Take a seat and read about the ongoing search for a dozen antique 1920s Blackpool Winter Gardens chairs.
The spectacular Winter Gardens is one of the biggest and most beautiful entertainment complexes in the Europe, and one of Blackpool’s most treasured buildings.
The townspeople are so proud of the venue’s rich heritage that the Winter Gardens Trust was set up to raise awareness and vital funds to help with repairs and refurbishments - and one small but very significant project has been the search for the BWG branded chairs.
The vintage seats were bought in 1920 to grace the now contemporary Empress Grill Room restaurant. There, they became part of the rich tapestry of fine dining over the ensuing years until they were thought to have been moved to the Windsor Bar during the 1930s. Then the Blackpool Tower Company (owners of the venue at that time) installed them in the dining area of the Palace Cinema in St Anne’s, where they stayed until its closure in 1957.
Little is known of their journey after that, but the handsomely crafted chairs were fated to return to their roots nearly a 100 years later!
In a stroke of luck, Trust Secretary Carl Carrington, also Built Heritage Manger for Blackpool Council, spotted them for sale on eBay. He was able to identify them by their distinctive design and the special BWG logo carved into the back rest. He quickly snapped them up from the dealer using funds raised by the Winter Gardens Trust. Once they were back on home ground the chairs were fully restored to their former glory.
Trust Secretary Carl Carrington
Now boasting renewed splendour following their century-long tour, the chairs are once again taking pride of place at meetings and banquets, blending beautifully into the surroundings of the exquisite Winter Gardens rooms.
“Considering how old the chairs are and their travels they were in remarkably good condition,” said Carl. “They all needed a polish and some TLC, with only a few requiring any major refurbishment, which just goes to show how well made they were."
Over 50 of the original Chippendale style chairs have been safely returned to their roots, however it’s believed another 12 chairs are still unaccounted for.
"The Trust would be grateful to hear from anyone who can help trace them and complete the story’s happy ending," Carl added.
Anyone with information about the chairs' whereabouts can contact the Winter Gardens Trust at [email protected]
Information about the trust and fund-raising events can be found at www.wintergardenstrust.org.uk
Major restoration work recently completed includes the replacement of the glazing system in the Spanish Hall so that this lavish room is once again open to the skies.