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Town Centre Conservation Area Extension of Boundaries

February 2015


1.    Introduction

2.    Policy Background

3.    Historical Development of Blackpool

4.    Summary of Special Interest

5.    Location and Setting

6.    Character and Appearance

7.    Building Materials and Architectural Features

8.    Open Spaces and Views

9.    Public Realm

10.  Assessment of Streets

11.  Opportunities for Enhancement



1.           Introduction 

1.1         The Town Centre Conservation Area was designated in 1984.  It was originally named the Talbot Square Conservation Area and was centred on Talbot Square, the historic civic and commercial core of Blackpool.  It was renamed and extended in 2005 following a conservation area appraisal and conservation area management plan being produced by Paul Butler Associates in 2004 in preparation for the lottery-funded Townscape Heritage Initiative, which offers grants to owners of historic buildings in conservation areas for repair and restoration of lost features.  

1.2         The extended boundary included Clifton Street, Abingdon Street, Church Street and Cedar Square, but key buildings such as the Winter Gardens, Grand Theatre and the Central Library were deliberately excluded on the premise that they would impose an unreasonable financial burden on the relatively limited funding available for the initiative.  The THI exit strategy recommended that the boundaries should be revised once the scheme came to an end in 2012.   

1.3         In 2008 the Architectural History Practice Limited (AHP) was commissioned by Blackpool Council to prepare historic townscape characterisation assessments of eight areas of Blackpool, including the Town Centre, to inform the Council about the heritage value of the areas as part of the development of regeneration proposals. 

1.4         The main recommendations to come out of the characterisation assessments were the designation of a number of new conservation areas, and the establishment of a list of historic buildings of local architectural and/or historical interest (Local List).  In particular, the report for the Town Centre Characterisation Assessment stated that there was merit in extending the Conservation Area boundaries.  Although this would include some buildings of more negative townscape value, the larger Conservation Area would enable all of the essential elements of Blackpool’s historic town centre to be encompassed.  It would also include more of the historic street pattern which contributes to the area’s historic significance.  

1.5         AHP’s recommendations were taken forward with a local designation review, beginning with the establishment of a Local List.  The Local List has now been established, and so far 200 buildings have been formally adopted including those in the town centre.  The list for the whole borough should be complete by late summer 2014.      

1.6         On 9 September 2013 executive approval was received to produce a Conservation Area Appraisal for an extension of the Town Centre Conservation Area to include all the elements which contribute to its distinct character and demonstrate its historic place as a leader in mass tourism.  The proposed new boundaries were Springfield Road to the north of the area, Topping Street to the east, the Promenade to the west and Adelaide Street to the south.  

1.7         Public consultation on the appraisal and suggested boundaries was carried out by publishing notices in Your Blackpool, which is circulated to every household in Blackpool, site notices were fixed around the proposed extended Conservation Area, and a public meeting was held at the Town Hall on 4 December 2014.  No written representations were received as a result of the public consultation.

1.8         This Conservation Area Appraisal for the extension of the boundaries should be read in conjunction with the Appraisal produced in 2005 by Butler Associates for the remainder of the town centre.


2.           Policy Background


2.1         A Conservation Area is an “area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance”, as set out in Section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.  

2.2         Under this legislation, local authorities have a duty to designate such areas and to review them, and to use their planning powers to safeguard and enhance the special qualities of these areas within a framework of managing change with a positive approach. Designation automatically entails control over the demolition of unlisted buildings, strengthens controls over minor development and gives special protection to trees within the area.  

2.3         The National Planning Policy Framework recognises that heritage assets, including conservation areas, are an irreplaceable resource and should be conserved in a manner appropriate to their significance.  When considering the designation of conservation areas, local planning authorities are required to ensure that an area justifies such status.  This justification exists in the current designation, and the collection of listed and locally listed buildings outside the conservation area but which are contemporary with historical development within it, justifies its extension.  


2.4         At a regional level, English Heritage supported Blackpool through the process of examining the town in the context of a World Heritage Site based on its claim to be the first mass market seaside resort and the site of the earliest working class consumer economy.  The support and interest of English Heritage North West office in the bid was demonstrated by the funding of the Characterisation programme by them.


2.5         The Blackpool Local Plan Part 1: Core Strategy - Revised Preferred Option points out that Blackpool, as the world’s first seaside resort for the masses, has a rich and well recognised social and built heritage, with the town’s past success founded on iconic and innovative Victorian landmarks.  Development proposals would be supported which respect and draw inspiration from Blackpool’s built, social and cultural heritage, complementing its rich history with new development to widen its appeal to residents and visitors.  The strategy states that the Council will seek to safeguard heritage assets from inappropriate development, and strengthen the existing character created by historic buildings.  Extending the Conservation Area in the historic centre would enable the delivery of this policy underpinned by a Conservation Area Management Plan. 

2.6         Blackpool Council’s Heritage Strategy 2006-10 set out a vision for using the town’s built heritage as a tool for regenerating the town as a world-class resort destination.  The Strategy noted, however, that much of our built heritage itself was in need of regeneration. The authentic core was there, but unsympathetic accretions and alterations over the years had detracted from its historic character.  Extending the boundaries of the Conservation Area would strengthen development management control leading to enhancement of the character by the restoration of lost architectural detailing in the longer term, and ensuring high quality new development appropriate to the character of the area.  Approval has recently been received to produce a new Built Heritage Strategy which will continue the aspirations of the earlier strategy, whilst underpinning the delivery of a number of outcomes from the local designation review. 

2.7         The Town Centre Strategy was published in 2013, and the extended Conservation Area would facilitate the delivery of the Strategy’s objectives of lifting the quality of the retail and entertainment environment. 


3.           Historical Development of Blackpool

3.1         In the early eighteenth century very few visitors braved the journey to Blackpool, which consisted mainly of a few humble cottages straggled along the shoreline, and Fox Hall itself, a large late medieval half timbered house belonging to the Tyldesley family[1].  By the end of the eighteenth century, however, the town had become a fashionable sea bathing resort for the wealthy, and the first visitor accommodation was built to meet this demand[2]

3.2         By the late 1780s there were about 50 houses on the seafront and, by the early 1820s the population excluding visitors was about 750. The steady growth through the first half of the 19th century was focused along the one mile stretch of coastline. 

3.3         Blackpool’s great expansion was due to the resort’s growing popularity with working people from the Lancashire and Yorkshire textile districts.  By the 1830s there were more than a thousand visitors a year.  However, further expansion was hampered by the town’s relative remoteness and patterns of landholding.

3.4         The town became more accessible with the opening of the Preston and Wyre railway to Blackpool North station in 1846.  By 1848 Talbot Road had replaced Church Street as the principle east-west thoroughfare, linking the north railway station with the Promenade.  The line of Dickson Road was laid out in the early 19th century, running inland from the coast, connecting to a lane along the coast south of Cocker Square. 

3.5         Town centre development surged forward in the 1850s when Blackpool’s principal shopping area was conceived, and by the late 1860s the fields surrounding Upper Church Street, Topping Street and Edward Street were developed.  Bank Hey Street, Church Street, Market Street and West Street, and later Abingdon Street, Birley Street and Clifton Street (named for the wealthy Clifton family who owned much of the land on which Blackpool was built) became the heart of Blackpool’s commercial centre in the late 19th century.  

3.6         Springfield Road, Queen Street, Birley Street, Church Street, Edward Street, Cedar Square, Topping Street and Deansgate were mainly lodging houses with a handful of tradesmen.  The streets closest to the Promenade were the first to respond to commercial pressures, and ground floors began to be converted to retail or other businesses.  For example by 1866 most of Church Street was retail.  Streets further east were slower to respond.  By 1904 Topping Street was 50% commercial and 50% lodging houses.  However, by the 1930s every street in the extended conservation area, with the exception of Springfield Road and Adelaide Street, had been converted to office or retail premises. 

3.7         The town’s requirements for affordable, mass holiday accommodation resulted in a distinctive range of specialised housing known as ‘company housing’, built to provide lodging houses for working class holiday-makers.  These were similar in appearance to Lancashire urban terraced housing, but built and planned on a larger scale with long outshuts filling most of the rear yards, and with large single or 2-storey bay windows to the front.  The larger lodging houses closest to the sea were built with basements and attics, with steps up to the front doors and letting rooms arranged over four floors.  Those on Springfield Road are relatively intact examples of this building type (fig. 1).

Fig. 1 Former lodging houses on Springfield Road
Fig.1 Former Lodging houses, Springfield Road


3.8         Blackpool’s second railway station, Central Station, the terminus of the Blackpool and Lytham Railway to the south-west of Albert Road, was opened in 1863 (closed in 1964).  The transport links were conveniently placed for entertainment complexes, the central shopping district and also the boarding houses to the south of the Winter Gardens.

