Livewire by Ted Lightbown, Blackpool historian

Ted Lightbown
Ted Lightbown

I don’t much care for renaming Central Promenade The Queen Elizabeth Promenade. We already have a Queen’s Promenade north of the Gynn. But there are precedents. It began with the accession of Victoria. In 1837, an assembly room, called the Victoria Promenade, with shops below, opened on Green Walk, which became Victoria Street. It led to Coronation Walk, later Coronation Street. Adelaide Street was in existence by the 1850s.

As Blackpool developed in the second half of the 19th century, quite a few new streets took their names from royalty: Queen Street, Princess Street, followed by Albert Road, Alexandra Road and Albert Street towards South Shore.

Queen Victoria Road at Revoe followed in Edwardian times. After the Gynn Estate was laid out at the turn of the century, roads running east from the sea front were named King George Avenue, King Edward Avenue and Empress Drive.

The new road running alongside the tramroad from the Gynn was called King’s Drive, as far as Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Queen’s Drive beyond. We now call it all Queen’s Promenade.

The section south of the Gynn, that had been developed as Claremont Park, nearly as far south as Cocker Square in the 1860s, was being called Queen’s Drive by the late 1870s.

Continuing south, the area created by sea defences around the Hotel Metropole was opened by Princess Louise, a daughter of Queen Victoria, on May 2 1912, and was duly named Princess Parade. Louise Street off Central Drive is presumably named after her, too.

In the 19th century, the stretch of promenade between Talbot Square and Hounds Hill was called Central Beach. What, from the 1930s, came to be known as the Golden Mile, from Hounds Hill to Chapel Street, was originally South Beach (which appears on the stylish entrance to the car park opposite the Pleasure Beach), before becoming part of Central Promenade by the end of the 19th century.

Since the 1920s, properties along the Promenade have been numbered with even numbers running north from Hounds Hill (between Coral Island and the Palatine Building) and odd numbers running south from there. Before that, properties were numbered within particular sections or terraces, like those created following the completion of a new promenade as far south as Station Road in 1870.

The Promenade and sea defences we all remember were built between South Shore and North Pier between 1902 and 1905, quicker than the current project. They may have had less equipment, but they may have had more men working on the scheme – and perhaps fewer stood around watching.

Beyond, the prosaically named New South Promenade to Starr Gate was opened in 1926 and, at the northern end of the borough, the Duke of Kent opened the new promenade at Anchorsholme on October 21, 1937, naming it Prince’s Way.