Author Topic: What we used to get with our early morning cuppa!  (Read 2522 times)

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What we used to get with our early morning cuppa!
« on: June 08, 2010, 08:20:03 PM »
Early morning entertainment on the beach

Until the swinging of the infamous Beeching Axe in 1964, most holidaymakers travelling  by British Rail would arrive in Blackpool at Central Station (site now occupied by Coral Island).

As you left the station, the shoeshine guys would be waiting to polish your shoes, and what a brilliant shine they got, and no they never got any on your socks! The barrowboys would be waiting to "carry your cases for you Mrs?" You had the Queens Theatre to your right, the Golden Mile to your left, and directly in front you was a large and quite antiquated looking, blue/grey building, which I realised much later on was a hotel, I think it was called the Palatine Hotel, though not 100% sure on that, although as the Palatine building now stands on the same spot, logic would say that was it's name. All of course, in the shadows of the mighty Blackpool Tower, casting it's shadow down the "mile"!

If you turned left out of the station and walked approx 150 yards you arrived directly on the seafront, trams trundling back and forth, the horsedrawn landau's clip clopping along the road, the buses with the familiar destinations on their blinds - no 5 off to Halfwayhouse again.
Depending on the time of year of your visit, the weather was always "interesting", if it was summer, the sun would make the Irish Sea look pretty inviting lol, if it was during "the lights", you would be met with sandstorms and if it was high tide, waves crashing over the seawall. I can still remember a "Balloon" being completely enveloped by a giant wave that seemed to materialise from nowhere!

Down on the seafront, on the road down from the station was a tea bar, it was much like a wooden "lean to" construction, about 30 yards long, and it sold "jugs of tea for the sands"! You could also get flasks filled there as well. It was always one of the first to open in a morning  and one of the last to close, Horlicks was quite a popular drink in the evening I seem to remember.

When we arrived by train at Central Station, we used to stay in "digs" on Hull Road, so the tea bar on the front was whee we went for our early morning tea, nice and refreshing during the summer months, nice and warming during the autumn. The best thing of all though, was not the tea, but the sights you used to see whilst drinking your tea.
If the tide was out, the Corporation tractors and lorries would be on the beach cleaning up the rubbish that had been deposited by the the incoming tide overnight. As soon as they had left the beach, a very special group of visitors  would take to the beach for their early morning exercise.

A small army of grooms would emerge from the ramp at the side of the Tower, each leading their charges across the road and down onto the beach. First the ponies, a dozen appaloosa spotted ponies, who as well as trotting around the beach loved to roll in the wet sand lol,  must have been hell to groom afterwards.

Next would come 10 Arab stallions, so tall and so proud, but as soon as they felt the sand under their hooves became like young foals again, legs kicking out and heads being tossed in the air. they would be followed by an assortment of horses used in various other acts, Big and Little. the Shire and the Shetland pony, The Frisians, and the Highschool horses.

Then it would be the turn of the exotics, camels, llamas, zebras, yak's, highland cattle, perhaps slightly more bemused by their strange surroundings.

And last but not least, the elephants, six magnificent beasts, all holding on by their  trunks to the tail in front of them. They didn't bother with running round in circles on the beach, it was straight down the sea for them, where they would splash around, squirt themselves with the sea water before getting down and having a good old roll in it. The grooms would take stiff long handled brooms with them , so they could give the elephants a good scrub, as they were splashing water over their backs. It was amazing how their aim would so frequently hit their handlers as well, and if you were close enough you could see the mischievous glint in their eyes. At the end of the session the grooms would be as wet as the elephants!

All too soon it would be time for us to head back for breakfast, and the circus animals for their breakfast too, before morning practice would begin the ring.

It was certainly a novel way to start your day!!

As for the closing of Central Station, I always felt that it was a huge mistake. The trains deposited you smack bang in the centre of town and the excitement hit you as soon as you left the train. After the closure, most of our trains would pull into Blackpool North, although occasionally we would arrive at Blackpool South, whichever station we arrived at, it was never quite the same as pulling into Blackpool Central!!!
« Last Edit: June 08, 2010, 09:27:03 PM by Sixties_Kid »
Always look for the positive.....


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Re: What we used to get with our early morning cuppa!
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2010, 08:27:18 PM »
a great description and tale
applause given..
thanks for posting..


