Winter Gardens

We love to go to Blackpool Winter Gardens, we have been there a number of times to see shows, to find out about the history of the building on the Heritage Tour and just recently we attended the open day where you have access to all areas and can take your time exploring all the amazing venues.

Firstly, I coloured the background by painting alternating concentric circles of diluted Navy and Marine Spectrum Aqua Marker ink, this represents the beautiful glass domed ceiling and the blue accent colours that you see in the Floral Hall when you enter the Winter Gardens. Next I stamped a sheet music stamp by Woodcraft using Paris Dusk Memento Ink and a script design by Kaisercraft using the same Navy Aqua marker, this depicts the entertainment facilities, as well as the music being played on the famous Wurlitzer organs while we were there. I then stamped a palm tree from the Tropical Travelogue set by Hampton Art and scroll work stamp by Craft Sensations using London Fog Memento Ink. I used these same two stamp sets to add the chandeliers and art deco border using black Archival Ink as there are lots of chandeliers and art deco designs throughout the different areas of the Winter Gardens. To produce a watermark effect (fainter impression) I secondary stamped a series of images on the background from the Steampunk set by Docrafts using black Archival Ink, these images tie into the Victorian era when Winter Gardens was built and opened. I used a trellis design stencil to apply white gesso, Chipped Sapphire Distress Ink and modelling paste as we saw lots of beautiful ironwork and plaster work throughout the building. With the background finished, I embellished the page with bronze art deco style outline stickers and tickets which are rub-on transfers; the words “Explore”, “Discover” and “Adventure” on them describe our time whilst we were there. The old images of Winter Gardens are from a leaflet; I cut them out with serrated scissors and stuck them to the page using double-sided foam tape.  I think they capture the magnificence of the Winter Gardens venues and finish the page beautifully.

As we are “Out and About” in Blackpool exploring Winter Gardens, I’m very pleased to be able to join Yvonne from Meggy’s Way over at Art Journal Journey.

Winter Gardens is an entertainment facility located in Blackpool town centre and contains ballrooms, theatres, large themed rooms and spaces in a variety of styles. It is a magnificent building that opened on 1878 and has changed and expanded over the years. It is now undergoing further refurbishment to restore and uncover its original features. There is a wide range of decoration including Victorian ironwork, Art Deco styling and the most amazing plaster work. As you enter the building you are greeted by this beautiful domed ceiling.

Then you enter the Floral Hall with its beautiful palm trees, tiling, blue accents, yellow columns and lights. This is where you have access to all the other venues including the Empress Ballroom, the Pavilion Theatre, the Galleon Bar, The Baronial Hall, the Spanish Hall, Horseshoe, Olympia and the Opera House.

There are a number of venues designed by Andrew Mazzei who was a well known Hollywood film and set designer. In the 1930s he worked on the plaster work and decorations for the Baronial Hall, the Floral Hall, the Galleon Bar, the Olympia Hall, and the Spanish Hall. The photo above is the Spanish Hall designed in the art deco style with a three-dimensional frieze surrounding it which depicts the Andalusian Hills and Villages; it is very atmospheric.

The Galleon Bar was also designed by Andrew Mazzei and it’s my hubby’s favourite! It is a very creative recreation of an old Galleon Ship from the Spanish Armada, complete with oak beams which are all actually plaster work!  It really does look like real wood, doesn’t it!

While we were exploring the different venues at Winter Gardens, music was being played on the Wurlitzer organs located in both the Opera House and the Empress Ballroom.

The magnificent Empress Ballroom is my favourite venue. It was built in 1896 and has a spectacular barrel-vaulted ceiling, pristine parquet flooring, ornate balconies and the most amazing sparkling chandeliers! I can just imagine the olden days and the excitement of arriving in a horse and carriage to find yourself in such a spectacular venue, the stunning dresses, the dashing gentlemen and the stories that filled the ballroom; I guess I’m just an old romantic at heart!

Thanks for joining me today! If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

Here is a list of all the materials used to create this art journal page:

  • Pébéo White Gesso
  • Spectrum Aqua Artist Marker (Navy, Marine)
  • Memento Ink (Paris Dusk, London Fog)
  • Tim Hotlz Distress Ink (Chipped Sapphire)
  • Ranger Archival Ink (Jet Black)
  • Pébéo Modeling Paste High Density
  • Woodware Clear Magic Singles stamp (Sheet Music JGS111)
  • Kaisercraft clear stamp (Script CS752)
  • Craft Sensations Clear Stamps (CRO274/16R2)
  • Docrafts A5 clear stamp set (Steampunk DCE907125)
  • Hampton Art Graphic 45 cling mounted rubber stamps (Tropical Travelogue ICO134)
  • Creative Expressions That Special Touch of Mica Masks (Moroccan)
  • Kaisercraft Rub Ons Up, Up and Away collection (Colour Rubons RB870)
  • Unknown – Bronze Outline Stickers
  • Winter Gardens Trust Leaflet
  • Fun Cut Scissors
  • The Range double-sided foam tape
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The Imperial Hotel

We had a great start to the New Year at the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool, we went on a Heritage tour of this majestic Victorian hotel finding out about its history and enjoying a lovely afternoon tea. As a special treat for 2017 I also enjoyed their famous “Mayflower Spirit” cocktail in the No. 10 bar after the tour had finished.

