Local heritage photographer and historian Juliette Gregson is writing regularly for Blackpool Social Club. Here she tells us where her passion for local history began.

My father, David, always had a great interest in all things camera related and would at times let me borrow his to take photographs. This could be where my interest in heritage and photography began.

I’ve always had an interest in the diverse history of the town. My late granddad, Frank, used to work for Blackpool Pleasure Beach and he took me there to meet the staff and watch what went on behind the scenes. Of course I also watched the changing face of the park as new rides were built and constructed. He used to repair the track on the ghost train from time to time and bore witness to the rumours that ‘Cloggy’, the former ride operator, could still be heard… more on that another time.

I remember being taken on mystery trips in the summer holidays by my mother, Kath, where she would point out places and buildings of interest. She would also tell me the stories about the area which fuelled my desire into the strange and unusual. My father was just as bad. On car journeys he’d point out places where he’d worked and how they’d changed over the years. He also proved a great asset in later years, as he’d taken many slides of the surrounding area.

My late granddad, Frank, remembered going on the Giant Wheel and how it took about an hour to do just the one full turn, however the views were spectacular when at the top.

I began by writing about the paranormal myths and legends around the Fylde Coast around 20 years ago. Somehow, I managed to get noticed and this cascaded into helping with research for the TV programme Most Haunted – writing about the ghosts of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the Winter Gardens and Blackpool Tower. I was then asked to write for the BBC Lancashire website about the top 10 ghosts and myths of haunted Blackpool. Then I found that I needed a better camera and equipment to capture evidence.

As the years have passed (far too quickly, I may add) I have written for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, various paranormal magazines, the local and regional newspapers, and websites. I often get asked when fellow friends in the genre – be it in ufology, paranormal or heritage – whether I can provide research and photographs to help with book publications. I have done a number of voiceovers for local firms and artists and regularly get asked to speak at heritage groups and the like. I have recently started to produce vlogs on YouTube and in the last few years as a guest and presenter on podcasts.

So you may ask what is my favourite landmark in Blackpool, apart from the Tower of course. I’m going to have to pick the wonderful building that is the Winter Gardens. Opened by the Lord Mayor of London at the time on the 11th July 1878. It’s such a contrast of architectural merit and when visiting I see little things hidden in plain sight. Over the years I have been lucky enough to have been allowed behind the scenes and capture ongoing renovation work.

But one thing I wished I could have seen before it was dismantled was the Giant Wheel that opened in July 1986. With a height of 220ft it had 30 carriages that carried about 30 people. My late granddad, Frank, remembered going on it and how it took about an hour to do just the one full turn, however the views were spectacular when at the top.

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  • 📷Heritage Archivist & Photographer📷 DJI Licenced 📷Published Author📷Community Heritage Journalist📷Voiceovers📷Paranormal & Murder History📷 Magazine & Newspaper Articles📷

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