Exhibition: Blackpool: Wonderland of the World, Quadriga Gallery, Wellington Arch, London until August 27 2012
English Heritage’s newest restoration, Wellington Arch, to the south of London's Hyde Park, is currently playing host to an exhibition celebrating the history and heritage of one of our great British seaside resorts.
The Quadriga Gallery, a special exhibition space inside the recently reopened triumphal arch, is rejoicing in the heritage, history and glamour of Blackpool with a photographic and poster exhibition charting the life and built heritage of the town.
Part of a series of fast-changing shows at the site exploring and promoting the heritage of the British Isles, Blackpool: Wonderland of the World focuses on two of the city’s most enduring venues; Blackpool Tower and the Winter Gardens.
At its height, Blackpool offered holiday makers more than 20,000 theatre seats and a staggering number of variety shows, rivalled only by London. These two historic entertainment palaces provided holiday-makers with a huge range of extravaganzas within their opulent interiors.
Prints and photographs chart the story of the two listed architectural treasures, exploring their design, construction and later evolution through to recent restorations and the plans for their future.
Archive posters, some of them dating back to the Victorian period, also feature a litany of names from the golden age of variety including Dusty Springfield, Bob Hope, Josef Locke, Eric Sykes and Hattie Jacques, and – Patron Saint of Blackpool – Ken Dodd.
And, in a nod to the continuing tradition of Blackpool’s famous illuminations, an illuminated jubilee crown has been added to the exterior of the famous arch for the duration of the exhibition, which has been planned in conjunction with Blackpool Council.
- The 2012 programme at the Quadriga Gallery looks at some of England's most famous historic landmarks. In 2013, the gallery will chart the movement to protect England's heritage for future generations.
© English Heritage Archives
© English Heritage / Photographer: Boris Baggs