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I applied a thin layer of Parchment acrylic paint to the page using a baby wipe. Once it had dried I added strips of tissue paper which had a lovely holly design; it reminded me of the luxurious silken wallpapers at the hotel. I arranged the tissue strips so they looked like the panels we saw in many of the rooms whilst on our tour and used a UHU Stic to stick them down.  Next I stamped ornate picture frames using black Archival Ink to depict the beautiful plaster work, pictures and mirrors found at the hotel. I stamped the frame onto some of the holly tissue paper, then fussy cut the centre oval and added it to the centre of the frames I had stamped on the page using a UHU Stic. I collected a variety of booklets, leaflets and postcards from the hotel reception during our visit and used these as part of my design. I cut the images out with Fun Cut scissors to give them a serrated edge and used a Cold Grey Faber-Castell Big Brush marker along the edge to give them more definition, then stuck them to the page with a UHU Stic or double-sided foam tape. For the palm tree I stamped the image onto the back of one of the postcards from the hotel using Archival Ink. I also saved the tea bag tags from the green tea we had as part of our afternoon tea and added them to finish the page.

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The Imperial Hotel, Blackpool, opened in 1867 and is situated on the North Promenade seafront and enjoys spectacular views over the beach and sea. The hotel retains the opulence and glamour of its Victorian heyday, and has welcomed a host of famous guests including Charles Dickens, Sir Winston Churchill, Fred Astaire, The Beatles, Princess Margaret and Princess Anne.

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The Churchill Room was named to honour the many visits Sir Winston Churchill made to the Imperial when he was prime minister and leader of the Conservative party. The room is much the same as the old photograph, although with one surprise. Recently, the photograph pictured has come to light and it shows a magnificent stained glass domed ceiling in the room. Exploratory holes were drilled into the current ceiling to discover that the stained glass ceiling is still there, although it’s not in great condition and is estimated to cost over a million pounds to restore.

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The Grill Room is now the Louis XVI Function Room and has the most beautiful plaster work, wall coverings, mirrors and chandeliers.

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The Palm Court is now the Dining Room and looks very elegant especially with the beautiful dome chandeliers. In Victorian times, palm trees were considered very exotic and a demonstration of wealth.

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The Ballroom now called the Washington Suite has one of the best dance floors in Blackpool and the most wonderful plaster work of cherubs, flowers and sea creatures. The National Dance Championships have been held in Blackpool since 1920 and the Imperial Hotel is very popular with competitors as they can practice on the dance floor before heading off to the competition.

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Recently the hotel discovered that a room used for storage of employee files was once an impressive suite of Russian, Turkish and seawater plunge baths which were built in 1901, but had been plastered over and hidden. They are slowly being restored in conjunction with the Blackpool Civic Trust. In the photo (above) you can see that the magnificent tiles were painted and then plastered over and part of this has now been removed to reveal the original tiles once more.
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The original glass-roofed billiard room retains its stained glass canopy but has been turned into a bar and named No. 10 after all the UK prime ministers who have stayed at the Imperial whilst in office.

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During the tour we found out about the Head Cocktail Bartender who had won a national competition to invent a new cocktail in the 1950’s, so we had to try one.  It was one of those all shots and no mixer cocktails, and was delicious and very warming! I’m saying a big “cheers” to the T-Gang over at T Stands for Tuesday – Happy T Day!

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Not forgetting our lovely afternoon tea served on beautiful fine china. We choose green tea to accompany the finger sandwiches with traditional fillings of ham and mustard, egg and cress and smoked salmon with cucumber, Victoria sponge, strawberry Eton Mess, chocolate delice, mini lemon tart and warm fruit scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream. I’m sorry, but it looked and tasted so yummy that we tucked in before we remembered to take a photo.

As this page tells the story of our visit to this magnificent old hotel, I’m very pleased to join Erica from BioArtGal who is hosting January’s theme of “Tell me a Story” over at Art Journal Journey.

Thanks for joining me today! If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

Here is a list of all the materials used to create this art journal page:

  • Liquitex Artist Color Acrylic (Parchment)
  • Ranger Archival Ink (Jet Black)
  • Faber-Castell Big Brush Pitt artist pen (Cold Grey IV 233)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line marker (Black 0.1mm)
  • Uniball Signo gel pen (White)
  • Crafter’s Companion Vintage Collection Acrylic Stamp (Floral Sentiments VF-ST-PSENT)
  • Hampton Art Graphic 45 cling mounted rubber stamps (Tropical Travelogue ICO134)
  • Aldi The Night Before Christmas Range (Printed Tissue)
  • The Imperial Hotel history booklet, postcard and leaflets
  • Fun Cut scissors
  • UHU Stic
  • The Range double-sided foam tape