Moorbank House South Shore Blackpool

If you are looking for clean cheap family bed and breakfast accommodation in Blackpool Moorbank House will fit the bill.

B&B Blackpool

Moorbank House is Set in the Heart of Blackpool Close to All Major Blackpool Attractions

Moorbank House Offers Free Parking for Guests.

Blackpool and its History of Big Fires

Fire-fighters have dealt with some spectacular incidents in recent years, probably the biggest being the fire at the top of Station Road in the Grand Hotel on July 28th2009. The incident was attended by 100 Fire-fighters who evacuated 100 people from nearby residences before tackling flames at the 6 storey Grand Hotel. A fire service spokesperson described the scene as like something from the London blitz. As it

turned out this fire was arson but no one was ever convicted for it. Over the course of the following Months the structure which remained (a lot of it collapsed during the fire) was demolished and a rudimentary car park created. The Paris Casino was also forced to close due to some fire and water damage and the remains of its building demolished after it was found to structurally unsafe. Since the fire the Paris Casino has re-opened adjacent to Blackpool Football Club in Bloomfield Road.

A potential disaster was averted in 1988 when a blaze occurred in the 16 storey Ashworth block of flats in Healey Street. Fumes spread through the whole of the building and firemen were in action across the entire 16 floors. Gas from broken mains ignited bringing the prospect of a huge fireball. Three years earlier in 1985 fire broke out in the theatre at the end of North Pier. The pier was probably saved by the quick thinking of singer Vince Hill and pier manager Philip Lockwood who along with others tackled the blaze with an emergency hose until the fire brigade arrived. This blaze was a perfect example of some of the unusual problems faced by the fire-fighters of Blackpool. The blaze was in the wooden floor of the theatre and the tide was in so the firemen had trouble reaching it and the engines were too heavy to take safely into the pier. Blackpool lifeboat men took out a hose over the side of the pier and attacked the blaze from underneath. The subsequent inquiry placed the blame on a carelessly discarded cigarette end.

But it is the really big fires of yesteryear that Blackpool residents still speak of such as in January 1932 when the resorts largest department store RHO Hills was destroyed by fire. Not only did the fire brigade have to contend with the blaze but also a 50 miles per hour gale was blowing straight in from the Irish Sea. This had the effect of fanning the flames and blowing the water jets off course. The store was next door to Blackpool Tower and they got around the problem by directing the water onto the ironwork of the Tower so that the water could be carried onto the blazing building, consequently all the staff and customers were safely evacuated.

4 years later in on October 7th 1936 a fireman was sadly killed fighting a blaze at Boots the chemist in the town centre. This fire spread very quickly and broke out in the photographic part of the shop which was in the basement, it spread beyond the store to other buildings in West Street, Market Street, Corporation Street and the Town Hall. A leading drapery store Rileys was completely destroyed as were the borough surveyor’s offices and local health insurance offices. Tragically for historians many plans going back over 40 years of Blackpool history were destroyed but the real tragedy was the death of 25 year old Raymond Laycock who was buried below tons of rubble in the basement. He remained trapped for almost 27 hours as his colleagues fought desperately to get him out. When eventually his body was recovered it was one of the most emotional episodes in the history of the Blackpool fire brigade. Thousands of spectators had gathered and remained almost silent as the body was brought out of the collapsed rubble. Officer Laycock had only married 13 days before his death, his funeral was held at St John’s parish church where he had also married.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach has been a victim of fire several times. In 1937 the famous Luna Park was destroyed and the following year saw the ornate pavilion of the North Pier go up in flames. In 1939 just before the outbreak of WW2 the Pleasure Beach Indian Theatre was destroyed and in the same year one of Blackpool best known cinemas, the Imperial on Dickson Road became a mass of flames. The 1950’s and 60’s saw several major incidents. In 1956 the beautiful Tower Ballroom was reduced to twisted fragments. Another leading cinema, The Princess on North Promenade was gutted in 1963 and the following year the Rainbow Theatre on South Pier was very seriously damaged. In 1967 lightning did strike twice in the case of RHO Hills which burnt to the ground in 1932 was again the scene of a disastrous fire although thankfully no one lost their life this time.

