Monday, 7 October 2019

Blackpool, An Illuminating Thought - 1

It is not generally known that Stanley Holloway's celebrated monologue, "The Lion and Albert" had to be trimmed down a little to fit the length of time available on a standard "78" record. Some of the opening stanzas were lost.
But, after hours of patient research (?) your determined blogger has been able to recover some of the missing scene setting text.

There's a famous seaside place called Blackpool
That's noted for fresh air and fun
And Mr. And Mrs. Ramsbottom
Went there with young Albert, their son.
A fine little lad were young Albert,
All dressed in his best, quite a swell.
He'd a stick with an 'orse's 'ead 'andle;
The finest that Woolworth's could sell.
They didn't think much to the ocean,
The waves they were piddlin' and small.
There were no wrecks and nobody drownded,
'Fact, nothin' to laugh at at all!
So, seeking for further amusement,
They paid pennies, and went on the bus,
Where they'd plenty to see from the top deck
Said Pa, this'll really suit us.
At night they saw huge 'luminations,
Stars, flowers bright coloured and all.
There were ships and 'ouses and rockets,
The Ramsbottoms were 'avin' a ball.
To finish their glorious Sunday
They settled to travel on't' tram
This ain't 'arf grand thought young Albert;
Tomorrow I'm goin' t' t' zoo, I am.

For the record the writer behind the genius of Holloway's delivery was Marriott Edgar. Wetherspoons, next to the Tower is named after the poem.
Blackpool is brash, corny, crude, noisy and smells slightly of chip fat and candyfloss; but the thing about Blackpool is that it does all these things so well that you cannot help but admire it. Of course its beaches are rarely crowded in the way that they used to be when the Ramsbottoms visited!
Many regret the passing if its traditional trams into a heritage service from special segregated stops ...
... but the slick new system has re-invigorated this service reversing the off-season decline of the old.
You might even get traditional "balloon" car 700 with its rebuilt doors to match the slick super-stops of the new infrastructure ...
... maybe the best of both worlds.

For those who have been resident in Antarctica for many years, trams still run from a turning loop at Starr Gate at the southern end of the Esplanade ...
... to Fleetwood Ferry in the north.
The stop is now "round the corner" in Bold Street ...
... but, joy of joys, Fleetwood still provides the best of tram travel, namely proper street running mixed in with all other road traffic.
Most of the line is on reserved track, segregated from traffic on rubber tyres.
The Blackpool Transport web site (of which more tomorrow) is excellent but doesn't have a map of the tram. However, the map for bus route 1 also shows the parallel tram route.
This MUST be one of the best bus route maps in the eastern arm of the Galaxy, giving massive amounts of useful information.
Of course, the tricky problem is to find the Pleasure Beach ...
... which may give lots of pleasure tpo many (but not to fbb, thanks!) but most definitely NOT a beach.

This ride is aptly called "The Big One" ...
... and must be most enjoyable - a bit like having your innards removed and replaced in a diffferent configuration whilst falling off a tall building into a small safety net.

But at this time of year, Blackpool's true "Big One" is its illuminations.
The above picture hints at the traffic cloggage on the Esplanade as car-loads of people enjoy a spectacular drive through the displays.

But it all has an effect on Blackpool Transport's bus and tram services which have to cope with extra passengers and horrific traffic congestion.

The company web site explains:-

On Fridays, Saturdays and every night during the October half-term (20 October – 2 November) our services 5, 6 and 7 will be running a split service to help keep you running on time during Blackpool's busiest time of year. 

Services 11 and 17 will also have a small change which will see them stop on New Bonny Street rather than Market Street. 

To keep everything running as smoothly as possible we've also introduced some changes to our timetables as well during this period to help buses run on time. Most routes will have extra time in the timetables so they have more time during their route to beat the congestion in the town and get you where you want to be.

Of course, it is ALL ON LINE (Yipee!) but ...

You will have to wait until tomorrow for the rest!

Technology Versus Brain Power?
In the meantime consider whether to show sympathy or ridicule for Snooker ace Neil Robertson.
And, yes, there is a Barnsley in Gloucestershire.
The village is 100% quaint Costwold ...
... with an imaginatively named village pub!
Whether Neil made it all the way to THIS Barnsley is not recorded, but the pub does not mention a snooker table amongst its amenities!

Picture the very best of British country pubs. Fill it with a generous stock of Cotswolds craft ales, crisp West Country ciders, and a tip top wine stash. Add a menu of delicious food that's soulful, seasonal and cleverly showcases the very best local produce, plus six rather good-looking bedrooms with all the comfy touches you could want.

Just to add to the confusion, the village sign at the opposite end of the High Street apparently reads ...
... is someone having a laugh? Someone from Google Streetview?

Barnsley Glos (or Barnley?) does have a bus service; Pulham's Coaches 855.
There's an additional 1500 journey from Cirencester on Saturdays!
Nice motor!

For exploration, your ancient blogger preferes to use equally ancient technology, namely a map book, plus his own internal FatNav which tends to give less confusing results!

 Next Blackpool blog : Tuesday 8th October 


  1. Andrew Kleissner7 October 2019 at 09:05

    Two thoughts about Blackpool.

    First is the good news (which you probably know) that the tramway system is being extended back to North Station. Work is well underway but I don't know when it will open.

    Second is the sad news that Blackpool has eight of the ten most deprived areas of England:

  2. When I visited Blackpool a few months ago, I was surprised as they have rebuilt the southern end of the line. Whilst the loop is still there, the trams no longer use it - it looks to be for depot access only..

    1. Yes trams now reverse at the terminus and the line continues in a loop to the depot. On Streetview FBB's snippet can be enlarged to show the tram's rear lights are lit so it's heading in to the depot. I believe the terminus which has separate arrival and departure platforms was designed with a possible future extension towards Lytham and St Annes in mind.