Back to the 30s on the Prom!

NOW AND THEN: Jo Berry with her recreation of the 1930s fluted pylons and (below) the original.
NOW AND THEN: Jo Berry with her recreation of the 1930s fluted pylons and (below) the original.
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A NOSTALGIC return to the 1930s has officially been launched as part of this year’s Illuminations.

Artist Jo Berry has created five new fluted pylons, based on those which were part and parcel of Blackpool’s festival of light over 70 years ago.

The original 1930s fluted pylons on Blackpool Promenade.

The original 1930s fluted pylons on Blackpool Promenade.

Jo participated in her very own Switch-On on Wednesday night, when she lit up the multicoloured creations.

The pylons are situated on Princess Parade, where the original Illuminations were sited in 1912.

She said: “They were lovely and they looked fantastic in the dark.

“I wanted to keep the essence of the original fluted pylons from the 1930s and I love the idea of working with 3D objects.”

Jo is originally from Burnley, although she now lives in Derbyshire, and regularly visited the Illuminations during her childhood.

She admitted it had been a privilege to work on the pylons, and recalled her own early visits to the resort which provided inspiration for her artwork.

She said: “I have memories of being in wonder sitting in the back of the car.

“I remember the plastic domed buckets with things inside.

“I loved them and doing this brings back all of those nostalgic memories of wonder.”

As part of the project, which was commissioned by Blackpool Council Arts Service, Jo spent time working with two community groups in the resort.

She visited both the Claremont Community Group and the City Learning Centre, in Grange Park, where she helped the groups work on art inspired by collections from the 1930s.

She said: “They were absolutely wonderful people to work with and we did some great drawings.”

Jo has previously had work displayed in the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London, and as part of Arts council England collections.

Clancy Mason, arts engagement manager at Blackpool council Arts service, first came up with the idea of reinterpreting the original fluted pylons as part of the centenary celebrations.

She said: “I saw a photo of the original 1930s pylons. I thought they were just stunning and that it would be a great opportunity to work with an artist to reinterpret those in a contemporary way.

“The 1930s era seemed quite inspirational so when I approached Jo about it she was very excited about that.”

Clancy added the feedback towards the artwork has been extremely positive so far.

She said: “I’ve had a couple of phone calls from people who are really delighted with the project.

“I’s a great way to get out of your car and engage with the Illuminations in a more personal way.

“When you see them in person they’re just stunning.”

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