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Blackpool is a seaside resort in Lancashire, England. Located on the northwest coast of England, it is the main settlement within the borough also called Blackpool. The town is by the Irish Sea, between the Ribble and Wyre rivers, and is 27 miles (43 km) north of Liverpool and 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Manchester. At the 2011 census, the unitary authority of Blackpool had an estimated population of 139,720 while the urban settlement had a population of 147,663, making it the most populous settlement in Lancashire, and the fifth-most populous in North West England after Manchester, Liverpool, Bolton and Warrington. The wider built-up area (which also includes additional settlements outside the unitary authority) had a population of 239,409, making it the fifth-most populous urban area in the North West after the Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Birkenhead areas. It is home to the Blackpool Tower, which when built in 1894 was the tallest building in the British Empire.
Throughout the Medieval and Early Modern period, Blackpool was a coastal hamlet in Lancashire's Amounderness Hundred and remained as such until the mid-18th century, when it became fashionable in England to travel to the coast in the summer to improve well-being. In 1781, visitors attracted to Blackpool's 7-mile (11 km) sandy beach were able to use a new private road, built by Thomas Clifton and Sir Henry Hoghton. Stagecoaches began running to Blackpool from Manchester in the same year, and from Halifax in 1782. In the early 19th century, Henry Banks and his son-in-law John Cocker erected new buildings in Blackpool, which increased its population from less than 500 in 1801 to over 2,500 in 1851. St John's Church in Blackpool was consecrated in 1821.
Shifts in tastes, combined with opportunities for British people to travel overseas, affected Blackpool's status as a leading resort in the late 20th century. Its urban fabric and economy both remain relatively undiversified and firmly rooted in the tourism sector, and the borough's seafront continues to attract millions of visitors every year. Blackpool's major attractions and landmarks include Blackpool Tower, Blackpool Illuminations, Pleasure Beach, Blackpool Zoo, Sandcastle Water Park, the Winter Gardens and Blackpool Tramway (the UK's only surviving first-generation tramway).
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