North Pier Blackpool on Fire in 1921

North Pier Blackpool on Fire in 1921

 

Blackpool’s first fire station was built in 1878 on the site now occupied by the Hounds Hill shopping centre. This lasted until the mid-1930’s with the brigades headquarters sharing premises with the Police in Albert Road alongside the Winter Gardens with these premises seeing the original horse drawn fire engines and of course stabling for the horses

Fire has robbed Blackpool of historical buildings over the years including in 1989 its oldest. This was a blaze at Continental Bedding in Church Street a building which had previously been a market and at one time ‘Raikes Smithy’ which had its origins three centuries ago. The most memorable fire  was without a doubt that in December 1991, in which the Fun House of the Pleasure Beach was destroyed. Flames leapt 100 feet high and the art deco building dating back to 1936 was totally destroyed. Fortunately, the dozens of firefighters were able to save the rest of the Pleasure Beach and the reaction of Geoffrey Thompson, its boss was to plan to replace with the biggest ride in the world, such was the spirit of the Thompson family and Blackpool. Lost in this fire was the the body of the famous ‘laughing man’ which had for decades before enjoyed prime position at the entrance to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. His head though survived as it was being repaired in workshops nearby. A new body was constructed for the ‘head’ and the attraction made its return.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last 20 or so years has seen much upheaval in terms of regulations and all Blackpool Bed and Breakfast and accommodation providers are now required to have the latest L2 fire alarm systems fitted as a requirement for them to trade. Minimum requirements in this regard are smoke sensitive detectors in each bedroom along with a fire alarm sounder of sufficient decibels so it can be heard clearly and without misunderstanding anywhere in the room. These systems are controlled from a central panel meaning a fire detected in any part of the building will set off the alarm system allowing for a quick and safe evacuation. The new optical smoke sensors are so sensitive they have been known to set the alarms off when a kettle has boiled underneath them or steam from the bathroom shower has entered the room.  Whilst it is good to know that these systems are ultra-efficient it can be a bit of a test when a kettle sets off the fire alarm at 2.00am. Guests were always very apologetic at the time and of course we had some sympathy for them over the first couple of Months of the new installation at Moorbank House back at the beginning of the 2008 season in the time it took us to get the system fine-tuned. Less sympathy was shown to those guests how smoked in their rooms setting off the alarms as yes these smoke detectors even set off the entire alarm system if it detected cigarette smoke.

Booking a Blackpool Bed and Breakfast through the Ages.

The Internet has been with us a number of years now and has touched everyone’s lives in ways which could never have been imagined before its inception. No one for example would be reading this document if it were not for the invention of the World Wide Web.

Blackpool Central Promenade from Central Pier

All these establishments along the Central Promenade would have been Bed and Breakfast type accommodation

As an information and educational tool the internet has had a profound effect on how we look for, buy and pay for things, we are now able to price things up without ever having to speak to anyone or leave our own front rooms. In the case of booking accommodation in Blackpool we can compare prices, read reviews from previous guests, look up quality star ratings and examine pictures of guest’s rooms, all these sorts of things would be impossible before the internet.

Before the Internet came along persons considering taking a traditional holiday or short break in Blackpool would rely upon recommendations from friends and family or perhaps look at adverts in some of the British Sunday papers which used to be the custom publications bed and breakfast and small hotel owners would advertise in. Of course this meant buying the paper and having to choose between any number of similar sized adverts with no idea to the quality and the location of those establishments.

Blackpool has been established as a Seaside resort since the middle of the 19th Century  and became the holiday resort of choice for many of the mill towns and cities such as Bradford and Manchester where many thousands of people would travel for a week or two’s break on the new railway lines which were being laid. These became known as the ‘Wakes Weeks’ holidays and have a special place today in the development and industrialisation of the North of England.

In those days illiteracy was still quite high and many could not read newspapers which even back in Victorian times would carry adverts for Blackpool Bed and Breakfasts and Cheap Hotels in Blackpool.  Of course the telephone system was still very rudimentary and out of reach to the masses of the population. On that basis the vast majority of these people travelled to Blackpool without having pre booked any accommodation nor done any research regarding prices or quality save what friends and family may have told them.

The practice then was to walk from the Railway stations, there were 3 in Blackpool, and find a bed and breakfast by knocking on doors and enquiring of availability and price. This led to entire streets being set aside as Visitor accommodation the evidence we can still see today in the numbers of small hotels still existing in places such as Lord and Banks Street close to what is now Blackpool North Station and Station Road which runs down to the Promenade from Lytham Road and used to have Blackpool South Station at its junction. (Station was moved in 1916). As demand increased and Blackpool became ever more popular in the early years of the twentieth century more trains were put on top bring people and more housing turned over to accommodate paying guests. Even today Blackpool demonstrates whole areas which are full of hotels and guesthouses.

Once availability had been established and prices agreed the landladies would then show the guests to the rooms, tell them what time breakfast and evening meals were served and at what hour the outside door would be shut and locked. Back in those days guests were only given a key for their own room and had to return to the guesthouse by a certain time to ensure they were not locked out of the street door. This practice was still quite widespread into the 1970’s until some establishments sought advertising advantage in offering ‘late keys’ which meant for the first time guests were free to come and go as they pleased 24 hours a day. Of course in order to keep with demand all accommodation providers eventually offered the same service.

