Category Archives: Piers

Central Pier in Blackpool is to get a ‘bigger’ £4 million Big Wheel

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A new Big Wheel is to be built on Central Pier, it was announced.

 

The attraction, which will cost £4 million, will take a year to make and hopefully open before summer 2023.

The Blackpool Pier Company, which owns the resort’s three piers, said: “It’s been something we’ve been planning for a while and we couldn’t be prouder to be part of something that will help shape the future of Blackpool’s tourism by upscaling this iconic attraction.

“We are, as they say, going large!”

Central Pier's Big Wheel, pictured in May 2020 (Picture: Dave Nelson)

Central Pier’s Big Wheel, pictured in May 2020 (Picture: Dave Nelson)

The current wheel – built in Holland 36 years ago and brought over in containers to be reassembled on the pier, which was purposefully strengthened to accommodate the weight – stands at 108ft tall and is a firm favourite for wedding proposals, film projects, and holiday snapshots.

Made by Dutch firm Mondial, it was bought by First Leisure for £750,000 and installed on Central Pier and opened in April 1990.

Over the past three decades it has been refitted and overhauled, including repainting and the installation of LED lights.

The last overhaul, in April 2017, cost £500,000 and came after the Sedgwick family bought all three piers two years earlier.

The new attraction will have accessible carriages that are wheelchair-friendly, VIP carriages, and carriages that are “partly enclosed to protect riders from the weather”.

The pier’s plans must also first navigate the council’s planning process.

If approved, the current wheel is likely to stop taking visitors on sky-high rides from the next of the 2022 summer season when the pier closes for winter.

It will then be dismantled and removed – with the new 50 metre/164ft wheel built in its place.

It will tower over £300m work on the Blackpool Central development – which will transform the site of the former Central railway station.

Earlier this month, the council approved a hybrid planning application which included outline permission to build three indoor theme parks, a 200-room hotel, plus bars, restaurants, and outdoor entertainment space.

Full permission was also granted to convert and upgrade buildings in Central Drive, including the King Edward cinema and pub.

 

 

Mum reveals traumatic incident after falling through Central Pier in Blackpool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A mum has revealed how she was left embarrassed and traumatised after falling through a wooden plank on Central Pier in Blackpool.

 

Cherelle Buckley, 26, from Newton-Le-Willows, was in the resort for the weekend but things took a bad turn on Sunday when she got stuck in part of the pier.

Cherelle said: “I couldn’t believe it at all. I was just in shock that it had actually happened but then it was the reaction as well.

“One woman apologised initially but then a worker tried to saw away part of the wood to free me even though the fire service had been called. He got quite rude about it as well.”

The gap in which Cherelle fell through on Central Pier

The gap in which Cherelle fell through on Central Pier

Cherelle said it was all the more worse because her seven-year-old daughter saw the whole incident.

She said: “A lot of people were walking past and looking at me stuck in the pier so it was really embarrassing. I think it was even more traumatic for my daughter to see everything happen and she was really upset.”

Passers by also came to the rescue after Cherelle’s daughter sounded the alarm.

Cherelle added: “It was thanks to others that the ambulance and fire service came out. It is really unsafe for this to happen.

Central Pier

Central Pier

“It is half term this week and children will be up and down the pier so it could be even worse if someone small would fall through the gap.

“What was also scary is that when I was freed by the firefighters, the pier staff just put another piece of wood over the hole. They just covered it up without investigating it by the looks of it.

“My leg is still in pain and my anxiety is through the rood and I’m still a little shaken but I’m going to listen to the doctor and rest as much as possible.”

A spokesman for Blackpool Council said that they have been informed about the incident.

They said: “However, we have received a report of an incident from a member of the public and our health and safety enforcement team will be looking into the matter.”

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that they a crew from South Shore were called out at 1.32pm to a report that someone had got their leg trapped in wooden decking.

A spokesman added: “The crew used small tools, such as a saw, to release the casualty and were at the scene for five to ten minutes.”

North West Ambulance Service also confirmed they were called out to an incident involving someone trapped at the pier.

A spokesman added: “A rapid response vehicle was sent out at 1.16pm and paramedics assessed the woman at the scene but they did not require taking to the hospital.”

The Blackpool Pier Company, which owns the resort’s three piers, was approached for comment.

 

 

We tried Blackpool’s own beautiful garden pier bar and it was brilliant

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

Dear reader, it was brilliant. Albeit, not the best choice for anyone operating on a budget

 

Bloom Bar
Bloom Bar

At the end of the North Pier rests the pink princess of damsel’s in distress: Bloom Gin Bar.

Bloom Gin Bar has given something new to North Pier since 2020 and it’s adjacent sister bar, The Garden, opened to the public earlier this year.

The Gin and Prosecco bar is covered in flowers and greenery, making it the perfect spot for an Instagram-worthy photo or scenic beverage – if that’s you’re thing.

Although Blackpool’s Bloom looks pretty from afar, is it any good on the inside? Is it worth the thousands of flowers who’ll spend their lifetimes on their walls?

Dear reader, it was brilliant. Albeit, a little expensive.

You can have a drink and watch the sea, without getting cold

Like most places covered in flowers, Bloom is obviously a very pretty place to visit.

Inside, the bar is a relaxed and gorgeous setting. It’s got low lighting above the bar, and comfortable seating throughout the old solarium.

