Special Projects, Awards, Civic Week, Blue Plaques
Blackpool Civic Trust undertakes a number of projects each year. These may involve considerable work, such as the Imperial Tiles project, or funding support, such as the Town Hall windows, or to obtain approval for awards, memorials or plaques etc.
Some may be classified as continuing projects and others are done within a year as shown below.
Devonshire Road Rock Garden
Blackpool Civic Trust has been working with the Friends of the Rock Gardens to uncover and restore the impressive and extensive rock formations of the Devonshire Rock Gardens, which were opened in 1938 and are the highest point in the west Fylde.
At present volunteers are working hard on the Vista, where the original large rocks were obscured and sometimes buried beneath overgrown shrubs and the slow accumulation of soil. The view across the Gardens with its two ponds and waterfalls is now much clearer and the attractive rocks in the Vista’s flowerbed are no longer hidden from sight.
The work of the volunteers builds upon a larger project recently carried out by the Council to expose the rocks, especially around the ponds and interweaving footpaths, that had become badly overgrown. This included the pruning and selective felling of trees that had obscured the views for which the Rock Gardens - the highest point of the west Fylde - were justly famous.
Chair of Blackpool Civic Trust, Joan Humble, said: ‘We have an active group of volunteers. They have just completed the restoration of the seating and interior of a heritage “boat” tram and have in a very short time made a real impact on this new and very different project.’
The Civic Trust always welcomes new members. For further information see our membership page.
Tram 227 Restoration Project
On Thursday 25th October 2018 open top 'boat' tram 227 was rolled out following restoration work in which Blackpool Civic Trust Volunteers played a part on the internals.
See more information in reports below.
Watson Road Blue Plaque
Watson Road Park Blue Plaque was unveiled by the Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire John Barnett, attended by the Royal Signals Association, Blackpool, The Salvation Army, The Friends of Watson Park. 19th August 2018.
The plaque marks the site of the World War 1 practise trenches modelled on those of Loos, Flanders.
by John Garnham
Along with the Tower, Winter Gardens, Illuminations, Circus, Three Piers and Pleasure Beach , Blackpool has its trams, and form a strong part of its image. To ride along a promenade in an open tram or have the visual or ride experience of an illuminated one is now unique to Blackpool in the UK and rare worldwide.
Late last year (2017) a group of Civic Trust members having cleared the Health and Safety induction at Blackpool Transport began working one of the remaining "Boat" trams still here in Blackpool as part of the Civic Trust initiatives to support our heritage for the benefit of both residents and visitors.
A batch of 12 of these trams were built at Preston starting in 1934 and were extensively used for both trips along the promenade and for the popular "Circular Tour" which gave visitors a ride around the inland parts travelling along Squires Gate Lane, Lytham Rd , Waterloo Rd, Whitegate Drive, Church St and back to base at Talbot Sq. The closure of the inland routes in the early sixties killed off this business and the need for these trams thus diminished and four were scrapped . Luckily as time moved on others spotted their tourist potential , four now residing in the USA. (two at San Francisco see video link). Only three remain in Blackpool and one is popular for rides at the National Tramway Museum
Here in Blackpool riding a vintage tram is far more to many people than just getting from A to B, it's a heritage experience or a great way to just peruse the prom on a nice sunny day and we aim to help provide that opportunity.
The tram we are working on is number 602, 227 in it's original numbering and the 1934 wiring has very recently been replaced by BTS staff. Being an open top single decker with basic wooden seats you might think there would be little to do but removing the old lead based paint from the metal seat bases was just our starting point. Then it was primer painting and gloss painting and we soon developed our own "production line" to suit peoples varying interests.
In parallel some of us have been removing paint from wooden areas inside the tram ready for varnishing, and similarly treating the wooden seats themselves is a sizeable task as there are 26.
The project is proving to be a really enjoyable team effort and once all reassembled and the detail fittings sparkled then I'm sure we will all feel a great sense of satisfaction as we see it re-launched into use this summer and branded as planned as the "Charlie Cairoli" tram. A small plaque inside the tram will commemorate the Civic Trust Input another great way to advertise ourselves.
Heritage Tram Restoration Project - October 2017 to now
Blackpool Civic Trust volunteers are working to help restore the heritage trams. Volunteers are welcome to join us on Monday and Wednesday between 9.30am and 4pm every week. Please contact us for details.