Fig. 3  Former Springfield Road Methodist Church adjacent to Grade II listed Central Library
Fig.3 Former Springfield Road Methodist Church adjacent to Grade II listed Central Library


Fig. 2  Baptist Tabernacle on Springfield Road
Fig.2 Baptist Tabernacle, Springfield Road


In addition, the construction of North and Central piers, and a new promenade which was both a tourist attraction and part of the town’s sea defences, helped attract the development of respectable accommodation, and new streets were laid out in a grid behind the seafront.




3.9         South of Church Street and west of King Street boarding houses and residential properties were being constructed from the 1880s on newly laid-out streets; Adelaide Street and Albert Road were the principal east-west streets, with shorter streets such as Leopold Grove and Alfred Street crossing north-south.  The location of Adelaide Street and Albert Road to the east of Central Station was prominent and convenient for holiday makers, hence the high proportion of high-quality boarding houses, although there were also some private residences.      

3.10       Contemporary with the development of the boarding house district, the spiritual needs of the community and the growing number of visitors were met by a range of churches and chapels.  Before 1821, the nearest parish church for Blackpool was at All Hallows in Bispham.  St John’s Church was consecrated in 1821, and the current building was completed in 1878.  Until Sacred Heart Church was constructed in Talbot Road in 1857, Catholic services were held in the cellars of the Railway Hotel a few yards further up the road on the corner of Abingdon Street.  

3.11       Nonconformist chapels and churches on Dickson Road included the Mount Pleasant Wesleyan Chapel, first built in 1888 on the corner of Cocker Street and replaced by the present grade II listed North Shore Methodist Church and school rooms in 1907.  The Unitarian Church on the corner of Banks Street opened in 1873 (now converted to apartments).  Victorian church spires still act as landmarks along Dickson Road, the main route north-south through the area.  The Baptist Tabernacle and Sunday school were built at the west end of Springfield Road in 1904 (fig. 2) replacing an earlier building used as a school, and Springfield Road Methodist Church opened in 1889 (fig. 3). 

Fig. 4  Locally listed bank on Corporation Street
Fig.4 Locally listed bank, Corporation Street

3.12       Several non-conformist churches and chapels were built in the town centre in the mid 19th century although they were demolished in the second half of the twentieth century to make way for shops.  Most of the remaining historic churches across the town are now on the local list to help control their loss.    

3.13       Banks, public houses and theatres and, from the early 20th century, cinemas were also constructed to service and entertain the growing resident and visitor population.  Many of these buildings survive relatively intact across town and within the conservation area, and are included on the local list (fig. 4).      


3.14       Mapping shows the rapid development of the town between the boundaries of the Conservation Area, and beyond (figs. 5, 6 and 7).  However, streets to the north of Springfield Road are not included because, although they were contemporary with historical development of the area, the level of change is too high to merit Conservation Area designation.  In particular, the proliferation of sun lounge extensions to the fronts of properties undermines the historic character of these streets.  Limited information on peripheral streets has, however, been included in this document to demonstrate their contextual development.  Candidates for the local list in those areas will be treated on their individual merits. 

Fig. 7 Detail on 1893 OS map
Fig.7 Detail on 1893 OS map (1:2500)


Fig. 6  Detail of 1877 street plan
Fig. 6 Detail of 1877 street plan


Fig. 5  Detail of 1848 OS map
Fig.5 Detail of 1848 OS map (1:10560)















[1] Eyre, Kathleen Seven Golden Miles Dalesman Books, 1989, p. 15

[2] Talbot Square Townscape Heritage Initiative Conservation Area Appraisal  Paul Butler Associates, p.4

4.           Summary of Special Interest

4.1         The western part of the Conservation Area is formed by grand buildings around Talbot Square.  The Town Hall, North Pier and the War Memorial are all listed Grade II.  The Clifton Hotel is also grade II and, together with the locally listed Metropole Hotel, provided some of the first purpose-built accommodation for visitors.  There are also important public buildings such as Abingdon Street Post Office, St John’s Parish Church, Sacred Heart RC Church and the Winter Gardens complex, together with eleven listed K6 telephone kiosks.  Away from Talbot Square the character is generally formed by smaller more functional buildings, most of which were in use as shops by the 1920’s.   However, the town centre is probably secondary in character and importance to the Promenade and seafront buildings, including the Tower. 

4.2         The increasing visitor population in the 1870s prompted the rise of a new sort of commercial entertainment, with large-scale theatrical presentations heralding the modern world of show business. The first purpose-built theatre was the Theatre Royal (later Yates -1868), followed by pleasure gardens at Raikes Hall estate in 1872 and from 1878 by the Winter Gardens (grade II*).  Blackpool became the resort with the greatest number of attractions in Europe, crowned in the 1890s by the opening of the Tower in 1894 (grade I), followed by the Grand Theatre (grade II*), Empress Ballroom, gigantic wheel, the Alhambra (1899), a third Pier (1893), and the Pleasure Beach. 


Fig. 8 Former lodging house with modernised box bay on Queen Street
Fig. 8 Former lodging house with modernised box bay, Queen Street

4.3         By 1866 Church Street was mainly retail and commercial, and the streets of lodging houses to the north as far as Queen Street and eastwards to Topping Street were beginning to yield to commercial pressures.  By 1904 this had resulted in a mix of lodging houses and business premises with shop fronts inserted to the ground floors, and first floor bays or picture windows installed above the shop entrance so that the upper rooms could continue to be used as lodgings (fig. 8). This is a feature prominent and particular to Blackpool.                            


4.4         Many modest public buildings for the service of residents and visitors were constructed on street corners, for example the Washington Hotel (fig. 9). 

Fig. 9  Washington Hotel onTopping Street
Fig. 9 Washington Hotel, Topping Street


4.4         Many modest public buildings for the service of residents and visitors were constructed on street corners, for example the Washington Hotel (fig. 9). These include banks, public houses and churches as well as the grade II listed Central Library and Art Gallery.  Overall the scale has been maintained with buildings generally two or three storeys high and no more than four storeys. 




Fig. 10 Original boundary treatment Adelaide Street
Fig. 10 Original boundary treatment, Adelaide Street

4.5         Perhaps the most noteworthy small scale buildings are those which make up the boarding house districts of the town.  John K. Walton, Professor of Social History at the University of Central Lancashire, stated in the first Heritage Strategy that Blackpool’s unique accommodation system, with its endless streets of boarding-houses and legendary landladies, contributes to the town’s unique identity as the world’s first working-class tourist resort.  The streets of boarding-houses, Victorian around the old railway stations and along the central promenade, Edwardian and inter-war at the extremes, form a unique industrial landscape, the landscape of the accommodation industry.  He concluded that they must be allowed to adapt to new markets without damaging the unique urban landscapes that conjure up hard work and pleasure in equal measure.  Springfield Road and Adelaide Street are amongst the best preserved examples of the town centre streets, many retaining original boundary treatments and other features (fig. 10).              


Fig. 11  Gillespies on Topping Street
Fig. 11 Gillespies, Topping Street

4.6         A range of materials were used dependent on the importance of the buildings and availability of materials.  Most buildings were constructed from red brick with slate roofs, many then or since have been rendered and painted.  Some major buildings such as Sacred Heart Church and Abingdon Street Post Office used other materials such stone.  In the 1930s faience was a fashionable cladding material and many buildings, including the Winter Gardens, were remodelled during this period as a signal of progressive ideas in the resort.  The grade II former Odeon cinema on Dickson Road was built at this time.  Topping Street has a number of good examples of faience cladding on Victorian buildings (fig. 11). 


 4.7        Street surfaces have been re-laid with modern materials in many areas, particularly in the inner shopping areas which have been improved recently using stone setts.   Elsewhere footways are mostly now laid with either concrete paving or tarmac.  Kerbs are almost all concrete, although some original examples of granite or sandstone kerbs have been retained on narrow side streets.  Historically footways would have been laid with stone paving and roads either rolled gravel with setted gulleys or fully setted.  Rear alleys are now generally laid with tarmac, but historic setts are visible in some places where the tarmac has worn through. 



5.           Location and Setting


5.1         Blackpool town centre is the commercial and entertainment heart of the town containing a mix of buildings of different styles, types and ages. The seafront has always been Blackpool’s key driver, from its early days attracting visitors eager to bathe and promenade to today’s collection of leisure facilities along its length, and modern public spaces such as the Comedy Carpet.   The historic shopping area is focused around Abingdon Street, with a grid of north-south and east-west streets containing shops and other commercial premises running off it.  


5.2         The modern retail core, the majority of which is excluded from the Conservation Area, is located immediately to the east of the Promenade buildings, approximately 25 metres above sea level.  Beyond that the land rises to the east along Adelaide Street. These 19th century terraces of residential and boarding houses with their relatively intact historic boundary treatments frame the southern boundary. 