Inside Bloom Bar
Inside Bloom Bar

If you’re lucky enough to grab a seat inside by the window, you have a stunning view of the sea and can sip away on your gin whilst watching the tide roll in and it’s great because for once, you’re not being rattled by the wind.

It’s the perfect place for a unique date night, with intimate details and a range of drinks to choose from you’re bound to create some special memories at the end of the north pier.

They had an impressive range of gins which were delicious

Graduating into the legal age for drinking in 2018 basically meant that I immediately became a gin connoisseur as soon as I turned 18. Pink gin was at every corner as the World Cup saw England actually place in the top four. Not much has happened since then.

Bloom’s range of gin was exceptional. I don’t think there was a single gin flavour that they didn’t have.

Did I step out of my comfort zone and order something other than a strawberry oriented gin? No, but I easily could have. It was like being Charlie in the Chocolate factory, except I’m over 18 and the chocolate factory is a gin bar.

Bloom Bar
Bloom Bar

We spent £15.40 on two double gin and tonics, so it’s not the cheapest place to visit. But, if you can imagine the gin flavour you would love to try, I would say Bloom probably has it.

Just make sure you don’t ask, “what gin do you have?” because you’ll probably be met with some concerned stares.

Bloom also offers afternoon teas and prosecco, so it basically caters for everyone, including your gran.

The Garden is a really great place to be

We visited Bloom on a Thursday evening, and although it wasn’t rammed with fellow gin drinkers, The Garden was a really brilliant place to drink.

With its funky DJ providing a garden-party atmosphere to the pier, the Blackpool gin spot is like something from a buzzing city centre like London or Manchester and it had a handful of people having a dance as we tipped into that Friday feeling.

Bloom Garden
Bloom Garden

There’s endless opportunities for your Instagram feed, but even better, loads of space to have a dance by the sea. And that we did, move over children, let me show you how to do the macarena.

Seating is operated on a first come, first served basis but we had absolutely no problem guaranteeing a table both inside and outside.

You can even have a tipsy tumble onto the vintage carousel on your way out, if you have any spare change.

 

 

Controversial comic Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown returns to ‘second home’ at Blackpool’s North Pier theatre

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool comedy mainstay Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown will return to his ‘second home’ at the North Pier this week amid fresh controversy over the cancellation of one of his upcoming shows.

 

Roy 'Chubby' Brown

Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown

The stand-up comic, whose real name is Royston Vasey, will appear on Friday night at the Joe Longthorne Theatre, where he has performed annually for more than 30 years.

The comedian recently made national headlines due to the cancellation of an upcoming show at Sheffield City Hall due to criticisms of racist and sexist material, and the subsequent backlash from fans who opposed the City Trust’s decision.

A spokesman for Chubby Brown said the 76-year-old had been ‘overcome with the support’ he has received.

Roy 'Chubby' Brown is well known for the content of his shows

Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown is well known for the content of his shows

It was said he is now looking forward to returning to Blackpool, which has become his ‘second home’.

 

“Roy is part and parcel now. He’s a stick of Blackpool rock. He’s synonymous with Blackpool, and the locals appreciate that he has brought so much money to the town over the years, because the fans do stay over, they book into hotels,” the spokesman said. “Over 30 years, hes probably brought in a fortune.

“He should be the one switching on the Illuminations. He’s the one turning the lights on.

“Chubby loves Blackpool, and Blackpool loves him.”

In a statement following the cancellation of his Sheffield City Hall show, Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown himself said: “At first I had a sense of anger and disbelief, but on reflection I now feel just disappointment and sadness with the decision and the way things are going generally.

“I have been performing at the City Hall annually for the last 30-plus years and have always had great nights there and a wonderful working relationship with the management and staff at the City Hall, and my fans have always come along and supported me in their thousands through the years

“Now in these strange times of snowflakes and political correctness it has been decided that I am no longer welcome.”

He said his adults-only show was “an act with one sole purpose… to put a smile on people’s faces, certainly not to offend”, but added, “IF EASILY OFFENDED, PLEASE STAY AWAY!”

The decision to axe the show was made by Sheffield City Trust, the charity that runs Sheffield City Hall, following complaints.

Andrew Snelling, chief executive of Sheffield City Trust, said: “We don’t believe this show reflects Sheffield City Trust values, particularly our ambition that our leisure, culture and entertainment venues are inclusive for all in Sheffield.”

Gill Furniss, MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, wrote to the Trust and said: “This is the right thing to do. There is no place for any hate-filled performance in our diverse and welcoming city.”

An online petition to reintroduce the show to the City Hall’s calendar was signed by more than 28,000 people.

Chubby said: “I won’t name call or get involved in politics, but it amazes me how I’m not allowed to perform behind closed doors in certain areas, to an audience who want to see me, but there are a lot of very similar things widely available on television and social media publicly and most importantly to children which I would think are very offensive to certain people and communities. Would the efforts of the councils, snowflakes, censorship committees not be better used by looking into this than stopping my show which doesn’t offend anyone?

“I would confidently suggest that 90 per cent of people who complain about my show have never even seen it, so how can they possibly comment or have an opinion?”

His spokesman added: “He’s a bit gobsmacked by how supportive fans of been. He’s really a very senstive man, and his fans have rallied in support of him.

“There’s a big divide between your average Chubby Brown fans and the general public, but the general public has largely sided with him as well. He’s got support some everybody, which is fabulous.”