Heritage Tram Component Project - August 2017 to now
The new project at Rigby Road to restore parts of vintage trams (not a whole tram) is now up and running. Blackpool Civic Trust volunteer, John Odenwalder, is seen here stripping down an old pantograph and preparing it for painting.
If you are interested in learning more about the project or are thinking about volunteering please contact our Chair, Joan, for more information. Joan?s email address is: email@example.com.
The photographs were taken by another volunteer, Stan Harrison.
Proposed Conservation Area from Gynn Square to the Castle Casino - August 2017 to now
We are starting a very exciting project to create a new conservation area on both sides of the promenade from Gynn Square to the Castle Casino ( Genting Club). It will also include The Collonades from Gynn Square to the Metropole Hotel.
A meeting took place at the Savoy Hotel on 4th August at 10am. Over 20 people attended and a number of working parties are to be set up to assess the character of the area and any areas of special note whether positive or negative.
Joan Humble, our Chairman, is championing this activity and Jan Cresswell from Blackpool Council Heritage Department is advising and supporting.
The Big Conservation Conversation was launched by Civic Voice at the 2016 Annual Convention and AGM in Chester. The concept of conservation areas was introduced in England, Wales and Scotland by the Civic Amenities Act 1967 through a private members bill led by Lord Duncan Sandys. Civic Voice now holds the annual Sandys Lecture in his name.
When conservation areas legislation was introduced there was widespread public concern over the pace of redevelopment in our historic towns and cities. Today there are over 10,000 conservation areas in the UK (approximately 9,300 in England, 500 in Wales, 650 in Scotland and 60 in Northern Ireland) reflecting the popularity of this legislative tool in identifying and protecting our most valued historic places.
Conservation area designation essentially controls the demolition of unlisted buildings over a certain size and works to protect trees, restricts permitted development rights on dwelling houses and tightens regulations on advertising. It also places a statutory duty on local planning authorities to pay special attention to preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of conservation areas while undertaking their planning duties.
In 2017 and with the support of Laura Sandys, the civic movement will be raising awareness of conservation areas.
Designating a conservation area should not be seen as an end in itself: we live in a changing world and for the historic environment to survive and continue to be cherished it needs to be positively managed. We want communities across the country to come together and say "My Conservation Area Matters".
Completing the Imperial Hotel Turkish Bath Burmantofts Tiles Project
Two photos taken on 23rd August 2017 marking the successful conclusion of a three-year long project at the Imperial Hotel.
The project's goal was to expose and clean the famous Burmantofts tiles in the former Turkish Baths, specifically, the 'hot' room and adjoining wall in the 'cooling room'. Having achieved this goal, Blackpool Civic Trust volunteers went further and removed most of the thick plaster in all three former Turkish Baths.
Jan 2017: Imperial Hotel Turkish Bath tiles and floor continues from 2014
January 2017: This week we completed a section of the ceiling in the 'cooling room' and have now begun ?steaming? and stripping one of the big beams running the entire length of the room (approximately 20 feet). This is beautifully decorated and it seems extraordinary that anyone could have decided to conceal its beauty under a coat of paint! While two members of the team have been working on the ceiling, others, including our new volunteers, have been doing equally important work, removing thick plaster from tiles and from the superb, highly ornate friezes decorating three of the four walls. In addition, we have been stripping paint from fluted columns, tiled doorways and other decorative features.
Listed Building Condition Survey Training
Blackpool Civic Trust are engaging on a new project to undertake condition surveys on the Grade II Listed Buildings in Blackpool and follow that up with the 300 Locally Listed Buildings. Some us went to training course last week and we are having a follow up practice session on the Chapel at Layton Cemetery on Tuesday 25th October. Here is the group on the first day.
Imperial Hotel Turkish Bath tiles and floor continues from 2014
Civic Trust volunteers have now finished uncovering and cleaning all the tiles, including those on the ceiling, in one room of the Turkish Bath. We have carefully removed part of the thick asphalt floor that was laid down at the same time the Burmantofts wall tiles were plastered over or in some case painted. There are signs of damage to the original mosaic floor underneath the asphalt, but we hope that this will not prove to be extensive.
The photographs were taken immediately after the asphalt was removed and prior to cleaning.
Launch 28th July 2016, Blackpool Civic Trust are undertaking another project this time we are going to be doing work on two of the Grade II Listed Tram Shelters the first shelter to be done is the one opposite Sandhurst Avenue. Both the Tram Shelters are single ones.The work to be done will include wire brushing corroded areas, sanding woodwork, priming were necessary, undercoating and glossing, all the paint will be provided by Blackpool Council.
