Trips away to the seaside ...

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THERE was always something special about the annual outing, a buzz in the air, and a sense of excitement when we were kids.

Maybe it was just to Sunny Vale just as your grandparents had done a generation or two earlier. But fingers crossed it would be to the seaside, which would have usually meant Blackpool.

For those families that had started taking the post war holidays to Blackpool would have found the standard full board daily rate was 12/6 a day which was 4/6 more than it was during the mid 1930s. While this does not sound much, don’t forget these were austere times and rationing did not come to an end until 1954.

The ‘package holiday’ is something that we tend to associate with the 1960s and those early holidays to Spain. But in 1948 the Blackpool Boarding House Association prepared a scheme which they described as a ‘package holiday’ and had calculated it at an all inclusive price of £4.19.6 per week.

This included full board and nightly entertainment and no doubt as many will recall would have included at the bottom of the bill the words ‘Cruet Set Extra’ which added just a little to your bill. The final bill had to be settled the Saturday morning you left. This was a day often referred to as ‘turn round day’ because as you left the landlady she had barely a few hours to ‘turn round’ getting everything ready for her next arrivals.

Even by the early 1960s the standard daily rate at a guest house was still £1. These were the early days when the motor car was becoming more and more popular and affordable for many families.

The one car that many families bought as their first would have been the Ford Popular or as it was often referred to the ‘Ford Pop’. This was manufactured in England between 1953 and 1962. Those of you who bought one of the first would have paid £390 and even in 1960 the price had only risen to £494.

Once families had become mobile they were not really interested in these fixed times as the coach travellers were. This saw the guest houses having to change or go under, the bed breakfast and evening meal booking became more popular.

Many readers will remember the days in a guest house when you had to provide your own food and would be allocated some space on the sideboard top, along with all the other guests shopping. How many can remember even further back in time when you not only had to provide your own food but your own bedding as well.

By the end of the 1960s the days of providing your own food had ended some years earlier but was surprisingly making a comeback and the words ‘self catering holidays’ were a growing trend.

Between 1961 and 1971 the number of hotels and guest houses in Blackpool had fallen from 3,297 to 2,055 with many of them being converted into holiday flats. The British holiday was changing year by year as the customers’ expectations and aspirations grew.

Returning to our featured photograph these children were setting off on the Thornhill Briggs annual outing and I believe is dated c 1940. Included amongst the children are: Derek, Keith and Mary Hudson, who is the one wearing the white socks on the front right handside; Harry Wilkinson snr, who is pictured on the back row in the middle; Vincent Marsh; Marie Lawson; David Crabtree; Tom Mitchell; Elmer Prest; Alan Moody; Albert Barker who I understand in later life emigrated to Canada; Jeffrey Berry; two brothers called Sharp and two more called Mason; Marjorie and Philip Gillson; Colin Heap; Peter Bryan; Audrey Martin; Peter Bottomley and a young girl called Rhoda who after she left school went to work at Woolworth’s.

Were you on that trip and have you any memories of that special day out? If you have e-mail me on: enquiries@chrishelme-brighouse.org.uk or 01422205763