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Lighting up the history trail

Tour of Lightworks, which houses the Blackpool Illuminations.  Cameron Wilson, 11 and Ellie Wilson, 9 with Basil Brush.

Tour of Lightworks, which houses the Blackpool Illuminations. Cameron Wilson, 11 and Ellie Wilson, 9 with Basil Brush.

Did you know Walt Disney wrote to the powers-that-be in Blackpool in the 1950s to ask if he could provide some Illuminations for the resort?

“And Blackpool Corporation, as the council was then, didn’t even pay for it – that was the kind of pull Blackpool had at the time,” explains Laura Brennan, a Community Heritage assistant.

Laura is one of the people involved in Lightworks, a big industrial unit off Squires Gate that is a treasure trove of Illuminations from years gone by.

There are an estimated 20,000 pieces of photographs, slides, lighting plans, artwork and actual Illuminations from the 1920s to today inside the building.

The designs of Disney’s Illuminations are also housed there.

Usually it is closed to the public but thanks to some heritage funding, and the work of Carol Chapman, who is cataloguing each of the 20,000 pieces, it was opened up for a tour last week.

“We had a great turnout of people who were delighted to see what are really valuable pieces of history,” she said.

“There are some beautiful drawings of Illuminations from years gone by.

“Nowadays they are designed on computer but in the past they were sketched out and there are some stunning diagrams.”

The aim is to have tours on a regular basis and to open the collection up to the public.

For details about the Illuminations collection go to www.illuminationscollection.wordpress.com.

 

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