2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Geography of Great Britain

Borough of Blackpool
Status: Unitary, Borough
Region: North West England
Ceremonial County: Lancashire
- Total
Ranked 330th
34.92 km²
Admin. HQ: Blackpool
Grid reference: SD305365
ONS code: 00EY
- Total (2005 est.)
- Density
Ranked 119th
4,092 / km²
Ethnicity: 98.4% White
Arms of Blackpool Borough Council
Blackpool Council
Leadership: Leader & Cabinet
Executive: Labour
MPs: Joan Humble, Gordon Marsden

Blackpool is a seaside town in north-western England. It is traditionally part of Lancashire. On April 1, 1998 the town was made into an independent unitary authority.

It is believed to get its name from a long gone drainage channel which ran over a peat bog. The water which ran into the sea at Blackpool was black from the peat and formed a "black pool" in waters of the Irish Sea. (In Irish, Black Pool is Dubh Linn, which in turn became Dublin.)

It is generally believed locally that people originating from Blackpool are called "Sand Grown" or "Sandgrown'uns," but these terms may be applied to natives of any littoral settlement.

The town boundaries are drawn very tightly, and exclude the nearby settlements of Fleetwood, Cleveleys, Thornton, Poulton-le-Fylde and Lytham St Anne's. Blackpool Borough, unlike its neighbours, is almost completely urbanised.


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Blackpool at current basic prices published (pp.240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added Agriculture Industry Services
1995 1,276 9 276 992
2000 1,444 1 210 1,234
2003 1,598 1 220 1,377
  1.   Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  2.   includes hunting and forestry
  3.   includes energy and construction
  4.   includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured


Blackpool is heavily dependent on tourism. Major attractions include:

  • The three piers: the North (built in 1863), Central ( 1868) and South ( 1893).
  • Blackpool Tower, built in May 1894, is a 518-foot-tall copy of the Eiffel Tower.
  • The Blackpool Pleasure Beach amusement park, near to the South Pier.
  • Sandcastle Waterworld is the premier indoor uk waterpark opposite the Pleasure Beach.

In what is often regarded as its heyday (1900-1950), Blackpool thrived as the factory workers of northern England took their annual holidays there en masse. Any photograph from that era shows crowds of tourists on the beach and promenade. Blackpool was also a preferred destination of visitors from Glasgow and remains so to this day . Reputedly, the town still has more hotel beds than the whole of Portugal . The town went into decline when cheap air travel arrived in the 1960s and the same workers decamped to the Mediterranean coast resorts due to competitive prices and the more reliable weather. Today, many visitors stay for the weekend rather than for a week at a time. Blackpool is continually striving to improve its position within today's tourist industry. One controversial proposal, which has the involvement of the local council, is to transform Blackpool into a casino resort along the lines of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, making it the centre point of gambling in the UK. This plan is dependent on the selection of Blackpool as the location of Britain's first "super-casino", following the slight liberalisation of Britain's gambling laws.

A controversial aspect of Blackpool's night-life is its hen and stag parties. Brides or bridegrooms-to-be respectively, along with their friends, often dressed alike in absurd or risqué attire, roam the town's many bars and clubs getting increasingly drunk. Their rowdy behaviour is claimed to discourage family visitors and has led to complaints from hotel and guest house owners keen to attract a more upmarket clientele.

Blackpool has gained renown as a lesbian and gay destination, with clubs such as the Flamingo, Mardi Gras, the Flying Handbag pub, and many gay-only hotels and guest-houses. These tend to be inland, nearer to the North station than the sea front.

The Tower and Illuminations
The Tower and Illuminations

There is a transvestite show bar, Funny Girls, alongside the Flamingo in the building that was formerly the Odeon Cinema; the building retains many of its Art Deco features.

Blackpool remains a summer entertainment venue, specialising in variety shows featuring entertainers such as Ken Dodd. Outside the main holiday season, Blackpool's Winter Gardens routinely hosts major political and trade union conferences, ranging from that of the Conservative Party and the TGWU with thousands of delegates and visitors, to substantially smaller gatherings such as the CWU or NUS conferences.

Blackpool Illuminations in September and October, consisting of a series of lighted displays and collages arranged along the entire length of the sea front (11 km/7 miles), attract many visitors at a time when some resorts' holiday seasons have begun to end.

Non-tourist industry

Major employers include:

  • The government-owned National Savings and Investments, based at Marton, together with their random number generating computer ERNIE which picks the Premium Bond numbers.
  • Other Government Agencies based at Warbreck and Norcross.
  • The sports car manufacturer TVR. However, TVR has recently announced that it is moving production away from Blackpool to another European location. (Blackpool was also the original site of Swallow Sidecar Company forerunner of Jaguar Cars.)
  • Burtons Foods, producing biscuits and other bakery products.
  • Arvin Meritor, which manufactures automotive components.
  • The Glasdon Group, known for its plastic products including litter bins, park benches and reflective road signs.

Many Blackpool residents work in the retail sector, either in the town centre or the retail parks on the edge of town.

Transport infrastructure

A double-decker balloon tram on the promenade at Bispham
A double-decker balloon tram on the promenade at Bispham
Tramway route
Tramway route

The town's tramway was for a long time Britain's only working tramway outside of museums. However, other cities, including Manchester and Sheffield have been rebuilding their networks since the late 20th century.