6.           Character and Appearance


6.1         The spatial character of the north of the area is uniformly dense, with a regular, tight urban grain and a strong sense of enclosure in the streetscene.  The spatial character of streets is related to the role of each street in the street hierarchy with Dickson Road being the widest street reflecting its role as a through route and local centre.  East-west streets leading to the sea and close to the town centre tend to be wider than those further inland, with funnel-shaped spaces towards the sea particularly at the west end of Queen Street; these ‘squares’ provide valuable open spaces, connecting to the Promenade with views of the sea.  Most of the grid-pattern streets have a homogenous spatial character, narrower in width than principal routes and with well-defined building lines created by uniform terraces.


6.2         The key group of historic buildings is the entertainment buildings.  The Tower is a constant visual presence. The Winter Gardens is a vast, unique indoor entertainment complex with extraordinary interiors ranging from the 1870s to the 1930s.  It is an enormously distinctive and important building with an exterior treatment which reflects investment and expansion during the interwar period and the influence of the cinema in interior design. The Grand Theatre is in contrast quite small, but it is one of the best preserved and most appealing theatres of its date by one of the best-known theatre architects, Frank Matcham.



Fig. 12 Stanley Buildings
Fig. 12 Stanley Buildings

6.3         The architectural character of the town centre is varied, representing architectural styles from the mid to late 19th century to the present day.  The buildings exhibit an eclectic mix of styles and finishes, with many 20th and 21st century characteristics, typical of a busy town centre.  Typical architectural styles from the late 19th century are fairly well represented, including Renaissance, Baroque and classical styles, while Gothic Revival is largely confined to places of worship.  Quite a number of buildings exhibit interwar features, reflecting a spike in activity during this period when re-building and re-fronting of existing properties occurred.  Styles adopted are typical of the period and include free classical compositions, and others of Art Deco inspiration such as the former Woolworth’s building and the former Burton’s Building.  There is also a good collection of faience-clad buildings on Topping Street.  No. 28 was re-modelled in 1933 as the new showrooms for Naylor’s Fireplaces by John C. Derham, FRIBA, of Blackpool, emulating a proscenium arch or even a giant fireplace.  Stanley Buildings on Caunce Street/Church Street is another good example, which was designed by J C Robinson of the Borough Surveyor’s Department (fig. 12). 

Fig. 13 Marks and Spencer Store on Victoria Street
Fig. 13 M&S Store, Victoria Street


6.4         Post-war architecture is more apparent in the town centre area than on the Promenade or in boarding-house districts to the south and north, and therefore there is a variety of modern materials.  Brutalist concrete buildings, such as the NatWest and Yorkshire banks, and the Marks & Spencer store on Church Street, are of varied quality and scale.  The south elevation of Marks & Spencer’s on Victoria Street is extended beyond the building line at first floor level and partially blocks the view towards the Winter Gardens from Bank Hey Street (fig. 13).





Fig. 14 Churchill’s public house
Fig. 14 Churchill's Public House

6.5         North of Adelaide Street the area is characterised by the various shopping streets at the heart of Blackpool. There is varied treatment of shopfronts, fascias and advertising signage, most of which are modern and of low merit. Their poor design is an overriding issue in the town’s commercial area, and often erode the quality of positive buildings such as the Stanley Buildings on Church Street, which otherwise has good examples of shopfronts to the ground-floor.  The survival of mosaic tiled surrounds and recessed entrances with plate-glass windows are rare features within the town.  Hardly any complete 19th-century timber shopfronts or surrounds have survived although one example to locally listed Churchill’s Bar at No. 83 Topping Street is an attractive survivor (Fig. 14).


6.6         Despite containing a mix of retail, civic and entertainment buildings the character of the Conservation Area is fairly homogenous in that it contains the historic commercial and entertainment heart of the town.  The north and south boundaries, which demonstrate good examples of terraces of historic boarding houses, provide an appropriate break between this heart and the wider boarding house districts of the town.  The eastern boundary of Topping Street and the south end of Dickson Road provides the break between the historic core and the emerging Talbot Gateway sector.  The Promenade provides the natural and historic boundary on the western side.


6.7         The extended Town Centre Conservation Area brings together many of the town’s key entertainment and public buildings.  This includes listed buildings such as the Tower, Winter Gardens, Post Office, Grand Theatre and listed churches but also locally listed buildings such as public houses, banks and other commercial premises.  This will enable the settings of these buildings to be managed more effectively and will help raise the quality of design for new buildings and alterations to existing buildings. 


Fig. 15 Telephone boxes and other obstructions
Fig. 15 telephone boxes and other obstructions

6.8         The pedestrianised areas of the town centre have a range of street furniture, much of which has little historic interest.  The modern curving streetlamps are boldly designed, though they compete with the height of the buildings.  The listed K6 telephone boxes outside the Abingdon Street post office and the Church of the Sacred Heart, Talbot Road are positive examples of street furniture, although they are also structures in their own right. Other phone boxes are modern, such as on Bank Hey Street, and not of an appealing design.  Modern steel benches are rather industrial in character and do not suit the architectural character of many of the streets. Telephone boxes and advertising stands are often also poorly sited, for example to the north of the Tower Buildings a group of phone boxes obstructs one of the few views from the town centre to the Promenade (fig. 15).


6.           Building Materials and Architectural Features         


5.1         Due to the different types and uses of buildings across the Conservation Area, no single material characterises the architecture. Buildings in the residential and boarding-house areas are generally constructed of brick, although many have now been painted or rendered.  Nos 120-150 Adelaide Street are a positive example (fig 16).  Bricks were made locally in the Fylde, on the edge of the urban area.  Some of the earlier lodging houses, built around the 1860s and 1870s were finished with stucco scored to resemble ashlar and plainly detailed. 


Fig. 16 Adelaide Street
Fig. 16 Adelaide Street


5.2         A fine-grained sandstone is generally used for architectural details such as hoodmoulds, bay windows, sills and lintels, door surrounds and string courses, although the stone has usually been painted. Moulded brick and terracotta are occasionally used for friezes and other details for late Victorian and Edwardian buildings. The quality of detail is generally higher on public buildings and on larger lodging houses.  Chimney stacks are in red brick, most with projecting bands, often rendered.  Pots where they have been retained are in cream or red clay.


5.3         Roofs were originally laid with Welsh slates; on the whole this original roof covering has been retained, although a few roofs have been re-laid using concrete tiles.  Rain water goods were historically provided in cast-iron; the larger buildings have ogee-section gutters, which were a more expensive choice than simple half-round gutters. Most down-pipes are now plastic, although some cast-iron examples have survived.  Several boarding houses have roof lifts which are unsympathetic to the buildings’ original design.  These should be removed if the opportunity arises.  Applications for new or additional roof lifts will not be supported. 


5.4         Few buildings retain historic door or window joinery, although original openings have largely been retained on terraces to preserve the proportions and overall unity of frontages.  Front doorways were fitted with panelled doors made of pine, with variations including part-glazing to upper panels.  Inner halls were lit with a transom or fan light above the doors.  Doors on terraces are sometimes designed in pairs with a shared canopy or surround.


Fig. 17 Gate piers Springfield Road
Fig. 17 Gate piers Springfield Road



5.5         Streets on the boundaries have small front gardens with boundary walls.  Some walls had iron railings, mostly removed although some have been replaced with modern steel railings; historic railings have generally only survived on steps to basements or up to front doors where there is a drop to protect, for example on Springfield Road.  Gate piers are stone or brick, often carved with gothic motifs or caps and now painted (fig. 17). 


5.6         Historic streets which were originally terraces of lodging houses have lost their boundary treatments.  For example, Clifton Street had front gardens and boundary walls but these were lost due to relatively early commercial pressures to convert to retail and install shop frontages.  These losses make it important to take steps to prevent further erosion of these historic details where they remain close to the town centre.  This will be addressed in the section on opportunities for enhancement.


Fig. 18 Canopy of Grand Theatre on Church Street
Fig. 18 Canopy of Grand Theatre, Church Street



5.7         Many of the listed and local list buildings retain attractive features such as moulded red terracotta decoration (the Town Hall), or faience panels (Stanley Buildings), carved sandstone panels (Municipal Buildings), stone cartouches (Abingdon Street post office), or cast-iron canopies to the street (Grand Theatre - fig. 18).



8.           Open Spaces and Views      


6.1         The high density of development along streets such as Clifton Street and Edward Street creates an enclosed character to the streetscene.  The newly pedestriansed St. John’s Square/Cedar Square provides relief from this dense grid of streets. Talbot Square, immediately opposite the North Pier, is another important open space, with views over the sea and to the grade II listed North Pier. There is also a sense of space and important views towards the town and

Fig. 19 Queens Square public space
Fig. 19 Queens Square public space

several prominent historic buildings.  Although Talbot Square is thoroughly urban its spatial characteristics are part of its importance.  


