The Plaque on Little Marton Windmill on Preston New Road says "This windmill was given in 1937 by Cornelius Bagot of Blackpool. To be maintained as a memorial to Allen Clarke, author, journalist & Lancashire dialect story writer who was born in Bolton in 1863 & died in Blackpool in 1935 author of "Windmill Land" "Windmill Land Stories" "Moorlands and Memories" founder of the Lancashire Authors Association and the Blackpool Ramble Club"
It is used as a store for a local Scout group but has all ways been my favorite landmark of Blackpool
There is an old saying that Big is not necessarily best...small is beautiful. But when it comes to rollercoasters, size is everything.
You can see the monster that is the 'Pepsi Max Big One' from several miles out as you approach on the Motorway. Built about 10 years ago it's shape was dictated by the fact that it had to be squeezed within the confines of the already densely packed area of Britain's No1 tourist attraction : The Blackpool pleasure beach.
As regards the ride itself, you can buy a ticket just for the one ride (although you would be missing out on many other excellent rides). The ascent of the hill is probably one of the most tense and nervous that you will ever experience. This is partly due to the extreme height (it is the highest coaster in Europe) and partly due to the one factor that no other theme park can replicate : the biting wind coming over the Irish Sea, chilling you to the core.
Then your off, one one almighty 200 foot plus drop...blloooodyyy hellllll.....are you still alive ? Another six hills and countless bends over the next mile or so keep up the action. Nothing however, repeat nothing, compares to the impressiveness of that first almighty drop.
Not for the faint-hearted.
'Granny' as she is affectionly known as by some is quite simply considered to be one of the best wooden rollercoasters in the world. Whilst it was built back in the 1930's it was very much ahead of it's time when it was concieved..
Firstly it is 'themed', to tie in with the Grand National steeplechase that takes place in nearby Aintree, Liverpool. So the various 'tops' have names like Beechers Brook, Valentines Brook and the Canal turn.
Secondly it is a racing coaster. Two coasters set off at the same time - but who will have the right balance of overweight people on board to ensure victory ?
Thirdly, coaster afficionardos claim that it has a whole series of 'flattened double apex' sections, which in everyday language means that it has large amounts of 'airtime', even compared to many much more modern rides.
In the early days, they didn't even have lap-restraints !
I found the whole ride to be rickety and clanking, and that just seemed to add to the whole affect, it seemed as it it would just disintegrate at any time !
If it isn't a protected structure yet, I'm sure it should be.
Ride a real piece of cultural history, and get the adrennaline pumping to boot.
If anything stands out as a symbol of the traditional English seaside holiday it has has to be the kids' donkey rides along the sands at Blackpool.
The well cared for donkeys are probably capable of carrying much greater loads than small children, after all they were used in the past down the mines to bring coal out.
These days the donkeys are subject to the same employment rights as humans in the European Union and this is enforced by zealous council officials. There is a maximum 48 hour working week and the right to a set lunchbreak. In addition (and humans really ought to get this one as well) they get every Friday off by virtue of a local bye-law.
For those impossiblly British, and cute photographs you will need to stump up two pounds to allow your offspring a little ride on a little donkey.
If you donkey is a bit slow...just say the words "Glue factory" into his ear.
Bring out the child in you and visit the south shore fun fair. Rides for all ages, including " white knuckle " rides (not for the feint hearted) Eat, drink and be happy!! Entrance is free but you need to bands for most of the rides, its all very self explanatory.
Along the Golden Mile you will come across many different "object d'art" for want of a better phrase. The windmill sits along the front, proud as punch thinking its some where else like Holland perhaps!!! I really do not know why it is there, nor does anyone else for that matter. There is also another windmill just as you are coming into Blackpool , just off the motorway. When we were kids we new we were nearly ther when we saw this "Famous" landmark !!!!
Many people presume that it was in the land of the mouse that 'dark rides' were invented. Not true, the 'River Caves' opened in 1905 ! Some uncharitable souls would add that that havn't been updated since.
