A fortnight ago I took the train to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, to visit the Blackpool Casino and Pleasure Beach, designed by Joseph Emberton. It is probably quicker to take the train to Blackpool North, if you are travelling from far, and taking the really frequent tram service down the promenade. However, coming from the Pleasure Beach station, you get to take in the complex amusement park and architecture on the promenade and held within the current pleasure beach before reaching the impressive white building itself.
The Casino and Pleasure Beach was designed by Joseph Emberton for Leonard Thompson and built between 1937-40.
Joseph Emberton was the first British architect to successfully undertake the International Modern Style, and the only British architect included in Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson’s ground-breaking New York exhibition in 1932, `The International Style’. Emberton originally started in exhibition design before architecture, and other existing examples of his architectural design are Simpson’s of Piccadilly, City of Westminster, and the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch, (Maldon) Essex, are grade II*.
The building was altered in the 1970s by architect Keith Ingham, and has had various alterations over decades for changing internal use. The top floor was originally built as a roof garden which has been mainly altered into an extra floor in 1972. The sweeping curved exterior is highlighted by a very impressive spiral tower, and a spiral chimney, like on a ship. There is currently a restaurant in the tower open at the weekends. The ground floor holds a reception area at the rear for tickets to the Pleasure Beach Park.
The casino is built on a circular plan, and I am told the interior is a sequence of curved rooms. I am going to visit the inside of the building next week, and am being shown around by the PR department, so I will learn more about the current use then over various floors. Looking forward to it!