Blackpool Tower and Central Pier, Lancashire.
© Bailey-Cooper Photography/Alam
Blackpool’s light fantastic. Blackpool Illuminations
As the summer season comes to an end, this famous Lancashire seaside resort gears up for its main event. Blackpool Illuminations have been an annual fixture in the town every year since the end of World War Two. But the first illuminations took place as far back as 1879, when eight arc lamps were erected on the Promenade, attracting much interest at a time when people used candles to light their homes. The first large-scale illuminations arrived in May 1912, when 10,000 lights were used to decorate the Promenade for Blackpool’s first royal visit. The event would be a bit on and off for the following decades due to two world wars but got going again in earnest in 1949, and have grown in size and scale as time has gone by.
These days, more than one million lights festoon six miles of the Promenade, covering buildings, trams, piers, fairground rides and Blackpool Tower, alongside illuminated tableaux and interactive installations. The Illuminations run for 66 nights a year and cost more than £2m to put on – the electricity bill alone is thought to run to around £50,000. However, it is estimated they bring in about £250m of extra revenue to this north-west English town.
In recent years, the event has switched to LED lights and renewable energy sources to bring down the bill and the carbon footprint, while still attracting about 3.5m visitors a year to this corner of the Fylde Coast.