 

We went up and down Blackpool’s three piers to see which is the best – and there is one clear winner

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

Off the bat, it’s not the North Pier

 

South Pier
South Pier

Blackpool’s three piers are the mighty spears of the seaside town, all alike in dignity, you can spend hours walking up and down and between each one.

The three piers, North pier, Central pier and South pier, are all named based on where they stand on the seafront – but are they all so different?

Has anyone ever put them to the ultimate test of crowing one of the three as the Best Blackpool Pier?
The truth is, whilst all come with their pros and cons, one reigns supreme.

North Pier

We’re starting on North Pier, not out of any immediate excitement it swirls within its visitors, but to get it out of the way.

And that’s what the North Pier is all about. Yes, it’s a pier. Yes, it does the job. But when it comes to it, is doing its job enough?

As we arrived at North Pier, our first pier, I decided it was not my favourite. There’s only so many times you can say “but it does have a train” before you begin to sound like you’re trying to justify not climbing Snowdon.

North Pier

North Pier

To its credit, North Pier does host Blackpool’s very pretty Gin bar, Bloom, as well as a vintage carousel. But aside from those, there’s not a great deal going on.

You could sit on the train that travels to the end of the pier and back, but in comparison to its sister piers – the North Pier is as thrilling as a tin of beans.

North Pier is best suited for those wanting a quiet walk down a pier and Gin-drinkers. It is not best suited to big groups or children, unless you’re miniature train fanatics or desperate for a go on the vintage carousel.

Central Pier

Like anything central, Blackpool’s Central Pier is typically packed with tourists and as we made our way onto the pier we were suddenly shoulder to shoulder with crowds of people.

The pier is rammed with ticketed funfair rides where tickets can be purchased at booths located on the pier.

All rides are priced individually and are all either 2,3 or 4 tickets per rider.

You can ride anything from the dodgems to the big wheel, before working your way through two arcades and up to the Pirates Bay Family Bar where you can sit and enjoy a pint or some chips.

Central Pier

Central Pier

The Central Pier is a good pier. It’s a place where you can kill loads of time, partly just by trying to walk through the crowds, but it also offers some of the more traditional pastimes Blackpool has to offer – like palm readings, hook a duck or some photo opportunities that involve sticking your head through a painting of a pirate.

Don’t start thinking that just because Central Pier is entertaining, this obviously places it as the reigning pier – it’s not. It’s in second place though, which according to the X Factor is where you should aim to place if you want to do well.

Central Pier is ideal for families and tourists, but visitors should be prepared for its busy peak hours, especially during school holidays. If Central Pier were a chocolate bar, it would be a Crunchie – fun, but not something you’d want all the time.

South Pier

You guessed it, LancsLive is officially naming Blackpool’s South Pier as the best pier in Blackpool.

By the time we made it to South Pier I was ready to throw in the towel and crown Central Pier as the best pier – how wrong we would have been.

South Pier’s only slight disadvantage is its location. It’s most convenient to Pleasure Beach but it is worth travelling to via Blackpool’s efficient tram service if you’re looking to spend some time on the seafront.

South Pier

South Pier

South Pier’s main pro is its space. It feels huge in comparison to its sister piers and that creates a more calming experience overall for its visitors.

It also has both of Central and North piers’ best qualities, all in one space. It has a gin bar, funfair rides and an arcade. What more could you ask for?

The pier also hosts an adrenaline zone which includes the SkyCoaster and a Reverse Bungee jump. Even if being accelerated suddenly into the sky isn’t for you, it still makes great entertainment to watch strangers get catapulted into the air and returned back to earth.

 

Video emerges of fight breaking out in dispute over queue jumping for Blackpool dodgems ride

Home | Blackpool Gazette

This is the moment a heated exchange turned violent during a row over queue jumping in front of the dodgems ride on Blackpool South Pier.

 

It is understood the brawl, in which a group of women can be seen throwing multiple punches before two are wrestled to the ground, happened on Friday June 4.

No one was injured in the incident and one of the families was removed off the site by staff.

A spokesperson for Blackpool Piers said: “This was a dispute over an issue of queue jumping.

A heated exchange over queue jumping at South Pier dodgems led to a fight and a family removed from the attraction.A heated exchange over queue jumping at South Pier dodgems led to a fight and a family removed from the attraction.

“There were no injuries and the matter was dealt with swiftly and effectively by staff, who escorted a party off the premises.”

In the footage shared with the Gazette, by-standers appear shocked during the tense scenes before a member of the public steps in to try and intervene.

The spokesperson added there was no police involvement and Lancashire Police confirmed officers had not been called to attend and no arrests were made.

Person pulled from sea at Blackpool’s North Pier in early hours rescue

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Police, coastguard, lifeboats and paramedics were called to the incident

A rescue operation was launched at Blackpool's North Pier

A rescue operation was launched at Blackpool’s North Pier (Image: Fleetwood Coastguard)

A “vulnerable” person was pulled from the sea in a dramatic rescue in Blackpool this morning.

Emergency crews, including coastguard officers, lifeboat crews, police and paramedics were called to reports of a person in the water under North Pier at around 2.20am today.

Lifeboats were launched so crews could “negogiate” with the person who was clinging on to the stantions under the pier.

The casualty was then pulled aboard a lifeboat and taken back to dry land.

