Here's what was happening in January 1985: Tram centenary, trading wars in Cleveleys and cowshed classrooms

Some of the stories making the headlines in retro news...

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 5:00 pm

All set for tramway’s big centenary year

Blackpool’s tram centenary was expected to be a huge tourist attraction.

Seven months of celebrations were being lined up to celebrate the occasion.

Blackpool Tram Centenary celebrations 1985

The highlight was to be centenary day on September 29. A public ceremony in Talbot Square would be followed by a tram calvacade to the Pleasure Beach and back.

Transport manager Derek Hyde said the celebrations had already generated a lot of interest.

“We’ve had a lot of interest from people overseas, various companies are organising trips to Blackpool for it,” he said.

“It should bring quite a lot of trade to the town.”

Blackpool Tram Centenary celebrations 1985

More than eight million passengers a year were travelling on the trams from Fleetwood to Starr Gate. The system had been in operation constantly since 1885 and was Britain’s oldest surviving electric street tramway.

The centenary celebrations were planned from May to November and attractions included public open days and events, competitions and visits from various historic tramcars.

Guided tours of the tram depot were also planned.

‘Cowshed’ school to get new classrooms

The notorious cowshed classrooms at Lytham High School were to be replaced.

The ‘cowsheds’ - so called because of their appalling state - were in a prefabricated temporary building put up 23 years earlier.

They caused a furore when teachers refused to teach in them and headteacher Ross Wells had to send 60 pupils home.

Fylde Council planning committee gave its support to the council’s plans for new temporary buildings on the site, despite some feeling that any replacement should be permenant. Councillor Jean Wilding, who was also a county councillor and spoke up for the school at the county education committee, appealed to the planners not to delay because of the desperate need. The committee reluctantly agreed.”

Greengrocers plight over street trader pinching their business

Cleveleys greengrocers were going bananas over a mobile rival who they claimed, was pinching their trade.

Wyre Council was hoping to ban mobile traders from main shopping centres in the near future in a crackdown on street sellers.

The promise of action, however, didn’t appease greengrocers in Victoria Road West.

They were angry that Andrew Steele, backed by Manpower Service Commission cash, was parking his fruit and vegetable van close by and eating their cash.

He didn’t pay rates while the shop owners were forking out thousands, the traders claim. Cleveleys trade chiefs were backing a van ban for the town centre.

Mrs Betty Whittaker, secretary of Thornton Cleveleys Associatioin of Commerce and Trade, said: “The council should introduce a bylaw. Our shopkeepers pay such heavy rates to the council that they deserve protection.

“Vans have a role to play in outlying districts and on housing estates but not in town centres. Mr Steele is being very cheeky.” Greengrocer Jerry Davis, was blazing at Mr Steele’s presence.

“It’s wrong that someone like this can come along in a van, not pay rates and set up.” Mr Steele said: “I’ve got my licence and there’s nothing to stop me trading.”