6.2         Queen’s Square opposite the Metropole Hotel is another important public open space which has views of the sea and the war memorial.  The square was pedestrianised c. 2000 and was supplemented with seating and planters, giving users an opportunity to rest and enjoy the view (fig. 19).




6.3         The northern tip of the Central Promenade has fine views out of the town towards Bispham and beyond. A walkway leads towards the beach from outside North Pier, and provides vistas of the sea, sand and, on a clear day, the hills of the Lake District.  To the south of the Metropole Hotel the lawned Remembrance Square with its war memorial is the only space of its type in the town and contributes to the spatial character north-west of Talbot Square.


6.4         The Tower is a consistent landmark when looking towards the west.  Views through to the seafront from the retail areas are few as the Promenade buildings are tall and densely built.  Where gaps do appear, the view is obstructed by poorly placed telephone boxes and other street furniture.


6.5         Other urban open aspects include the junction of Abingdon and Church Streets, giving a view east towards the former Regent Cinema, and King’s Square, where the view is split along Church and Caunce Streets by the 1930s triangular-sited Stanley Buildings with adjacent bank.

9.           Public Realm 


Fig. 20 Stone setts replaced with tarmac outside Grand Theatre on Church Street
Fig. 20 Stone setts replaced with tarmac outside Grand Theatre, Church Street



7.1         Street surfaces have been re-laid with modern materials in many areas, particularly in the inner shopping areas, some of which have been improved recently using stone setts.  However, some areas of street surfacing have been replaced with patches of black tarmac where work has been carried out.  This practice detracts from the visual cohesion of the streetscape (fig. 20).


7.2         In addition, any utilities or telecommunications works which result in above ground installations should be sited as sensitively as possible following full consultation with the Built Heritage and Conservation team.



Fig. 22 Festival House blocking views of the sea
Fig. 22 Festival House blocking views of the sea
Fig. 21 Comedy Carpet looking towards Blackpool Tower
Fig. 21 Comedy Carpet looking towards Blackpool Tower



7.3         The Promenade has been extended many times during its history, and the modern sea defences and Comedy Carpet are visually significant additions to the famous Golden Mile which provide an appropriate modern setting to the west side of Blackpool Tower (fig. 21).  Festival House, whilst being a good example of a modern sustainable public building, designed to utilise views of the Tower and the sea from its windows, blocks views of the sea from Church Street (fig. 22).  The expansive views out to sea from the Promenade, and glimpses of the sea from east-west streets, are part of the natural heritage of Blackpool and should be preserved without further barriers in the form of buildings to the west of the tram tracks.



Fig. 23 View of Tower from north east end of Albert Road
Fig. 23 View of Tower from North east end of Abert Road

7.4         Albert Road and Adelaide Street rise above the surrounding streets and have excellent views from the east ends towards the Tower and Winter Gardens’ dome.  The changing character of these streets, from two-storey terraces to three or four storey boarding houses, is also evident in these views.   The density is lower in the residential streets of this area where houses have small front gardens, giving a more spacious feel to streets (fig. 23).



10.           Assessment of Streets



Fig. 24 Grade II shelter behind Metropole Hotel
Fig. 24 Grade II shelter behind Metropole Hotel

8.1         Promenade

The area between Talbot Square and the Central Pier is a unique seaside landscape at the heart of Blackpool’s famous ‘Golden Mile’ and is central to the character of Blackpool with some of the town’s most famous buildings and landmarks, notably the Tower.  It is an area dedicated to leisure and, although it has been continuously updated, it broadly retains an early 20th century character.


The Promenade was laid out in 1870 and successively altered and embellished. The generous width of the walkway is enhanced by Princess Parade Colonnade created in 1912, which sweeps round to meet the tramway before stretching along the north Promenade towards Gynn Square.  A series of grade II listed shelters erected in the early 20th century to designs by John Shanks Brodie, originally located opposite Alexandra Road, Wellington Road and Trafalgar Road, were removed during refurbishment work on the Promenade and re-sited along Princess Parade (fig. 24).


To the south of the locally listed Metropole Hotel is the lawned Remembrance Square with its grade II listed war memorial.  It contributes to the spatial character of Talbot Square, and is a spacious setting for the grade II North Pier.   The stretch between North Pier and the boundary of the Conservation Area includes the Comedy Carpet and the new sea defence works which incorporate access to the beach via wide curving steps.  The densely built-up eastern side of the area which contains Blackpool’s principal entertainment complexes is in direct contrast with the spacious Promenade to the west and the sea beyond.  Views around this area are linear and stretch north to south, either along the Promenade to the sea or to the inland side, dominated by the built-up street frontage and the Tower.


The architectural character of the area as a whole is dominated by the principal entertainment structures which give Blackpool its unique quality.  Blackpool is the only British resort with three piers, all of 19th century origin, all of structural interest.  Blackpool Tower is unique and one of very few buildings which can accurately be described as iconic. These structures, central to the character of the place, are all essentially Victorian (repairs notwithstanding), immense cast-iron structures of the railway age and potent symbols of the birth of the mass entertainment industry.  Broadly speaking the architectural character is Victorian and Edwardian.



Fig. 25  Former Woolworth’s building
Fig. 25 Former Woolworth's building

The New Clifton Hotel (1875-6) designated Grade II, is one of Blackpool’s earliest large hotels, and is a landmark building marking the corner to the Golden Mile.  North Pier was the first of the piers to open, in 1863, and was designed by Eugenius Birch, the premier pier designer of the day. The buildings on the seafront include some relatively small premises, as well as the former Woolworth’s building of 1936 immediately south of Tower Buildings which is locally listed (fig. 25) and a landmark in its own right.  The buildings form a mix of old and new, which differ in scale and materials. Roberts Oyster Bar and its neighbours to the north are amongst the earliest, and the new Woolworth’s store (on the Lewis’s site) and frontages to entertainment buildings to the south date from the late 20th century and 21st century.  Interwar buildings on the corner of Church Street are considered positive despite ground-floor alteration.  The Grade I Blackpool Tower is the dominant building in the block, in the town centre and beyond.  All development within the neighbourhood of the Tower should pay due regard to its national importance and local visual qualities.




Fig. 26  Former Princess Cinema and Metropole Arcade
Fig. 26 Former Princess Cinema and Metropole Arcade



The row of buildings to the east of the Metropole (Nos 114-190) are neutral, although the former Princess Cinema with off-white faience cladding and the flanking terracotta faced former market buildings (Nos 174-186) are of positivevalue (fig. 26).  Appropriate shop fronts and signage would greatly enhance this block.  The Counting House pub (No. 10 Talbot Square) is locally listed.           




Fig. 27 View of North Strand from Queens Square
Fig. 27 View of North Strand from Queens Square


The back streets running parallel to the east of the Promenade include The Strand, a pedestrianised street connecting Talbot Square with Queen’s Square acting as a service street and lined with the backs of shops and restaurants.  The north section of The Strand is negative (fig. 27).  This service street is highly visible from Queens Square and owners should be encouraged to improve the visible elevations of their properties if the opportunity arises.  The southern section is neutral in character.         


8.2         Springfield Road

Springfield Road leads west from Dickson Road to the sea front.  It follows the line of a former field boundary, including the kink in its alignment which blocks views of the sea from the east. The street is tightly framed by 3-storey terraces, set behind short front gardens with boundary walls. Most of the street was not developed until the 1890s; the trade directories record almost all of the houses in the street in use as lodgings between 1898 and the 1930s. After this date the buildings were divided into flats and most are now in office use.



Fig. 29  Iron railings
Fig. 29 Iron Railings


Fig. 28  Nos. 35-49 on the south side of Springfield Road
Fig. 28 Nos. 35-39 on the south side of Springfield Road

The buildings vary in design; the terrace on the south side was built in 1894 and is stone-faced with 2-storey bays (fig. 28), other groups are brick or rendered.  On the north side the terrace of large former lodging houses has gabled roofs and is faced in red brick. Some buildings retain sashes and panelled front doors, and there are a few examples of cast-iron railings on the north side (fig. 29).





The street has a good group of places of worship all now on the Local List: on the north side is The Baptist Tabernacle (1905 – fig. 2) and on the south side the former United Methodist church and Sunday school, the latter dated 1897 (fig. 3).




Fig. 30  Former Metropole Arcade, Springfield Road
Fig.30 Former Metropole Arcade, Springfield Road

The red brick and terracotta south west block facing the Tabernacle was erected in 1900 and continued round onto the Promenade.  First known as the Metropole Arcade, the Princess Electric Cinema opened in 1912 in the central section of the Promenade side, remodelled in 1922 to become the Princess Cinema. The section on Springfield Road housed the first synagogue in Blackpool and is relatively well preserved (fig. 30) although it would benefit from having more historically appropriate shop fronts and signage, and removal of roller shutters.            