Lytham Coastguard, who attended alongside Lytham Coastguard and both RNLI Blackpool inshire lifeboats, posted on Facebook: “Fortunately, they eventually managed to assist the casualty to the lifeboat and took the casualty back to shore who was then passed into the care of Blackpool Police & North West Ambulance Service. HM Coastguard Fleetwood were also tasked to assist. If you see someone in difficulty on the coast, call 999 & ask for the Coastguard!”

Police officers and paramedics took care of the person following the rescue.

 

Police, coastguard and RNLI called after drunk person jumps off Central Pier

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Emergency services were quick to respond after a drunk person jumped off the end of Central Pier in Blackpool today.

Police, coastguards from Fleetwood and Lytham, and Blackpool RNLI were called at around 6.30pm to reports of a person in trouble in the water at the end of the pier.

A Lytham coastguard spokesman said: “We were called out to reports of an intoxicated person who had jumped off the end of Central Pier.

“We quickly arrived on scene and made our way onto the pier to meet with the first informant, as we arrived at the end the casualty had managed to climb back up onto the pier and they then made their own way off.

The coastguard at Central PierThe coastguard at Central Pier

“Don’t become a statistic this summer! Water and alcohol do not mix, stay away if you’ve had a drink and enjoy yourself another way. We also strongly discourage people to jump off the piers, there are hidden dangers underneath the water, you could cause yourself serious, life changing injuries and could ultimately, lead to death.”

An RNLI Blackpool spokesman said: “Our RNLI volunteers were called out this evening to reports of a person in difficulty near Central Pier. One D class launched and the other stood by, but fortunately the person was helped to safety by Blackpool police.”

 

Tourists arrive in Blackpool as resort opens back up to the masses

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

Members of the town’s night-time economy are excited to welcome customers back inside

Today has been a long awaited day for Blackpool’s tourism and hospitality businesses as government guidelines now allow six people or two households to mix indoors.

Some of the town’s most iconic and well-loved attractions are now able to receive visitors including Blackpool Tower, Madame Tussauds, Coral Island and Blackpool Winter Gardens.

As part of the Government’s phased plan to lift lockdown, hotels, bnbs, pubs, bars, restaurants, cinemas, indoor attractions, bingo halls, casinos and soft play centres can welcome indoor guests.

Attractions that opened up their outdoor areas in April are today (May 17) able to welcome guests inside to enjoy more of the fun such as Blackpool Pleasure Beach, with people enjoying coffee inside its new WG Bean cafe named after its founder, and Blackpool Zoo opening up its animal houses.

Della Belk, PR and Marketing Manager at Blackpool Zoo, said: “We welcome the news that the indoor areas of Blackpool Zoo are able to reopen from Monday May 17 and I am sure all our visitors will be delighted too.

Staff inside Blackpool Pleasure Beach's WG Bean coffee shop waiting welcome guests inside

Staff inside Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s WG Bean coffee shop waiting welcome guests inside (Image: Blackpool Pleasure Beach)

“It has been wonderful to see people enjoying a well-deserved and long overdue visit since the gates opened in April. All the safety measures we have had in place throughout the pandemic remain, so visitors can rest assured that we have covered all the bases when it comes to being Covid-secure.

“With summer just around the corner, we can’t wait to welcome more people back to Blackpool Zoo.”

Shoppers were out in force this morning too and tourists could be seen arriving with suitcases to the resort’s freshly opened hotels.

One of the hottest attractions, Coral Bay, saw families return to the enjoy the plethora of arcade games.

The predictably unsettled Lancashire weather has resulted in a slower start than expected, however the resort is expected to fill up during the half term holiday next week.

Blackpool DJ and producer, Lee Jester Watson, is excited to return to what he does best tonight.

Lee, who is also abroadcaster at In Demand Radio said: “Today’s the day hospitality starts to properly reopen and I’m so excited to be going back DJing tonight get ready for Blackpool’s newest nightclub Trilogy on Talbot Road.

“Matt and the team have done a fantastic job, you have to see it. I want to wish all my friends who are going back to work all the best, we’ve waited so long for this.

Blackpool brothers DJ Lee Jester Watson and Marley's rumbar owner Jason Fubar can't wait to get back to the night time economy

Blackpool brothers DJ Lee Jester Watson and Marley’s rumbar owner Jason Fubar can’t wait to get back to the night time economy (Image: DJ Lee Jester Watson)

“A big good luck to my brother Jason who’s opening Marley’s Rum bar on North Promenade today, he’s put everything into it and it looks amazing. I’m sure everyone is going to love it.”

Blackpool, known for decades its DIY and independent music scene can’t wait to welcome back its musician from all over.

Some if its mot well-known and respected music venues have struggled to get through the Coronavirus pandemic without funding.

Founder of Blackpool music festival, Jon Bamborough, said: “I’ve had the privilege of seeing the insides of both The Waterloo Music Bar and The Galleon Bar in the last week and I have to say that both of them are the best decorated venues I have ever seen.

“Considering that they are up against the likes of the Hard Rock Cafe chain they really are both exceptional and this is due, in no small measure, to their owners Ian Fletcher and Stephen Pierre.

“Both of whom have put considerable time and effort into making their respective venue the best they can be. These venues are not only a credit to Blackpool and the North West but to the whole of the UK.

Owner of Waterloo music bar Ian Fletcher has re-opened with a launch of a brand new Motorhead stout

Owner of Waterloo music bar Ian Fletcher has re-opened with a launch of a brand new Motorhead stout (Image: Waterloo Music Bar)

“Please take the time to show your support, it would not only mean the world to them but will also help to ensure that these fantastic venues can continue to deliver for you.

