Holiday Memories

A Memory of Blackpool

My parents spent annual holidays at Taberners boarding House in Albert Road, Blackpool Central, when they were young children, and upon hearing of their eventual courtship and engagement many years later, the then owners vowed to postpone the sale of the boarding house until they were to marry and have their honeymoon there in 1948. Later on the boarding house was sold on to a family by the name of Hill. Of course my parents continued to use the boarding house as their holiday venue and thus my elder sister and I now enjoyed yearly holidays there. My earliest memory would be in 1959 walking along Central Pier, at a point where your photo was taken as you walked by, and could be purchased. We always bought them as we didn't have our own camera back then. My fondest memories are of the 'Muffin the Mule' rides which were dotted along the golden mile, also 'Donkey rides on the sands' at 6d a time (old money). Then if the weather wasn't good..we'd go into the Olympia where there were coin operated machines to win toys and upstairs (as I remember it) were some 'noddy' cars that you could drive round in on quite a long track. The new Owner's at the Boarding House took us to their hearts and nothing was too much trouble. They would 'babysit' my sister and I while mum and dad went out dancing in the Tower Ballroom and we were granted freedom of the house and would even go to the local grocery shop for them if they were short of something. We'd sit happily on the carpet in the private living quarters with their daughters record player, and at four years old my favourite song was 'Little White Bull' by Tommy Steel. The highlight of every morning was who (between my sister and I) could get dressed first, to go down and hit the huge brass gong they had at the bottom of the stairs to summons everyone to breakfast; my sister being older usually got down first, but the family were aware of this and made sure things were done fairly. The Dining Room tables with their 'snowy white' tablecloths (which were beautifully set out) and looked very inviting, each had glass dishes in which were 'butter curls'. Using a special tool, carefully drawn across butter that had been chilled, produced attractively 'curled' single portions for your morning toast. Then once our meal had settled, we'd head off to Pablo's ice cream parlour for a double scoop of Cornish ice cream with all the trimmings. Hm, I can taste it now. I'm sure those of my era will remember (I think it was a shoe shop) and outside on a chair was sat the biggest Teddy bear ever, it must have been six foot tall and on it's knee was a smaller one. We'd usually see this when I'd be taken by dad to a local joke shop to buy something to scare everyone with. I have a favourite family photo of myself at two years sat on the steps of Hills Boarding House and about three years ago went back in the hope of re-kindling the memories, I found that it has changed 'so' much and had been knocked through to the place next door to make it much bigger. I filled the present owner in on my happy memories there and he told me they still had the gong, but I couldn't see it as it was in storage and he didn't plan on using it, I thought that was such a shame. I showed him the photo of me on their steps, they had been replaced with modern wooden ones, but the Grey/black and white speckled marble flooring around them was still the same. I had an after photo taken whilst trying so sit in the same spot or thereabouts. Back in 1982 my sister was now married with five children. We rented a van as there was 10 of us and we all went to see the lights and during the day we walked from the Tower all the way down to the Pleasure beach, stopping off to give each of the kids 'One' ride on the cost £2:50..This same amount would have furnished my sister and I as children 25 rides 'each'. We treated the kids also to the 'Fun house' experience they loved the big slide..I would never go on it as a child..and well I couldn't pass up the opportunity at age 30 to do it 'once' in my life, there was a man at the top whose job it was to make sure people didn't congregate and cause a blockage. I felt a sudden shove from him and was at the bottom before I could shout "Go..Back for My Stomach"!! We headed off to see the lights now that it was dark outside..they were amazing. Many of the old trams were decked out as rockets and boats etc, festooned with lights - we all had a really good time. I truly wish it was like that now with all the rides along the golden mile as I remember it.. Punch and Judy on the beach and Dad's favourite cockle stalls, candy floss and toffee apples, but we have to make way for progress..shame that!

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