Category Archives: Illuminations

Pictures show Blackpool tram ‘graveyard’ hidden away on docklands with ‘chaotic’ interiors

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Fascinating photos taken by an urban explorer show what has become of some of Blackpool’s disused trams

Urban Explorer Kyle Urbex discovered the Blackpool tram "graveyard" in Fleetwood Haven Marina
Urban Explorer Kyle Urbex discovered the Blackpool tram “graveyard” in Fleetwood Haven Marina (Image: Instagram @Kyle_Urbex)

Fascinating pictures of what appears to be a “graveyard” of Blackpool trams have emerged thanks to an urban explorer who came to Fleetwood.

Kyle Urbex, 24, from Leeds discovered the vintage vehicles whilst exploring the docks area near Fleetwood Haven Marina.

The intriguing snapshots show a plethora of coloured trams appearing to be from different eras in progressive states of decay.

Some also sported artwork in relation to Blackpool Zoo, presumably a past destination and artwork of Professor Wilde.

The interiors of the trams were not so colourful however and appear to be in an awful rotted state with seats ripped up and piled high in some instances.

A pair of distinctive blue and yellow ‘Metro’ trams can also be seen with windows missing parked up next to a distinctive 710 ‘Metro Coastlines’ doubledecker.

Captured by Kyle, who works in a warehouse, the explorer only began pursuing his hobby around 11 months ago and has developed a knack for finding obscure places

So far he has visited over 300 obscure destinations around the UK and has even spanned the depths of Paris’ catacombs.

Kyle said: “I was attracted to this area because I know the people of Blackpool and Fleetwood are big fans of nostalgia which means there’s always potential to discover interesting things.

“I was aware that there was a security cabin not far away who knew I was there but I think they saw me on my own taking pictures so felt it was ok. I’m usually on my own when I explore as I find it a great way to escape and relax.

“I really wanted to capture the old trams and it was so sad as they had all fallen into a state of decay.

“Inside they were pretty chaotic but luckily they didn’t smell that bad as the windows were either open or missing.

“I managed to find some really cool old fashioned tram lights which looked very Blackpool.”

The site where the old trams are located are on private land and belong to the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust who endeavour to rehome their vehicles.

There was some fear among local people is that these beautiful locomotives would amount to nothing more than scrap.

Take a look at Kyle’s photos below. To see more of Kyle’s work, please visit his Instagram account @kyle_urbex.

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 Illuminations sneak preview Ride the Lights event announced

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In past bike rides, participants have been known to get creative and put their very own Illuminations display on their bikes with colourful lights, lamps and lanterns.

The 'Ride the Lights' event will take place on August 31 and offers a chance for you, family and friends to get a on a bike and get a sneak preview of Blackpool Illuminations before the main switch on
The ‘Ride the Lights’ event will take place on August 31 and offers a chance for you, family and friends to get a on a bike and get a sneak preview of Blackpool Illuminations before the main switch on (Image: Visit Blackpool)

A chance to get a sneak preview of Blackpool Illuminations before the main switch on event has just been announced.

The ‘Ride the Lights’ event will take place on August 31 and offers a chance for attendees to get a on a bike and view the installations from beginning to end.

Riders can join at any point along the Promenade from Starr Gate at South Shore to Red Bank Road in Bispham and can cycle as much or as little of the route as they are able.

The event, run by VisitBlackpool, is not a bike race but a fun and free bike ride open to all.

In the past, participants have been known to get creative and put their very own Illuminations display on their bikes with colourful lights, lamps and lanterns.

Participants at a past 'Ride the lights' events riding a Blackpool Pleasure Beach log flume
Participants at a past ‘Ride the lights’ events riding a Blackpool Pleasure Beach log flume (Image: Visit Blackpool)

It starts at 6pm when the road will close for cyclists and will re-open to traffic again at 10pm.

Bike Doctors and support vehicles will be on hand to look after breakdown and marshals and first aiders will be on hand along the route.

Please be aware that the tramway will be operational throughout the ride and take special care in the area around North Pier and Metropole Hotel area.

