A funding boost of £4 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund has secured the development of a new museum in Blackpool that will feature the UK’s first permanent displays on circus, magic, variety and ballroom dance.
Blackpool Council will use the money towards completing the Blackpool Museum, which will be based in the Sands Building on the Promenade and is set to open in 2021.
With the lottery grant, the council has now raised the £13 million required to finance the project.
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 just want to create a display of Blackpool’s history, we aspired to do something completely unique that you would only experience here.”
She added: “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.”
In partnership with London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and private owners, the museum will display collections related to popular entertainment, and will showcase the town’s circus and variety history, as well as live performances and artefacts.
Exhibitions that have been announced include Roll Up! Roll Up!, an archive of Blackpool’s circus history and Showtime, a series of live acts including comedy and ventriloquism.
Plans for a museum in Blackpool stretch back several years. Initial proposals had been for the museum to open in the Pavilion Theatre, but these were abandoned in 2017 due to escalating costs.
The museum is set to open in 2021.