North Pier Blackpool Entertainments Guide Summer 2011
Weekends from 2nd April to 6th November
‘Merrie England House Party’ with Joey Blower
Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd May 2011
Urban Art Festival
Saturday 28th May
Barefoot in Babylon
Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th June
Blackpool Pride Event
Saturday 9th July
Enchantment over the Sea Ball
Sat 19th and Sunday 20th November Merrie England Pub Stars Final
North Pier Summer Season Show
- Saturdays from 16th July till 29th October Michael Barrymore’s Big Night Out.
- Mondays from 18th July till 24th October The Grumbleweeds and Houghton Weavers.
- Tuesdays from 9th July till 25th October Jake and Elwood the Best Blues Brothers Ever.
- Wednesdays from 20th July till 25th October Rock and Roll Paradise – 50′s and 60′s hits
- Wednesdays from 27th July to 31st August (Matinees) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Summer Panto)
- Thursdays from 21st July to 21st October The Kings of Comedy Cannon and Ball, Duncan Norvelle and Stu Francis
North Pier Entertainment venues comprise the Merrie England Showbar adjacent to the Promenade and the Theatre which is situated at the end of the pier.
In April 2011 the North Pier was purchased by Peter Sedgewick who owns other amusement arcades and a big wheel ride on another pier. He has already removed the 50pence admission charge for the pier and has vowed to re-instate it to its Victorian glory.
North Pier was officially opened on 21 May 1863 with a grand ceremony attended by over 20,000 visitors. It was the second of the fourteen piers designed by Eugenius Birch (the first being Margate Pier), and is now the oldest of the few remaining examples of his work still in use. It was also the first of Birch’s piers to be built by engineering firm Richard Laidlaw and Son of Glasgow.
Although the pier was primarily for leisure rather than seafaring, a landing jetty was built at the end in incremental stages between 1864 and 1867. These works increased the pier’s length to its current 500 metres. The pier company themselves made use of the jetty by operating steamboat trips to nearby destinations.
In 1874, Richard Knill Freeman, an architect who specialised in winner design competition, was asked to design a North Pavilion. Subsequent fires mean that nothing now remains but it is known that the building was called the “Indian Pavilion” due to its decoration.
North Pier was heavily adapted during the last quarter of the nineteenth century; both the “head” of the pier (the extreme seaward end) and the connection with the shore were widened to include music performance facilities and shops. The facilities, although repaired or reconstructed as necessary, remained much the same until the 1960s when the “Merrie England Bar” and an amusement arcade were constructed at the shore end of the pier. By this point, the pier had long since ceased to have any nautical use, but the jetty section was adapted for use as a helicopter pad in the late 1980s. A small tramway was also added to ease access to the views and facilities of the pierhead.
As mentioned above, North Pier is one of the few remaining examples of Birch’s classic architecture and as such it now enjoys the status of a Grade II Listed building. It was also recognised as “Pier of the Year” in 2004 by the National Piers Society.