Blackpool's Aerodromes 1928-36: Politics and the Local Media

Seabridge, Susan (2006) Blackpool's Aerodromes 1928-36: Politics and the Local Media. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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The thesis describes the development of a municipal aerodrome at Stanley Park, Blackpool, between 1928 and 1936, and explores the reasons for the aerodrome's failure to be a profitable enterprise for Blackpool Corporation. It argues that this issue caused a breakdown in the interventionist strategies, described by historians as 'municipal capitalism', that the Corporation had used successfully in the inter-war years in order to provide the resort with modern, but costly, amenities. Evidence provided suggests that the Corporation's overreaching ambition to demonstrate 'airmindedness' was only partly responsible for the aerodrome's failure and that successive governments' air policies gave neither useful guidance to local authorities, nor sufficient funds to support aerodrome initiatives.

The thesis also examines the role played by the local newspapers, the Blackpool Evening Gazette and Gazette and Herald, in influencing public opinion on the issue of the aerodrome and finds that, although the newspapers provided a forum for discussion for Blackpool residents and took on the mantle of moral guardians of readers' interests, there is little evidence to show that the newspapers stance on the issue influenced decisions taken by the Corporation. While historians have generally disregarded such newspapers because of their lack of interest and influence in local politics, the wider value to the local community of its locally-owned newspaper is demonstrated.

The thesis further investigates the aerodrome's contribution to modernising and changing the established image of Blackpool in this period, and finds that the siting of the aerodrome at Stanley Park, in an area of planned housing and a public park, far from supporting Blackpool's aim of encouraging the middle-classes to visit and make their homes in the town, did, in fact, add to its unpopularity and became one of the reasons for its failure.

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