Rust eats away at the seaside. It attacks the wrought iron balustrades of the North Promenade, the lampposts, the benches where the good British society sat to enjoy the spray from the Irish Sea. The inexorable corrosion has even attacked the gates of the Imperial Hotel, a Victorian building built in 1867, which are nothing more than crumbling bits of scrap metal.
The Imperial Hotel was once home to Charles Dickens, Princesses Margaret and Ann, sister and daughter of Queen Elizabeth II. Winston Churchill had his habits there, Margaret Thatcher had celebrated her sixtieth birthday there. We took advantage of the indoor swimming pool, the Turkish baths and the gourmet restaurant.
Today, the swimming pool and the Turkish baths are closed, the restaurant is no longer gourmet, the management is skimping on the heating of the rooms, even in this rainy month of November. On the facade, traces of yellowish dampness drip from the roof, a column imitated from Antiquity is broken, the “L” of “IMPERIAL” no longer lights up at night.
For more than a century, Blackpool, on the northwest coast of England, has been one of the country’s most popular seaside resorts. In the 1860s, it became the resort of the region’s textile manufacturers enriched by the industrial revolution, it fell into disuse with the rise of low-cost flights.
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