New £25m museum to tell Blackpool's story

New images revealed today set out the vision for Blackpool's £25m new museum if a multi-million pound bid for Lottery funding is successful.

Monday, 20th March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:04 am
An artist's impression of the proposed Blackpool Museum

Town hall chiefs submitted an application for £15m towards the ambitious project this week.

The museum inside the Winter Gardens is set to have its own entrance from Adelaide Street and will showcase more than 800 exhibits setting out the history of the country’s leading seaside resort.

A planning application has now been lodged setting out full details of the scheme, along with an application for listed building consent.

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Museum in the making finale

Coun Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “This is another really exciting step forward for the museum project and the images of how the new entrance will look will hopefully help people realise that this project continues to move forward.

“In addition to the planning application, the round two submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund will be sent off this week and we are confident that it is a strong bid which will help us turn our vision into a reality.

“Not only will this museum be a great addition to our long list of top-class attractions, it will also create real, full-time jobs and bring even more people in to the Winter Gardens to spend money.

“The business plan for the museum must work on the basis that it won’t be a financial drain on the tax payer, while still providing free entry to Blackpool locals to enjoy the museum in full, reminding everybody what a great town with a fantastic history that we are.

Museum in the making finale

“If we can proceed on that basis, we will.”

The museum would be built inside the Horseshoe and Pavilion areas of the Winter Gardens.

In order to create the new entrance, storage buildings on Adelaide Street would have to be partially demolished revealing the full architectural impact of the Pavilion Theatre.

The plans include creating permanent exhibition galleries in the existing Pavilion Theatre and the surrounding Horseshoe.

Visitors would be able to access the museum either through existing entrances to the Winter Gardens via the Floral Hall, or through the new Adelaide Street entrance .

A design brief accompanying the application says “the visual impact along Adelaide Street will be significant”.

It adds: “The reveal of the historic form of the Pavilion and Horseshoe will provide visual interest and allow members of the public to appreciate this structure from street level.”

The redevelopment of the 140-year-old Pavilion also includes protection of historical features and designers say the plans will ensure the building will “be conserved, enhanced and adapted in order to begin a new era”.

Elaine Smith, president of Blackpool Civic Trust and a board member of the Winter Gardens Trust, welcomed the proposals.

She said: “I have been trying to get a museum in Blackpool for 20 years so I’m desperate for this to happen.

“It needs to be a fun place, and I like the idea of a separate entrance.

“It’s also excellent they are proposing free entry for residents, but it also has to be sustainable.”

Work is also due to begin in October this year on a £25m new conference centre, to be built on the Leopold Grove side of the Winter Gardens.