Memory Lane: Moor the merrier

Moors Market, on Birley Street, which is now a toy shop (below) surrounded by 'Brilliance'. Bottom: Former owner George Moor.
Moors Market, on Birley Street, which is now a toy shop (below) surrounded by 'Brilliance'. Bottom: Former owner George Moor.
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STROLLING through Birley Street, with the enormous gantries of the light and sound spectacular Brilliance dominating the pedestrianised thoroughfare, it is easy to forget this was once a road with proper pavements and two-way traffic.

Today, there’s a toy shop halfway along the street, in a property which replaced the original building on that site.

Moors Market, on Birley Street, which is now a toy shop surrounded by 'Brilliance'.

Moors Market, on Birley Street, which is now a toy shop surrounded by 'Brilliance'.

Do readers remember when the spot was occupied by Moors Market, seen just before it closed in 1974? If so, Charles Cole, who is endeavouring to put together a comprehensive history of the firm, is very keen to hear from you. He is looking for anyone who has memories of working or shopping at Moors, of their staff and trade, however small, or any relevant photographs.

Charles says: “For 75 years, the name of Moor was well known to Blackpool shoppers, supplying everything from potatoes to pomegranates, and bacon to cheese, especially to the lodging house trade.”

The firm’s origins can be traced back to Burnley in the 1780s, the business rapidly expanding as potato and produce merchants in the late 19th century under brothers Tom and Joseph Moor.

Charles says: “Around 1900, Tom Moor moved to Southport and opened a branch there and Joseph moved to Blackpool to start a branch, which traded under the name of T & J Moor Ltd, but the premises from which he traded in those days has not been identified.”

Managing Director George Moor of Moors Market, Birley Street, Blackpool.

Managing Director George Moor of Moors Market, Birley Street, Blackpool.

Joseph Moor died in 1931. His brother-in-law, Arthur Timperley, kept a restaurant on Central Drive for years.

Charles says: “The firm diversified, and Moors Market opened at 10 Abingdon Street in about 1927. The shop proved so popular, and queues became so large, that they had to employ a doorman – people would enter by the front and exit via the back!”

The shop soon proved too small for their growing trade, that they opened a second shop at 21 Birley Street, shortly afterwards.

Around 1958, a third store opened in Lytham Road, now a Tesco Express. As trading patterns changed in the early 1970s, profits were squeezed, and the shops were suddenly closed in 1974.

Charles says: “Over the years, the firm employed hundreds, and fed thousands, of Blackpool residents, and I would be happy to hear from anybody with information about Moors Market.”

Email Charles at upcottbarton@tiscali.co.uk, ring (01363) 866182, or write to him at Upcott Barton, Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon, EX17 4LF.