A day at the Seaside

June 20, 2009

The Forest of Galtres Society ventured across to Lancashire the day before the June 2009 European Elections. We went to Blackpool. We were treated with such exceptional courtesy and a welcome which delighted us all.

If, like many in the party, you have not been to Blackpool before, you might have wondered why we made our visit, but it is due to the chance meeting we had with members of the Blackpool Civic Trust during 2008.

Come to Blackpool, they said. Come, and we will look after you. And they did, so much so that we thought Royalty must have been in town. Met by a numerous turnout of their committee and membership at Solaris, we were refreshed on bacon butties and coffee, and then went to see the Promenade and the Mirror Ball. The day was fine, and we watched the trams, and along came ‘Michael Airey’, historic Tram No 147, the best in the Blackpool fleet, brought out especially for our journey along the Promenade. What a treat, and the start of treats galore. The journey introduced us to the major works being carried out on the sea defences and sea wall with European money, to provide better and greater space for people, and to dispel upwards the wild winds which can trouble the town.

At the War Memorial, we were met by the Conservation Officer, Carl, who showed us the work recently completed to create a more respectful and quiet space for memories surrounding the obelisk itself. Off next to a Frank Matcham theatre, the Grand Theatre, built in 1890. There, we entered straight onto the stage scene for Summer Holiday, and saw the cast’s side of life and then enjoyed the very comfortable new stalls seating.

Next, to the Town Hall, where we were greeted by the Mayor and Mayoress, and taken into their Parlour, where we partook of a buffet lunch and heard about the history of the Town Hall. The Council Chamber is flooded with light, and has very large historical paintings on the wall, particularly one depicting the marriage of the parents of Henry VIII, King Henry VII and Princess Elizabeth of York; the union of the House of Lancaster and the House of York.

Off to the Tower! Blackpool Tower we entered via the aquarium, and we climbed up staircases amongst the elegant polychrome tiled decorations to see the silver model of Blackpool Tower. Then up in the lift to the top, and the Walk of Death (a glass panel in the floor; not for the faint-hearted – you will be pleased to learn that the Secretary and the whole team survived the Walk).

Back at lower levels, we went to the Ballroom balconies and stood watching the dancers and the guests enjoying afternoon tea below us, then descended to join the throng, not on the dance floor but in the eating of sandwiches, tea and scones. Then off once more, this time to the Circus, where we saw such a wonderful show of acrobatics, rollerskating, trapeze, balancing, and to bring it to a conclusion, a huge watershow in the centre stage complete with all the participating athletic artists.

Elaine and her committee had organised a memorable day for us, and we can now say we have been to Blackpool. We saw a town with great civic pride, and a hugely successful approach to making the Blackpool Experience enjoyable, whatever level one has.

Come Again!!

Funded by the National Lottery through Awards for All