Illuminations

 
 

 

 

 

Blackpool Illuminations represent a tradition going back over 120 years to 1879 when they shone for the very first time.  They consisted then of eight arc lamps which were referred to as ‘artificial sunshine’, producing nearly 50,000 candlepower of light.  These were the first electric street lights in the country, perhaps even the entire world, and there was tremendous public interest in the event with up to 100,000 people traveling to the town to watch the display. 

The lights next shone in May 1912 to commemorate the visit of Princess Louise who arrived to open a newly built part of the Promenade. This time an estimated 10,000 bulbs were employed, and the event was considered so successful that it was repeated in September of the same year, attracting thousands of visitors.  The Princess Parade illuminations were staged again in September 1913 and the public responded so enthusiastically that there was talk of making them into an annual event.  However all such thoughts had to be set aside due to the outbreak of the Great War in 1914.

Blackpool Illuminations were shown again in 1925 and these were on a far more extensive level than before, running for over a mile in length, and were now recognised as an important holiday attraction.  They began to be displayed annually, and   by   the year 1932 the lights ran for their present distance of almost six miles stretching from Red Bank Road to Squire’s Gate, with improvements such as the addition of tableaux.  Apart from the unavoidable exceptions of the Second World War and the fuel restrictions imposed for the following four years Blackpool lights have been presented every year ever since – from 1949 to the present time. The modern Blackpool Illuminations are an amazing spectacle lasting sixty six consecutive nights throughout September and October into the first days of November, comprising every kind of light imaginable.  These include fibre optics, spotlights, neon, laserbeams, animated displays and many others.  The entire length of the Promenade is lit up, including the piers, amusements arcades and hotels along the sea front. Blackpool Tower itself is decorated with ten thousand light bulbs and has a recently installed laser beam which is the largest in Britain and shines every evening throughout the festival. Illuminations Express - Travel through the spectacle in first class comfort with commentary provided by guides.  Evenings at 8.00 pm, throughout the lights, except for turn on night.

The lights have also become the focal point for many other activities and attractions. The Blackpool Illuminations switch on is a keynote event in the Uk tourism calendar and the resort's biggest night of the year. The ceremony is always conducted by a famous celebrity, and there is a concert with well known artistes which is broadcast live on BBC radio. The stunning parade of the Honda Goldwings takes place during the lights as do the World Fireworks Championships which are held on September weekends.

Every year new features are added to enhance and improve the display. For example Local Heads was introduced, representing the outcome of a nationwide competition, which for the first time enabled members of the public to contribute their own ideas. Two hundred and eighty eight people from across the country had the chance to see depictions of their heads in a colourful design based on portraits. It was influenced from a visual point of view by 1960's style Pop Art, with the heads forming a line of portraits stretched along the prom. New characters have also been added to the Dr Who section on the Golden Mile, such as the Tardis, Daleks and others. Illuminated high tech triumphal arches have been erected at the entrances at either ends of the display, providing useful details of events held in the resort. The famous designer and television presenter Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has made important contributions for the past two years, his Venus Reborn is a Theatre Tableaux , the first of its kind to be created for the Promenade, and it lasts for fifteen minutes combining light, sound and water effects, evocative of beauty. The illuminations are an important tourist attraction in the UK. Our Blackpool holiday flats are open during the autumn period as well as the summer months, and we provide short breaks in addition to accommodation for weekly stays. The illuminations are often referred to as Blackpool Lights, although recently the term has come to be used in a different sense. Fireworks have become an important aspect of the autumn seaon. For information regarding the illuminations of different years please see relevant dates: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 . 2012, 2013

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