The six seater boats take a leisurely journey around a number of pleasant if unremarkable scenes ranging from the time of the dinosaurs to the Egyptian Pharohs, from the Aztecs to another civilisation I can't remember because it so long ago I went on the ride.
I do remember that the scenes seemed rather random and unconnected. At least it's not appaulingly smaltzy like Disney's efforts with those bloody irritating dolls singing that cloying and witless song about 'it's a small world after all'.
I guess that when this ride was built most people who visited it had probably travelled no further than Manchester in their lives - and the River caves became almost an 'educational' experience. These days it makes for a nostalgic break between the rides on the white-knuckle mayhem going on outside the confines of this little fiberglass world.
Blackpool pleasure beach crams in a vast number of white knuckle, family rides and shows into 42 acres of Blackpool's real estate.
It claims to be the most popular attraction in the UK, although this is a little difficult to calculate as entrance to the 'park' is free, you pay for the rides either by tickets or an unlimited 'wristband'.
The BPB (Blackpool pleasure beach) is thus, strictly speaking, an amusement park rather than a theme park. It certainly lacks the 'themeing' that you would expect in the theme park world, and it certainly is not a 'park' in the green, flowery sense. No, the BPB is normally a bit scruffy and 'lived - in', to put it kindly, as brash and loud as most of it's northern clientelle.
Despite this lack of 'disneyfication' the prices certainly remind you of the land of the mouse. A full price wristband giving unlimited access to the rides and shows will set you back a hefty 30 quid. Good discounts are however often available on the park's website.
I've put my scribblings on three of the more famous rides on here.
The Blackpool illuminations market themselves as 'the greatest free show on earth'. A bold claim, and if you have only ever seen a solitary 40 watt bulb in life before it would seem overwhelming...most of us would perhaps find it a little passe, even with added lasers and effects.
The six miles of coloured lights are strung along the seafront along and across the road. More impressively some of the trams that trundle along the front are bedecked with lights as well turning them into steamships or giant pineapple or whatever.
The display was orginally thought up to extend the summer season, and it now runs from September into November. It really got going during the 1930's when the tradition of a celebrity performing the 'switching on' began.
I've put a full list on the local customs tip. How many will you recognise ?
The pleasure beach is just that if you like white knuckle rides!!!! Each year they seem to build some thing bigger, taller, faster and more frightening than the year before. You have to purchase ride bands when you go in, as they do not allow to "pay as you ride " like it used to be in my time...lol. You can go in with out purchasing such bands as not everyone wants to be scared to death, but enjoy seeing others enjoying it.
Blackpool has got loads of arcades ranging from small to very large. You can play the latest video games, fruit machines or play bingo. Food and drinks is served in most of them so if it is a rainy day it is the ideal place to go. Beware though you can quite easily spend a small fortune.
The Blackpool Tower was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Blackpool Tower was erected in 1894. I have been told when traveling to Blackpool it was a family custom whomever saw the tower first won a sixpence. My friend Carl worked as a repairman for the tower and he spent a good deal of time in the Ornate ballroom. The ballroom was designed by Frank Matcham and constructed in 1899. There are two organs in the ballroom one is a Wersi Louvre organ and the famous Wurlitzer organ.
The ballroom was severely damaged by a fire in 1956, the craftsman who worked on the original design were brought out ofd retirement to aid in accurate refurbishment of this room. It is a rare occurence to actually witness the "changing of the organist" as one organ descends the other comes up with another organist playing. The ballroom has been used in many television shows including the BBC's "Come Dancing"
The day we were there many couples spent a lovely Saturday morning refining their dance moves or simply learning how to dance. It looked like great fun to be spun with such grace and delight!
The Eiffel tower stands an impressive 986 feet tall in the centre of Paris. Blackpool's effort tops out at just over 500 feet.
