Leading Victorian architect Frank Matcham’s brief was to build the ‘best, prettiest, and cosiest theatre possible’ in Blackpool in the late 1800s.
Now though, the Grand Theatre, built between December 1893 and July 1894 at a cost of £20,000, is widely regarded as his masterpiece.
It opened with a production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, with Wilson Barrett in the starring role, and the programme printed on silk.
Spared demolition in 1973, after its then-owner hoped to replace it with a shop, the now Grade II listed building has a long and colourful history – and is deemed a jewel in the resort’s cultural crown.
By embarking on a guided tour of the venue, like this group did, visitors can see the secrets of the great stage, explore the warren of staircases that lead to the stars’ dressings rooms, and learn more about the flamboyant Mr Matcham, who also designed the Tower Ballroom, which was built between 1897 and 1898, and opened a year later.
To book a tour call (01253) 743344.