Blackpool had two railway termini with a total of over 30 platforms, mainly used by excursion traffic in the summer. Blackpool Central, close to the Blackpool Tower, was closed in 1964, whilst Blackpool North was largely demolished and rebuilt as a smaller facility. The route of the former excursion line into Blackpool Central is now used as a link road from the M55 motorway to the town centre. The original 'main line' into Blackpool via Lytham St Annes now has a station serving Blackpool Pleasure Beach but terminates at Blackpool South station. The line into North station is now the more important.

Blackpool International Airport operates regular charter and scheduled flights throughout the UK and Europe. The airport is actually in St Annes although a proposal to reorganise Blackpool's borders would see the airport incorporated into Blackpool Borough.

The M55 motorway links the town to the national motorway network.

Blackpool in film

View from the tower, looking south
View from the tower, looking south

The resort is featured in the 1934 film Sing as We Go, starring Gracie Fields, as well as other cinema and TV productions, including Funny Bones (1995) starring Lee Evans and Oliver Platt and directed by St. Annes born Peter Chelsom, as well as The Parole Officer (2001) starring Steve Coogan.

The Japanese film Shall We Dance (1996) closes with a scene at the World Ballroom Dancing Championships in Blackpool. All the hair styling for the film was completed by Blackpool born and bred hairstylist Eileen Clough, who has been in the trade since the 1960's. In the Hollywood remake of the film (2004) Blackpool is mentioned but not shown. The remake was also directed by Peter Chelsom.

Blackpool is the setting for Bhaji on the Beach (1993) directed by Gurinder Chadha.

The film Like It Is (IMDB) (1998) directed by Paul Oremland was also partly filmed in Blackpool. The opening scenes were filmed in the Flamingo.

The 2005 television comedy/thriller series Funland revolved around the fictionalized, seedier aspects of Blackpool.

The town of Blackpool also features heavily in the BBC television serial Blackpool starring David Morrissey and first broadcast in 2005 along with the one-off follow-up Viva Blackpool, broadcast in June 2006.

Local attractions, culture, and facilities

Central Pier, Blackpool
Central Pier, Blackpool
Blackpool Sands, with Blackpool Tower and North Pier in the distance
Blackpool Sands, with Blackpool Tower and North Pier in the distance
North Pier, Blackpool
North Pier, Blackpool
The Winter Gardens, Blackpool
The Winter Gardens, Blackpool
  • Blackpool Football Club, winners of the FA Cup in 1953.
  • Blackpool Panthers (founded in 2004) are a rugby league team competing in National league two.
  • Blackpool Zoo - provides a home to over 1500 animals from all over the world.
  • Blackpool Dance Festival - World famous annual ballroom dance competition of international significance: home page
  • The Great Promenade Show - Series of modern artwork installations along Blackpools south promenade. Includes the Blackpool High Tide Organ an unusual musical monument which uses the movements of the sea to make music.
  • Blackpool Pleasure Beach - Theme park with lots of different attractions including the second tallest rollercoaster in Europe.
  • Sandcastle Waterworld - A indoor Swimming Pool with Slides and Waves. Next to the South Pier.
  • Blackpool Tower & Circus - A huge complex of leisure facilities, entertainment venues and restaurants. Included is the famous Blackpool Tower, Tower Ballroom and Tower Circus.
  • Grand Theatre - Victorian theatre designed by Frank Matcham.
  • Winter Gardens - Large entertainment and conference venue in the town centre. Includes the Opera House (one of the largest theatres in Europe), Pavilion Theatre, Empress Ballroom, Spanish Hall, Arena and Olympia.
  • North Pier - The northernmost of Blackpool's three piers. It includes a small shopping arcade, a small tramway and a theatre at the end. It was damaged by a 1997 Christmas windstorm
  • Central Pier - The middle pier. It includes a large theme park and shopping.
  • South Pier - The southernmost pier. Almost directly opposite the Pleasure Beach, it houses a large theme park.
  • Louis Tussaud's Waxworks - Similar to the famous Madame Tussauds, featuring wax models of celebrities, musicians, sports personalities and the famous Chamber of Horrors
  • The beach - Stretching from the North Pier to the South Pier. One of the main natural attractions for tourists.

Notable people from Blackpool

  • Ian Anderson - musician (Jethro Tull)
  • David Ball - musician ( Soft Cell)
  • Zoë Ball - British TV and radio presenter
  • Roy Harper - musician
  • Matty Kay - The youngest player to make Blackpool F.C.'s first team.
  • Jethro Tull - rock band
  • Chris Lowe - musician - ( Pet Shop Boys) (attended Arnold School)
  • John Mahoney - actor ( Frasier)
  • Graham Nash ( The Hollies, Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Young))
  • Coleen Nolan - singer and TV presenter
  • Chris Patten - politician and former Hong Kong governor
  • Maddy Prior - singer ( Steeleye Span)
  • Peter Purves - TV presenter
  • Alistair Cooke - journalist and commentator (educated at Blackpool Grammar School)
  • William Regal - ( World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestler)
  • John Robb - TV presenter, musician
  • Michael Smith - Nobel Prize-winning chemist
  • Robert Smith - musician ( The Cure)
  • Andy Summers - musician - ( The Police)
  • David Thewlis - actor (Professor Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
  • Ricky Tomlinson - actor (Jim Royle in The Royle Family)
  • Shelly Woods - elite wheelchair athlete

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