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Blackpool in 1835

BLACKPOOL, a watering-place on the coast of Lancashire, between the estuaries of the Ribble and Wyre, is a village and chapelry in the township of Layton with Warbreck, in the parish of Bispham, and in the hundred of Amounderness ; 4 miles S.W. of Poulton, 9 miles W.N.W of Kirkham, 18 miles W.N.W. of Preston, 27 miles S.W. of Lancaster, and 235 miles from London. The dark peaty-coloured pool, from which its name is derived, is at the south end of the village, near a house called Fox Hall once the residence of the Tyldesleys, but now a farm house.

The situation of Blackpool gives it many advantages over the other watering-places along the same coast. Its elevation above the sea at low water is considerable, but in very high tides the spray is thrown against the buildings that run along the parade. On a favourable day, the promontory of Furness, the Cumberland hills, and the mountains of North Wales are distinctly visible, and at times the Isle of Man may be seen.

The tide does not recede from the shore, opposite the village, more than half a mile; when it comes in, if accompanied with wind, the force of the waters is so great that it has been found necessary to make an artificial barrier of stones against the bank to prevent its being undermined. The inroads upon the high clay cliffs that lie northwards of the village towards Norbreck also in the parish of Bispham, show the encroachments of the sea in this direction. On the other side of the estuary of the Ribble, near Southport, the contrary operation is going forward, large deposit of sand being made there. The extent of these encroachments in the neighbourhood of Blackpool cannot be clearly ascertained. Tradition states that a large stone, which is standing upon the sands above half a mile from the shore, called Penny Stone, marks the spot where a public house formerly stood. However this may be, it is certain that high tides occasionally wash down considerable portions of the banks. The old road to Bispham has long disappeared and parts of the new road are rapidly following it.

Blackpool is recommended to visitors by the fine hard sands, and by the healthy bracing air, which however is too keen for persons labouring under some complaints. Many of the native inhabitants attain a great age. The shell banks on the north side of the village are large and numerous, and afford, along with an immense number of the more common sorts, marine specimens not found any other locality. The clay and marl which compose heights north of Blackpool, after falling down and be rolled about on the pebbles, form a kind of pudding, which, when hardened by the salt water and the air, becomes a stone, and is often used for gate-posts by the farmers.

The hotels are large, and occupy commanding situations facing the sea. In the same line with them, for about a quarter of a mile, is a number of lofty houses chiefly for the accommodation of visitors, forming a long but irregular range of buildings in front of the sea, at the distance of about a hundred yards from the edge of the steep bank that keeps off the tide. On the water’s edge of this bank is a broad terrace-walk, which forms the chief promenade of the place, between which and the houses road for carriages.

An episcopal place of worship was erected here in 1821, which is under the parochial jurisdiction of Bispham. There is also a free-school, where thirty boys are educated on system of Dr. Bell. For the accommodation of the visitors a news-room, a coffee-room, and a library, are open during the season.

The whole of the adjacent country, which is within the district called the Fylde, is one of the richest parts of the county of Lancaster. No trade is carried on in the village but those persons who are not engaged in attending upon visitors find employment in the fishing-boats, or in fields. The population of Blackpool is about 800, exclusive of visitors, who, at the height of the season, amount to 800 or 1000 more.