8.3         Queen Street

Fig. 32 Well preserved lodging houses adjacent to modern block
Fig. 32 Well preserved lodging houses adjacent to modern block


Fig. 31 6 Queen Street with original joinery and modern roof lift
Fig. 31 6 Queen Street with original joinery and modern roof lift

Queen Street has a varied character with a few late 19th century former lodging houses surviving amongst 20th century retail premises.  Buildings are generally 3-storey in a mixture of render and red brick, built up to the back of the footway and framing views down to Queens Square and the promenade; the street widens towards the seafront. First floor display windows are a feature of some properties but most have been replaced and have little intrinsic merit.  Queen Street was developed with lodging houses in the 1880s.  Just one of these on the north side, No. 6 (fig. 31) has survived at the west end with sash windows intact, but most of this block was rebuilt in the early 20th century for shops, now partly a bar.  


The south east side of the road has a group of much altered stucco houses. The best group of lodging houses is Nos. 53 and 55, a pair of double-fronted houses with 2-storey stone bay windows and central doorways, in late gothic style.  The modern apartments immediately alongside, although respecting the height of the adjacent historic properties, undermine the historic character of the block due to the unsympathetic design and materials (fig. 32)




Fig. 33 Car park and social club adjacent to Grundy Art Gallery
Fig. 33 Car park and social club adjacent to Grundy Art Gallery

Queen Street was once a fashionable street in the town, one block north of Talbot Road and the setting for Christ Church, built in 1871 and taken down after closure in 1982 (now the site of the Job Centre).  Until the early 1900s, a bowling green occupied the north-east corner of Abingdon Street and Queen Street until the Library and Art Gallery was built here in 1911.  This prominent building dominates the street and is listed Grade II.  East of this on Queen Street were the Christ Church vicarage and another detached villa, both shown on the 1877 town plan and demolished in the 1960s.  Their site is now a car park occupied by a poor quality postwar club, a low grade setting for the art gallery (fig. 33).





Fig. 34 Modern shopfronts and large canopies disrupting the visual unity of Queen Street
Fig. 34 Modern shopfronts and large canopies disrupting the visual unity of Queen Street



The character of the street has been undermined by the removal of historic features such as stone bays and the insertion of modern shop fronts.  In particular there are a number of buildings on the south west side which have been extended beyond the building line with modern large canopies.  Such features disrupt the uniformity of the historic building line and encourage further unsympathetic development (fig. 34).  Future applications for these features in the Conservation Area will not be supported, and existing features such as these should be removed if there is an opportunity for redevelopment in the future.



Fig. 35 Caves Corner
Fig. 35 Caves Corner

In addition, planning applications will not be supported which propose the removal of stone bays, and applicants will be encouraged to reinstate canted or box bays to first floor windows wherever possible.  Caves Corner is a good example of traditional shop front design with retained stone bay and window openings to upper floors (fig. 35).








Fig. 37 Home Bargains opposite Grundy Art Gallery
Fig. 37 Home Bargins opposite Grundy Art Gallery


Fig. 36 Job Centre
Fig. 36 Job Centre

The Job Centre (fig. 36) and the Home Bargains store (fig. 37) are relatively modern utilitarian brick buildings which contribute no character to the street.  In addition they are within the setting of the grade II Central Library and Art Gallery.  These are negative buildings which offer opportunities for enhancement or redevelopment in the future.



Although it is recognised that, without grant aid, it will be difficult to enforce the replacement of modern shop fronts with traditional timber shop fronts, it will be expected in future that any applications for replacement shop fronts will adhere to SPG 6: Shop Fronts and Signs.  More detailed guidance to aid good design will be produced in due course.




8.4         North end of Abingdon Street

Fig. 38 77-79 Abingdon Street
Fig. 38 77-79 Abingdon Street

The northern end of Abingdon Street was historically named Parker Street (1877 plan) or May Bell Avenue (1893 OS map).  It is dominated by the Library on the north side, with the former United Methodist Church adjacent. The west side of the road is lined with two groups of large 3-storey terraces; Nos. 77-79 were built as lodging houses and are fairly unaltered and retain low front boundary walls and gate piers (fig. 38).  To the north, the brick terrace at No.81-95 is faced in brick with inserted shopfronts, and is of lesser quality.  More appropriate shop fronts should be installed if the opportunity arises.




8.5         Deansgate

Fig. 39 10-12 Deansgate
Fig. 39  10-12 Deansgate

This street was historically known as Upper Talbot Street and is now a minor thoroughfare running east-west from Cookson Street to Abingdon Street. The westernmost part of the street is pedestrianised and is characterised by terraces of late 19th-century domestic scale buildings, mainly now in retail use.  The buildings on the north side have some interesting features such as faience to Nos 10-12 which also have a strong inter-war character (fig. 39) although later alteration to shop fronts has generally damaged their integrity.  This presents an opportunity for more appropriate shop fronts being inserted in future. 



Fig. 40 Ceramic panels on BT building
Fig. 40 Ceramic panels on BT building



An exception to the domestic scale character is the 3 storey British Telecom building on the corner of Edward Street built in 1976.  Constructed in Brutalist style relieved by decorative panels of ceramic tiles, whose design and method of production was patented in 1972 by nationally-renowned artist and sculptor Fritz Steller for his Transform Ceramic Company Ltd.  The panels are a rare in situ survival of his work (fig. 40).   










8.6         Talbot Road (from Abingdon Street to Dickson Road)

Fig. 41 Poor quality shop fronts on Talbot Road
Fig. 41 Poor quality shop fronts on Talbot Road

Talbot Road is a principal town centre street running east-west to Talbot Square and the Promenade.  There are views westwards down the street towards the North Pier with the Grade II* listed Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church and the grade II Town Hall also providing good landmark quality.  Buildings between Abingdon and Topping Streets are largely in retail or commercial use.  They are mainly of late 19th and early 20th century date with a few later examples, and their consistent scale and building grain makes the street of neutralvalue.  However, the views eastwards along Talbot Road from Abingdon Street are blighted by poor quality shop fronts and modern facades (fig. 41).   In future changes to shop fronts should comply fully with SPG 6: Shop Fronts and Signs, and over large canopies should be removed.



8.7         Dickson Road (Springfield Road to Topping Street)

Fig. 42 Former lodging houses south west end of Dickson Road
fig. 42. Fomer lodging houses south west end of Dickson Road
Fig. 43 Poor quality shop fronts south west end of Dickson Road
Fig. 43 Poor quality shop fronts south west end of Dickson Road


This long road is an important historic linear feature in the townscape, and the principal north-south route through North Shore. The street was laid out by the mid 19th century and gradually developed over the next 50 years. The earliest buildings are along the western side of the southern stretch with 3-storey lodging houses built in the 1870s.  The east side of this stretch was developed by c.1900 with tall red brick terraces. The street is divided into regular blocks by east-west streets; those to the west lead to the Promenade giving glimpses of the sea.  Handsome blocks of 1870s lodging houses towards the south still retain their overall form intact and the blocks still define the street (fig. 42). Shops and pubs enliven the street scene at the north and south ends of the road, although 20th century shop fronts and advertising are mostly of poor design quality and visually intrusive (fig. 43).






Fig. 45 Former Station Hotel
Fig. 45 Former Station Hotel



Fig. 44 Wilko Store
Fig 44. Wilko Store

The former Odeon is a local landmark and represents the entertainment world.  However, The Wilko Store and the former Station Hotel are negative buildings and may offer opportunities for enhancement or redevelopment in the future (figs. 44 and 45).




8.8         Edward Street

Fig. 46 Edward Street
Fig. 46 Edward Street


Fig. 47 Post office railings
Fig. 47 Post Office Railings

Edward Street runs north-south linking Deansgate and Cedar Square.  The street is an unusual survivor in the town centre, retaining on its west side a domestic scale terrace now in use as offices (Nos 12-28), with canted bay windows and front boundary walls (Fig. 46).  Overall the street has strong positivecharacter.  The rear of the listed Abingdon Street Post Office, although being its service face, is another positive aspect with the retention of wrought-iron railings and lamps to the back of the footway (Fig. 47).

Although Edward Street has an enclosed character, there are views south towards Cedar Square, where the vista opens out a little.




8.9         Topping Street

Fig. 48 Re-fronted former Shakespeare Hotel onTopping Street
Fig. 48 Re-fronted former Shakespeare Hotel, Topping Street

Topping Street was originally a street of lodging houses in close proximity to the first Blackpool railway station.  By 1904 around 50% had been converted to retail or commercial services.  It runs north-south between the principal east-west thoroughfares of Talbot Road and Church Street.  It is a street of generally positivevalue and is characterised by a mixture of retail premises built on a tight grain up to the back of the footway.  Most buildings are of late 19th century date with several examples built or re-fronted in terracotta during the interwar period (fig. 48).  






