Sunday, 16 March 2008

Today in Blackpool

"We're doing a charity walk", Fran said. "What???" "It's only a mile..." she added hastily. Ah, well that's not so bad perhaps!

Mind you, walking for a mile along the cliffs at Bispham, north Blackpool is akin to walking ten anywhere else. Utter the words, "We've had fifty miles per hour gales!" to anyone from Blackpool and they'll look at you in contempt and say "That's not a bloody gale!" So off we went to find all Fran's mates from work. They had either all sensibly stuck a wet finger in the air and decided to stay at home or Fran got the wrong message about meeting place, time or day.

"Let's just go for a walk on our own then," I suggested as the wind whipped tears out of my eyes to the extent they were dripping off my chin onto my coat. So we walked from Red Bank Road (where the illuminations finish at Bispham) down to the Gynn (the roundabout on the Promenade road) and back. This is about 2 and a half miles altogether perhaps, half of it done at the trot with the wind behind us and the return with us leaning forwards at an angle of 45 degrees, enjoying the sudden but thankfully brief downpour. All along the way there were little groups of men in high visibility jackets working on the tram tracks. Given that Easter is next weekend I can with confidence say there's no chance of seeing a tram in Blackpool unless you nip up to the tram shed. They do seem to be getting on with it though.

From the cliffs we also had a good view of the stricken ferry, Riverdance, that as every Blackpool resident predicted, has stubbornly refused every attempt to re-float her and has now rolled over to an angle of 110 degrees and is busily engaged in burying her head in the sand a few more inches every day. Several weeks of being battered by the hefty winter seas as the tide comes in twice a day have had their toll and the structure of the ship is starting to get damaged. So presumably now they will start to draw up plans for dismantling her and hope to keep any leakage of oils and fuels to a minimum. Not an easy task I should imagine. It will be easier though to keep contamination down whilst it is above the sand than it would be if it sank down much further! Every time the tide comes in it washes sand away from around the hull, letting the ship settle a bit more then filling the gaps back up with sand.

Talking of disasters... Down at Uncle Tom's Cabin the long disused boating pool which had had some recent use as a go-kart track now looks even more attractive. Yes, this'll bring the families back... You know, with all the hotels and the council bemoaning the fact that families don't come to Blackpool any more you only have to look around and wonder what they would find to do that doesn't cost money. Yes we have one of the best beaches in the country, but when I think of all the things I loved to do as a kid, once away from the beach, pushing my toy yacht around a boating pool came high on the list. All that new expanse of tarmac on the new Promenade - I'm sure they could have included a paddling pool and a model boating pond.

Return to Blackpool Promenade and Beach Index Page


  1. I own some holiday flats in Blackpool and I have to say that you are right about the state of Blackpool at the moment it is in a bit of a mess. But I believe that things are changing, with the new promenade from the South Pier to North Pier improving access to the beach. The problem is that the big tarmac areas (headlands) are intended to have the Peoples Playground on. The funding for this was hoped to come from the National Lottery but we didn't win the money. So the bottom line is that Blackpool needs money!! I was hoping that we would get a super casino not because I am into gambling but because I think it would have brought huge publicity and helped increase confidence for other attractions and businesses to invest in Blackpool. My opinion is that the more people who come to Blackpool the more investment will come! But some how Blackpool needs the investment and then people will come back. I must admit that there isn't much that's free these days and I think kids need more entertaining than they used to. But Blackpool does have so many attractions to offer. Pleasure Beach, Sandcastle Water Park, Tower, Sea life, Stanley park, Beach, 3 Piers, Blackpool Shows and events....
    So hopefully in 10 years or sooner Blackpool will once again be great for families.

  2. im so sorry to see that the north shore boating pool is no more.
    as my dearly departed nan lived on holmfield road.... near the cabin,
    this place was a regular for me.
    i do remember in the late 70s splitting my best pair of drainies as the canoe drifted.... nay was blown from the side and i got wet.
    also i remember on that holiday seeing a rare bird in the skies above blackpool.... concorde.... now another wonder of my youth relegated to history.
    but ill never forget those times at deby baths.... the attendants handingyou a glorified coathanger with a basket attached to the bottom to keep your clothes in.
    all this from a lad born in victoria hospital... but brought up a MANC
    all the best

  3. I remember the excitement as a child being taken to the boating pool. Always busy in summer. Aeroplane rides, train rides, motor boats, rowing boats. I have always imagined that it would still be similar and having just seen that picture of it now, well it's just very sad. I remember too, the lift down to near the boating pool from the promenade above. As a child it seemed to take an age to get down. Dad used to say, "We're nearly there now" just as going down, the little window with toy animals in it passed us by. I live in Sussex now, but my childhood memories of Blackpool are very happy ones.
    Anyone of similar age to me have any childhood memories to share ? I was born in 1953.

  4. There are a few entries in this blog featuring readers' memories of Blackpool - click the link for Blackpool under "Posting Topics".

    I have a number of web pages of my own with memories of my childhood, schools, holidays and teen years at John Burke's Nostalgia.


  5. i was just remembering my own memories of blackpool as i read your blog. as a young woman who became a christian, i was amazed at the amount of talented musicians within that scene, Every one knew Peter and heather wardle, and Keith and Charlotte shackleton, , but there were so many lively churches, that as a youngster, it was easy to find a church that you could relate to, oh well, how time changes. i hope this is ok for you blackpool memories
    thank you for this page... angela.

  6. And thank you Angela for adding a memory here.

    Alas, the nostalgia page I mentioned a couple of comments up has now disappeared as reported in this blog entry.


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