As you may or may not be aware from local press, Blackpool Council has successfully secured a grant from Historic England to restore large chunks of the Church Street frontage of the Winter Gardens.  This comes as part of a wider programme of work under Historic England’s Heritage Action Zone funding, the bid for which included similar works to the Church Street frontage of the Grand Theatre and the potential for a further bid for cultural activity linked to the Winter Gardens and Grand Theatre on the high street. 


This will mean big changes for the Church Street entrance as funding is aimed at restoring the original cream faience around the main doors and exploring the reinstatement of a traditional iron canopy to the main doors. In addition to this, the shopfronts under Empress Buildings to the east of the main entrance on Church Street will be refurbished and replaced with appropriate historic frontages in timber and glass with traditional signage and lighting.


Exciting as all this sounds, one of the most important things in the whole project is that fact that the Winter Gardens Trust are heavily represented on the project board, with your chair, David Owen and trustee Michael Williams, Managing Director of Blackpool Entertainment Co. Ltd (who manage the venue on behalf of the Council) being part of a board of 6 members.  This is the direct result of Historic England implementing a clear strategy for involving communities in project governance and it means that the Winter Gardens Trust will have an influence on the project and how it progresses over the next two or three years. 


The drawing here for the Empress Buildings element of the project is a sketch design only, and the Council are working with BECL, tenants and the architects to make some changes to these so that businesses like Quilligan’s aren’t impacted by the works too much. 


Once the designs are finalised, we hope to be able to share them initially with members as part of our monthly updates.

- July 2020