Take a trip back to the 50s in Blackpool with heritage events

The Palatine Hotel, Blackpool
The Palatine Hotel, Blackpool
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The annual Heritage weekend – September 13-16 – will get people out and about, particularly in Blackpool town centre.

High on the list of venues must be the Tower, the Winter Gardens and the Grand Theatre.

Time for a bit of nostalgic musing. Memories of the way we were? Join me on my teenage jaunt.

In the 1950s a tour of the arcades was the thing and you didn’t need to go down the Golden Mile. Too many visitors there!

Hopping off the number five bus outside the Winter Gardens my pals and I would march down the Floral Hall, joshing the autograph hunters at the Opera House stage door.

“They’ve gone out the other way.”

We’d run down the steps into the Olympia, where there was an indoor funfair. Dodgem cars, darts stalls, Winchester rifles and a gypsy palm reader.

“Sorry Missus, me hands are mucky. “

A big attraction on the balcony was Mr Elliott’s huge model railway. We all wanted one.

Out we’d go through the Adelaide Street door and pass the Co-op Emporium – it was Blackpool’s most handsome building, just a memory – heading for the Palatine Hotel on the Prom.

On the north side was an arcade which had what the Olympia lacked – a juke box. Cue Les Paul and Mary Ford, Frankie Laine, Johnny Ray, Jo Stafford.

The old Palatine looked a bit like a German schloss. Out of place on the Prom.

A third generation on the site is the extension of The Venue, which will soon have a hotel and the Blackpool Museum.

Onward to the Tower Buildings. In the Fifties there was free admission to the upper corridor for the pinball and novelty machines.

Back on the Prom we’d ask some girls where they were going that night.

Replies would likely be “Nowhere with you” or “Get lost Buster.”

Out of cash, except for tuppence on the number five bus from opposite the Opera House, we’d pass the Palace Buildings – theatre, cinema and ballroom – demolished in 1962 by the march of technology, in this case the expansion of black and white TV.

What a heritage tour it would have made.

The Opera House evokes lots of great concert memories and also one that caused me great embarrassment.

The theatre was a Sunday film venue in the winter months. The gang often went there.

One Sunday we went to see Robert Mitchum in a hospital drama called Not As a Stranger. It included surgical procedures.

In one scene the surgeon prepared to make an incision. I felt faint. The knife touched the flesh – and I woke up in the foyer, flat out with a Red Cross lady saying: “Wake up. Are you all right?”

It was weeks before they let me forget it!