Happy Memories of Old Blackpool

Shirley (back left) with sister, Gwenda and Gladys’s children (front row)

What a time it was in the 1950s when youngsters enjoyed the jolly days spent in Blackpool Tower! There was the wonder of the subsiding circus arena making way for a bath of water for the elephants, the performing lions and tumbling acrobats. How the children enjoyed the antics of the monkeys in the menagerie, and the secret dark caves of the aquarium. For my eldest sister there was the wonder of the ballroom and memories of meeting her husband there so many years ago.

Shirley with older sister Gladys, visiting Santa Claus at R.H.O. Hills

The yearly visit to the R.H.O Hills Santa Claus in his Fairyland grotto and the massive Carnival Parade which majestically took place in the town centre, were all days out which brought our family together as they travelled from Heywood over Belmont Moors - so unlike today’s motorway visits!

In tribute to the wonderful memories of her old hometown my sister, Gladys Gibson, penned a poem of one such wonderful day out in Blackpool Tower in the 1950s.

The Outing

Circus, cafes, ballrooms and bars,

slot machines, music and bumper cars.

Shows for the kids, with prizes of course

as here they can laugh and shout until hoarse.

Children around us, never a glower

Why? Because we’re here for the day in Blackpool Tower.

Walls of stone and dark as night

We see the fish in a shaft of light.

From their caves behind toughened glass

They seem to stare as we walk past.

As happy in their gloomy bower

They swim around in Blackpool Tower!

Up the stairs we go at last

And just for a moment we are back in the past,

Marble pillars and red plush chairs

Seem to echo the past with bygone airs.

Around the balcony are painted roses,

And the names of all the great composers.

This is the place to dance by the hour,

Swirling around the ballroom of Blackpool Tower.

Up we climb to the monkeys now,

Chattering, jumping for a final bow.

Screeching Parrots fly above your head,

While roaring tigers rip the meat so red.

The lion he roars with majestic power

For he’s king of the jungle in Blackpool Tower

In the lift we are bound for the top

‘Oh my God will this thing ever stop.’

Then onto the platform way up high

We’re there at last in a cloudless sky.

Slowly and with heart in mouth,

We look to the North and then to the South.

‘Is that sea spray or is it a shower?’

I feel on my face at the top of the tower.

The day is over we’re now homeward bound,

But we’ll laugh and remember the pleasure we found.

But the kids are tired, their eyes are red,

They really ought to be in bed.

They’ll never last another hour


Because they have spent a wonderful day in Blackpool Tower.

Glady Gibson

Shirley Matthews.

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