Once upon a time Talbot Square, Blackpool's civic centre was the focal point for tram services and main public space in front of the Town Hall. No longer the case since 1962 when the last tram departed for Marton and the road layout given over to cars and buses priorities Keynote buildings were two national banks and of course the classic Victorian edifice which became 'Yates Wine Lodge' housing a small shopping arcade and the upstairs Tivoli Cinema. Sadly this structure was destroyed in an arson attack a decade ago leaving a massive void between Talbot Road and Clifton Street at the junction leading into Talbot Square.
One of the two leading bank branches was sold off to become a drinking den (sorry - public house) whilst the other - a 1930s new build has been until this year the town centre premises of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Having racked up enormous infusions of public money in the 2008 financial meltdown - RBS customers are being informed of the closure of the Talbot Square Branch at the beginning of 2019. No doubt a queue is already forming up of other wannabe bar owners keen to replace tellers with barmen and ensure this part of the square is given over to yet another noisome boozer which of course is exactly what Blackpool town centre needs more of.
Any such new occupier will have benefit of a Tram station stop immediately outside their premises, with the steady progress of Talbot Road tram extension now making its way into the square. A further section of concrete base platform is being completed this week from Talbot Road leading towards the promenade track junction. Initial road priorities and traffic access into Market Street and from Corporation Street have been completed directly in front of the Town Hall and the now rundown Ibis Hotel which was formerly an impressive Clifton Hotel on the southwest corner. This will allow for closure of the northside of the Square entirely during the winter so that track installation (and the inbound tramstation) can be completed, possibly including the new connection from the Promenade tramway at North Pier. Some work in progress images of this latest section being laid leading down from Talbot Road - below :
Contractors smoothing the concrete platform base on to which the tramrail will be installed - a somewhat damp day. In the background the blue hoarding surrounds the former Yates Wine Lodge site with groundwork ongoing prior to a new hotel being erected in 2019.
Looking towards the seafront and Talbot Square with a completed section immediately in front of the camera. The Town Hall and the former Clifton Hotel are in the lefthand background - both evidently in need of external tlc. Current contractor work is being focussed on this western end of the new extension, presumably to allow the more complex curving layout from the Promenade junction to be attended to during winter months. A new inbound tram stop will be inserted on the right hand side in front of the still extant RBS Bank just visible - the grey concrete structure. Below : The completed section abuts work in progress on Talbot Road from Abingdon Street crossing.
Images : John Woodman
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