Celebrating 160 years of magic
Blackpool North Pier opened in 1863 (the oldest of the three) and still retains its Victorian charm. The Blackpool Pier Company has had a long a vibrant history. This year marks a very special date in the calendar with North Pier reaching its milestone 160 birthday. Here is a whistle stop tour of how that came to be…
Opening in 1863
On the 21 May 1863, more than 20,000 visitors attended the opening ceremony of Blackpool Pier – now known as North Pier. Designed by Eugenius Birch – the second of 14 piers to be created by him - North Pier was built by Glasgow Engineering firm Richard Laidlaw and Son at a cost of £11,740 with a promenade measuring 468 yards long and 9 yards wide.
When extended in 1874 the pier was 470 yards long in total.
1860s - 1880s
When the Government agreed to allow a second pier to be built in Blackpool, it was decided that North Pier would focus its efforts on catering to the ‘better classes’, charging for entry and including attractions such as an orchestra and band concerts.
To further enhance this, in 1874 the pier was enlarged, and the Indian Pavilion was constructed alongside the bandstand. This would prove to be the resort’s primary indoor entertainment venue before Blackpool Winter Gardens opened in 1879.
1930s - 1940s
Between 1932 and 1933, alterations included transforming the open-air stand into the Sun Lounge with amazing views. 1936 saw more damage wreaked after a steamer collision resulted in a 10ft gap. In 1938, the Indian Pavilion was severely fire damaged leading to the construction of the North Pier Theatre, which that same year was also destroyed in a blaze and replaced in 1939 by a new 1500-seater art-deco theatre.
On 19 July 1948, Harry Corbett bought Sooty from a novelty shop on North Pier. After a long, illustrious career he has been gifted back and is in the ticket office!
1960s - 1990s
In 1960, the pier saw the addition of an amusement arcade and the much-loved Merrie England Bar, popular for many years. The rebuilt North Pier Theatre narrowly escaped damage when a fire broke out in 1985 but fortunately was spotted by performer Vince Hall.
It was time for a fresh new look in the 1980s with a new Victorian style entrance costing £350,000. 1991 heralded the arrival of the most famous landmark on North Pier - The Carousel!
1997, however, ended on a low point. A fierce storm on Christmas Eve destroyed the jetty completely severing it from the pier.
In 2004, North Pier was recognised as ‘Pier of the Year’ by the National Piers Society. It is one of the few remaining examples of Birch's classic pier architecture and is a Grade II Listed building, the only Blackpool pier to hold that prestigious status.
In 2011, local family, the Sedgwick’s, took ownership of the resort’s three piers and vowed to restore them to glory. By the end of 2014 it was said to be in the best condition of all time.
North Pier has witnessed many changes over the years. Most recently has been the addition of Bloom Bar and its glamorous neighbour, The Garden! Situated at the end of the pier, this is a luxurious lounge where you can take in magnificent sea-scapes and sunsets you won’t see anywhere else.
North Pier recently honoured Blackpool legend, Joe Longthorne, who performed more than 20 sell-out seasons in the iconic North Pier Theatre. The decision was made to rename the venue The Joe Longthorne Theatre.
Fast forward to 2023 and North Pier is celebrating its 160th birthday. It knows how to celebrate, so keep an eye out for what’s in store…
What to do on Blackpool North Pier?
At the front of the pier is a large arcade featuring iconic video, prize and gaming machines. As you stroll down the pier you will discover plenty.
North Pier Theatre, recently re-name The Joe Longthorne Theatre, hosts an exciting range of shows for everyone. Such as Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown, The Wizard of Oz, The Sooty Show and much more!
Bloom Bar is a beautiful, luxurious lounge bar with stunning views of the Irish Sea and the Blackpool Tower. At weekends Bloom Bar hosts DJ’s playing funky house classics along with other live entertainment. No booking required, open daily from 11am.
The Garden is the outdoor ‘sister’ bar and adjacent to Bloom located in what was North Piers old solarium. This bar has had a total transformation which now features an outdoor cocktail and champagne bar serving drinks in a unique and unrivalled setting. The Gardens still features the original glass solarium building, complemented by organic floral displays, comfy seating areas and contemporary furnishings. There will be a variety of live entertainment (weather permitting) throughout the season.
The North Pier Lounge Bar
The Conservatory Bar
Openings vary throughout season
01 Jan 2023 - 31 Dec 2023
Opening Times: Openings vary throughout season
Deck: 10am to late.
Lounge Bar: 11am to late.
Arcade: 9am to late.
Bloom Bar: 11am to late.
Theatre: events only