Typical Private Hotel Bed and Breakfast Blackpool in Dean Street South Shore

Some Bed and Breakfast’s used the Term ‘Private Hotel’ but in reality it meant little as they were all pretty much alike

 

 

Thankfully as literacy rates across the population improved and communications infrastructure came into widespread use the ability to plan and book accommodation ahead, thus newspaper advertising became a stable way of the Blackpool accommodation providers to advertise their properties. Also come the 1960’s and another publication everyone will be familiar with ‘The Yellow Pages’ was born and became the choice of many when choosing goods, services and accommodation. But even so the small adverts these publications had did not offer any real choice other than a name, address, telephone number and maybe a few services.

In many ways potential visitors may well have stuck a pin in the relevant section for Blackpool and started from there. Once they had assembled a list they could have checked the street names against a Blackpool map working out where they best wanted to stay. They would then have to use the telephone to get prices and availability although without that friend or families recommendation they were still pretty much in the dark about quality.

So in this one easy to understand context we can see how a task performed by our great grandparents is now fundamentally easier due to the invention of the information superhighway .

Blackpool Weekend Breaks

Blackpool is surrounded by some popular towns also worth a visit. Most if not all mentioned in this list can be reached within 30 minutes by car from your hotel or bed and breakfast in Blackpool.

Cleveleys

Lying on the Fylde Coast around 4 miles north of Blackpool Cleveleys is a typical Lancashire picturesque town. The Town’s promenade which abuts the sea and wide sandy beach lies at the end of the main shopping street Victoria Road West. There are views north to the Furness peninsular and the Industrial Shipbuilding sheds at Barrow and the mountains of the Lake District of England. To the South lies Southport beyond the Ribble estuary and on a clear day you can see the coastline and mountains of North Wales maybe even Snowdon herself. Victoria Road West is the main shopping street and has an abundance of market stalls selling anything from second hand paperbacks to fine lace material. The nearby Jubilee gardens is seen as the town park by locals and visitors alike and here you can sail on the boating lake or have a game of crazy golf. Nearby is Thornton which lies a little inland and has a significant windmill called Marsh Mill. It has recently been restored to its former glory and visitors are welcome to take a guided tour around it. Nearby is the Wyre Estuary Country Park which includes a Tourist Information centre and a base for the local Countryside Ranger Service. The park comprises the land around the whole estuary from Fleetwood and Knott End up river as far as Shard Bridge.

 

 

Also nearby to Cleveleys is an attraction always recommended by us to guests with young families is Farmer Parrs Animal World which lies between Cleveleys and Fleetwood. Founded in the summer of 1996 it is home to Llamas, emu, red deer and lots more animals children would love to get up close to and pet. In the summer they allow the animals to run free in a large outdoor enclosed space which is great for the families who wish to walk around and view the rare breeds.

Farmer Parrs is located on the Fleetwood Road Fleetwood FY7 8JP Tel: 01253 874389

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Annes on Sea

Is located approximately 3 miles to the South of Blackpool on the A584 trunk road. It actually comprises two towns Lytham and St Annes which lie nest to each other and is usually known as Lytham St Annes but is always abbreviated to St Annes and is called such by the locals. St Annes is the northernmost and as such is closest to Blackpool. It overlooks the Irish Sea at the point where the coastline begins to sweep eastwards to form the River Ribble Estuary. Lytham which lies further south and to the east following the line of the coast actually overlooks the River Ribble where it flows out into the Irish Sea.

The British Open will be played at Royal Lytham St Annes in July 2012

The British Open will be played at Royal Lytham St Annes in July 2012

 

 

 

Lytham St Annes is renowned around the world for its golfing heritage. It has four courses and links the most famous being the Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club which is one of the host courses for the Open Championship, commonly referred to as the ‘British Open’. The seaward side of the town has a peaceful charming personality which lends itself to a pleasant stroll along the promenade or a visit to the Victorian pier or bandstand. The centre of the town and the shopping area is centred around the railway station on St Annes Rd West and The Crescent. Lytham St Annes is seen as an upmarket area to live with some of the locals earnings amongst the highest in Lancashire. The nearby British Aerospace Systems factory at Warton, employs a significant number of highly trained technical staff such as engineers and scientists who consequently choose to live amongst the leafy avenues in the town. Consequently the shopping area in the town is seen a little more upmarket and boasts a few antique and designer outlets. Some would also argue that some of the best dining on the whole Fylde coast is also to be found in Lytham St Annes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fleetwood

