Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom to get ‘lifeline’ facelift

The Blackpool Tower Ballroom, a mecca for formal dancing, is to get a £764,000 facelift thanks to the government's Culture Recovery Fund.

The ballroom, a central venue for BBC TV’s Strictly Come Dancing, first opened to the public in 1894 in the now Grade I listed Tower Buildings, postcard favourite for the seaside resort. The grant will pay for comprehensive repair and restoration work on the ballroom’s period plasterwork ceiling which will take place during the building’s current closure.

Inspired by Paris’s Eiffel Tower when it opened the Blackpool Tower was, at 518 feet or 158 metres, the tallest building in the British Empire. Built on the site of an aquarium the tower was designed by two Lancashire architects, James Maxwell and Charles Tuke (both of whom died before the opening) and cost £290,000. The Tower Buildings comprises the ballroom, the Tower Circus and roof gardens.

“Blackpool Tower Ballroom has played a hugely significant role in the history and popular culture of our country for over 125 years, as a landmark in British seaside architecture and tourism” said Duncan Wilson, CEO of Historic England through which the grant has been made from the DCMS £1.57bn “lifeline” fund. “In these challenging times our shared heritage is more important than ever. This vital funding will allow essential repairs to take place, providing employment for skilled craft workers and ensuring that we preserve this much-loved ballroom for everyone to enjoy, both now and in the future.”

And Kate Shane of Merlin Entertainments, which operates Blackpool Tower on behalf of Blackpool Council, added: “I am remarkably fortunate to be able to appreciate the splendour of the Tower Ballroom every working day. I see at first hand the sheer joy that it brings to people whether they are ballroom dancing, enjoying afternoon tea or simply taking in the extraordinary surroundings.

“The timing of the grant could not be better as the ballroom is currently closed because of pandemic restrictions and we cannot wait to see the work on the restoration of this beautiful plasterwork ceiling to commence.”

 

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