Blackpool's was inspired by the piece of Gallic flair, but unlike the French affair they filled the inside of Blackpool's with populist rubbish. The Menagarie of a 100 years ago may have gone with various exotic animals squeezed in, but now you will find various play area, aquariums, shows and dark rides.
The Highlights of visiting tower still remain (as it ever was) the trip to the top and a visit to the incredibly ornate and over-the-top ballroom. It is now a listed structure, and is well known to generations of TV viewers when it is used to host ballroom dancing competitions. I understand that you can view the room from an upper balcony, but only at certain times.
The tower works on the 'theme park' principle, as you can pay an 'all-in' fee (approx 50 quid !) to get into everything on site or about 12 quid (9 for children) just for the tower itself. A trip to the tower includes a short 4D film (quite good actually) the lift to the top and as much time at the top as you want. The top of the tower also features a 'skywalk' which is basically a piece of glass beneath your feat. Probably scary if you are about five years old. Good discounts are available if you pre-book tickets online.
The Blackpool tramway runs from Blackpool to Fleetwood. It is the only surviving first-generation tramway in the United Kingdom. The tramway dates back to 1885 and is one of the oldest electric tramways in the world. The Trams are a great tourist attraction, it is a joy to see them going back and forth along the sea front. From our experience the older more attractive trains are brought out on sunny days when there are likely to be more people around. Our first day in Blackpool was quite overcast when the first tram I saw was like a red shoe box - it had no character at all. Luckily the next days was sunnier so we saw quite a few of the old trams which were oozing which character. The tramway runs for 11 miles and carries 6,500,000 passengers each year. It is also one of only a few operational tramways in the world that operate using double-deck tram systems, others including the Hong Kong Tramways system and Alexandria Tram in Egypt
Reading about the sculpture by St John's church, I found:
"London-based, architectural practice leit-werk won a £3.5million competition to re-design a key public space in the heart of Blackpool. The redevelopment of the St John's Precinct area forms part of the greater regeneration plan being delivered by ReBlackpool - the town's urban regeneration company. St John's Precinct project is being managed and delivered by Blackpool Council through its Townscape Heritage Initiative with additional funding from the North West Regional Development Agency (NWRDA).
A key element of leit-werk's design is the New Horizon sculpture: a 12 metre hollow-spiral of mirrored steel, with a two-directional stage at its base. Through intensive investigation the team, in collaboration with Ron Packman of Packman Lucas, has fine-tuned a sculptural solution, which provides changing reflections of the sky, the horizon and the sea. In this way the new work creates an urban vista linking the beach and the town."
"SOARING metal costs have forced council chiefs to scrap a dramatic steel sculpture which should have been the centrepiece of a major town centre regeneration scheme.
A hollow spiral of mirrored steel with a stage at its base for performances was to have been the iconic centrepiece of the 3.5m St John's Precinct scheme outside the Winter Gardens."
In http://blackpoolcam.co.uk, finally:
"The focal point of the square will be a 10.5 metre high sculpture named The Wave. Designed by artist Lucy Glendinning, the piece was designed to reflect Blackpool’s coastal location and resort status. A giant curl of steel representing a breaking wave is studded with coloured resin inserts whose shapes were inspired by detail in the stained glass at St Johns Church. These inserts are lit internally by LED colour change lights that give the sculpture a feel of constantly changing when seen from different angles. The top of the wave is pierced by a twice life size figure diving through it and which are internally lit
A series of funky pebbles around the base of the sculpture echo the seaside theme of the main work. Again, internally textured and lit with the same colour change lighting as the sculpture they emit a soft glow of colour through jewel like internal faceting.
Illuminated dancing water flumes that can be programmed to act as simultaneous jets will spring to life at the East/West/South/ North end of the square. The jets are computer controlled and will be capable of a number of functions from dancing jest to Mexican waves of lit water."
I would like to see the Portuguese politicians showing the same respect for money!
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