Fleetwood lies around 8 miles north of the resort of Blackpool at the junctions of the A587 and A585 truck roads. The town once used to be a thriving fishing port but the loss of lucrative fishing grounds in the North Atlantic in the so called ‘COD Wars’ with Iceland seriously curtailed this industry throughout the 1970’s leading to the town partially re-inventing itself a seaside resort. Some fish is still landed and the town does still have a small fish market, although it tends to be for the restaurant trade around the North West of England. The town itself is a peninsular around 2 miles wide with the Irish Sea on its Western side and the River Wyre on its east. Fleetwood’s most striking feature is a seven acre park called The Mount  facing the Irish sea it was created from a huge sand dune which originally went by the name of Tup’s Hill. The Mount also incorporates a pavilion and offers great views across Morecambe Bay and further on to the green and blue Lakeland hills of Cumbria. The town has 2 other notable tourist attractions. Freeport Fleetwood opened in 1995 on the site of a former fishing dock and is named after the town of Freeport in the state of Maine.

 

It is a waterfront outletshopping village set around a yacht marina on the River Wyre. It is home to some of the best known British shopping names such as Marks and Spence, Next and Cotton Traders. The other attraction is the famous Fleetwood Market which for over 100 years has dominated the retail sector in the area. The market opens all year around 9.00am – 4.30pm Tuesday to Saturday and every Bank Holiday Monday. It can be found at Adelaide Street Fleetwood FY7 6AB Tel: 01253 771651

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The City of Preston

Preston lies around 15 miles east of Blackpool. The river Ribble provides the Southern boundary for the Town whilst the Forest of Bowland forms the backdrop to the North East. Preston is a largely manufacturing and industrial town and this is etched into its history where it was the first town in England to be lit by gas outside of London and is home to one of the oldest football clubs in the English league Preston North End. Notable attractions which may be of interest to the casual visitor are Samlesbury Hall which has over 700 years of history being in its time a school, a factory and a public house. It also boasts its own residential ghosts and has featured in UK TV ghost hunter programmes such as ‘Most Haunted. Samlesbury Hall can be found on the Preston New Road Samlesbury PR5 0UP Tel: 01254 812010. Another worthwhile visit is the Ribble Steam Railway and this will appeal to steam train enthusiasts. The railway has been open since September 2005 and gives visitors an opportunity to travel on their 1and a half miles of dock and riverside line and to look round the museums and workshops. The project is run completely by volunteers and visitors can learn about the history of Preston docks and the Mr Ribble Trail around the Museum whilst learning about steam engines and railways. The railway can be found on Chain Caul Road Preston PR2 2PD Tel:01772 728800.

 

Heritage Tram Coastline Tours Information

Heritage Tram Coastline Tours.

Between Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Little Bispham.

Starting on Good Friday6th April 2012 the Tram Heritage Tours will run every half an hour between 9.30am and 5pm throughout the school holidays, at weekends and on Bank Holidays.

During the Illuminations from 31st August to4th November 2012 the tours will run every 20 minutes on weekdays from 5.00pm to 11.00pm and until midnight at weekends. (Illuminations tours board at the pleasure beach only). At weekends and during the October half term, tours will run every 10 minutes.

 

You can join the Tour at four special stops across the resort and hop on and off during the day.

Blackpool Heritage Tram Stop

Blackpool Heritage Tram Stop

 

 

 

Look out for the distinctive Green Circle Heritage Tram Stops..

These are located at Pleasure Beach Loop, North Pier, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Bispham.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tickets are £10 adults and £5 for children with a special £30 family ticket for up to two adults and three children. This ticket is also valid on all Blackpool Transport Bus Services and the new fleet of modern trams across the whole of the Fylde coast. There will also be a £5.00 senior citizens tickets. These tickets will be available in advance from either Blackpool Transport Rigby Road or Market Street Offices and on the day only on the Heritage trams and only on productions of any UK concessionary pass. These tickets will allow unlimited journeys on the Heritage Tours, but unlike the adult, child and family tickets, the senior citizen tickets will not be valid on buses or the new trams nor be available for sale on those services.

Persons using the Heritage trams should note The legislation for the operation of tramways in the UK has changed. This means that the vintage tramcars that used to run regularly are no longer legally allowed to operate within the normal operation of stage carriage service.

Due to the history of the Blackpool Tramway and its importance to the towns tourism a special act of Parliament has been granted in order for a small number of vintage tram cars o continue to operate on the Tramway providing that the operate on tours only.

As these heritage trams no longer comply with any of the requirements to meet the accessibility regulations that enables them to operate from the stations, they cannot therefore stop at these locations and a small number of ground level boarding stops have therefore been provided. These are located at the pleasure beach turning circle, North Pier, uncle Tom’s cabin and Bispham.