“Good Luck to all the pubs, cafes and restaurants opening for the first time since lockdown, I wish you all every success because the whole town will benefit from that. My thoughts tomorrow will be with Ian and Stephen, a pair of proper legends!”

Extra police patrols will monitor the reopening of pubs and bars as lockdown rules are relaxed today

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Extra police patrols will monitor the reopening of pubs and bars as lockdown rules are relaxed further today (Monday, May 17).

Lancashire Police says officers will take a "common sense and proportionate approach" to policing as lockdown rules are relaxed further today (Monday, May 17)

Lancashire Police says officers will take a “common sense and proportionate approach” to policing as lockdown rules are relaxed further today (Monday, May 17)

The force is urging people to continue to follow the rules and guidance as Lancashire’s pubs, bars, cafes and other businesses prepare to welcome customers inside for the first time this year.

From today (Monday, May 17), we can socialise indoors in groups of up to six or two households, including for overnight stays. Up to 30 people can also meet outside whilst pubs, restaurants, cafes and other venues can welcome customers back indoors.

Ch Supt Russ Procter, of Lancashire Police, said officers will take a “common sense and proportionate approach” to policing as lockdown measures continue to be eased.

“Our overall policing style won’t change – we will still be very visible and take a common sense and proportionate approach to policing the regulations in force at any point in time,” said a Lancashire Police chief

He said: “While we are moving back towards some normality and today’s easing of certain lockdown measures is a further step in the right direction it is important to remember that the virus is still with us and we don’t want confidence to lead to complacency.

“The vast majority of residents in Lancashire have shown tremendous patience and support in following the rules since the start of the pandemic and we would absolutely encourage them to continue to do so.

“We’re looking forward to seeing people out enjoying themselves but please remember to do so safely.

Police say around 80 people were involved in a drunken brawl at the Talbot pub in Balshaw Lane, Euxton at around 10.30pm on Saturday (May 15)
Police say around 80 people were involved in a drunken brawl at the Talbot pub in Balshaw Lane, Euxton at around 10.30pm on Saturday (May 15)

“We’re of course mindful about a return to people being allowed indoors in pubs and restaurants. Please follow the rules, pace yourself and drink safely. Stick with your mates and plan your journey home.

“We’ll police with pride and professionalism and we will be engaging, friendly and fair – we won’t however tolerate significant anti-social behaviour, violence or criminality.”

The message from Lancashire Police comes after a mass brawl broke out at a pub in Euxton, near Chorley, at the weekend.

Police say around 80 people were involved in the drunken fracas at around 10.30pm on Saturday (May 15) and three people were injured after being struck with glass bottles.

The force said three people were “seriously assaulted with glassware” and required treatment from ambulance crews.

Local councils say their licensing teams will be monitoring pubs and bars this week to ensure they are following guidance, meeting licensing conditions and keeping their customers safe.

New Covid vaccine clinics open in Lancashire with thousands of extra doses avail…

Lancashire Police said its officers will support local councils to ensure these rules are followed and will visit pubs and bars during their patrols.

Ch Supt Procter added: “The last year has been really been tough for us all but there is cause to be hopeful. If you are heading for the pub, have a good time but please be responsible.

“We’ll be visible, with extra officers on patrol and will have a focus on pubs, bars and the night-time economy.

“We still expect it will be really busy for us across Lancashire. Many of our officers haven’t had much of a break since the pandemic started – please let’s do our best to help us stay on the road towards normality over the next few weeks by being responsible and having respect for yourself, others and the law.

“On the whole, the people of Lancashire have shown tremendous support and respect for the regulations – let’s make sure this continues.

Live updates as Lancashire take the next step and rules ease further – Follow our live blog as lockdown rules are relaxed in Lancashire from today (Monday, May 17).

How forgotten man of comedy show had radio, TV and stage seasons in Blackpool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A 1958 programme from when Dave Morris performed in Blackpool

A 1958 programme from when Dave Morris performed in Blackpool

A television series is the aim of today’s likely lads of comedy. But imagine how unlikely it would have been when there were only two channels.

In continuing the story of Blackpool comedian Dave Morris, we find that Dave actually did it in 1957 with his Club Night show.

Dave is one of the forgotten men of comedy. The broadcasts were not archived but having radio, television and stage seasons of the same show is worth a time-line.

Comedian Dave MorrisComedian Dave Morris

After 20 years of touring the variety theatres, Middlesbrough-born Dave stepped up in 1940 to stardom in Blackpool summer shows. It was the first of seven consecutive seasons at the North Pier.

After a 1947 season at the Opera House, Dave produced his own summer shows at the South Pier from 1948 to 52.

We rejoin him in his third season at the pier, spending his down time by writing a radio series of Club Night, the result of having a drink with the BBC’s Robert Stead, who was looking for new ideas.

It went on the air in November, 1950, the first of several series. Dave cannily retained the stage rights.

In 1950 Dave was 54. He was tubby and very short-sighted, the result of a gas attack while fighting on the Western Front during the First World War. Hardly a likely lad for a TV series.

His trade marks were a straw “boater” hat, a big cigar and a fast, wisecracking style.

