Blackpool History, United Kingdom
Archaeological evidence seems to prove that the area in and around Blackpool, UK has been inhabited since the Paleolithic age. Towns and villages did not spring up, however, due to the fact that the area was covered in forests and bogs. The terrain even kept the Romans from settling the area. Instead, they controlled the tribal inhabitants from afar.
There is finally evidence of settlement shortly before the turn of the 12th century when the Saxons and later the Vikings moved into the area. History shows that the Vikings and Saxons lived in the area together peacefully and even lived and worked amongst each other.
At that time there were several small villages on the land that is now Blackpool. Blackpool itself first showed up in the Middle Ages as a system of farms named Black Poole within one of the villages. Eventually, though, it became the official name after all of the villages were joined.
Up until around 1750 A.D., Blackpool was an eventless village near the sea and surrounded by forests and marshes. It is at this time that sea bathing became trendy amongst the upper classes and the wealthy in Britain. The purpose of sea bathing was to cure the sick. Because of Blackpool’s proximity to the ocean, it soon became a regular destination for those seeking the healing powers of the sea.
The village’s new status as a tourist destination or resort village led to quite a few changes before the end of the 18th century. A new road complete with a stagecoach service was built to the town in 1781. Over the next few years the town also received four hotels and entertainments aimed at the tourists, such as bowling greens.
Despite these additions, the village’s population still grew slowly until around 1819. It was in that year that Henry Banks, the “Father of Blackpool,” and his family began a series of improvements including the additions of a holiday cottage resort and the town’s first Assembly Halls.
In 1846, the railway came through to Blackpool which brought more visitors. More visitors meant more opportunities for jobs and small businesses aimed at attracting tourists. The town quickly progressed and was modernized.
In 1879, after the town became the first in the world to use electric street lights, Blackpool became known as a premier resort town. Over the next decade the town also implemented one of the first electric trams in the world. Before this string of improvements, Blackpool had a population of less than 500 people. By the end of the 19th century, the population had exploded to 35,000 with room to accommodate around 250,000 tourists at a time.
Over the years, Blackpool has continued to grow. Despite the fact that many British tourists are now seeking overseas destinations, Blackpool still remains one of the most prominent tourist resort towns in England.
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