It is therefore imperative that visitors understand that they cannot board the Heritage trams at the conventional modern tram stops. They must look out for the special stops marked with a green circular sign an example of which is above.

 

Heritage Tram Tours Frequently Asked Questions.

Blackpool Heritage Tram

1. Why are the fares so much higher than on the new  LRT (light rail transit) trams?

A. Because the maintenance and operating costs are very much higher. Maintaining and preserving the fleet of vintage trams require specialist engineering skills and so Blackpool transport have to maintain a dedicated team of support staff all year round to work upon them. When you buy Heritage ticket you’re actually directly contributing to the ongoing maintenance and preservation of the vehicles that you ride on, enabling future generations to enjoy the unique experience that your parents, grandparents and great grandparents did. Blackpool just wouldn’t be Blackpool without its heritage trams.

2. What do I get for my money?

A. A Heritage Tour Ticket enables you to make unlimited journeys on either the Heritage Tours (subject to availability), or the LRT (light rail transit) service and on the entire Blackpool transport bus network.you can buy your ticket in the first Blackpool transport bus, vintage or LRT tram that you board get your money’s worth.

3. Can I use my concessionary pass?

A. In line with the terms and conditions of the concessionary fares scheme, concessionary passes are not valid on tours and the operator would receive no re-numeration from the scheme administrators.

4. Can I use my regular travel card or day saver ticket on the Heritage trams?

A. Commercial network tickets are not valid on tours due to the fact that the Heritage tram tours are not part of the public transport network.

5. Where can I buy my ticket?

A. You can buy your ticket either on the day of travel from the first Blackpool transport bus or tram, all advance from either Blackpool transport travel centre at market Street in the town centre or Rigby Road head office, 50 yards inland from the Manchester pub. By mid-summer Blackpool transport also aim to make tickets available to purchase in advance on-line from their website. (www.blackpooltransport.com)

6. What do I ask for when purchasing my ticket?

A. Just ask for a Heritage Tram Ticket.

7. Where can I catch a heritage tram?

A. From any of the following dedicated ground level heritage tram stops: pleasure beach turning loop; North Pier; uncle Tom’s cabin or; this. Lookout the distinctive circular green heritage tram stops.

8. Why can’t I catch the tours from the mainline LRT stations?

A. Because the Vintage trams are not wide enough to meet the platforms and have a variety of step/entrance designed and loading arrangements they no longer comply with the required legislation and therefore cannot operate in regular stage carriage service. They can now legally only operate as Tours for pleasure, cultural, Heritage, tourism and/or educational purposes.

9. Do Blackpool’s heritage trams comply with as accessibility legislation?

A. Regrettably, because of their age and design they do not comply with accessibility legislation. They are therefore not suitable for wheelchairs. They are exempt from legislation for cultural, Heritage, tourism and educational purposes as long as they do not operate as part of the transport network in stage carriage service and on the grounds that a regular fully accessible LRT tram service is operating at the same time. The historic element of the Tramway is seen as an integral part of Blackpool Council’s ongoing commitment to ensure that Blackpool can remain a world-class resort, with special emphasis on culture and heritage. In December 2010, Norman Baker MP, under – Secretary of State for transport wrote, ‘I recognise that the appeal of those vehicles is in their being in their original form and that they have significant importance for the UK. Many disabled people would continue to be able to travel on these vehicles as they did in the past. With the dedicated boarding sites,all passengers will be aware that their boarding a heritage vehicle is not performing public transport service.

10. Can I bring my journey to do some sightseeing?

A. Yes you can! You may re-board at any of the four heritage strand stops on the tour route subject to vehicle capacity.

11. Are the illuminated feature trams part of the Heritage Fleet and if so, will the store because of the illuminations?

A. Yes to both of those! The Heritage lottery funded Western train, plus the illuminated frigate HMS Blackpool and Fishermans friend trawler will all be very active during the illuminations providing evening tours.the only difference in the operation of the illuminations tour is is all tours will be wholly circular, starting and finishing at the pleasure beach. Boarding will not be permitted at any of the intermediate stops on the route. A lighting will however be permitted at North Pier, uncle Tom’s cabin and this in either direction if you so wish. The feature trams may also make guest appearances in their own right throughout the summer on daytime tours.

HMS Blackpool Heritage Tram

HMS Blackpool Heritage Tram

12. Can you guarantee which trams will be operating on specific days?

A No, Blackpool transport cannot make such guarantees, entirely due to the unpredictable nature of operating vintage trams. All crimes are now getting on in years, (the oldest dates from 1901),and inevitably sometimes they don’t want to get up for work in the mornings! This reason Blackpool transport never make any promises that they might not be able to keep.