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Re: What we used to get with our early morning cuppa!
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2010, 09:53:05 PM »

We used to visit Blackpool for our weeks holidays in the 60's we did come when i was younger but I can remember from 1967 when I would have been 6, the central staion had long closed by then but we used to arrive by coach from middlesbrough, this was pre M55 so the trip would take about 4 hours, so we would arrive in Blackpool at noon or just after, the barrow boys would be there asking to carry your bags, we would follow our choosen Barrow boy to our digs for the week Wakefield House on Hull Road, run by a yorkshire landlady called Mrs Booth no 18 i think it was this was still the days of full board, so you had to be Back for lunch as well as breakfastand your evening meal.

We would allways be up earlyer than breakfast so we would walk down the front to where the new extention to tussaudes is now and also the new prymind amusement arcade is now, this was just a group of shed like buildings where you could buy drinks and burgers, book coach trips, buy sea food and play prize bingo ( the prize bingo place lasted until the fire in Grab City), we would allways have a couple of games of bingo in there every night before going into what is now Micky Finns but the was a snack bar. Back to the plot after our morning tea, fizzy pop for me we went back to the lodge for brekky this was served at 8.30 finished at 9:30 and you had to be out by 10, this was ok though as most of the attractions opened at 10am them so you had time to get to where you were going but yo uhad to be back by 12:30 for you lunch, and then back again for your evening meal at 4:30 this gave you time to eat and get out to the theatre for the 6:10 performance.

We would allways go to see a show every night bare friday, the reat of the week was spent visiting all the attractions and if the weather was good one morning would be spent on the beach, we would then spend one afternoon on the south pier and at the pleasure beach .Friday was allways the night we just did the centreal acades and the central ppeir

Cliff C


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Re: What we used to get with our early morning cuppa!
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2010, 09:58:49 PM »
Brilliant posts, I can remember the shoeshine boys but thats about it.. >:(

Applause to you all.. 8)


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Re: What we used to get with our early morning cuppa!
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2010, 08:35:43 PM »
When Sixties_Kid, CliffC and Peter were visiting Blackpool, I was on "the other side of the stall", mainly as a change-giver in one of Lane's arcades on Central Promenade, the corner of Chapel Street or the entrance to South Pier.

Mind you, I also did stints as a spieler on the Mile (Come and see Mas Kar, the incredible White Yogi, direct from the World Fair in Chicago - he was a little Welsh guy from Prestatyn: not all that bad an illusionist), a deck-chair attendant, and when I was much younger, a barrow boy and an early supermarket shelf-stacker and bag-packer at Booths The Grocers which in those days was a substantial store stretching from North Promenade next to what was then The Midland Bank and is now the Counting House, and The Strand.  I think in 2010 the building is a shuttered club and Booths is long gone to Highfield Road and Poulton-le-Fylde.

I'll come back to your other reminiscences tomorrow - I'm off to watch England polish off the USA on the box.
Initial poetry collection - After Singapore & other poems (Dial Publications 2003);
In preparation: Second reprint June 2010;
New collection: Illustrated re-print of After Singapore (Autumn 2010)
New collection: HURRY UP, Please - IT'S TIME (Winter 2010/2011).


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Re: What we used to get with our early morning cuppa!
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2010, 10:17:00 AM »
Sorry, only just found this post, so bumping an old topic.

As a local, who lived near The Halfway House and went to school on the edge of Grange Park/Poulton at All Saints School (ex St Thomas and St Catherines schools) on Garstang Road ( opposite The Collegiate -- my school has been demolished now ).

I used to get the number 5 bus every morning, we used to see the horses and elephants on the beach every morning, that the tide was out, being exercised.

An interesting fact about Central Station, is the only part that still exists ( happy to be proved wrong -- but this is my useless fact of the day ) is the "Gentlemen's Toilet's Drains".They are beneath the 'modern' public toilets on the car park opposite Coral Island, that is why they are there, they were built on top of the original station toilets drains/water supply.

The original toilet block stood there for years until that too was demolished and replaced by 'superloos'.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2010, 10:24:47 AM by ericbee123 »
Questions are a burden to others, answers a prison for oneself.


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Re: What we used to get with our early morning cuppa!
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2010, 11:46:57 AM »
Christo, I hope he returns to posting on here, everybody misses him..


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Re: What we used to get with our early morning cuppa!
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2010, 09:53:50 PM »
Dave, would I be correct in thinking you have replied on the wrong thread here?!?!?!  ;D

Back to subject, and some lovely memories here.

All a bit before I can remember though unfortunately.

Proud Salopian (With a part of the heart in Blackpool)