Drive in the country back in 1894

Central Drive, Blackpool in 1894 taken approximately from where the Bloomfield Road junction is today, and, below, Coun  John Jones and Coun Graham Cain outside 127 Central Drive
Central Drive, Blackpool in 1894 taken approximately from where the Bloomfield Road junction is today, and, below, Coun John Jones and Coun Graham Cain outside 127 Central Drive
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A Blackpool street is battling the blight caused by empty shops by turning to photography and the past.

Such properties have, for some time, been a problem on Blackpool’s Central Drive with business owners and residents complaining they can be unsightly.

Bloomfield ward councillors John Jones and Graham Cain outside 127 Central Drive, which has now been decorated using a fascinating historic picture of the road, seen below in 1894 taken approximately from where the Bloomfield Road junction is today

Bloomfield ward councillors John Jones and Graham Cain outside 127 Central Drive, which has now been decorated using a fascinating historic picture of the road, seen below in 1894 taken approximately from where the Bloomfield Road junction is today

But visitors to the area will soon start to notice those shops looking much better with windows filling up with local images.

The first property, at 127 Central Drive, has now been decorated using a fascinating historic picture of the road, together with a modern view taken closer to the shop.

The historic picture, from 1894, shows Central Drive as little more than a dirt track and provides quite a contrast to the modern day.

It was taken roughly from where the street now meets Bloomfield Road.

Local residents and businesses have already given the project rave reviews and councillors are hoping the positivity will help to encourage other property owners to take part.

The aim is that as well as making properties look better, drawing on the history of the area in this way will increase the sense of community among local residents.

Coun John Jones, who is ward councillor for Bloomfield, along with Coun Graham Cain, says: “The project is aimed at improving the look of the area by using local imagery.

“It will help make empty shops, which can sometimes be an eyesore, look better and also give a platform to showcase the very best of the history of the area along with new, bright images.

“Myself and Coun Cain are delighted to be helping businesses.”

Coun Cain, meanwhile, sees the project as a step in the right direction for Central Drive.

He says: “We recognise that more needs to be done to improve Central Drive and have already invested money in sprucing up the area with planting and other things.

“This is not a solution to Central Drive’s problem, more a sticking plaster.

“However, what we’re trying to do is help businesses in the short-term and make the area a more attractive place.”

He adds: “That is often half the battle.”

Blackpool Council is now working with businesses and landlords to identify other empty shops that will take part and the scheme could include up to 10 properties.

As for this first image, the 1894 picture was published in 1926 by Blackpool Corporation’s Library and Art Gallery Committee as part of the celebrations for the jubilee of Blackpool’s incorporation of 1876.

An updated version of the book, published in 1990 by Blackpool and Fylde Historical Society, carries the caption: “Looking north towards Revoe Library from Bloomfield Road, Central Drive has been laid out to the right of the path.

“The white building in the distance, right of centre, is Revoe Farm and the tall building towards the left is the George Hotel, built in 1893.”