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It had a grand but relatively short-lived life as a home for convalescing miners from Lancashire and North Staffordshire and then for years no one wanted it. Local heritage photographer and historian Juliette Gregson delves into the archives to tell us more.

It’s interesting to note that before the Miners’ Home was constructed back around the 1590s a small cottage that was later named Fanny Hall stood on the cliffs opposite the site in Bispham. It was then part of a larger group of cottages and farm buildings and occupied by the Whiteside family.

The Lancashire & North Staffordshire Miners’ Convalescent Home is a magnificent purpose-built building standing in 6.9 acres of land overlooking the sea on the North Shore of Blackpool’s famous Golden Mile. The foundation stones for the home were laid on 28th June 1925 by Col Pilkington of Haydock Colliery and Mr Thomas Greenall, MP and chairman of the board of management. It was officially opened by the Prince of Wales on the same day.

The home took two years to build and cost a reported £150,000 – all the money coming from a levy of 1d per ton on the coal raised in the Lancashire and Cheshire coalfields.

The Lancashire and Cheshire Coal Association negotiated reduced rail fares to enable up to 30,000 people to attend the event.

“I have looked forward to seeing this fine convalescent home,” Prince Edward, who would later take the throne, said addressing the guests at the opening ceremony. “It is a magnificent building and will, I am sure, prove an inestimable boon to those recovering from sickness an injury.

“It is only right that there should be buildings like these to take those who have fallen by the way in their work in the mining industry and set them on their feet again.”

It is also worth noting on his way home, the prince stopped at Poulton. He had arranged to meet soldiers and members of the British Legion at the Market square.

The home took two years to build and cost a reported £150,000 – all the money coming from a levy of 1d per ton on the coal raised in the Lancashire and Cheshire coalfields. The unique history of the home could be seen in a series of commemorative plaques which did adorn the home’s foyer.

The grade II listed building was built by Sir Lindsay Parkinson and Co, for the Lancashire Miners’ Welfare Fund, and eventually had beds for 132 male miners. It had been designed by Bolton architects Bradshaw, Gass and Hope in the Baroque style between 1925 and 1927. It and originally consisted of 110 bedrooms which the management boasted of offering “hotel standards, with each room having its own washing facilities plus good food and cheerful company”.

Initially the home was for men only, so if they brought their wives with them, the wives stopped in the local boarding houses and then met at the gates daily. Much later, bungalows were built in the grounds so they could come and stay with their husbands. Those bungalows were demolished in 2003 making way for Admiral View and Admiral Heights flats. The home had its own two bowling greens and bowling hut, and there was also a skittle alley (now the underground car park) and a billiard room with three tables.

On 7th April 1976 came the completion of a big home improvements scheme. The work had been started four years earlier and had included the conversion of dormitories on the second floor into single-room accommodation. Further space was also provided in the former staff quarters on the third floor. The following year, on 5th November 1977 the National Coal Board chairman, Sir Derek Ezra, unveiled a plaque to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the home and the merging of the facilities with the Lancashire Paraplegic Mineworkers’ Holiday Unit.

An advert in the early 1980s also boasted, for relaxation, “a picturesque sun lounge, two television rooms, a handsome library and a writing room”. For the sporting minded “a superb games room equipped with two full sized snooker tables and a dart board”. There was also “a fully stocked medical surgery and medical trained assistance is on hand, a local doctor provides any necessary back up”.

The home was open, at that time, from the beginning of April to the middle of December and offered full board accommodation for 155 people in comfortable single or double rooms.

“Extra facilities have also been added in the form of three bungalows for paraplegic mineworkers which now offer three bedroom family accommodation,” the ad continued. “The staff at the home pride themselves on a welcoming and cheery attitude. If you want good food, facilities and a friendly environment it’s got to be the Blackpool Miners’ Home!”

The Miners’ Home was eventually forced to close to patients in 1987, following the decline of the mining industry. In 1996 it was put up for sale through Blackpool estate agents Bentley Higgs for £2.5 million and as time went on the price gradually dropped and it was acquired by developers.

I remember attending with my mother Kath Gregson, an open day that was organised for local residents in early 2001. The queue to gain entry was halfway down the promenade when we arrived and I admit I was surprised to see so many people interested in the local heritage landmark.

Work began on rebuilding the home as private luxury apartments in 2004 – these were called Admiral Point. I feel extremely privileged that I and others had the opportunity to have one last look around before renovation and change took over.

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