New era for historic Grade II listed Blackpool hotel

A historic Blackpool hotel is set for a new era in 2022 after a £400,000 refurbishment saw its crumbling facades repaired.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 4:25 pm

Heritage guardians had raised concerns about the condition of the Grade II listed former Clifton Hotel in Talbot Square back in 2016.

Repair work eventually began at the start of last year after the council contributed a £178,300 grant towards the improvements, with the rest coming from the property’s owner Juniper Overseas Ltd.

The council funding came from the Quality Corridors Property Improvement Fund (PIF), which is part of Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal Fund and the Local Transport Fund.

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The newly refurbished Forshaw's Hotel

The 90-bedroom hotel, which had been operating as part of the Ibis brand, has now been renamed Forshaw’s Hotel in a throwback to the original property on the site.

In its heyday as The Clifton, Frank Sinatra stayed there while in Blackpool to perform at the Opera House in the 1950s.

Joan Humble, chairman of Blackpool Civic Trust which had originally raised concerns over the neglect of the landmark, said she was pleased with the work which had been done.

She said: “It is looking so much better now. There was a lot of external work on the upper floors which needed doing, and a delay with the lower floors.

The hotel has been renamed

“But now it is really looking good. It is a prime site in Blackpool, and a historic building ad we’re really pleased it has been refurbished and it can take pride of place once again in this key location.”

Mrs Humble said members of the Civic Trust had monitored progress while work was being carried out, and would continue to keep an eye on the building.

She added: “Having made such a good job of it, it is important to maintain the building into the future.

“So I hope the hotel remains in good condition for many years. As work is needed it should be done promptly.

“The building had deteriorated into a shocking condition, and we don’t want to see that happen again.

“And it is also pleasing to see it renamed Forshaw’s Hotel, harking back to the origins of the building and reminding people of the history of that important Blackpool site.”

Images from 2016 showed cracks had appeared in the frontage of the hotel, there was peeling paintwork, a smashed window and a boarded up window.

Independent councillor Maxine Callow also highlighted the poor state of the structure, warning a meeting of the council in June 2019, it was “getting tattier and tattier by the day.”

Work has included essential repairs to the external facade and structure including full redecoration plus re-rendering to a significant area.

Timber has been repaired, brickwork and stonework repointed at high levels, and new drainage infrastructure installed. The work also included replacement of slate and flat roof areas.

The hotel, which was granted listed status in 1974, stands on the site of the Forshaw’s Hotel, one of four of the oldest inns in Blackpool dating from the 1780s.

According to English Heritage the original Forshaw’s was a Georgian building.

When the Clifton Arms Hotel was built around 1865, it was entered through the original Forshaw’s building from the seafront.

The Georgian Forshaw’s block on the western side of the building was demolished and rebuilt by the following summer in an Italianate style by 1876.

Features include decorated arched windows and a Tuscan porch.

The hotel’s more recent history includes being taken over by Yorkshire-based Brook Leisure in 2008, which invested around £9m in the property.

The property was operated as a Travelodge until 2013 when it became an Ibis Styles as part of a franchise agreement.

Ground floor premises, which previously housed Che Bar and CoCo Club have remained empty for many years.

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