Fig. 49 68 Topping Street
Fig. 49 68 Topping Street


Fig. 50 28 Topping Street
Fig. 50 28 Topping Street

Most premises have been altered at ground-floor level to incorporate late 20th century shop fronts or entrances, and almost all feature modern signage and fascia treatments.  In future applications for changes to shop fronts and signage should comply fully with SPG 6. 

Positive buildings include The Washington Inn (fig. 9) dated 1875, which occupies a prominent corner site and is splayed to the corner.  Churchills public house (formerly The Criterion Hotel) is locally listed (fig. 14).  No. 68 is also of positive value and appears little altered externally (Fig. 49).  The building, which extends east along Wood Street, may have been purpose-built as offices or works.  Decorative features include pilasters, inset fascias and pale green detailing.  

No. 28 is also a building of positivecharacter which preserves a little altered interwar frontage.  It was re-modelled in 1933 as the new showrooms for Naylor’s Fireplaces by John C. Durham, FRIBA, of Blackpool, emulating a proscenium arch or a giant fireplace (Fig. 50).  A newspaper report from 1933 announced that this was the first use of buff and green terracotta in the town (Blackpool Gazette & Herald, 25/02/1933, p10).




Fig. 51 100-112 Topping Street
Fig. 51 100-112 Topping Street


Nos. 100-112 make up an attractive uniform red brick two storey terrace, although the character is undermined by unsympathetic shop fronts and signage.  This terrace would be enhanced by a replacement scheme for the shop fronts should the opportunity arise (Fig. 51).



8.10       Wood Street and Winstanley Grove

Winstanley Grove was known as Stanley Grove in the early 20th century.  Wood Street is fronted by the sides of buildings on neighbouring streets and is of neutralvalue. East Topping Street and Winstanley Grove, and other service streets and alleys in the study area are generally somewhat unkempt.


8.11       Market Street and West Street

Fig. 52 South face of British Home Stores
Fig. 52 South face of British Home Stores

One of Blackpool’s earliest streets, Market Street became one of the first major north-south shopping streets in the 1860s, and was the location of a large covered market until the interwar years.  Today it is populated by larger retail, restaurant and entertainment buildings of varying dates and types, and by the west elevations of the Municipal Buildings and the 1957 British Home Stores (BHS).  There are good views of the Tower to the south and there is a general homogeneity of scale.  BHS is typical of its time, and the curving south face is a strong feature of the building (Fig. 52).          


Municipal Buildings was built as the Town Hall Extension in 1937-8 to designs by J. C. Robinson.  It is an eye-catching and significant building and is locally listed.  The extension is linked at its north end to the Grade II listed Town Hall by Potts, Son & Hennings (1895-1900) and is therefore arguably part of the listed building.

Fig. 53 Leonard Dews
Fig. 53 Leonard Dews



Fig. 54  Fever, Market Street
Fig. 54 Fever, Market Street

Overall Market Street is neutral in character.  Positive buildings include no. 41 the Market Street Diner and Leonard Dews (Corner of Market Street/Church Street Fig. 53), of four storeys, rendered brick, with consoles to the windows and a good shopfront; the building is dated 1874.  ‘Fever’ (Fig. 54), and Feldman’s Arcade which runs through to the Promenade are locally listed.  Also of note on Market Street is the sculpture outside Nos. 43-47.  Acrobats, by Glynn Williams, was installed in 1999 as part of a programme of public art sculpture in surrounding streets and it makes a positive contribution to the street scene. 








Fig. 55 Mitre Hotel, West Street
Fig. 55 Mitre Hotel, West Street


Fig. 56 Roberts’ Oyster Rooms
Fig. 56 Roberts' Oyster Rooms

West Street is a narrow street running from the Promenade to Corporation Street.  It is squeezed between the elevations of the Town Hall Extension and BHS, with access to a car park within the BHS block on the south side.  The Mitre Hotel (fig. 55) on the western section of West Street is locally listed, as is Roberts Oyster Rooms on the corner of West Street and the Promenade (fig. 56).







8.12       Church Street


Fig. 57 Street furniture and telecom equipment, Church Street and Corporation Street
Fig. 57 Street furniture and telecom equipment, Church street / Corporation Street
Church Street was historically the principal east-west thoroughfare in Blackpool, and today links the Promenade with Whitegate Drive to the east. The street layout has changed little since its conception, and has retained its character as a major shopping street into the 21st century.  Today the west end of the street is pedestrianised.  It rises slightly from the west, and has a relatively wide aspect with 2-3 storey buildings framing both sides.  There is a large amount of street furniture of varying dates and styles which gives the impression of a cluttered street scene (fig. 57).  There are good views of Blackpool Tower to the west from the junction with Abingdon Street, and the dome of the Grand Theatre is also a prominent feature.




Fig. 59 Former post office corner of Church Street and Coronation Street
Fig. 59 Former post office corner of Church Street / Coronation Street


Fig. 58 Bella Italia
Fig. 58 Bella Italia

Church Street is a typical commercial street with a range of buildings of different styles and dates. The historic aspects of the street, augmented by St John Evangelist church, the Grand Theatre and Winter Gardens, which are all listed, are positive although there is a certain amount of negative post-war infill on what is an important historic street.  Nos 23-27 (Bella Italia) is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the town centre built in 1847 and retaining much of its character (fig. 58).  Nos 57-59 (Beaverbrooks on the corner of Coronation Street) was built as a Post Office in 1877, later became a Labour Bureau and is a positive building (fig. 59). 



Fig. 60 Former Rawcliffe’s Store
Fig. 60 Former Rawcliffe's Store
Fig. 62 Former Lyons Corner House
Fig. 62 Former Lyons Corner House


Fig. 61 Former Clifton Cinema
Fig. 61 Former Clifton Cinema

The north side of Church Street comprises individual narrow units, mainly of three storeys, some of which have strong architectural character and of merit: Nos 44-46 (former Rawcliffes store fig. 60) and 56-60 (formerly Clifton Cinema, Poundland and currently British Heart Foundation outlet – fig. 61) are locally listed.  Nos 74-78 (former Lyons Corner House, more recently Monsoon) is also locally listed (fig. 62). 






Fig. 63 Poor quality shop fronts and infill
Fig. 63 Poor quality shop fronts and infill


Fig. 64 Poor quality shop fronts
Fig. 64 Poor quality shop fronts


Apart from these locally listed buildings, the blocks of c.1970s shops on the north side are of negativevalue and offer opportunities for positive change in the future.  The facades and modern shopfronts are unsympathetic in their scale, design and materials (fig. 63 and 64).  


Fig. 65 Corner of Church Street and Coronation Street
Fig. 65 Corner of Church Street and Coronation Street


The remaining buildings are mainly of late 20th century date and constructed in modern materials, and are generally of neutralquality (fig. 65).



The junction with Abingdon Street is of high townscape significance and has recently been pedestrianised and improved as part of the St John’s Plaza project.  The grade II listed Post Office, with the row of eight Grade II listed telephone boxes, is highly significant to the townscape value and character of the area, and views of these assets can be obtained from the junction.  The square is paved in buff granite cobbles laid in a traditional segmental arch pattern and the 11 metre sculpture ‘Wave’ by Lucy Glendinning dominates the eastern end of the square whilst illuminated fountains fringe the western end.  The stained glass of the church is lit from behind at night to create a jewel box effect.

Fig. 66 View towards Edward Street
Fig. 66 View towards Edward Street
Cedar Square lies between Edward Street and Church Street, and is an area of positivevalue.  A row of small shops on the east side, with a datestone for 1865 and formerly residential, are altered with recently inserted traditional style shop fronts, carried out as part of the Townscape Heritage Initiative.  St. John’s Square is dominated by St John’s church (listed grade II), which is prominent in views around the square and an important town centre landmark, and the grade II* Winter Gardens complex.  There are good views down Edward Street from Cedar Square. (fig 66). 



Blackpool’s main landmarks remain prominent when viewed from further east on King’s Square. On the north side Nos 106-128 probably date from the 1870s to the 1890s, with Nos 106-116 being a double-fronted villa type regularly seen in Blackpool (fig. 67).

Fig. 67 106-116 Church Street
Fig. 67 106-116 Church Street









Fig. 68 Former Midland Bank, King’s Square
Fig. 68 Former Midland Bank, King's Square



Nos 150-170 are part of the 1935 rebuild of Stanley Terrace, which is locally listed.  The approach to the corner of this building from the west has strong townscape significance, and the former red-brick Midland Bank is a positive and important landmark along Church Street (Fig. 68).


Fig. 69 Former bank, corner of Church Street and South King Street
Fig. 69 Former bank, corner of Church Street / South King Street

On the south side from Kings Square eastwards the street frontage is intact but there are few unaltered buildings. Most buildings have modern shopfronts to the ground floor and altered upper storeys.

