Memories of a day out there – or possibly a week – is an indelible part of our collective consciousness as we look back with affection on those simple pleasures of childhood.

Tapping in to this are Blackpool authors Allan Wood and Chris Bottomley whose book, Lost Blackpool, has just been published.

“It’s important to commemorate the lost buildings and the book is also a way of showing how the town has changed,” says Allan, who is the author of nine previous books.

Certainly for the people of East Lancashire, Blackpool has a special connection.

When the factories and mills were at their height, every summer there was a mass exodus as workers and their families headed for the seaside for the Wakes Weeks break.

Lost Blackpool charts in words and 140 photos and illustrations, how the seaside resort has changed from a few houses in the 1700s to what it is today.

What is particularly fascinating is how the resort has undergone some dramatic changes in more recent years.

Of all the lost buildings. Allan said he would have loved to have gone on the Big Wheel which was demolished in 1928.

He was also a fan of the Lewis’s building.

“Department stores like that were the bee’s knees in the 1960s. It was a five-storey superstore and it had escalators which were a new thing then, and it had a cafe at the top.

“Like a lot of people, I mourn the loss of Yate’s Wine Lodge. It was a focal point and well-loved landmark. Unusually, it was triangular and had a canopy all the way around.”

Among the many fascinating facts the book highlight is the surprising revelation that “Tarzan” Johnny Weissmuller starred in The Water Follies at Derby Baths Pool in 1949.

A photograph of the South Shore Open Air Baths – reputed to be the largest in the world – illustrates how, thanks to its stunning architecture, it’s a dead ringer for the Colosseum. Sadly, it was demolished in 1983 and replaced with The Sand Castle.

“Blackpool is not a very old town and it’s not got a lot of history so it’s important to celebrate what history there is. It’s amazing how when we get older, people don’t remember the buildings that went in the 60s so the book is an important record of what was there.”

“I think Blackpool has changed for the better. It had to keep up with the times by having an indoor shopping centre. Every town has them and wanted and needed them, especially a windy town like Blackpool.

“The Houndshill shopping was built in the 1980s and changed the look of the town centre quite dramatically. It was built over a lot of streets that had little individual shops,” says Allan.

He added: “For Blackpool born and bred people like me, you remember some of the lost buildings with affection, there’s a pang of nostalgia. But you have to move forwards.”

He is optimistic about the town today and cites the new Festival building on the promenade, and the new police station, as examples of exciting architecture.

Allan says he would like to see a lot more of the town centre covered with canopies, but has an extraordinary idea for other changes he would like to see in the resort.

“I’d like to see Blackpool have an island built just off the coast, like they have abroad. Blackpool has no coastal focal point at the moment.”

He says Blackpool’s appeal is that it is a place where people can let their hair down, relax and have fun.

Although he now lives in Warrington, Allan is still a frequent visitor to the town as his mum still lives there.

The former civil engineer also takes regular trips to the top of the tower where he likes to survey the town beneath him.

He and Chris - who concentrates on the photography side of the books - have already begun work on their next tome, which will be titled Blackpool in 50 Buildings.

Their previous books include one on Blackpool’s pubs, and one called The A-Z of Blackpool.

“’Z’ was easy because of the zoo, but we struggled with ‘X’. In the end, we wrote about x-rated entertainment,” laughed Allan.

Lost Blackpool is published by Amberley Publishing and is available at

All profits and royalties from the book will be donated to Blackpool Hospice.