After years of neglect, the first phases of the restoration of the historic facade of Blackpool Tower have been unveiled.
Work began last September to painstakingly repair the original terracotta carvings in the arches over the Promenade entrance to the Grade I listed building.
Stained glass has also been sourced in order to refurbish the windows, and new joinery has been fitted to create the doors.
Nine arches are being restored in total, with the first two now in use.
Blackpool Council’s head of heritage Carl Carrington (right) said: “The work that has been done so far really is beautiful and we are very pleased with it.
“There is something magical about these restored frontages and they really draw the attention of anyone passing. We are making sure everything is right about the restoration because this building is so important.
“All the work has been done by Lancashire firms, including Shaws of Darwen, who have made the terracotta.”
Blackpool-based companies F Parkinson builders and Eclipse Developments have also been involved, with Eclipse manufacturing the door frames in line with the original designs.
Eclipse managing director Rob Knighton said: “It brings the entrance back to life, these new doors and window frames will last through into the next century. It’s just unbelievable that they were covered up for the last 30 years.”
The cost of the work is being met from the European funding package for the council’s purchase of the Tower in 2010, with £15m being set aside so far for refurbishment.
For many years the front of the Tower building was covered by canopies, and the damage was only discovered when the latest canopy was removed in 2010. Since then, a temporary facade has been in place but that will be removed once all the restoration work has been completed.