New home for Golden Mile Amusements

New Home for Golden Mile Amusements

There’s a new home for Golden Mile Amusements, as plans to transform the resort’s promenade attractions move on another step. The arcade opposite Coral Island will move a few hundred metres northwards, into what was the old Woolworths building. We went to take a look in October 2022 –

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New Home for Golden Mile Amusements

Back in 2010, Blackpool Council paid a whopping £40m for a bundle of leisure attractions. Notably, the deal included the Blackpool Tower and the Winter Gardens. The Golden Mile Centre was also included – which is now earmarked for redevelopment by the Council.

Golden Mile Amusements
Golden Mile Amusements

In late December 2021, Blackpool Council’s Executive agreed a scheme to redevelop part of the Golden Mile Centre on Blackpool’s famous promenade into a new attraction. There was some confusion at the time of the announcement – with reports indicating that there might be two sites up for development in the stretch between New Bonny Street and Chapel Street. Then in 2022 we discovered that the new Peter Rabbit attraction, operated by Merlin, was opening on 12 February 2022.

New Life for the old Woolworths

Crown Leisure, operators of the Golden Mile Amusements, have submitted a planning application to Blackpool Council for the change of use for the former Woolworths building.

Primarily aimed at families, the new amusements will occupy two floors, with the main entrance from the Promenade. Upstairs will be a large coffee shop and toilets – which you might remember Woolies also had.

Although there’ll still be a licensed over-18’s space, the new Golden Mile Amusements will be very family friendly, with a big prize shop.

Transforming Blackpool Central

The Golden Mile Centre is adjacent to the site earmarked for development for the £300 Million Blackpool Central scheme.

Which leaves us all wondering, just what will become of the current Golden Mile Amusements? The Blackpool Central Masterplan shows the promenade sites for ‘future development’.

More details to come.

Blackpool Central masterplan
Blackpool Central Masterplan

Two Buildings, through the Years

Blackpool’s motto is ‘Progress’ and you’ve got to agree that this town never stands still! Take a look back at how these two sites have changed over the years –

Woolworths and Lewis’s Before it

On 2 April 1964, the Mayor of Blackpool cut the ribbon to open Lewis’s Department Store at 50 the Promenade. It was designed by Duke and Simpson and built by Costain’s with a steel girder method, occupying a full town centre block.

It was one of the first multi-storey projects programmed on computer by the Critical Path Method, to assess the relative importance of each individual operation to the build.

Blackpool seafront in October 1988. Photo: Julian Watson
Blackpool seafront in October 1988. Photo: Julian Watson

Ric Dumbleton got in touch. He told us “The building was purposely built by Lewis’s Ltd as a new department store. The company transferred a number of experienced staff from other stores. I was among the number moving from Liverpool store, albeit at the most junior level of management. It was certainly great, fun experience as most of us were single young people ready for an adventure.”

The five storey building with its distinctive bright blue honeycombed exterior dominated the seafront for many years, and lit up green at night. The basement houseed a food hall, ground floor perfumery, first floor fashion. A beauty salon, ladies hairdressers and bank occupied the second floor, the Wardroom Restaurant the third. And of course the rooftop cafe and garden were always very popular. The window displays were a sight to behold, especially the huge Lego installations.

During the 1980s Lewis’s popularity began to fade and in the early 90’s it became Lewis’s Discount Store. Eventually it closed, on 9 January 1993, before being remodelled as the red brick Woolworths.

TJ Hughes followed, opening on 16 March 2010 only to close in 2011. On 29 September 2011 Poundland followed, after vacating their Church Street store, opposite M&S. This branch of Poundland didn’t reopen after the closures imposed by the Covid pandemic of 2020/21. Now, here we are in late 2022, and the builders are back in the building once again.

Poundland at Bank Hey Street in 2017
Poundland at Bank Hey Street in 2017. Photo: Live Blackpool

Development of the The Golden Mile Centre

The Golden Mile Centre was opened in 1968, built and operated by The Blackpool Tower Company. Replacing the old Funlandia building on Central Promenade, it was Blackpool’s first purpose-built amusements arcade.

Shaun Collins told us “The original Golden mile Amusements is where the Sealife centre is… the building we’re talking about here used to be the Funlandia funfair, an annex of the Golden Mile Centre.

Remember the Dr Who exhibition? The biggest in the UK it operated in the basement of the old Fairyland in the Golden Mile Centre from 9 April 2004 to 8 November 2009 – when the BBC took back many of their exhibits. It was the brainchild of local historian David Hoyle, who also opened the Blackpool Alien, UFO, Spiritual and Paranormal Exhibition on the corner of Dale Street and Foxhall Road. David was well known for his beloved Dr Who car Bessie, in the Lytham Club Day Parade.

While you’re here…

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