Cash to map Gardens

The long-lost hidden spaces of the vast Winter Gardens complex will finally be exposed by a new £80,000 survey.
An £80,000 grant will help expose the hidden treasures of the Winter GardensAn £80,000 grant will help expose the hidden treasures of the Winter Gardens
An £80,000 grant will help expose the hidden treasures of the Winter Gardens

A new grant from English Heritage will help Blackpool Council understand more about the building as it continues to restore the historic site.

In the five years since repair work began, several spaces containing historical interiors that had been covered up have been discovered. which has delayed maintenance work.

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Now, a comprehensive series of architects’ drawings will be produced to help the council develop a clearer picture of the building’s condition and structure.

Coun Christine WrightCoun Christine Wright
Coun Christine Wright

A specialist team is set to use modern surveying techniques to create a detailed plan of every nook and cranny of the intricate building from decorative columns to storerooms, accurate to 1.5mm.

Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for culture and heritage, councillor Christine Wright, said: “Not knowing what’s behind a wall or where a lot of the drainage or services are does cause us problems when we’re trying to repair the building or track down the root of a particular issue.

“This will allow us to understand the structure of the building and plan for its future more effectively.

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“We also know that it was often cheaper to adapt an existing structure or cover an interior surface than build an entirely new one and this explains why every now and again, new works uncover hidden historic details.”

Blackpool Council bought the Winter Gardens, which includes the Opera House theatre, from Leisure Parcs in 2010.

Among treasures found so far are nine ornate Art Nouveau panels created by Doulton’s in 1896, which were revealed during work to re-open the Theatre Bar.

Cathy Tuck, from English Heritage, added: “We’ve been working very closely with Blackpool Council to make sure that we increase our understanding of the complex and this grant will help us build that understanding and produce a useful set of drawings to help plan for the future of the Winter Gardens.

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“We know that recent works have revealed significant amounts of historical interiors that had been covered over and this kind of survey will help us understand if and where there may be other evidence of earlier history.”