Museum dream to become a reality following final piece in funding jigsaw

Kerry Vasiliou, of Blackpool Museum Project, with Stan Laurel bowler hat signed to Cyril Critchlow in 1947

Blackpool Council has today (June 24) been allocated £4m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the development of the Blackpool Museum Project.

This is this final piece in a £13m funding jigsaw that will see the project become a reality.

The Blackpool Museum Project will celebrate Blackpool as the UK’s most popular seaside destination and its role in the development of British popular culture.

Located in the Sands Building on the Promenade, it will be a hybrid between museum and visitor attraction, capturing the spirit of the resort.

Visitors will be able to discover more about Blackpool’s links with dance, comedy, live variety, illumination, circus and sideshows.

They can also get up close with the entertainers who put Blackpool on the map – the comedians, dancers, acrobats, performers and larger-than-life characters who turned a seaside resort into the self-proclaimed world capital of show business.

The £13m project had already secured more than £7m external funding.

The year-round visitor attraction will be a fully-immersive, family-friendly experience, filled with memorabilia, film, music and live performance, and giving visitors an opportunity to look behind the scenes as what it took to make Blackpool special.

Cllr Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “This is fantastic news, it’s the final piece in the jigsaw and now our dreams can become a reality.

“It has been six years since I first sat down with council officers and discussed the concept of a museum celebrating Blackpool’s rich heritage and its unique place in the nation’s heart.

“We did not want to just create a display of Blackpool’s history, we aspired to do something completely unique that you would only experience here.

“Thanks to the effort and expertise of our volunteers and supporters and the commitment of hard-working council officers we finally have an amazing concept that is financially viable.”

She added: “The official launch of our plans will follow in the Autumn.”

In partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) London, and private owners, it will display, collect, research and celebrate collections related to popular entertainment.

The museum is expected to open in 2021.