Fig. 70  Original box bays,  193-197 Church Street
Fig. 70 Original box bays, 193-197 Church Street

However, a former bank at No.137 with a rusticated ground floor has some merit (fig. 69), as do Nos 193-197 which retain timber box bays to the first floor (Fig. 70). The former Regent Cinema is locally listed and is a terminating landmark feature in the streetscape.


              (N.B. The Regent Cinema became statutorily listed in 2016)




Fig. 71 Car park east of Stanley Buildings
Fig. 71 Car park east of Stanley Buildings

Beyond Stanley Buildings there is a change of townscape character as Raikes is approached, with trees lining the streets and a more spacious quality to the streetscene.   However, the large surface car park to the east of Stanley Buildings, which has no boundary to the back of the footway and reveals the back of buildings on surrounding streets (fig. 71), is a poor setting for land immediately adjacent to the Conservation Area and for the locally listed former Regent Cinema and Stanley Buildings.  This area should be enhanced when the opportunity arises.




8.13       Birley Street



Fig. 72 NatWest bank Birley Street
Fig. 72 Natwest bank, Birley Street


Along with Clifton Street, Birley Street was one of the early streets to be laid out between the seafront and Abingdon Street. Historic mapping shows that both sides of the street were characterised by small properties, few of which remain today, especially on the south side.  Birley Street was pedestrianised in 1996 and has recently undergone a programme of refurbishment with a stone setted street surface and the installation of Brilliance. 


The street is a principle commercial street, mainly with cafes, banks and privately-owned shops.  The buildings are a mix of two and three storeys, generally two bays wide. The NatWest bank on the west corner is prominent and, although Brutalist in its architecture, is not a negative contribution to the street (fig. 72)








Fig. 73 Block of shops on south side of Birley Street
Fig. 73 Block of shops on south side of Birley Street

The north side of the street mainly comprises older, late 19th century premises, although these have been considerably altered at the upper floors, and to the ground floor with modern shopfronts and signage.  The south side is mainly of mid-late 20th-century flat-roofed blocks with modern shopfronts (fig. 73).





Fig. 74 HSBC Birley Street
Fig. 74 HSBC Birley Street
Fig. 75 Coffee Pot, Birley Street
Fig. 75 Coffee Pot Birley Street
There is little homogeneity to the streetscene and the buildings are of low quality architecture with few exceptions: HSBC (fig. 74), and Barclays bank, are both locally listed.  Recent coffee shop developments have enhanced the streetscene (fig. 75). 











Fig. 76 Rose and Crown, Birley Street
Fig. 76 Rose and Crown, Birley Street


Fig. 77 Buildings extended beyond historic building line
Fig. 77 Buildings extended beyond historic building line

Due to recent public realm installations the overall character of the street is neutral. The Rose and Crown pub on the south-west corner, however, is a negative contribution with its modern verandah and obtrusive signage, although historically the site of a pub since the early 20th century (fig. 76). 

A number of buildings on the south side extend beyond the historic building line.  Although most of these are due to extended box bays and signage, two are built out from first floor level to increase internal floor space:  The West Coast Rock Café on the corner of Birley Street/Abingdon Street, and nos 15-17 Birley Street (Peppermill/Toni and Guy) (fig. 77).   As in cases identified elsewhere in the Conservation Area, extending beyond the building line encourages similar development elsewhere, thereby undermining the uniformity of the traditional building line and interrupting views into and out of the area.  Future applications for similar developments within the Conservation Area will not be supported.


Overall Birley Street offers opportunities for enhancement in future if a programme of façade replacement or redevelopment is considered. 


8.14       Carter Street, Adelphi Street and Matcham Court



Fig. 78 Pediment above Morrisons store, corner of Adelphi Street
Fig. 78 Pediment above Morrisons store, corner of Adelphi Street

These three streets are short service roads south of Church Street. Matcham Court was created following the construction of Marks and Spencer’s, and originally joined with Carter Street across Coronation Street. Adelphi Street runs north from Carter Street, forming an island block of buildings.  Nos 73-75, currently Morrison’s express store, has an interesting architectural pediment on the east elevation (fig. 78) which has been partially covered and its merit removed by post-war surfaces.  The streets are pedestrianised but have vehicular access.  Matcham Court is covered by a colourful sculptural steel glazed roof.  The streets are of neutral quality.



8.15       Coronation Street (east side)


The east side of Coronation Street is dominated by the west elevation of the Winter Gardens. The street is relatively narrow and views of the whole elevation are difficult to obtain.  The east side has positive value, but overall is neutral due to the buildings on the west side of the street related to the Hounds Hill Centre.  There are good views of the Tower to the west from the steps of the Winter Gardens.


8.16       Adelaide Street

Fig. 79  Entrance to Olympia buildings, corner of Adelaide Street and Coronation Street
Fig. 79 Entrance to Olympia buildings, corner of Adelaide Street and Coronation Street.


Adelaide Street runs east-west between Hounds Hill and Regent Road and is characterised by terraces of private residential and boarding houses.  Some terraces have strong positive value for their homogeneity, and there are two locally listed buildings.   At the west end the later extensions of the Winter Gardens are a prominent feature on the north side of the street.  These extensions replaced an open area which included an ice rink and bowling green.  At the junctions of Leopold Grove and Coronation Street there are elaborate canted corner entrances (fig. 79), but the rest of the elevation is quite utilitarian.  The Winter Gardens are listedGrade II* and, especially when combined with views of the Tower, are a strong and important positive feature on the streetscene. 










Fig. 80 Masonic Hall, Adelaide Street
Fig. 80 Masonic Hall, Adelaide Street


Fig. 81 103-105 Adelaide Street
Fig. 81 103-105 Adelaide Street

The terraced buildings on the north side as far as South King Street are mainly three storey lodging-house types, with attic extensions.  Due to the level of change they are neutral, although they retain some historic features.  Nos 61-71 were demolished c. 2012 and replaced with a surface car park.  Nos 87-89 contribute positivelyto the streetscene, and have group value with the adjacent locally listed Masonic Hall (fig. 80).  Of red-brick and terracotta the buildings are a pair of double-fronted three storey houses with ground floor canted bay windows and panelled timber doors.  The front boundary walls have been rebuilt.  Nos 103-105 are also positive (fig. 81), flanked by two modern buildings, Adelaide Court and a new build to the corner of Regent Road, both of which are neutralas they respect scale and materials. 




Fig. 82 West end of Adelaide Street south side
Fig.82  West end of Adelaide Street south side

On the south side of the street Nos 56-100 are three-storey lodging houses, facing the Winter Gardens.  Most have been altered with replacement windows and added attic storeys, although all retain double-height stone canted bay windows with decorative mullions (fig. 82) and many retain their original boundary cast-iron railings.  Four properties at the west end (Nos 56-62) have a lower roofline and the bay windows are smaller in scale.  Many of the houses have been combined to create larger hotels. 













Fig. 83 102 Adelaide Street
Fig. 83 103 Adelaide Street




The east end of the south side of the street (Nos 102-150) is generally positivein character.  No 102, with one gabled bay to the Adelaide Street elevation and three to Leopold Grove, was probably built as a private residence and has terracotta plaques on the Leopold Grove elevation with the initials ‘J.S’ and a date of 1912 (Fig. 83).  The house is of red brick with buff terracotta dressings to double-height bay windows and a Welsh slate roof.  It also has a well-maintained garden, with intact boundary walls and planting.   










Fig. 84 Comrades Club, Adelaide Street
Fig. 84 Comrades Club, Adelaide Street


Fig. 85 Former detached villa
Fig. 85 Former detached villa


Fig. 86  View towards Blackpool Tower
Fig. 86 View towards Blackpool Tower


Nos 104 -114 are typical good-quality boarding houses, and retain a high level of original detail.  No 116, the former Comrades’ Club, is a detached villa, and is locally listed (fig. 84). No 118, on the south-west corner of South King Street, is a three storey detached villa, now a doctors’ surgery.  It has been rendered and altered, but retains bracketed eaves and a classical-style doorcase (fig. 85).  There are good views towards the Tower from this area (fig. 86).





Fig. 87 124 – 150 Adelaide Street
Fig. 87 124-150 Adelaide Street

Nos 124-150 is a red-brick two-storey terrace of residential properties, with paired doorcases and canted ground floor bay windows (Fig. 87).  Some retain timber sash windows and panelled doors.  All have front boundary walls to small front yards; although some of the boundary walls have been rebuilt this creates a homogenous streetscene, which is enhanced by the retention of chimney stacks and pots to the roofline.  Nos 124 and 120-122 are double-fronted villa-types, probably of the same building phase as the terrace.  The latter has a canted corner entrance and forecourt to South King Street; the corner premises are occupied by a pharmacy.  The house retains timber sash windows with coloured glass to the upper panes, boundary walls and gate piers.




