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North Shore works, Blackpool
Lower Walk, North Shore, Blackpool, Lancashire
North Shore works, Blackpool
associated engineer
Jeremiah Wolstenholme
John Spedding Wilson
date  1895 - 1899, 1981 - 1982
era  Victorian  |  category  Coast Protection  |  reference  SD305375
ICE reference number  HEW 1160
photo  Paul Dunkerley / ICE R&D Fund
The coastal protection works on Blackpool's North Shore are a rare example in Britain of structures more commonly found on the coasts of mainland Europe. They consist of a vertical mass-concrete wall and a sloping granite/concrete apron.
It was the Blackpool Corporation that took charge of the coastal protection works. They promoted the passing of a parliamentary bill to enable work to begin — the Blackpool Improvement Act 1893.
Designs were called for and then judged in 1894. The final design was prepared by the Borough Surveyor, Jeremiah Wolstenholme.
The works cover some 1,160 metres of seafront. The wall is 2.1m thick and was constructed out of solid concrete blocks laid in alternating courses of short sides (headers) out and long sides (stretchers) out. Each block measured 610mm x 305mm x 305mm. The courses were laid in such a way that the wall above the apron presents a concave curve to the sea, the radius of which measures 2.7m.
On top of the wall is a mass concrete parapet, with simple recessed decorative panels and drainage holes. Five sets of steps and a slipway are provided for beach access. On the land side, a 4.5m wide promenade (the Lower Walk) serves as a 'splash deck' for any waves that make it over the wall in rough weather.
The impressive apron is designed to take the initial impact of the waves. It was built using granite blocks laid on concrete, which in turn sat on puddle clay or sand fill. The slope ratio is 1:2.1
On the land side of the Lower Walk is another mass-concrete wall with timber seating. The ground slopes up behind this and pedestrian steps and ramps lead to the Middle Walk carriage drive, which is 15m wide. Above this are later the Middle Walk Colonnades and Queen's Promenade.
The wall and apron were reconstructed using reinforced concrete in 1981-82 to the design of Paul Dunkerley by Boskalis Westminster Construction Ltd. under the supervision of the then Borough Surveyor, John Spedding Wilson.
Resident engineer: Henry Banks (1895)
Resident engineer: Allan Wood (1981-2)
Main contractor: Robert Finnegan (1895)
Research: PHEW
"Blackpool Sea Coast Defence Works" by H. Banks
Transactions of the Society of Engineers, 6th December 1920

North Shore works, Blackpool