Morecambe was part of the municipal borough of Morecambe and Heysham from 1928 until 1974. Since 1974 it also has been a part of the district municipality named the city of Lancaster which also covers the former county borough of Lancaster and the surrounding area.
In 1846, the Morecambe Harbour and Railway Company was formed to build a harbour on Morecambe Bay, close to the fishing village of Poulton-le-Sands, and a connecting railway. By 1850, the railway linked to Skipton, Keighley and Bradford in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and a settlement began to grow around the harbour and railway, to service the port and as a seaside resort. The settlement expanded to absorb Poulton, and the hamlets of Bare and Torrisholme. Originally the township was named after the three hamlets, Poulton-le-Sands, Bare and Torrisholme, but the settlement started to be referred to as "Morecambe", possibly after the harbour and railway. In 1889 the new name was officially adopted.
Morecambe was a thriving seaside resort in the mid-20th century. While the resort of Blackpool attracted holiday-makers predominantly from the Lancashire mill towns, Morecambe had more visitors from Yorkshire (due to its railway connection) and Scotland.
Morecambe suffered from decline for a number of years after a series of incidents that affected its tourism and local economy. Two piers were lost: West End Pier was partly washed away in a storm in November 1977 and the remnants demolished 1978 while Central Pier, though struck by fire in 1933, survived until 1992.
Morecambe Bay has some of the most varied fishing in all of Britain, and is perhaps most famous for Morecambe Bay Potted Shrimps. The bay is notorious for its quicksand and fast moving tides. It is the largest expanse of intertidal mudflats and sand in the United Kingdom, covering a total area of 310 km2 (120 sq mi). In 1974 the second largest gas field in the UK was discovered 25 miles (40 km) west of Blackpool, with original reserves of over 7 trillion cubic feet (tcf) (200 billion cubic metres). At its peak 15% of Britain's gas supply came from the bay.