Museum plan gets £8m boost

Plans to create a new museum celebrating Blackpool’s unique place in entertainment have received a multi-million pound funding boost.

The Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund has allocated £4m towards the ambitious project which aims to bring £12.5m of additional spending into the resort.

And a Heritage Lottery Fund award will deliver £400,000 up front to support the development of the museum - with the prospect of a further £4m to make the attraction a reality.

The new museum will celebrate the town’s history as the UK’s first mass seaside holiday resort and the aim is to open its doors to visitors in 2020.

The biggest new museum development in the North West, it is expected to attract almost 300,000 visitors a year and will be developed on the world-famous Golden Mile.

The aim is to “engage younger audiences” in the history of Blackpool and further strengthen the town’s growing tourism offer.

Councillor Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “This is great news and we are delighted to have secured such significant funding. This is a major step forward to help deliver this exciting project.

“These announcements are extremely welcome and are critical pieces in a £13m funding jigsaw.

“We are now seeking additional funding from the Growth Deal and Coastal Communities Fund to help complete the funding that needs to be achieved. We will continue to work hard to complete this complex funding jigsaw.”

The planned museum will explore the extraordinary and rarely told stories of Britain’s largest seaside resort.

Blackpool has played an unrivalled role in the development of British popular entertainment over the past 150 years and the museum is described as a “dynamic and celebratory space” - a blend of museum and visitor attraction, filled with artefacts, film, music and performance.

The plan is to locate it in the historic Palatine Building on the Golden Mile, next door but one to Blackpool Tower.

Blackpool museum boost

The building, known until recently as the Sands Venue, is being transformed into Blackpool’s first five star hotel and leisure complex and the museum will be part of the redevelopment.

The museum was selected by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) last year as the county’s preferred project to be put forward for NCRF funding.

It will showcase over 800 objects, including many iconic objects from national and local collections including entertainment collections from the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Music Hall society and the EMI Archive Trust.

The council says it will attract 218,000 paying visitors and will be free to local residents of Blackpool. It will create 40 full-time equivalent jobs.

It will also boost the economy attracting an additional 24,000 staying visitors to the resort and bring £12.5m of additional expenditure in the town.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry said the investment, part of a wider package in the region, represents “a major economic and cultural boost for the Northern Powerhouse”.

He added: “These investments will have a transformative effect, benefitting local communities by creating new jobs while increasing tourism from across the UK and further afield.”