Blackpool's £13m Showtown museum revealed

  • Published
Beside the SeasideImage source, Casson Mann
Image caption,
The museum will be split into six themes

Details of the first museum to tell the story of Blackpool and the seaside resort's role in the British entertainment scene have been revealed.

The £13m Showtown will be located on the Golden Mile.

It will be based within the Sands Venue Resort Hotel, which is set to be the town's first five-star hotel.

Stan Laurel's bowler hat, costumes belonging to Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise, and one of Tommy Cooper's props will be among 800 objects on display.

Image source, Lorne Campbell/ Guzelian, Blackpool Museum Project
Image caption,
Stan Laurel's bowler hat will be on show at the museum

Blackpool Council described the museum as the "jewel in the crown" of its regeneration plans for the town. It is expected to open next year.

"Showtown will celebrate Blackpool's rich heritage and its unique place in the nation's heart," Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said.

He said its aim was to "engage local residents and visitors through fun, laughter and stories, sharing what makes Blackpool special".

David Renwick, from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF), which provided £4m towards the project, said: "Showtown is an incredibly fitting name for the museum, celebrating the seaside town's heritage."

Image source, Blackpool Council Heritage Service
Image caption,
Tommy Cooper's headtwister illusion magic trick (right) will be on show courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum

The museum will be divided into six themes; seaside, magic, shows, circus, illuminations and dance.

Beside the Seaside will feature the story of how Blackpool became symbolic of the British seaside holiday, How's Tricks? is about its significance for magic, illusion and fortune telling and It's Showtime will showcase acts that have put Blackpool on the map.

It's Better with the Lights On is dedicated to the Blackpool Illuminations, while Everybody Dance Now will explain how Blackpool became the "spiritual home" of ballroom dance and continues to host one of the world's biggest dance festivals.

And Roll Up! Roll Up! celebrates Blackpool's role in circus.

Image source, Blackpool Council Heritage Service
Image caption,
It will have memorabilia from the Tower Circus

The Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund also contributed £4m to the venture, with £1.75m coming from the Coastal Communities Fund and £1.5m from the Lancashire Growth Deal.

The authority estimates it will attract about 300,000 visitors annually and create the equivalent of 40 full-time jobs.

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