If there are any further questions that have not been answered here please ask any member of Blackpool transport staff.

 

Fishermans Friend Heritage Tram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Blackpool Tram System                                                                                                                                                                  Heritage Trams in Action

                                            

Blackpool 1946 – 1990 Some Reflections.

The following paragraphs are from a text from a part old book found in an old cupboard when we were excavating part of the basement at Moorbank House

The book is not complete but it appears to be called ‘Tower above All’ written by a Jimmy Campbell.

 

Background to the Post War Period.

My first Blackpool holiday commenced on 21st October 1946 when conditions were very different than they are today. It was a year after the second world war (1939 – 1945) had ended. Many men and women had served in Her Majesty’s forces and some had already been de-mobilised.

During the war over 750,000 RAF airmen had been given their initial training at the Blackpool Winter Gardens.

With its large theatres the Opera House (seats 3000) and the Empress Ballroom (seats 3500) these venues were very useful in briefing and training large audiences at any one time. 

In 1946 price controls, food and fuel rationing and other wartime restrictions were still in force. When people travelled they were required to hand their ration books in where they were lodging. This allowed the Blackpool Bed and Breakfast landladies to purchase enough food to cater for the staying guests. Many foods were scarce or just plain unobtainable, persons accepted these restrictions as they were a necessary part of the war, most had become used to managing with what was available.

Six day weeks were still very common in industry and people worked much longer hours than they do today thus the need for some time away from work and home was no less important than it is today with large numbers of visitors coming to Blackpool for some escapism from the immediate post war austerity. Some were very lucky in that they could call on 3 or 4 weeks holidays every year but a fortnight was about the average for most people around this time. Blackpool was the choice for most workers and their families looking for a break less so other UK seaside resorts such as Great Yarmouth or Scarborough. This would be before the explosion of cheap holidays in Spain and other sun spots on the near continent as flights were still out of reach to all but the most wealthy people. On this basis and partly due to petrol rationing being in force most persons chose to travel to Blackpool by train.

Most passenger trains of this era were drawn by steam powered locomotives. The town of Preston sits approximately 15 miles to the East of Blackpool and sits on the main West Coast rail line from London and the SW to Glasgow in Scotland and beyond, subsequently most places in the UK could reach this town with relative ease. In the mid 1940’s Blackpool’s railway infrastructure was much larger than it is today, the main station sat behind the Promenade between Central Pier and Blackpool Tower. For a town if its size at that time the Station was a huge affair with numerous platforms and wide shunting areas and engine sheds along what was known as the central corridor. There was also a large station at Blackpool South Shore at the junction of Waterloo Road which served the South Shore areas of the town. Blackpool North was to the North of the Town close to the Winter Gardens and whilst in daily use at this time was very much seen as the minor station in the town. All this would change in due course with North Station being designated as the main station and the line from Preston re-routed cutting out large sections of line in the Central corridor as part of the Beeching reforms in the early 1960’s.

Back in 1946 Clement Atlee’s reforming Labour government had just taken power, the Conservative opposition was still led by wartime leader Winston Churchill. The Tories had recently held their annual conference in Blackpool and this would go on to become a regular feature in coming years. Blackpool Council local elections were due to be held in early November 1946 and amongst the 37 candidates that were due to stand were a significant number of ex servicemen, altogether there were 14 Conservatives, 12 Labour, 7 Liberal, 2 Independents and even 2 Communists.

Interestingly the writer tells us that the Local Government Trade Union NALGO (National Association of Local Government Officers) were holding an exhibition at the Winter Gardens for one of the weeks he was in town and that it centred on how the 22 Shillings rate in the Pound was being spent. This exhibition was opened by the Mayor on on Saturday 19th October 1946, he welcomed guests at a civic lunch in the Baronial Hall of the Winter Gardens. In a speech of thanks Mr C A Roberts outgoing president of NALGO replied ‘Things happening around us are changing day by day, but the hospitality and kindness of Blackpool goes on forever’. The writer has every reason to agree with him.

21st – 25th October 1946 ‘The First Holiday’

The writer says ‘When I arrived at my guest house  on my first holiday in Blackpool the landlady said to me ‘ I will do my best to make you feel comfortable’. She succeeded in doing so much better than I expected in spite of the limitations caused by restrictions and shortages of so many goods.

A notice was posted in the bedrooms advising visitors to bring their ration books and sign the visitors book before leaving, and to be punctual for meals, another notice in the hall read no fish and chips to be brought in.

Monday 21st October

Local Government Exhibition.

