What's happened to warm-glow windmill?

WHATEVER happened to the illuminated windmill on the Promenade opposite Waterloo Road?

That’s the question from Shrewsbury civil servant Chris Wynne, a regular visitor who is back in Blackpool this weekend with family and friends for a last glimpse of the 2007 Illuminations.

Chris says: “I appreciate the windmill was moved for work to the headland. But does anyone know if it will be returned there, or has it been relocated, or – unthinkably – destroyed?

“It is almost as much an icon to me as the Tower itself. My earliest memories as a child at Blackpool recall reaching the Lytham Road/Waterloo Road traffic lights junction and seeing the windmill in the distance on the Prom.

“As a small child, I stayed with my parents at Birches Holiday apartments for a number of years, so we were right by the windmill.

Chris is not the only one hoping that the windmill will once again have wind in its sails.

Regular readers of The Gazette will know that residents Christine and Frank Harris have been campaigning for its re-siting over the past three years, since the structure was removed and stored in the Rigby Road Illuminations workshops.

But the windmill has been moved before: It arrived in Waterloo Road in 1963, its original home, from 1931, being Manchester Square.

According to The Gazette archives, back in 1957, readers were asking about its disappearance while repairs were carried out to the roof of the building on which it sat.

Ironic

Then in 1963, council bosses were still trying to find an alternative site because of pumping station improvements at Manchester Square.

Harrowside Solarium, South Shore Open Baths, Gynn Square and Pembroke Gardens (today home to the Hilton Hotel), were all ruled out as new homes, as – ironically – was the Waterloo Road junction, although somebody obviously had a change of heart.

According to The Gazette in May 1963: “What the Illuminations department doesn’t want to do is to consign to the scrap heap a feature of the Lights that everybody knows and would miss.”

Four decades on, the current council policy, according to a spokeswoman, is: “While it’s a possibility the windmill could be re-erected and relocated, this would require significant funds being raised in order to restore the windmill to working condition.”