Blackpool Showbiz Museum

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Britain’s neglected seaside towns are often starved of investment, with some locations a pale shadow of what they were during the days when British people holidayed on these shores. Some have managed to reinvent themselves, while others have slipped into terminal decline. This month we look back at the Blackpool of yesteryear, as we check out a new museum which is hitting the news headlines.

Mark Ritchie writes: When piano entertainer and composer Bobby Crush wrote The Orville Song for ventriloquist Keith Harris back in the 1980’s, I bet he would not have thought he could hear the song again, in 2024 thanks to Orville The Green Duck being exhibited at Showtown Museum in Blackpool.
The museum is set to be a key attraction, with a huge range of exhibits which hark back to the days when up to 25 summer shows were staged simultaneously during the boom years of post-war Britain.
The Blackpool of the 21st century, in my view, receives a harsh and unfair press. To hear some media commentators talk, Blackpool is finished and has decayed beyond all recognition. A new generation of Staycation people have pushed visitor numbers back up again. Holidaymakers who have not visited the Fylde coast for years cannot fail the notice the splendid new promenade, complete with its sculptures and comedy carpet. A recent upgrade of the Golden Mile will be completed by a new theme park, which will be situated in the area formerly occupied by the Bonny Street market, right along and adjacent to the Central Pier.
The museum is sure to be a hit. The value for money is astonishing, as first-time visitors are informed that they can pay once and then visit as many times as they like for a whole year.
What can visitors expect to see at Showtown Museum?
The answer is that basically the history of all types of shows are covered. From Circus to Magic Shows and Dance. The museum has an interactive feel with fortune tellers and Punch and Judy shows. Memories of the great performers can be found in photographic exhibits and props used by everyone, from the great clown Charlie Cairoli to variety legends such as George Formby and Frank Randle.
The days when Blackpool put more bums on seats than London’s West End is remembered by other exhibits, such as costumes props and a brilliant selection of theatre bills.
Billed as The Museum of Fun and Entertainment, the place has ample backing from local businesses. The future seems bright, just as it does for this re-emerging resort itself.

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