After arrival in Blackpool and lunch my first call is at The Winter Gardens and Olympia. Admission charge to the Local Government Exhibition is 6d (2.5 pennies post decimalisation). Exhibits of Blackpool in miniature are on show: the gas works, electricity generating works, Art galleries and a little waterworks. There are also plans of local reconstruction and housing schemes, fresh flowers transplanted from parks and pleasure grounds; a dancing illuminations display of coloured electric light bulbs from as small as a pea to as big as a football; hospital furnishings, an iron lung and children’s cots; a waxworks figure of the first ‘health visitor’ to illustrate advances in Health Services.

Schoolgirls dance to the accompaniment of loud speaker music, later a brass band gives a concert on stage. The writer especially likes a scale model of the Blackpool tramway system with overhead wires, shelters and a miniature tram  which can be controlled from the side of the tract electric railway style. A tram driver shows children how to regulate the speed of the model, afterwards he gives each a printed card as a memento of the occasion. Written tributes from different parts of the Country to the politeness and professionalism of Blackpool Transport’s conductors and conductresses are on display. Local police officers also man a stand and give hints on how to make persons houses burglar proof, they also have a model of a house where a murderer was arrested.

The Magic Tap Mystery

An ordinary household tap is suspended in mid air from 4 lengths of string. An endless supply of water appears to be flowing from the tap into the basin beneath. A number of mystified spectators are gathered round the attendant in charge of the display, trying to figure out how this ‘magic tap’ works? There are no pipes or anything attached, says the attendant. Well how does it do it? asks a member of the audience. The attendant keeps his lips sealed but if one looks closely enough through the stream of water you can see the supply pipe which is also holding the tap aloft.

Almost opposite the magic tap is a small cinema. I go inside and see some Ministry of Information films about road accidents, road planning and juvenile delinquency in Scotland. Upstairs in Olympia are pictures about housing and reconstruction, fragments of rock and geological strata and small models of Central Station before and after the proposed replanning.

Tuesday 22nd October

Examples of how to attract customers and sell goods to them can often be seen in Blackpool when there are many people about. The salesperson will talk whilst demonstrating what is being offered for sale. When anyone stands up in a public place and speaks loudly and persuasively, he or she will invariably attract a crowd. If something is for sale however worthless it may appear, as long as enough spectators attend the event, there is always someone who can be talked into buying it. 

One of the first shops I  enter in the town centre is Littlewoods. At one of the counters a salesman is demonstrating how to use a certain brand of polish. All you have to do shouts the salesman is just apply it with a dry cloth and rub just like this. It doesn’t get your hands dirty ladies and saves Months of your soap ration. You can use it for cleaning any shoes, boots or furniture, and its not affected by water. It will polish up your grate better than ordinary metal polish. Only a shilling (5p) a tin, 2 colours green and black.

Barbed Wire at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

In the afternoon my first visit to the pleasure beach finds almost deserted, with only a few visitors wandering around. I assumed that this is because the holiday season has ended. My guess may have been wrong, as the war had called a temporary halt on new development at the pleasure beach and may have been the main reason the lack of activity at this time.

The popular roller coasters, Big Dipper, Grand National, pleasure Beach Railway and numerous other exciting rides and attractions in the amusement park are usually a hive of activity during the summer. The only movement I noticed today is that the contraption like a two sailed Windmill being tested.it appears that passengers are carried on each of the cells when it is in motion.

Workmen reconstructing some of the machines and rides ignore the holidaymakers strolling around.

Battered parts of the derelict dodgem cars are lying in the open exposed to the weather. I come to an area which seems as though it is not intended for public use, as there is barbed wire lying on the ground. More barbed wire bars the exit from a sunken garden so I have to retrace my steps and returns through the entrance.

I hurl and apple core into an unoccupied boating lake which is a few empty rowing boats on it.

Tough Steak at a Town Centre Restaurant

Before an evening performance at the tower circus, I go into a restaurant near the Blackpool Tower, and sit down at upstairs dining table when two men are talking. That’s the toughest the steak I have ever tasted, says one with a loud voice. I’ve been coming here for the last fortnight and it’s the worst meal I’ve had. Would do you think George?

that’s the last time I have steak and chips here, agrees George, taking a packet of cigarettes and offering one to his friend. The waitress arrives and asks me what do you want? I’ll have Welsh rabbit tea and cakes please. There’s only one take left, she says and brings it to me. Better each it quick before somebody pinches it advises loud voice. No one would like now George? What asks George. A nice plate of Gorgonzola and biscuits. Well why don’t you ask the waitress for them? You won’t get them but there’s no harm done by asking. I will call a over and see what she says, you never know what might happen.