Unlike most radio sitcoms, Club Night was ideal for the stage and became Dave’s summer show at the South Pier for both 1951 and 52. It then toured the variety theatres, with several Blackpool visits.

The radio series ended in 1955 and for two years Dave toured in a patter act with his “feed” Joe Gladwin.

Television was on the rise and the BBC suggested a screen version of Club Night in 1957. The TV version was made in Manchester by the young John Ammonds, later to become one of the BBC’s top producers.

It was noticed by George and Alfred Black, the London-based producers of the Blackpool Tower Company’s summer shows at the Opera House, the Winter Gardens Pavilion and the Grand Theatre.

They were looking for a 1958 summer show for Blackpool’s Palace Theatre and Club Night filled the bill – eight years after its radio debut.

It was a late career boost for Dave. A Gazette reviewer noted: “As a topical comedian Dave is unrivalled.”

In 1959 Dave returned to the South Pier under the title Dave’s Back and co-wrote a new TV sitcom with Blackpool writer Frank Roscoe. In The Artful Dodger, Dave’s character was a football fan who would do anything to avoid working.

A Gazette writer thought it was the funniest thing on TV with the exception of Hancock’s Half Hour. A second series was planned but during the winter Dave was disabled by a stroke and died on June 8, 1960, a month before his 64th birthday.

There was a big disappointment in Dave Morris’s merry progress through the 1950s.

In April, 1955, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were on a tour of Lancashire and a special Royal Variety Performance was staged at the Opera House.

Several northern comics were in the cast. But not Dave, who had done more Blackpool shows than any of the others, who lived in the resort and was a respected publicist for the town. The producer of the royal show was bandleader-turned-impresario Jack Hylton, who had failed to get the stage rights to Club Night. Dave hadn’t danced to Hylton’s tune and was offered a mere “walk on” during the opening scene.

He declined.

Tiny wine bars, big rides and huge hopes: What Blackpool has waiting for visitors next week

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“We’re really looking forward to be welcoming guests as soon as possible, I think everyone needs a glass of wine after this year! ”

The sun rises behind the Blackpool Tower in Blackpool, Lancashire. Picture date: Friday April 2, 2021. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
The sun rises behind the Blackpool Tower in Blackpool, Lancashire. (Image: PA)

Blackpool is set to welcome back visitors to its bars, theatres and attractions on May 17 following a government announcement that remaining restrictions on the town’s tourism industry can be safely lifted.

The next step of the Prime Minister’s roadmap is now for indoor hospitality and attractions to reopen along with show venues, hotels and guesthouses.

The past 15 months has seen Blackpool face its biggest challenges in a long history of successful tourism.

Even throughout the first and second world wars the town attractions could largely remain open as a form of escapism for both locals and visitors.

The coronavirus pandemic however has meant many bars, pubs and hotels have been unable to accommodate customers, rendering its beach and promenades uncharacteristically quiet.

Sadly some businesses have not made it to the other side of lockdown, with the financial burden too great. However for some, the down time has been an opportunity to renovate and create.

Amazing lockdown transformation at Lemmy's Bar in Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool
Amazing lockdown transformation at Lemmy’s Bar in Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool (Image: Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool)

Waterloo Music Bar in Waterloo Road has had a particularly hard time after it failed to secure government funding to help it get through the Covid crisis.

Throughout the pandemic loyal customers and musicians have joined a campaign to save the bar from closure with Music Venue Trust getting involved.

Staff have come up with all kinds of creative ideas from selling merchandise to wild and wonderful ideas for virtual events to help raise funds after a year with no income.

Lockdown provided the opportunity to add to the already meticulously decorated bar and its infamous Motorhead-themed Lemmy’s bar.

Owner Ian Fletcher said: “The Waterloo Music Bar can’t wait to open it’s doors again on May 17, and our team are very excited to welcome everyone back to see what we have been doing through lockdown.

“We have the one and only Lemmy’s Motorhead-themed bar in the UK and our entire venue is packed with music memorabilia and artwork. We can only operate at reduced capacity from May until June 21, which means our early gigs are mostly sold out, but we have an epic year of music coming up, just checkout our website for dates and tickets.”

International graffiti and street artist, Chris Fenn AKA Seca One Art, has painted a spectacularly colourful mural of grapes and flowers on the front Nook Wine bar set to open in May 2020
International graffiti and street artist, Chris Fenn AKA Seca One Art, has painted a spectacularly colourful mural of grapes and flowers on the front Nook Wine bar set to open in May 2020 (Image: Nook Wine Bar)

Lockdown also saw the creation of the town’s smallest wine bar. Tucked away down Cheapside, a former sandwich shop, the Hideaway, was transformed into Nook wine bar, a small but mightynew bar for 2021.

Spectacularly painted with a colourful mural by Blackpool’s International graffiti and street artist Seca One Art, the bar will not be just another “stuffy wine gaff” and will be focusing on serving premium and unique wines from all around the world.

Owner Jake Whittington, who also owns Dirty Blondes and Paradise Coast said: “Nook will be Blackpool’s first wine and charcuterie venue, so there’s a lot of excitement, and pressure, around the project.

“The tired old building has had to have extensive work done for such a small place. We were really aiming to get open for the 17th, but we may be running a couple of weeks behind.

