Blackpool’s Legendary Mirror Ball is Back in its Rightful Place

Following extensive repairs, Blackpool’s mirror ball is back in its rightful place on the South Promenade facing the Solaris Centre, eco-centre, exhibition space and family cafe.

Once more the set of pieces that constitute The Great Promenade Show sculpture park is complete. Welcome back to this much loved art work.

Blackpool’s mirror ball’s official title is ‘They Shoot Horses Don’t They?’ inspired by author Horace McCoy’s depression era tale of young people dancing ’til they drop in an attempt to win a $1,000 prize. This was turned into a film in 1969 starring Jane Fonda, Susannah York and Gig Young. The book and film are heart rending portrayals of the measures people will take when they are truly desperate. Blackpool’s mirror ball stands as the symbol of dance hall glitz and glamour into the present day, a symbol that’s also synonymous with the resort’s history of providing dance and musical entertainment of all kinds

The artwork was created by artist Michael Trainor and is reputed to be the world’s biggest Mirror Ball being 6m in diameter. It was originally installed in 2002 as one of a series of commissioned artworks that now form The Great Promenade Show.

Leader of Blackpool Council, Cllr Lynn Williams said:

“We are delighted to be able to return Blackpool’s Mirror Ball in all its dazzling glory to the South Promenade. It is much loved by local people and visitors and is an iconic seafront landmark. Its projectors have also been replaced so Illuminations visitors will be able to see the Mirror Ball lit up at night as part of our wonderful light extravaganza.”

Film poster for 'They Shoot Horses ,Don't They? (1969)
Exhausted dancers, drawing by D Simper

A range of partners, lead by the council’s Property Services Department, has carried out the refurbishment project. The structure has been completely re-mirrored with local company Jordan’s Glass supplying the mirrors and Mirror Finish North West doing the tiling. Students and staff from the Blackpool School of Arts as well as local volunteers have all contributed to removing and replacing the 47,000 mirror tiles.

Garmendale Engineering have done a fine job in re assembling the giant ball on site on the South Promenade. It is now resplendent and will form an attraction for many years to come.

Thanks are due to all involved in this project.



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    I have worked in the housing and transport professions for several local authorities, specialising in policy, strategy preparation and bid writing. Having always had an interest in film, the visual arts in general, theatre, music and lterature, I thought it would be good to combine the writing experience with these interests to contribute to altBlackpool. In addition to writing, my hobbies include watercolour and pastel painting, photography, woodwork, cycling and vegetable gardening.

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