reporting from a country in depression

Rust eats away at the sea, it attacks the wrought iron balustrades of the North Promenade, the lampposts, the benches where good British society sat to enjoy the spray of the Irish Sea. The relentless corrosion has even attacked the gates of the Imperial Hotel, a Victorian building built in 1867, which is nothing more than bits of crumbling 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 60th birthday there. We made use 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 saves on the heating of the rooms, even in this rainy month of November. On the facade, traces of yellowish moisture drip from the roof, a pillar imitated from antiquity is broken, the “L” of “IMPERIAL” no longer lights up at night.

The Imperial Hotel in Blackpool, built in 1867. (TORI FERENC FOR “THE ATTENTION”)

For more than a century, Blackpool, on England’s northwest coast, has been one of the country’s most popular seaside resorts. In the 1860s it became the resort of textile manufacturers in the region, who were enriched by the Industrial Revolution, but fell into disuse with the advent of low-cost flights.

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