“Opening a bar in lockdown is a challenge to say the least, suppliers and contractors are running at a reduced capacity so it certainly makes for an interesting time! We’re really looking forward to be welcoming guests as soon as possible, I think everyone needs a glass of wine after this year! ”

Madame Tussauds, Blackpool during lockdown two
Madame Tussauds, Blackpool during lockdown two (Image: This is influential)

Excitement is building at the news that some of Blackpool’s biggest and longstanding attractions will be able to welcome customers back including the Tower, the Dungeons and Madame Tussauds.

After operating at a reduced capacity at times the well-loved destinations had to close completely during the third national lockdown.

Now the iconic landmarks can begin to come back to life.

Kate Shane, Head of the Blackpool Cluster for Merlin Entertainments, said: “We’ve been counting down the days until we can reopen our doors at The Blackpool Tower attractions, Sea Life and Madame Tussauds, so it’s great to have the green light for this to go ahead.

“Our teams are overjoyed to be back and this week they are busy with final preparations for our attractions opening on the May 17 alongside final rehearsals for The Blackpool Tower Dungeons and Circus which open on Saturday May 22.

“We have all been separated from our families and friends for over 12 months, so we simply can’t wait to reconnect loved ones and help them make magical new memories together.

“Our attractions were created for fun, so we’re counting down the days until we can see the smiles and hear the laughter of our guests once more.”


Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Blackpool Pleasure Beach will also be able to get back to normal with visitors able to experience more fun at the fair.

After re-opening on April 12 it has been receiving guests on a daily basis however the lifting of restrictions means its guests can enjoy more.

A Spokesperson for Blackpool Pleasure Beach said: From 17th May we will be able to reopen our both of our hotels, The Big Blue and The Boulevard, which will see many more visitors coming to the resort.

“In addition to this the White Tower restaurant and our indoor attractions Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Pasaje Del Terror and will open again and provide much more for our guests to enjoy.”

For more information on where to visit in Blackpool come May 17, please visit Visit Blackpool.

Lancashire’s best and worst seaside towns ranked, according to Which?

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Blackpool, Fleetwood, Morecambe and nearby Southport all featuring in the bottom 15 of resorts ranked by consumer group Which?

Blackpool beach
Blackpool beach (Image: Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

Lancashire’s seaside towns are some of the most popular attractions in the UK, with Blackpool, Fleetwood and Morecambe set to become big hotspots for staycation tourists this summer

However, according to a new poll released last week, it seems the county’s seaside holiday destinations aren’t as well-loved as we might have thought.

Consumer magazine Which? has just published its annual survey into the best seaside towns across the UK.

Each resort was ranked on a scale of 1-to-5 stars for the quality of the beach, local attractions, scenery, peace and quiet and value for money.

The survey was compiled with the contributions of over 4,000 visitors over the past year and each town was also given a metacritic-style aggregated customer score.

With just under 100 seaside spots ranked across the UK, a few of Lancashire’s big names underperformed, with the public not being especially kind.

Coming top of the chart was Bamburgh in Northumberland, which was praised for its “epic” scenery with Bamburgh Castle looming above the golden sands.

However, none of Lancashire’s seaside locations made it anywhere near the top 10, let alone the pinnacle of the top 5.

Blackpool, Fleetwood, Morecambe and even nearby Southport all featuring in the bottom 15 of resorts ranked.

Blackpool scored just 1 out of 5 for its scenery and peace and quiet, although it did gain 4 out of 5 for its range of attractions and 3 out of 5 for its beach.

Morecambe recorded 3 out of 5’s for both scenery and peace and quiet but just 1 out of 5 for attractions.

Fleetwood featured on the list but no star ratings were provided for each section.

Southport meanwhile recorded 2 out of 5’s in four areas with a 3 out of 5 for peace and quiet.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “The results of our survey show that bigger is rarely better, with smaller, less crowded resorts taking the top spots over better-known destinations.”

What do you think? Which beach will you be heading to this year? Have your say in the comments.

The 20 worst seaside resorts according to Which?

1 Skegness, Lincolnshire – 48 points

2 Weston-super-Mare, Somerset – 55

3 Ilfracombe, Devon – 56

4 Margate, Kent – 57

5 Lowestoft, Suffolk – 57

=6 Worthing, West Sussex – 58

=6 Morecombe, Lancashire – 58

=6 Great Yarmouth, Norfolk – 58

=6 Colwyn Bay – 58

=6 Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset – 58

=7 Fleetwood, Lancashire – 59

=7 Blackpool, Lancashire – 59

=8 Southport, Merseyside – 60

=8 Newquay, Cornwall – 60

=8 New Brighton, Merseyside – 60

9 Bridlington, East Yorkshire – 61

10 Littlehampton, West Sussex – 62

11 Hunstanton, Norfolk – 63

=12 Ramsgate, Kent – 64

=12 Folkestone, Kent – 64

The 20 best seaside resorts in the UK

1 Bamburgh, Northumberland – 85 points

= 2 Dartmouth, Devon – 84

= 2 Tynemouth, Northumberland -84

3 St Andrews, Fife, Scotland – 83

4 Aberaeron, Ceredigion, Wales – 82

5 North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland – 81

6 Rye, East Sussex – 81

7 Filey, North Yorkshire – 80

=8 Southwold, Suffolk – 80

=8 St Davids, Pembrokeshire, Wales – 80

=8 Swanage, Dorset – 80

= 9 Beer, Devon – 79

=9 Conwy, Conwy – 79

=9 Criccieth, Gwynedd – 79

=9 Sidmouth, Devon – 79

=9 Tenby, Pembrokeshire – 79

= 10 Aldeburgh, Suffolk -78

= 10 Megavissey, Cornwall – 78

=10 Saltburn-by-the-sea, North Yorkshire – 78

=10 Ventnor, Isle of Wight – 78

 

Seafront Blackpool bar operating for four years without planning permission

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“Historic, evidential and communal value will not be unduly affected, as these will be maintained.”

