A BRIEF HISTORY OF BLACKP0OL.
A 12,000-year-old animal skeleton (the Carleton Elk) found with barbed arrowheads near Blackpool Sixth Form College in 1970 provided the first evidence of humans living on the Fylde as far back as the Palaeolithic era. The Fylde was also home to a British tribe, the Setantii (the "dwellers in the water") a sub-tribe of the Brigantes, who from about AD80 were controlled by Romans from their fort at Dowbridge, Kirkham. During the Roman occupation the area was covered by oak forests and bog land.
Some of the earliest villages on the Fylde, which were later to become part of Blackpool, were named in the Domesday Book in 1086. Many of them were Anglo-Saxon settlements. Some though were 9th and 10th century Viking place names. The Vikings and Anglo Saxons seem to have co-existed peacefully with some Anglo Saxon and Viking place names later being joined together - such as Layton-with-Warbreck and Bispham-with-Norbreck. Layton was controlled by the Butlers, Barons of Warrington from the 12th century.
ROMAN AND MEDIEVAL TIMES
During Roman times, the Fylde, was an area of oak forests and impassable bogs. The inhabitants were known as the Setantii or Segantii, "the dwellers in the country of water". The Romans built a road through Preston to a settlement outside Kirkham fort and this continued westwards, probably towards a Roman port (Portus Setantiorum) thought to be situated two miles north of Fleetwood at the point where the River Wyre discharges into the Lune Deeps.
Blackpool's early boundaries were within the township of Layton with Warbreck, part of the manor of Layton, which together with Bispham and Norbreck formed the ancient parish of Bispham or Biscopham as recorded in the Domesday Book. In 1416 members of the powerful Butler family were granted manorial rights over much of the Fylde coast area, including "Le pull". This "pool" or "pull" was a stream draining the mile square Marton Mere into the sea near the present day Manchester Square. The peat lands through which the stream ran had the effect of discolouring the water, hence the name Black Poole.
Reproduced courtesy of Francis Frith.
17TH CENTURY BLACKPOOL
In 1602 entries in the Bispham parish baptismal register mention "de Poole" and "de blackpoole", at that time a collection of cobble and clay huts spread along the coast near to the "Pool". However, by the end of the century a number of the landed gentry, led by the Tyldesleys of Foxhall, had settled in the area.
18TH CENTURY BLACKPOOL
The Fylde coast began to attract visitors from the landed gentry by the 1720's and in 1735 a cottage owned by Ethart a' Whiteside became the first 'guest house' used especially for visitors. In 1750 drainage dykes were cut from the Marton Mere to the River Wyre effectively reducing the size of the lake from around one square mile to 15 acres. By 1780 the emerging resort could boast four substantial hotels and four ale houses registered in Blackpool with two more in Layton.
19TH CENTURY BLACKPOOL
The 19th Century saw the rapid development of Blackpool as a major resort for the industrial working classes of Lancashire and Yorkshire. In 1801 the towns population stood at 473, only a century later it had reached 47,348.
The railway was introduced to the area in 1840 and by 1846 the railway had reached Talbot Road allowing the development of cheap excursion trains from industrial Lancashire and Yorkshire and for the first time bringing many thousands of working people to the resort.
Reproduced courtesy of Francis Frith.
In 1863 the Canasta Hotel was built by the Blackpool Sands Building Company. How do we know? We got the deeds!!
Many of Blackpool's most famous attractions were built in the second half of the nineteenth century including, North Pier (1863) Central Pier (1868) South Pier (1894) the Tower (1894), the Grand Theatre (1894) and the gigantic wheel at the Winter Gardens (1896).Blackpool was also the first place in the world to have electric street lighting in 1879, with the installation of the electric arc street lighting system.
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. The minicipal baths at Cocker St were later built in his name - we spent many a happy hour in there during the 70's
20TH CENTURY BLACKPOOL
In 1904 the rapidly developing town was constituted as a County Borough, a status the town retained until the 1974 reorganization of local government. In April 1998 Blackpool Borough Council regained this Unitary Status.
Many more of Blackpool's famous attractions were developed in the early part of the twentieth century including the Pleasure Beach (1905) and Stanley Park (1926). The Illuminations were first created in 1912, the means to extend the holiday season by a massive eight weeks more than their competitors.
During the Second World War tourism reduced but Blackpool welcomed over three quarters of a million servicemen to be given their initial training in the Winter Gardens. Post War Blackpool has seen a marked shift from rail to road transportation. In 1964 Central station was closed and the area was immediately developed to produce additional car parking. In 1975 the M55 opened, linking Blackpool to the national motorway network. In January 1986 the land of the former railway line was used to build the link road, Yeadon Way, from the motorway to one of the largest open area car parks in the country, catering for the ever increasing demand for car and coach parking. The 1970's and 80's brought competition from continental holidays and from the consequent higher expectations of visitors. Blackpool adjusted as it has throughout its history, by providing mini breaks, en-suite facilities, and major indoor facilities such as the Sandcastle and the Sea Life Centre.
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Having stayed at the Canasta Hotel earlier in the year, I could not have enjoyed a more relaxing time. [View more comments]