Blackpool Illuminations

Blackpool Illuminations
Blackpool Trawler Illuminated Tram.jpg
DatesAugust–November
Location(s)Blackpool, England
Years active1879–present

Blackpool Illuminations is an annual lights festival, founded in 1879 and first switched on 18 September that year,[1] held each autumn in the British seaside resort of Blackpool on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire.Also known locally as The Lights or The Illuminations, they run each year for sixty-six days,[2][3] from late August until early November at a time when most other English seaside resorts' seasons are coming to an end. They are 6 miles (10 km) long and use over one million bulbs. The display stretches along the Promenade from Starr Gate at the south end of the town to Bispham in the north.

In 2013 the Illuminations were originally meant to shine from 30 August to 3 November.[4] However, on 14 March 2013 it was announced that the festival had been extended by a week, shining until 10 November making it the first time that the Illuminations ran for 73 consecutive days.[5] This happened again in 2014 when they shone from 29 August to 9 November. The Illuminations have returned to shining for the regular 66 days since 2015.

In 2018 the Illuminations shined for 66 days from 31 August to 4 November.[4]

History

The Illuminations were first shown in 1879 when they were described as 'Artificial sunshine', and consisted of just eight carbon arc lamps which bathed the Promenade.[6] The original event preceded Thomas Edison's patent of the electric light bulb by twelve months.[7][8] The first display similar to the modern-day displays was held in May 1912 to mark the first British Royal family visit to Blackpool when Princess Louise opened a new section of the Promenade, Princess Parade. The Promenade was decorated with what was described as "festoons of garland lamps" using about 10,000 light bulbs. The local Chamber of trade as well as other local businesses requested Blackpool Council to stage the event in September of the same year. The subsequent event was such a success that in 1913 the council were again asked to stage the Princess Parade lights as an end of season event. With the outbreak of the First World War there were no further displays until 1925 when the lights were again on display and extended to run from Manchester Square to Cocker Square. In 1932 animated tableaux were erected running along the cliffs from North Shore to Bispham, and the Illuminations were extended to its current length running from Starr Gate to Red Bank Road at Bispham. The Illuminations were ready to shine in 1939 but the outbreak of the Second World War again interrupted the annual display and post war austerity meant the lights were not switched on again until 1949.[6]

Illuminations on Blackpool promenade

Every year there is also the Festival of Light which features interactive installations and is described as being "a contemporary look at the concept of light and art working together to create entertainment".[9]

Other uses

The Illuminations have been used in modern culture in households around the United Kingdom, mainly with people quoting the following saying: "Turn the lights off, it's like Blackpool illuminations in here".[citation needed]

Other Languages
Simple English: Blackpool Illuminations