The Terrace Bar in Blackpool
The Terrace Bar in Blackpool

A seafront Blackpool bar is seeking planning permission from the council after it emerged it has been operating without any formal approval having been granted for the venture.

The Terrace Bar alongside Central Pier in the resort started life nearly four years ago as a portable bar surrounded by gazebos, which was set up to support a classic car show.

As it grew in popularity a more permanent bar and decking was installed with the venue attracting al fresco drinkers.

But when the Blackpool Pier Company contacted the council’s planning department in January this year regarding a separate application for South Pier, it discovered no permission was in place for the Terrace Bar.

Now a retrospective application has been submitted seeking to remedy the oversight and secure approval for the bar which sits on the Promenade immediately to the north of the pier owned by the Sedgwick family.

A heritage statement submitted to the council says the bar complements the Victorian pier which opened in 1868.

It says: “The bar has been designed to be of a contemporary design to sit within the existing character of the pier as a centre for modern entertainment.

“Aesthetically, the bar will complement the modern façade of the pier, which is dominant, the Victorian style design of the pier only becoming apparent as the pier is traversed out to sea.

“Historic, evidential and communal value will not be unduly affected, as these will be maintained.”

The planning application is seeking to retain the Terrace Bar including the decking area which serves as an outdoor seating area and live music venue.

It has proved popular since lockdown restrictions were first lifted with customers only allowed to be served outdoors until May 17.

The application will go before town hall planners at a future date for consideration.

Blackpool-themed children’s toy launches as creator offers free handouts to schools

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Due its educational purposes, Hippo Mat is looking to give away as many mats as it can to deserving schools and organisations for free

Blackpool-themed children's road mat launched by Hippo Mat
Blackpool-themed children’s road mat launched by Hippo Mat (Image: Hippo Mat)

A new Blackpool-themed educational toy for children designed by a local artist has just been launched and is unlike any of its kind.

Creators Hippo Mat, based in Brighton, employed the services of Blackpool’s Billie Franks to design a children’s road mat which includes many unique landmarks and road safety features.

Children in the town can now let their imaginations run free where they can visit the famous Blackpool Tower, stroll peacefully through Stanley Park or pay a visit to the animals at Blackpool zoo.

Hippo Mat is in the process of creating children’s road maps for 62 locations around the UK.

The fun maps are not made to 100% scale however landmarks are accurate in terms of where they are in relation to each other.

Hippo Mat Director Marcos said: “Each artist is from that location so our Blackpool artist is Billie Franks from Blackpool.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach on Hippo Mat's road mat
Blackpool Pleasure Beach on Hippo Mat’s road mat (Image: Hippo Mat)

“I’m a driving instructor normally so that’s why it’s so imperative it has to have the road signs and road paint!

“The idea came about literally on a driving lesson when a learner and I were reminiscing of childhood.”

“Local Geography is part of the KS1 Curriculum so our products are definitely more educational than generic car play mats for that reason.

Coral Island on Hippo Mat's road mat
Coral Island on Hippo Mat’s road mat (Image: Hippo Mat)

Due its educational purposes, Hippo Mat is looking to give away as many mats as it can to deserving schools and organisations for free.

So far the toy maker has emailed 15 Blackpool schools and organisations however have not had a response.

The mats are also available to buy from the company’s website.

To find out more about Hippo Mat’s products, please visit the website here.

Blackpool’s unique new gin and prosecco bar The Garden

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Also floral-themed, the gin and prosecco bar is surrounded by glass and it still features the original glass solarium structure

Punters enjoying the sun on Monday April 12 at new gin and prosecco bar The Garden and Bloom bar on Blackpool's North Pier
Punters enjoying the sun on Monday April 12 at new gin and prosecco bar The Garden and Bloom bar on Blackpool’s North Pier (Image: Blackpool North Pier)

Blackpool’s historic North Pier came back to life this week as scores of visitors came to visit its new outdoor bar known as The Garden.

The venue has opened as a sister bar adjacent to the resort’s Bloom bar which opened in 2020.

Also floral-themed, this new space is complemented by organic floral displays, comfy seating areas and contemporary furnishings.

Located in what was North Pier’s old solarium, the gin and prosecco bar is surrounded by glass and it still features the original glass solarium structure.

During lockdown the area underwent a total transformation and now features an outdoor cocktail and champagne bar serving drinks in a unique and unrivalled setting.

Blackpool's new gin and prosecco bar The Garden opened on Monday April 12 and enjoys organic floral displays, comfy seating areas and contemporary furnishings
Blackpool’s new gin and prosecco bar The Garden opened on Monday April 12 and enjoys organic floral displays, comfy seating areas and contemporary furnishings (Image: Blackpool North Pier)

Operating on a first come, first served basis, The Garden surroundings are perfect for afternoon tea and the space is also available for functions.

There will also be a variety of live entertainment, weather permitting, throughout the season.

Hot and cold food is also served from The Tram food outlet.

To find out more, please visit the Blackpool North Pier Facebook page here.