A trip to The Imperial reminded us of how the Victorians were years ahead of their time with their Turkish baths - writes Andy Mitchell

Did you see Michael Buerk’s programme about Blackpool on Saturday night?

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 6:00 am
Tower construction

“How the Victorians built Britain” moved on to the seaside with a brilliant hour long appraisal of the town’s formative years at the hands of some of the 19th century’s foremost architects and designers.

There’s no doubt about it, this was the era of wild ideas with a secure business head. We learned how North Pier was built to cater for the promenading ladies of the late Victorian era, and how they weren’t too keen on having to share their new attraction with everyone else. Central Pier was then built to cater for the fun and dance loving millions, a position it still revels in today over a century later.

At a time when we are once again seeing massive expansion over a period of thirty years or so, Blackpool is more than ready to take on a whole new raft of ideas and designs. Indeed the programme must only have been made a few weeks ago, because we saw work on the Sands Building taking shape with the glass cladding already added.

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A trip to The Imperial reminded us of how the Victorians were years ahead of their time with their Turkish baths. I also loved the camera angle in the main reception as a drone almost chased the delightful General Manager Alison down one of her own corridors!

Bryan at Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours gave Michael a tour and a short lesson of one of the town’s vintage trams, and we also heard about the Victorians gasping in awe at the very first illuminations.

Blackpool needs more programmes like this, not just looking at how we got to where we are, but also highlighting the second building revolution over a hundred years later. I’ve said before in this column that we are called “Progress” for a reason. The work must never stop, and yes it’s going to attract comments from all over town, just as it did back then.

I’d also wager that Sir John Bickerstaffe cast an eye over comments in The Gazette, much as we do with the social media columns, and wondered if Brenda from Bispham might actually know as much about town and business planning as he did.