For those walking on the beach opposite Tiffany’s Hotel in the Promenade, North Shore, have spotted an unusual sight this week – a metal stump poking out of the ground.
While buoys, rubbish and even a 380m ship – the Riverdance in 2008 – have washed up on the resort’s coastline in recent years, the object has left some puzzled – except for the manager of Blackpool’s Beach Patrol team, Rick Williams.
He said: “In 30 years working in the town I have never anything quite like it before.
“But I am fairly certain it is something called a caisson. It is a pipe with ahead on it and is a water intake which leads inland.
“I think it is something to do with the old Derby Road baths, close to where the Hilton Hotel is now. At high tide, the owners of the baths used to suck seawater in through the pipe and after cleaning it, would use it to fill the pool.
“The only other place which might have used it is an old diving shop in Dickson Road, but that is going back 50 years.”
The Derby Baths opened in 1939 and was home to the annual Amateur Swimming Association Centralised Championships, Water Polo, and Synchronised Swimming Championships.
In its heyday it could host more than 1,000 swimmers a day and had a capacity for 1,800 spectators.
But in the late 1980s the number of people visiting the baths began to drop, with the building demolished in 1990.
All which remains of the pool is a small patch of grass next to the Hilton Hotel on the Promenade.
Mr Williams said the small pipe outlet has only just been seen following a drop in sand levels of 4ft to 5ft, in part due to the town’s new sea defences.
He added: “The defences, as fantastic as they are, have created lateral currents. The water is hitting the headlands which change the way sandbanks form.
“The pipe used to be under a sand mound but a U-shape has formed on this part of the beach in a gulley, exposing the top.”