The next time the waitress passes our table, loud voice asks, could we have two plates of Gorgonzola and biscuits? The waitress laughs and replies, you know very well that we haven’t got such a thing! But she does not sound offended. Or could we have built place? Ask loud voice. Yes she replies that the seven shillings (35 p) altogether. All right, and loud voice hands her a ten shilling (50 p) note. Take it out of this. George Bush’s nine pence (4p) on his plate for a tip and leaves with his friend.

Days of Rationing.

although other goods were rationed as well during this period including clothing and footwear, I considered that food rationing was a most unwelcome restriction of all. Some people grumbled about it, while others made jokes, but describing a six course lunch is two chips and four peas.

Reference could only serve whatever foods were available and their supplies were limited.George and his friend were partly joking and partly wishful thinking when they asked for Gorgonzola knowing very well that imported foreign cheeses would be unobtainable. I believe that cheese ration was as low as 1 ounce per week at one time during the war, but later increased to 4 ounces. Other typical weekly allowances were 2 ounces of butter, 2 ounces of cooking fats, four or 5 ounces of margarine, 4 ounces of bacon and ham, a quarter of a pound of tea, half a pound of sugar, and a half pints of liquid milk, and meet the value of one shilling and tuppence (6p). about a pound in weight or sweets and chocolates per 4 weeks was allowed.

In wartime imported foods have to be brought from overseas in merchant ships, which were subjected to attacks from enemy aircraft and submarines. Many seamen were killed and injured, and shipping lost and damaged. It was some years after the war ended before conditions improved and restrictions caused by food and other shortages were lifted. The last food to be the rationed the butter, margarine, cheese and cooking fats in May 1954, and meet in June 1954.

To Be continued

 

 

 

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Blackpool has, like all of the UK a temperate maritime climate according to the Koppen climate classification system, translating to a limited annual temperature range, rainfall throughout the year, and high wind levels.

The absolute maximum temperature recorded at Blackpool was 33.7 °C (92.7 °F) during July 1976. The highest temperature to occur in recent years is 33.2 °C (91.8 °F) during July 2006.  In a more normal summer, the warmest day will likely average 28.1 °C (82.6 °F),with slightly less than 5 days  a year attaining a temperature of 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or above.

The absolute minimum temperature stands at −15.1 °C (4.8 °F),  recorded during December 1981. The lowest temperature to occur in recent years is −11.9 °C (10.6 °F)  during December 2010. In a more normal winter, the coldest night averages −7.6 °C (18.3 °F).

Rainfall averages slightly less than 900mm, with over 1mm of precipitation occurring on 143 days of the year.

Climate data for Blackpool 10m asl, 1971-2000, extremes 1960-
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.3
(57.7)
15.6
(60.1)
19.1
(66.4)
24.0
(75.2)
26.8
(80.2)
31.3
(88.3)
33.7
(92.7)
32.2
(90.0)
26.8
(80.2)
23.7
(74.7)
16.8
(62.2)
14.2
(57.6)
33.7
(92.7)
Average high °C (°F) 6.8
(44.2)
7.1
(44.8)
9.1
(48.4)
11.6
(52.9)
15.2
(59.4)
17.3
(63.1)
19.4
(66.9)
19.4
(66.9)
17.0
(62.6)
13.7
(56.7)
9.8
(49.6)
7.6
(45.7)
12.9
(55.2)
Average low °C (°F) 1.7
(35.1)
1.6
(34.9)
3.1
(37.6)
4.2
(39.6)
6.9
(44.4)
10.0
(50.0)
12.4
(54.3)
12.3
(54.1)
10.2
(50.4)
7.3
(45.1)
4.3
(39.7)
2.5
(36.5)
6.4
(43.5)
Record low °C (°F) −11.3
(11.7)
−13.2
(8.2)
−9.7
(14.5)
−6.1
(21.0)
−1.9
(28.6)
−1
(30.2)
3.3
(37.9)
1.9
(35.4)
−0.7
(30.7)
−4.3
(24.3)
−7
(19.4)
−15.1
(4.8)
−15.1
(4.8)
Precipitation mm (inches) 81.1
(3.193)
58.7
(2.311)
68.3
(2.689)
48.9
(1.925)
49.0
(1.929)
59.8
(2.354)
59.5
(2.343)
73.4
(2.89)
82.5
(3.248)
97.9
(3.854)
94.0
(3.701)
98.3
(3.87)
871.4
(34.307)
Sunshine hours 52.4 70.9 106.3 160.8 215.1 204.0 201.2 182.3 139.8 100.4 63.3 43.7 1,540.3
Source no. 1: MetOffice
Source no. 2: Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute

 

 

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