All bikes must have a minimum of one white light at the front and one red light at the back and it is highly recommended that all participants should wear a cycle helmet.

Charities are encouraged to use the event as a fundraiser by encouraging their supporters to participate and get sponsored.

To find out more about the ‘Ride the Lights’ event, click here.

 

Blackpool Illuminations set for ‘dynamic’ new installations after funding success

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There is also a series of digital commissions to create new work for the promenade, The Blackpool Tower and St John’s Square.

Blackpool Illuminations
Blackpool Illuminations (Image: Getty Images)

Blackpool Illuminations will soon benefit from new installations after a successful funding bid.

The Arts Council has awarded £48k in national arts lottery award for an exciting new artists’ research and development programme.

This will lead to new works being created for the Blackpool Illuminations, Grundy Art Gallery and Lightpool Festival from 2021.

The programme includes working in collaboration with the Grundy Art Gallery and international artist Dr Chila Kumari Burman on a co-commission that will become part of the gallery’s contemporary light collection.

Ms Burman is celebrated for her radical feminist practice which examines representation, gender and cultural identity. She works across a wide range of mediums including printmaking, drawing, painting, installation and film.

Dr Chila Burman, Winter Commission for Blackpool Illuminations
Dr Chila Burman, Winter Commission for Blackpool Illuminations (Image: ©Tate 2020)

On working with Blackpool Illuminations and the Grundy, the artist said: ““I just can’t believe I’m going back to Blackpool after 40 years to see the lights again and I still can’t believe I’ll be exhibiting there. I’m lost for words!

““It’s gonna be a magical trip. I’ll make an astonishing dynamic piece.”

Paulette Brien, Curator at the Grundy added: “We are really looking forward to working with Chila this year. Her work is thoughtful yet playful, complex yet accessible and is characterised by a vibrancy that we know will excite and engage our audiences. “

Also as part of the programme, there will be an artist in residence at Lightworks, the bespoke factory and home of the world famous Blackpool Illuminations, and a series of digital commissions to create new work for the promenade, The Blackpool Tower and St John’s Square.

The new light installations created through this programme will be revealed during the Blackpool Illuminations season which runs from 3 September 2021 to 3 January 2022 and also Lightpool Festival which runs from 15-30 October 2021.

For further information, please go to visitblackpool.com/illuminations.

Giant Blackpool mirror ball needs 47,000 new mirrors and 1,000 tubes of glue for makeover after going rusty

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Since the ball was removed, the pole is all that has remained covered by plastic bag

The mirror ball has been battered by sea air
The mirror ball has been battered by sea air

Blackpool’s iconic mirror ball on the South Promenade is currently getting a much-needed makeover.

The shiny sculpture was taken down in November in 2020 due to taking a battering from the seafront’s salty sea breeze.

Workers at Blackpool Council and a team of volunteers are now painstakingly replacing all 47,000 corroded mirrors tiles which have so far required 1,000 tubes of adhesive.

Installed in 2002, the artwork was created by artist Michael Trainor. The artist was inspired by and named the work after the 1969 Hollywood film ‘They Shoot Horses Don’t They’ which features a large Mirror Ball.

The plan is to have the ball back in time for the summer season and all spruced up.

Speaking when the mirror was dismantled, Councillor Gillian Campbell, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Tourism and Culture, said: “The Mirror Ball is much loved by local people and visitors and is an iconic landmark on the South Promenade.

“Our natural environment is beautiful but inevitably the sea salt air takes its toll on the mirror tiles over a long period of time. We look forward to the Mirror Ball returning to sparkle for people to enjoy.”

The mirror ball has so far lasted a decade on the South Shore before needing renovation and a simple glass cleaner and cloth won’t do the job.

Since the ball part was removed, the pole is all that has remained covered by a sad plastic bag.

The restoration job is progressing steadily however and it is expected to be back in its rightful place soon.

To find out more about the iconic mirror ball and other sculptures around the town, please visit the Visit Blackpool website here.