The Central Pier Blackpool is one of three piers in the town. Central, North and South Pier all provide family entertainment to visitors to our lovely town and have done since the day they were opened. Considering they are all only a short walk south from the North Ocean Hotel in Blackpool, they are well worth a visit!
The Central Pier Blackpool was built in 1864 by the Blackpool South Jetty Company. They wanted to emulate the success of North Pier while also making it accessible to all. The company originally wanted to use another Birch design, but elected instead for one created by Lieutenant-Colonel John Isaac Mawson.
The one concession to Birch was the use of his screw piles to secure the foundations. This method had been used successfully on the North Pier and was repeated just as successfully on the Central Pier.
The screw pile method involved using a screw to drive cast iron piles through the sand onto the bedrock to provide a solid foundation for construction. It’s a deceptively simple and very effective method of pier building.
The pier, once complete, measured 460 metres in length and had a landing jetty built into it. It was opened in 1868 and would welcome steamers and boats, as well as walking visitors. A band was quickly introduced that would play a welcome tune as a steamer docked at the pier. Something that would last for many years and encourage dancing by visitors every time they played.
Ten years after opening, Central Pier was extended and had a new toll booth added. Shops were opened, refreshment stalls were added and a new dancing area introduced. Further improvements saw the pier length extended further, new shops opened, a bandstand built, more dancing areas added and electric lighting installed.
1903 saw the pavilion added to the end and a small railway introduced, which was promptly removed in 1907 and was followed by a roller skating rink in 1909. This was how the Central Pier stayed until 1949 when an open air theatre was built.
The theatre lasted until 1966 before being demolished in a modernisation program that saw the building of the Golden Goose Amusement Arcade and a new theatre being added. Dixieland Bar opened in 1968 and Maggie May’s Showbar added in 1986.
Since then, Central Pier Blackpool has been modernised, revamped and kept alive by the owners. It still provides family entertainment that is accessible to all and is likely to still be doing it in another 130 years’ time. It is another attraction with recommend visiting it while you holiday in Blackpool!