|| Blackpool derived its
name from a stream running from the one square mile Marton Mere, to
the sea at present day Manchester Square. The peat bogs through which
the stream ran discoloured the water, hence the name ‘Black
In 1416 the powerful Butler family was granted manorial rights
over most of the Fylde coast area, including the small settlement
simply known as “Pul", while in 1602 entries in the Bispham
parish register mention both “Poole” and, for the first
At that time Blackpool was just a collection of cobble and clay huts
spread along the coast, however, by the end of the 17th century
the gentry, led by the Tyldesleys of Foxhall, had settled in the area.
With its views of the Irish Sea, it wasn’t long before Blackpool
began to draw in the visitors. Initially it was mainly friends of
the Tyldesleys who went horse riding on the beach throughout the 18th
By the middle of the century there were four local inns where
guests could stay and the innkeepers, John Forshaw, Thomas Gaulter,
John Hebson and Richard Hodkinson, were listed in the 1755 Ale House
Blackpool’s main attraction was the sea, with sea bathing and
the drinking of seawater a national craze during this period. Apparently
a bell was sounded when it was time for ladies to bathe, and any gentleman
found on the shore was fined.
The dawning of a new century saw the rapid development of Blackpool
as a major resort for the industrial working classes of Lancashire
and Yorkshire. In 1801 the town’s population was just 473 but
within 100 years it had reached 47,348.
In 1840 the railway was introduced in the area and by 1846
it had reached Talbot Road allowing the development of cheap excursion
trains, and so Blackpool, the summer holiday resort was born.
Many of Blackpool's most famous attractions were built in the second
half of the 19th century including, North Pier (1863), Central
Pier (1868), South Pier (1894), Blackpool Tower
(1894), the Grand Theatre (1894), and the Winter Gardens
Municipal history in Blackpool began in this period when the new town
was granted a Charter of Incorporation as a Borough on the
21st January 1876. Dr William Henry Cocker was the first mayor.
Illuminated trams were seen in Blackpool as part of the celebrations
for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in 1897, but the first lights
to grace the Promenade were erected in 1912. The
Illuminations were well received, and so one of Blackpool’s
most loved traditions was started.
Many more of the resort’s attractions were developed in the
early 20th century including the Pleasure Beach (1905) and
Stanley Park (1926).
In the later part of that century there was a marked shift from rail
to road access to Blackpool, with the closing of Central station in
1964 to make way for a car park. Then in 1975 the M55 opened, linking
Blackpool to the national motorway network.
The 1970s and 80s brought competition from continental holidays but
Blackpool adjusted by providing mini breaks, en suite facilities,
and major indoor facilities such as the Sandcastle and the
Sea Life Centre.
And despite the increasing number of budget airlines and cheap package
holidays, Blackpool has continued to bring in the crowds every summer,
making it the busiest tourist resort in Europe with some 17
million visitors a year.