The BBC, celebs, professional dancers and a few thousand fans take over the world famous Tower Ballroom tonight for the yearly airing of Strictly Come Dancing. Oh yes, SCD is in my home town tonight and the broadcast comes from such an iconic and beautiful building.
The ballroom is pretty magnificent and if you go there, it has this strange ability to take your breath away when you enter. There must be a million stories of past romances blossoming from there.. the weekly dances were nationally renowned for bringing young people together to dance the night away. My own parents used to dance there and often speak in revered tones of how atmospheric and wonderful the place used to be during their younger days. Here's a few facts on Blackpool's Tower Ballroom...
The Tower Ballroom was finished in 1899 and was designed by Frank Matcham.
It is located underneath the famous Blackpool Tower.
The springy floor is made up of over 30,000 blocks of mahogany, oak and walnut.
Each original crystal chandelier can be lowered to the floor and can each one up to a week to clean.
The Wurlitzer organ rises and falls from the stage by hydraulic lifts and was played between 1930 and 1970 by 'Mr Blackpool' - Reginald Dixon.
During the ballroom's heyday, the management imposed very strict rules on behaviour on the dancefloor...
- any petting was stopped by management patrolling the floor and providing a a tap on the shoulder and requesting the snogging couple to leave the dancefloor.
- 'gentlemen may not dance unless with a lady'
- 'disorderly conduct means immediate expulsion'
Plenty of dance bands have played within the ballroom and in 2004, the rock band the White Stripes performed there.
The ballroom even has a resident ghost. Many sightings have been reported of an elderly gentleman and a small girl dressed in Victorian period costume, sitting on the balcony seats overlooking the stage.
And so to tonight. Sadly, there's no wild Saturday night out and painting the town red for me tonight. Comfy clothes, fire and candles lit, bowls of peanuts and Wotsits to hand and Strictly Come Dancing from Blackpool on tv. Guilty pleasure no. 9....