'Pleasure piers' were all the rage in the late 19th century, and Blackpool boasted three. The North Pier was the most exclusive, attracting a well-to-do set, seen here in profusion, sporting top hats and finery. It's hard to know whether the pier was always so popular, or if the camera had lured extra crowds. The final shot reveals a glimpse of the Basset Big Wheel and Blackpool's famous Tower.
Nowadays some 10 million people make an annual trip to Blackpool, but the tourist trade was thriving during the Edwardian era too, with over two million visitors a year. This encouraged massive investment in the entertainment industries, to the extent that the Lancashire town's funfair attractions became the envy of the world. Just 400 metres from the Blackpool Tower, the North Pier is now recognised as a fantastic example of Victorian seaside architecture, providing 'pleasure, novelty, excitement and stimulation'.