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History of Blackpool

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Blackpool’s origins began in medieval times with a just few coastal farmsteads within Layton-with-Warbreck.   

Blackpool originally took its name from ‘le pull’, a stream draining Marton Mere and Marton Moss into the sea close to what is now known as ‘Manchester Square’.  The peat lands through which the stream ran had the effect of discolouring the water creating a pool of Black water, hence the name 'Black Poole' and eventually ‘Blackpool’.

In the 14th century there was a small settlement at Blackpool, known simply as ‘Pul’.   A later map of the settlement (1532) refers to it as ‘the pole howsys’ alias the north howsys.

In 1602 entries in the Bispham parish baptismal register mention both ‘Poole’ and, for the first time, ‘blackpoole’.

View our collection of old pictures and postcards of Blackpool in our Gallery.

Blackpool History

Blackpool Electricity & Illuminations

Much of Blackpool's growth and character from the 1870s on was predicated on the town's pioneering use of electrical power. In 1879, it became the first municipality in the world to have electric street lighting, as large parts of the promenade were wired.

Blackpool Tramway

The first part of the tramway opened on 29 September 1885, a conduit line running from Cocker Street to Dean Street on Blackpool Promenade. It was one of the first practical electric tramways in the world.

Blackpool shipwrecks

Blackpool and the Fylde coast has become a ship graveyard to a number of vessels over the years. Most of the shipwrecks occurred at or near Blackpool, whilst a few happened a little further afield but have strong connections with the Blackpool area.

History of Blackpool Tower

The idea for the tower came when Blackpool Mayor John Bickerstaffe commissioned the design of a new landmark for the town after he visited the Great Paris Exhibition in 1889 and was impressed by the Eiffel Tower.