English Heritage celebrates Blackpool in latest Quadriga Gallery exhibition at London's Wellington Arch

By Culture24 Reporter | 09 July 2012
a photo of a man dressed as a clown yielding a cream pie at Children in an audience
Legendary clown Charlie Cairoli entertains the audience at Blackpool Tower Circus
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.

More pictures:

a black and white photo of Blackpool Pier seen in the distance through a life ring with Central Pier Blackpool written on it
John Gay, Central Pier, Blackpool (1949)© English Heritage Archives
a black and white photo of a ballroom full of people
Blackpool Tower Ballroom (1932)
a poster with a painting of a large brick and glass building set on parkland with a boating lake and the words Blackpool Winter Gardens
Winter Gardens poster (1886) (detail)
a black and white photo of circus acrobats performimng high wire acrobatics above a fountian in an indoor arena
The Tower Circus with water finale (1955)
an aerial colour photograph of Wellington Arch with an illuminated Crown on its roof
Two illuminated crowns have been added to Wellington Arch© English Heritage / Photographer: Boris Baggs
More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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