8.17       Leopold Grove


Fig. 88  2-8 Leopold Grove
Fig. 88 2-8 Leopold Grove


Fig. 89 Gable east side of Winter Gardens
Fig. 89 Gable east side of Winter Gardens


Fig. 90 Former Roseby’s Store
Fig. 90 Former Roseby's Store








Leopold Grove is a north-west street connecting Church Street and Albert Road, and was historically developed with lodging houses.  The character of the street is a narrow one-way residential street, rising slightly towards the north. Buildings of interest include the former Gas Showroom at No 115 Church Street, which has its east return to Leopold Grove, constructed in the 1950s.   Nos 2-8 is a two storey red-brick terrace with dormers, with double-height bay windows, probably of late 19th century date.  There is some cast-iron cresting above the front doors, and timber casements with coloured top-lights have been retained at No 4, but the boundary walls to the back of the footway have been removed.  Overall these are of positive value (fig. 88).  

The eastern part of the Winter Gardens is a positivebuilding, although this is jeopardised by a later extension below the positive brick gable feature (Fig. 89).  Nos 7-11 (a former Roseby’s store) is negativeand currently vacant (fig. 90).






8.18       Alfred Street




Fig. 91 Corner of Alfred Street and Church Street
Fig. 91 Corner of Alfred Street and Church Street


Fig. 92 1950s garage, Alfred Street
Fig. 92 1950's garage, Alred Street

Alfred Street was probably constructed at the same time as Leopold Grove, with most buildings constructed as lodgings.  Today the street is of similar character to Leopold Grove and comprises mainly late 19th century brick two or three storey buildings with double-height bay windows; overall the street is of neutralvalue.  On the north-west side nos. 2-4 have shops to the ground floor and to the north of these there is a block of single storey shops.  The block on the northwest corner has two original box bays and joinery (fig. 91).   The north east side has a c.1950s two-storey brick garage/parking block which is of negativevalue (fig. 92).  The rounded corner to 125a Church Street is a prominent feature; it was probably built in the 1930s but is of neutral value. 



8.19       South King Street (north of Albert Road only)



Fig. 93 South King Street
Fig. 93 South King Street


Fig. 94 3-21 South King Street
Fig. 94 3-21 South King Street

South King Street was slowly developed in the late 19th century and is similar in character and quality to other north-south streets in the area.  The east side of the road is generally positive: a range of two-storey red-brick terraces with ground floor canted bay windows and front boundary walls to the back of the footway (Fig. 93).  Although some have been rendered or painted, and the windows have generally been replaced, the range remains homogenous with a consistent roofline and no breaks in the building frontage.  At the north end, across Adelaide Street, are the two locally listed buildings, the Stanley Arms and the Masonic Hall.  The west side of the street is less homogenous, with a single-storey late 20th century medical centre and a range of shops (Nos 3-21) being neutralin character (fig. 94); the latter are possibly those shown on the 1877 street plan.  No 118 Adelaide Street and No 137 Church Street, both corner properties, are positivein character.





8.20       Albert Road (north east end)



Fig. 95 View of Blackpool Tower from east end of Albert Road
Fig. 95 View of Blackpool Tower from east end of Albert Road

Albert Road is an east-west street located between the historic site of Hounds Hill and Regent Road, and crossed by Coronation Street with smaller side streets on the north side.  From Coronation Street, Albert Road rises slightly uphill, giving good views back towards the Tower.  East of the junction with Coronation Street the street widens slightly and rises uphill.  Overall there is a high level of change and the majority of Albert Road is not included in the Conservation Area.  However, the two storey red-brick terrace at Nos 136-154 on the north east side on a sloping site is positivein value (Fig. 95).  Although the houses have uPVC windows and some of the front boundary walls have been removed, they retain a substantial amount of architectural detail and have few major alterations or extensions, resulting in a homogenous streetscape.  The eastern corner property has a corner tower to Regent Road. 



8.21       Bank Hey Street



Fig. 96 18 Bank Hey Street
Fig. 96 Bank Hey Street

Bank Hey Street was probably in place in the 1830s although there are few 19th century buildings remaining. Today it is one of Blackpool’s principle shopping streets, with several large chain stores in modern buildings.  It is pedestrianised from Albert Road through to Church Street.  The street is characterised by a range of buildings of mid to late 20th century date, mainly of two or three storeys with a flat roofline, with buildings built up to the back of the footway.  There are some buildings of positivevalue, including No. 18, a two storey building, two bays wide, of red brick and terracotta with a 1893 datestone; the ground floor is altered with a modern shopfront, but this early building is a rarity on the street (fig. 96). 






Fig. 97 Faience fronted building and large canopies, north east end of Bank Hey Street
Fig. 97 Faience fronted building and large canopies, north east end of Bank Hey Street

Nos 6-10 was built in 1935 to replace a parade of 1840s shops then considered as an eyesore; it retains some green and buff faience to the upper floors, but is of no more than neutralvalue.  Large canopies above ground floor level along this block project so far that the upper floors are obscured to the extent that the more positive aspect of the block is only visible from some distance away (fig. 97).  These canopies should be removed if the opportunity arises to open up the visibility of the upper floors of the block and the view of the Tower from the north end of the street.






Fig. 98 Woolworth’s building opened 1994
Fig. 98 Woolworth's building opended in 1994


Fig. 99 View towards Blackpool Tower
Fig. 99 View towards Blackpool Tower

The west side is taken up with the back of Tower Buildings, the curving termination of the old Woolworths store, the rear of the Palace Disco building (just beyond the proposed boundary) and the new Woolworth’s building (opened in 1994).  The latter makes a negative contribution to the streetscape (fig. 98), and historic buildings have been altered at ground floor level with the insertion of modern shop fronts and fascias.  However, the street retains some powerful streetscape presences.  The former Woolworth’s building is locally listed and the Tower Buildings are designated Grade I (fig. 99).











Fig. 100 Former Liberal Club, Victoria Street
Fig. 100 Former Liberal Church Club, Victoria Street


Fig. 101 Large canopy over secondary entrance of Marks and Spencers, Victoria Street
Fig. 101 Lage canopy over secondary entrance of Marks and Spencers, Victoria Street

The former Liberal Club on Victoria Street, beyond the boundary, is also locally listed but makes a positive contribution to the views out of the conservation area towards the Winter Gardens (fig. 100).  The view is, however, obstructed by the Victoria Street elevation of the Marks and Spencer store.  There is a heavy canopy above the secondary entrance which should be removed if the opportunity arises (fig. 101) to help reduce the obstruction.





Fig. 102 Street clutter adjacent to Tower Buildings
Fig. 102 Street Clutter adjacent to Tower Buildings

There is a large amount of street furniture on the street, of different qualities and dates, including late 20th century telephone boxes, benches and planters, and plastic bollards which create a cluttered appearance (fig. 102).














11.           Opportunities for Enhancement


Besides being a tool for preserving historic character, Conservation Area designation is also an opportunity to enhance those parts of the area which have been subject to unsympathetic change, both incremental and large scale.  These changes include the removal of original windows and other architectural features, and modern shop fronts being inserted which have no visual connection to the historic upper floors. 

It is not intended to be overly prescriptive with regard to new development in the Conservation Area.  However, in future applications for new shop fronts should comply fully with the Supplementary Planning Guidance 6: Shop Fronts and Signs.  This guidance will be updated in due course.  Canopies above entrances will not be supported, but shelter could still be provided by retractable tradition style awnings.   

Development should respect the scale and height of nearby historic buildings, and in particular should not extend beyond the historic building line of the street.  It should draw inspiration from local historic building design and materials whilst providing good quality modern buildings which make a positive contribution to the conservation area.  The design of all new development will be negotiated on these terms. 


Modern illuminated box signage and over-advertising undermines the historic character of a building and is inappropriate in conservation areas.   If not given careful thought, signs and advertising can create a great deal of clutter.  If handled carefully signs can be very attractive and add to the liveliness and interest of the street. One sign with a clearly stated message is often more effective than a number of different signs.  Timber fascias with painted or applied lettering are preferred.  In some cases, individually illuminated letters may be appropriate or other methods of illumination such as 'halo' or wash lighting.


When the opportunity arises unsympathetic roof lifts should be removed and slate roofs reinstated. 


Existing boundary treatments should be retained, and those properties where boundary treatments have previously been removed or altered will be encouraged to reinstate walls, gateposts and railings where appropriate.   


Street clutter is a particular problem in the public realm, and proliferation of street signs should be kept to a minimum by using existing poles for new signs wherever possible.  Seating and other street furniture should be appropriate for a conservation area.


These issues will be addressed fully in the Conservation Area Management Plan which will be produced in due course.