Arthur Lloyd.co.uk
The Music Hall and Theatre History Site
Dedicated to Arthur Lloyd, 1839 - 1904.

 

The North Pier, and Pavilion Theatre, Blackpool

Formerly - The Blackpool Pier

One of The Three Blackpool Piers

Blackpool Theatres Index - Blackpool Theatres Article by Donald Auty

An early postcard depicting the North Pier, Blackpool - Courtesy Roy Cross

Above - An early postcard depicting the North Pier, Blackpool - Courtesy Roy Cross - The production at the Theatre was 'On With The Show' which ran until the 1950s

The North Pier is one of three Piers in Blackpool today, namely the South, Central, and North Piers. The North Pier is the earliest of the three and was constructed by Richard Laidlaw and Son of Glasgow, who would go on to build the later Central Pier in 1868, however this Pier was designed by the well known Pier architect Eugenius Birch who designed 14 Piers in all, this being the second of his designs, and is today the oldest of all of his surviving Piers.

An early postcard depicting the North Pier, Blackpool in 1913 - Courtesy Roy Cross

Above - An early postcard depicting the North Pier, Blackpool in 1913 - Courtesy Roy Cross

A variety programme for Lawrence Wright's 'On With The Show' at the North Pier Theatre, Blackpool, here performed on Sundays in May 1945, and in its 21st consecutive year by then - Kindly donated by Pam Prior.The North Pier is situated close to the Blackpool North Railway Station and is also the most northerly of the three Blackpool Piers, but its name is only coincidendental as it originally opened as the Blackpool Pier on the 21st of May 1863. Work on the Pier's construction began in May 1862 and it was 428 metres long by 17 metres wide, at the pier head end, when it was finished the following year.

Right - A variety programme for Lawrence Wright's 'On With The Show' at the North Pier Theatre, Blackpool, here performed on Sundays at 7pm in May 1945, and in its 21st consecutive year by then - Kindly donated by Pam Prior.

A 1940s variety programme for Lawrence Wright's 'On With The Show' at the North Pier Theatre, Blackpool, with Albert Modley, Helen Hill, and John McHugh - Courtesy Roy Cross.The opening of the North Pier was a very grand affair and over 20,000 people came to witness the event which included a procession and a Cannon Salute. It is said that all the local shops in the area closed for the event too. The North Pier originally had a simple promenade wooden deck furnished with wooden benches, although hexagonal kiosks were added later.

Left - A 1940s variety programme for Lawrence Wright's 'On With The Show' at the North Pier Theatre, Blackpool, with Albert Modley, Helen Hill, and John McHugh - Courtesy Roy Cross.

A landing jetty was added for passengers to embark and disembark from steamers, at the Pier head, between 1864 and 1867, extending the pier to its current length of 500 metres. In 1897 the HMS Foudroyant, which was Nelson's Flagship, was moored up on the North Pier when it slipped its moorings and was wrecked on the shore during a storm, damaging part of the Pier's jetty in the process. Another Naval incident would happen in 1936 when a pleasure steamer hit the Pier, leaving a ten foot gap in the middle and stranding some of the Pier's visitors at the Pier head end.

The North Pier, Carousel, and Theatre, Blackpool in August 2012 - Photo M. L.

Above - The North Pier, Carousel, and Theatre, Blackpool in August 2012 - Photo M. L.

The North Pier Theatre, Blackpool in August 2012 - Photo M. L.

Above - The North Pier Theatre, Blackpool in August 2012 - Photo M. L.

The Entrance to the North Pier Theatre, Blackpool in August 2012 - Photo M. L.

Above - The Entrance to the North Pier Theatre, Blackpool in August 2012 - Photo M. L.

A programme for a Bernard Delfont 'Show of Stars' variety show called 'Show Time' at the North Pier Pavilion Theatre in 1959 - Courtesy Roy Cross.In 1874 a Pavilion was constructed on the pier head, and named the Indian Pavilion, this was regularly used for Concert Performances with a full orchestra and a 1 shilling admission charge, very high for the time.

The Pavilion was damaged by fire in 1921 but restored, only to be destroyed completely in another fire in 1938.

The Pavilion was then replaced by an Art Deco Theatre the following year in 1939, called the Pavilion Theatre, which is still in place today although it is now just called the North Pier Theatre. The mock Victorian Style entrance was added in the 1980s.

Right - A programme for a Bernard Delfont 'Show of Stars' variety show called 'Show Time' at the North Pier Pavilion Theatre in 1959 - Courtesy Roy Cross. On the Bill were Charlie Drake, Edmund Hockridge, the Three Monarchs, the Mudlarks, and Doreen Hume.

The North Pier today is Blackpool's only Grade II Listed Pier, and still has its Theatre along with some other period attractions such as the Carousel and the Carousel Bar with its Victorian wrought Iron Canopy.

You may like to visit the North Pier's own website here.

If you have any more information or images for this Pier that you are willing to share please Contact me.

A Programme for 'Easter Serenade' at the North Pier, Blackpool - Courtesy Roy Cross

Above - A Programme for 'Easter Serenade' at the North Pier, Blackpool - Courtesy Roy Cross

Above - The Carousel on the North Pier, Blackpool in August 2012 - Photo M. L.

Above - The Carousel on the North Pier, Blackpool in August 2012 - Photo M. L.

The North Pier, Blackpool can be seen to the right of this panoramic view from the top of the Blackpool Tower in August 2012 - Photo M. L.

Above - The North Pier, Blackpool can be seen to the right of this panoramic view from the top of the Blackpool Tower in August 2012 - Photo M. L