Monday, 22 February 2016

Lost Blackpool

19:42:00 Posted by Steve Rowland , , 2 comments
I was born just after World War II and lived just off Westcliffe Drive in Little Layton

The joke amongst conductors on the Corporation buses which travelled to Bispham & Cleveleys, or to Victoria Hospital or to the new (then) council estate at Grange Park was that Layton was “The Dead Centre of Blackpool”: beside Layton Square was one of the town’s cemeteries.  Slightly further inland next door to Layton Institute is still today the town’s Jewish Cemetery.

So those are two things which remain from my '40s and '50s childhood, but what I remember my parents talking about were the tram services from North Station to Layton, and I experienced myself trams from North Station to Gynn Square along Dickson Road, as well as the route from Talbot Square up Clifton Street towards what was then the General Post Office, turning briefly right along Abingdon Street, then left and out of the town centre along Church Street to Devonshire Square where the line headed along Whitegate Drive as far as Oxford Square before turning along Waterloo Road until it joined Lytham Road near South (railway) Station and what was then The Palladium Cinema.  At that junction the line from Manchester Square to Starr Gate led south with a branch at Station Road to South Pier.

I cannot remember precisely when the inland tram routes ceased to exist, but it must have been in the early 1960s as I remember using a tram along Dickson Road to attend a Town Schools Swimming Gala at Derby Baths (another lost local treasure) in the early 1960s.

I’m glad that unlike so many towns and cities Blackpool did not entirely scrap its “old-fashioned” tramway as we have still the Promenade route at least with swish modern carriages which glide so silently along from Starr Gate to the ferry terminal at Fleetwood.

And that’s a further loss – the Song of The Trams – squeaks, clangs and rumbles.

Thanks for reading, Christo.



Christo Heyworth said...

What I did not cover are the various Tram Depots which were required.
Starting from the North, there was a depot at Bispham beside the Bispham Hotel which was converted first to ALPIC Discount Traders before being demolished to make way for the Car Park for Sainsbury's Store.
Next was one on Whitegate Drive just north of The Saddle and the junction with Preston Old Road, and if we head towards the sea, the main tram depot (and still is for the heritage fleet) is to be found at Rigby Rpad.
The one that tends to get most overlooked is on Squires Gate Lane close by the entrance to Blackpool Airport.
That one (like the main part of the airport land) is odd in actually being in Fylde Borough, and became the depot for Fylde's Blue Buses for a short while,
Today, if we walk over the railway bridge we will easily come to the new Tram Depot at Starr Gate.
From there circular tickets all the way to Fleetwood and back are available.

Steve Rowland said...

The Song Of The Trams - now that's a poem that I'd like to read one day ;-)