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Historic Blackpool Theatre Wins Share of £3m Restoration Fund

Friday, 11th December 2015

Blackpool Winter Gardens has won £50,000 funding from the Government to help restore the historic Pavilion Theatre, it was today revealed.

The 137-year-old theatre was placed on the Theatre’s Trust’s ‘At Risk’ register in 2014 – an indication of the vital need for investment to protect the venue’s long-term future.

Communities Minister Brandon Lewis today announced the Pavilion Theatre – part of the world famous Grade II* Winter Gardens building – is among 77 projects across Great Britain to receive a share of £3 million coastal revival funding.

The £50,000 granted to Blackpool Winter Gardens will be used to restore the walls of the Pavilion Theatre which is the proposed location for the Blackpool Museum.

Michael Williams, managing director of the Winter Gardens, said: “This is wonderful news and testament to the hard work done in putting together a compelling bid. It is also 

recognition of how vital such historic theatres as the Pavilion are.

“Although still a very beautiful and atmospheric place, the Pavilion is in need of significant repair and restoration.

“The roof needs attention to protect the interiors and this funding will ensure the works are completed as soon as possible to prevent any further issues.”

Cllr Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “This funding is a welcome boost towards our long-term aim of creating a museum for Blackpool which would be located in the Pavilion Theatre.

“Not only will the museum create a new tourist attraction to boost the Blackpool economy, it will also safeguard this beautiful theatre to ensure it continues to be used for decades to come.”

Created as a concert hall in 1878, the Pavilion was converted to a theatre in 1889. A major re-building took place in 1897, resulting in a splendidly opulent apsidal-ended music hall.

The beautiful plasterwork, designed by J M Boekbinder, was completed in 1904. In the 1920s it became a picture palace and by the 1950s was used for summer shows. Household names such as Morecambe & Wise and Tommy Cooper performed there.

Blackpool Council is currently formulating plans for a multi-million pound, interactive heritage museum – situated within the Pavilion – which will tell the story of how Blackpool became one of the world's biggest tourist resorts.

Today’s announcement by the Government sees 77 national projects – ranging from theatres to piers and lidos to lighthouses – each receive coastal revival funding grants of up to £50,000 to kick-start restoration work.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England said: "Many of the projects which will be funded through the Coastal Revival Fund will help to conserve our special coastal heritage.

“The historic buildings and places around our shores tell the story of our nation, from fishing ports and defensive structures to pleasure beaches and parks.

"Several of the sites are on our Heritage at Risk Register and require urgent action before they are lost. This government funding will help a variety of community groups who look after these wonderful places to take important steps to revive them and ensure they play a continuing role in seaside economies."

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