Sunday, October 22, 2006

Electrifying Facts

1735: Blackpool gets first guest house. By 1780 the town has four hotels and four alehouses

1879: It is proudly said, of the first electrics to light up the promenade, that they emit the electrical equivalent of 48,000 candles. Blackpool is the first place in the world to introduce electric street lighting

1894: Blackpool Tower (below) opens, inspired by the Eiffel Tower. Three thousand punters pay 12d to take lifts to the top

1896: Alderman William George Bean founds the Pleasure Beach as an “American-Style Amusement Park, to make adults feel like children again and to inspire gaiety of a primarily innocent character”

1904: A teenaged Charlie Chaplin plays the part of Billie in Sherlock Holmes at the Opera House

1912: The first ever royal visit to Blackpool, by Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise, is marked by a lights display that the public pressures the local council to repeat annually. The Illuminations begin

1939: The morning after the preview night, Germany invades Poland. The Illuminations are suspended for ten years

1942: Noel Coward premieres and appears in two of his own plays

1982: The escapologist Karl Bartoni (below) gets married while suspended in a cage from the tower

1992: “Tower World” is opened by Diana, Princess of Wales

2005: A new, 100ft screen is installed for text messages during the Illuminations

2006: Surprising bid by Blackpool to become a World Heritage Site. “It’s not about being pretty, it’s about being important,” says a council spokeswoman. l Research by Vanessa Nicholson


Post a Comment

<< Home