Tram Journey 1985: Grand Hotel to Gynn Square
The Tara Hotel on the right on the corner of Wilton Road was taken over by new owners about 1995 and was renamed The President Hotel.
Blackpool had many lovely buildings in its heyday but so many of them have been demolished. In their place we have many blots on the landscape, with a special mention going to the brown brick building now known as the Grand Hotel which can be seen in the above photos. It occupies the south side of an area between Derby Road and Warley Road that was marked as Clarement Park on the OS maps for 1893 and 1912. As you can see from these maps there were origally buildings on both sides of Derby Road.
The hotel was built as the Pembroke Hotel in 1982, became the Hilton Hotel in 1999 and became The Grand Hotel in 2017. My daughter worked there for a while in the nursery in the 90s and it was relatively luxurious inside. It had certainly gone downhill when I attended an event there a few years ago.
It is rather odd that the photographer didn't take a photo of the renowned Art Deco Blackpool Derby Baths which had been built on the Warley Road end of the former allotment site. It opened in 1939 and became the most famous championship indoor swimming pool in Europe in its day. It could seat 1,800 spectators and even had a BBC broadcasting station. Over the years it lost popularity as public tastes changed, the authorities decided it was too costly to update, and it was eventually demolished in 1990 despite protests. The site remains empty.
The next photo was taken looking up Derby Road. The building at the far left was St Paul's Parish Church which began its life as a 'tin church' in 1895. It was rebuilt and the new church consecrated 19 July 1899. It was declared redundant in 1993 and, after major remodelling, became a Medical Centre.
The remaining photos on this page were taken on and around Gynn Square.
The hotel shown centre left of the photo below and on the promenade just South of Gynn Square is called 'The Rose Hotel and Spa' in 2020. The tram lines have since been relocated next to the sea wall - presumably to ease traffic flow.
The building behind the post next to Gynn Square with the orange diamond is now the North Mount Apartments. It seems rather less well maintained nowadays and the once attractive wooden decorated gable end has been greatly simplified.
The next photo was taken near the roundabout at Gynn Square looking north with the Savoy Hotel on the right. The hotel opened in March 1915 as a Hydro and is a Grade II Lised Building.
The two stone pillars on the left framed the entrance to the 'Lower Walk' and are still in place. It was only in 1920 that there was a direct tram service from the centre of Blackpool to Fleetwood. Before that there was a separately owned tramline from Gynn Square to Fleetwood and passengers wanting to travel the full distance would have to alight and board the other service opposite the old Gynn Inn.
The next photo was taken opposite the car park next to the Savoy Hotel just past Gynn Square.
Taken from the same spot as Image 35, this one shows The Gynn. The original Gynn Inn was demolished in 1921; the current building dates from 1939 and was designed by Halstead Best.