A YouTuber was exploring the secrets and amazing history of historical sites in Lancashire.
Darren Edwards, the man behind YouTube’s “Adventure Me” channel, has been exploring Blackpool’s most famous monuments, such as Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Winter Gardens.
In these videos, he tells his 31,000 subscribers all the lesser-known facts about the sites and largely unexplored areas of the sites – all with the permission of the owners.
In one of his latest series, Darren has been researching the historic entertainment venue, Winter Gardens, revealing “secrets” and “hidden rooms” that even some tour guides weren’t even aware of.
The impressive building dates back to 1878 and houses several venues for performances and events, as well as bars, a restaurant, and a café.
Darren, 38, said he always wanted to explore the place after visiting it as a kid.
He said, “It’s somewhere I went to as a kid.
“I was always wondering about the size of the building and wondering about the history of the place.
“When I started the channel I remember thinking I needed more programming and needed to do things further afield.
“Away from exploring Pleasure Beach, someone from Winter Gardens called me and asked if I had ever considered exploring the place.”
His exploration resulted in a nine-part series, six of which are currently available to watch.
However, creating the series wasn’t always easy and required months of planning, research, shooting, and editing.
Darren, who is originally from Bradford, said: “I loved working on it so much. It was something personal to me that I associated with my childhood and loved to explore.
“The amount of hours I spent on this you wouldn’t believe. I spent months on it.
“I studied maps, and I sat there for hours looking at pictures and working out where things were.
“I wanted to understand the building so I could understand what I was talking about and know I had done my research.”
The most famous video in the series has garnered more than 128,000 views and follows Darren as he finds a building “hidden” behind a wall, the facade of one of the original buildings called the Grand Vestibule from 1878.
He said in the video: “You can see the original wall of the building there — look at the window frame and the paint designs.
“They’re not sure where it came from or what it is, but they think it could have been an original front.
“Rumor is that this was part of the original Bank Hey House that was here before the Winter Gardens.
“After studying the maps, old photos, and planning, I am absolutely certain that this is the facade of the Grand Vestibule.”
Darren said his favorite video he created was for the arena, formerly known as Indian Lounge.
In this video, explore what stands today and show proof that all is not lost in the Indian Lounge.
Many original decorations and features can simply be covered with plasterboard.
He said: “I knew reliably that they didn’t tear up much of it and it’s hidden behind walls.
“Look at the thickness of the wall, it’s just a plasterboard.
“Someone saw my original videos and was a fire safety officer. Send me some pictures of what’s behind the board here.
“It shows the original features and decorations that are still here behind the walls – still here, dusty, but intact.”
He also took a look at the other “hidden rooms” of the opera house, such as the original cutting room, dressing room, and orchestra pit.
Darren, who started his channel as a hobby but now uses it to support his income, said he is glad his videos have resonated with many Lancashire locals.
He said, “My Pleasure Beach is my most watched video and some Winter Gardens series have garnered over 100,000 views.
“I was surprised because this was so many, I usually get about 50k views.
“What shocked me was the amount of letters I received from Blackpool locals who had no idea about these ‘secrets’ and were intrigued.
“I usually focus on the Leeds/Bradford area but wanted to venture elsewhere because no matter where you are in the country – you’ve probably been to Blackpool.”
Darren said the best is yet to come in the Winter Gardens series and also plans to explore other areas of Blackpool, such as the Grand Theater and the Imperial Hotel, in the future.
He said, “The best is yet to come. I think there may be more Winter Gardens videos in the future because there are some parts we haven’t been able to explore beyond and decimate.”
A spokesperson for Winter Gardens Blackpool said they enjoyed working with Darren.
They said, “Working with Darren has given us a wonderful opportunity to view areas of the place that are often invisible and to show their evolution over time.
“Winter Gardens Blackpool is a truly unique heritage asset with a fascinating history, and we look forward to featuring more behind-the-scenes content in the future.”
Watch the full video series on Darren’s YouTube channel, Adventure Me.