote as first celebrity ever to light up the Fylde Coast in 2021 from the world famous Tower Ballroom

A spokesperson said: “We are thrilled and honoured that Shirley is switching on this year’s Illuminations.

“For the first time in history, the event will take place in the magnificent setting of the Tower Ballroom and given Shirley’s unrivalled success in the world championships in Blackpool we cannot think of a more fitting person to grace our Switch-On stage.”

This year’s Switch On concert will welcome a host of musical talent to the ballroom stage with KSI and Wes Nelson already announced to play in front of a 1500 strong live audience on the evening of Friday September 3.

Free tickets to be a part of the historic event, which will once again be streamed to a global audience, are available through the annual ballot. Applications close on August 2.

More acts are soon to be announced over the coming weeks.

Blackpool’s six miles of Illuminations will run from Friday 3 September to Monday 3 January, 2022.

People can register to enter the ballot for free tickets (maximum of four per person) at www.visitblackpool.com/switchon. The live stream will start at 8pm on Friday 3 September and can be viewed free of charge at: visitblackpool.com/switchon, youtube.com/mtvuk and facebook.com/mtvmusicuk.

Blackpool Tower Circus performances suspended due to Covid

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool Tower Circus has informed visitors its performances will be put on hold for a week due to a positive case of Covid.

 

Visitors were told all performances would be suspended until Tuesday August 3, but were invited to rebook for another performance in the next year.

A spokesman for the Tower Circus said: “Due to a member of our circus production testing positive for Covid-19, unfortunately we have had to suspend all performances of The Blackpool Tower Circus until Tuesday August 3.

“Please accept our sincere apologies, we know how many people look forward to visiting the Circus.”

Blackpool's Tower Circus performances have been suspended for a week due to a case of Covid.Blackpool’s Tower Circus performances have been suspended for a week due to a case of Covid.

A link to rebook tickets was sent to affected customers, and VIP seat or Royal Box ticket holders were advised to contact the circus directly by email.

 

Amazon’s new Cinderella trailer starring Pierce Brosnan reveals spectacular scenes in Blackpool Tower Ballroom

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

It appears the world-famous dancefloor was used for Cinderella’s enchanting ball

The stage in Blackpool Tower ballroom which has the inscription "Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear" above it was used for the Sony Pictures film adaptation of 'Cinderella'

The stage in Blackpool Tower ballroom which has the inscription “Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear” above it was used for the Sony Pictures film adaptation of ‘Cinderella’ (Image: 2021 – Amazon Prime Video)

One of Blackpool’s most iconic landmarks has become the setting of an enchanting new Amazon remake of the classic tale Cinderella.

Speculation was rife early last year when Hollywood actors were spotted on the Promenade wearing elaborate costumes.

A teaser trailer released yesterday (July 1) has now revealed Blackpool Tower ballroom was used to host scenes in the Sony Pictures new adaptation of ‘Cinderella’ streamed by Amazon Prime.

It has now been confirmed by Blackpool’s tourism board that the world-famous dancefloor was used for Cinderella’s enchanting ball.

Hollywood actors on the mahogany, oak and walnut dancefloor of Blackpool Tower ballroom

Hollywood actors on the mahogany, oak and walnut dancefloor of Blackpool Tower ballroom (Image: Screenshot of teaser trailer for ‘Cinderella by Sony Pictures – 2021 – Amazon Prime Video)

Written and directed by Kay Cannon, the film stars Camila Cabello, Idina Menzel, Nick Galitzine, Missy Elliot, Minnie Driver, Pierce Brosnan, Maddie Baillio, Charlotte Spencer, John Mulaney, Romesh Ranganathan along with James Corden.

The musical comedy re-imagines the traditional ‘Cinderella’ story in which the heroine is an ambitious young woman whose dreams are bigger than the world will allow.

Billy Porter makes an entrance as the gender neutral fairy godmother to help her achieve her dreams.

Five years ago, director Tim Burton filmed much of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children in and around the Tower buildings.

To view the teaser trailer for Cinderella, set to be released on February 5, 2021, please visit YouTube here.