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Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire, England

Winter Gardens Blackpool: The Most Magnificent Palace of Amusement in the World

Winter Gardens Blackpool: The Most Magnificent Palace of Amusement in the World

Winter Gardens Blackpool: The Most Magnificent Palace of Amusement in the World

by Vanessa Toulmin & Ted Lightbown
Paperback: 140 pages
Publisher: Boco Publishing Ltd (7 Dec 2009)
ISBN-10: 0956445209
ISBN-13: 978-0956445209

This specially commissioned, commemorative, publication is being launched to coincide with the prestigious Royal Variety Performance (2009) and Her Majesty the Queen will be given a specially bound copy of this limited edition publication after the show. 

On a national level, the Winter Gardens remains a unique example of the extraordinary entertainment complexes of the nineteenth century. 

The 130 page soft-back book, which has gilt pictorial covers, is a fascinating account of these significant buildings and features authored by Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of the National Fairground Archive at the University of Sheffield. 

Professor Toulmin charts the history of the many wonderful spaces of the complex; lost delights including the spectacular Indian lounge and larger than life big wheel, alongside still-existing gems including the Spanish and Baronial Halls, gorgeous Pavilion Theatre and the wonderful Empress Ballroom as well as the beautiful main Floral Hall, Rotunda and Palm House as they have looked through the ages. 

It also encompasses information about the architects and designers responsible for creating this beautiful array of buildings with stunning interior spaces accompanied by exquisite entrances and exteriors to form this jewel of Victorian architecture. Art nouveau detailing such as tiles and windows are also showcased. 

Newly-commissioned, modern photographs accompany the best historic photographs, engravings and illustrations from both public and private collections, alongside reproductions of original posters to offer a lavish pictorial history. 

The importance of the Winter Gardens cannot be overstated and has won support from Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen who has penned a foreword about the building he counts as ‘one of his best architectural friends’. He tells the tale of discovering the complex when he worked as a junior marketing executive at a rubber flooring company and says: “I have to say, with more than a little pride, that there are still remote areas of this exciting building that continue to boast a Llewelyn-Bowen rubber floor – I really do crop up in the oddest of places.” 

All this comes just a week after the Council has expressed an interest in buying the Winter Gardens and Laurence’s foreward is accompanied by one from Cllr Peter Callow, Leader of the Council, who met his wife Maxine in the Winter Gardens. He said: “I think I speak for the whole town when I say how proud we are to have such an important piece of architectural, entertainment and social history at the heart of the town, playing a part in our everyday lives.” 

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