Our work continues on the project listed in 2015 to uncover and expose the tiles in the former Turkish Baths in the Imperial Hotel. In 1901 a suite of Russian, Turkish and seawater plunge baths were built in the basement of the former wing of the hotel. The Turkish baths disappeared during major refurbishments in the 1960s.
We are very pleased to work with the Imperial Hotel and Mr Andrew Gladwell to reveal this part of Blackpool's heritage containing tiles from the famous Burmantoft Pottery in Leeds.
Several people, including members of Blackpool Civic Trust, have investigated and listed on-line the war memorials in Blackpool.
War Memorials Online is an opportunity for the public to upload images of war memorials and log concerns for their conservation for future generations.
Blackpool are the first group nationally to survey all local war memorials as part of the First World War Memorials Programme. Read more about it by clicking the link below.
Blackpool Civic Trust joins with Blackpool Council on an exciting project to clean and restore four old reels of film of historical interest. The films record the speeches of past mayors of Blackpool and were found by chance buried in the basement of the Town Hall. They have now been sent away for restoration by specialists.
Photograph of Joan Humble of Blackpool Civic Trust and Carl Carrington of Blackpool Council:
19th November 2015
Joan Humble, Chair of Blackpool Civic Trust, joined the Mayor of Blackpool, Councillor Peter Callow, to formally unveil a new Blue Heritage Plaque that celebrates the history of the area.
Mrs Humble commented, I am very pleased that the Mayor agreed to unveil this new Blue Plaque. When Aldi first announced that they were proposing to knock down the Oxford Hotel and the Sofa Bed store to create a new Aldi, I contacted their architect and discussed how best we could record the importance of Oxford Square. Over many months of talks with Blackpool Council, local historians and also local residents we decided on a Blue Plaque and also history boards to display information about the site. I hope that many people will take the time to look at the plaque and the details on the two boards and celebrate the importance of this area to the development of Blackpool.
Below L-R: The Mayor, Cllr Peter Callow; Chair of Civic Trust, Joan Humble; 2 Aldi Staff, Barry McQueen:
Below L-R: Barry McQueen, The Mayor, Cllr Peter Callow; Chair of Civic Trust, Joan Humble:
Blackpool Civic Trust are working with local bodies and the council to register Assets of Community Value which gives some protection to local buildings. Blackpool Winter Gardens and Little Marton Windmill have both been added in November 2015.
Address:97 Church Street
Asset Owner:Blackpool Council
Listing date:2 November 2015
Nominated by:Blackpool Civic Trust
Address:Preston New Road, Blackpool
Asset owner:Blackpool Council
Listing date:9 November 2015
Nominated by:Blackpool Civic Trust
Blackpool Civic Trust worked with representatives of the Comrades Club to submit an application to register it as an Asset of Community Value. We had previously worked with the Council to register it as a Locally Listed Building. This new registration provides more protection for the building if developers purchase it. We were pleased when this first application by the Civic Trust was accepted by the Council and we intend to have a wider project to look at registering many more ACVs.
Tim Pipe, Joan Humble (Chair of Blackpool Civic Trust), Freddie Gick (Chair of Civic Voice) and Steve Greenwood. Tim and Steve are from the Comrades Club
Blackpool Civic Trust worked with Blackpool Council and the Friends of Little Marton Windmill to fund and erect a blue plaque on on the windmill in March 2015.
Members of Blackpool Civic Trust have joined in a project to uncover and expose the tiles in the former Turkish Baths in the Imperial Hotel. In 1901 a suite of Russian, Turkish and seawater plunge baths were built in the basement of the former wing of the hotel. The Turkish baths disappeared during major refurbishments in the 1960s.
Joan Humble, Chair of Blackpool Trust, joined other Civic Trust members to uncover the baths. She commented After nearly 60 years it is wonderful to see something of the former Turkish Baths reappearing once again. We are very pleased to work with the Imperial Hotel and Mr Andrew Gladwell to reveal this part of Blackpool's heritage. After just two days work we can see some of the amazing glazed tiles produced by the famous Burmantoft Pottery in Leeds. I must thank those who helped and the Civic Trust hopes to continue working with the Imperial to reveal even more of this part of its past.
The Imperial was open for tours on Thursday as part of Blackpool's Heritage Open Days and over 70 people who registered for the tour were lucky enough to be the first members of the public to see the discovery.
Alison Gilmore, General Manager, said I'm thrilled at the discovery of the tiles and can't wait to see the development over the next few weeks. Thanks so much to the support and enthusiasm of Blackpool Civic Trust and Blackpool Heritage who've been getting down and dirty in our Turkish baths.
In November 2014 we discovered a new kind of tile:
The Fylde Exhibition in the Fylde Gallery at Booths in Lytham was opened on Wednesday 28th May with the Chairman of Civic Voice, Freddie Gick, The Mayor of Fylde, the Deputy Mayor of Blackpool and the Deputy Mayor of Wyre. A joint exercise by the Blackpool, Fleetwood and Lytham St Anne's Civic Societies it contains photographs of significant architecture along the Fylde Coast. It is open to the public with free entry until 4th July 2014.
The Civic Trust team cleaned the Town Hall silver.
This year we have undertaken an audit of our Blue Plaques. This has included visiting each one, taking an up to date photograph and assessing its condition.
We have added the photos to the website and are reviewing the plaques to determine whether any need replacing or repair. This includes those that are missing after building work.
In 2011 a national Civic Day was inaugurated by Civic Voice, the national body for Civic Societies. It was decided that Blackpool would hold a Civic Week with a Street Party on the Civic Day. The success of this format was acknowledged when Blackpool Civic Trust were invited to present their experience at the launch day of the 2013 Civic Day.
This launch was held at Westminster and along with representatives of Civic Societies from all over the UK was attended by the All Party Group for Civic Societies and the guest of honour, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government: Eric Pickles MP.
In 2011 after a week of events the party was held on a hot summer day. Blackpool came out in force to attend the Blackpool Civic Trust Street Party. It is estimated that 2,000 people were in St John's Square at one point. There was music from the Sixth Form College and displays and stands from other local societies, businesses and clubs. A Blackpool Corporation bus of 1960's vintage and guided tours of the Winter Gardens. A big success!
Below Elaine, the then Chairman, and Chris Norton, the then Secretary of the Blackpool Civic Trust survey the scene.
The Blackpool Civic Trust stand with helpers.
The Blackpool Town Crier, Barry McQueen.
Blackpool Sixth Form College music
Local Community Stands
Local Business Stands
In 2012 the party moved indoors to the Winter Gardens due to the weather. It has continued indoors and the 2013 Indoor Street Party is reported on our site.
Cocker Tower on Stanley Park
We got funding to put a banner/board at the bottom of the stairs to show the history of the Tower when the door is open. At the top of the stairs we have had put descriptive boards under each of the windows so that people can pick out the view (e.g. that pointed thing sticking up over there is the Tower!).
One of our popular projects last year was the renovation of the foundation stones on the newly renovated Rothwell Hall at the Unitarian Church, Lytham Road.
More projects are in the pipeline for 2009
Our main project completed in 2007 was the Heritage and Conservation Trails in Stanley Park. Funding was gained from a variety of sources, the Trail Markers were designed by the pupils at Holy Family Primary School and the trails were officially opened by the Mayor on the 23rd June.
These Trail brochures may be obtained free of charge from the Stanley Park Visitor Centre to enable you to have two very interesting (and different) walks in the park.
A George Wragge stained glass window in Blackpool Town Hall shows images based on Blackpool's 19th-century maritime heritage.
The window had previously been painted over, and since neglected. Blackpool Civic Trust was awarded ?31,600 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the George Wragge window. The project also involved stained glass workshops, volunteer led tours of the Town Hall, and a photographic exhibition created by local college students.
Amongst other PROJECTS undertaken by the Blackpool Civic Trust are:
The renovation of;
the Foundation Stone at the Salvation Army Citadel.
the Freeman of the Town Scrolls in the Town Hall.
The naming of Mawson Drive in Stanley Park.
The refurbishment of;
the Central Library stained glass window over the main entrance.
the Dreadnought Tram (later sent to Crich Tram Museum).
the original Mayor's Chair in the Town Hall.
The placing of;
a memorial stone on the site of Foulds Farm Marton.
milestones around the town (Poulton Rd and Squires Gate Lane).
the name 'Town Hall' over the Town Hall doorway.
The protecting of the stained glass window at St John's Church Blackpool.
The cleaning and labelling of the silverware and cut-glass in the Town Hall.
The planting of trees and bulbs in Stanley Park.
Photo of Blackpool Central Library Stained Glass Window.