Memory Lane: My old pals from Blackpool

Tower Company tradesmen.  Front row first left is Allan Birnie apprentice carpenter/ joiner
Tower Company tradesmen. Front row first left is Allan Birnie apprentice carpenter/ joiner
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THE refurbishment of Blackpool Tower has prompted Allan Birnie to email from Canada, recalling the time when the seafront attraction had a sizeable workforce of its own tradesmen.

Allan joined the Blackpool Tower Company, as it was then, as an apprentice carpenter/joiner and he is pictured front row first left on a photograph taken south of the carpenters shop, which stood at the north west corner of Tower Street and Sefton Street.

He says: “This picture shows the front of a house that stood south next to the carpenters shop, which was run by a lady as a summer boarding house.

“I emigrated to Canada a couple of years after completing my apprenticeship with the Blackpool Tower Company.

“I will be 76 on September 22, and grew up at 40 London Road, Blackpool, attending Devonshire Road Infants and Junior School in the very late 1930s and early 1940s. These were interesting but hard times as the Second World War was in progress.

“Not passing my 11 plus exam, I went on to Claremont Secondary School on Claremont Road, leaving at 15 and starting my apprenticeship at the Blackpool Tower Company.

“At the same time I attended night school at Blackpool Technical College, in conjunction with my apprenticeship.”

People he recalls from the photograph are Jeffery Collins, an apprentice carpenter/joiner, whose dad was Opera House stage manager, plasterer Freddie Kane, apprentice plumber Alex McNiel, labourer Tom Brown and the ironically-named Charlie Carpenter, who was an apprentice carpenter/joiner who became carpenter foreman and retired a few years ago.

Allan says: “I emigrated to Canada in March 1959 and settled in Toronto and it would be terrific if some of my old pals got in touch with me – that would really be something!

“We had some really good works outings and I have many great memories of my days in Blackpool.”

He lives at 119 Thornbeck Drive, Toronto, Ontario, M1G 2K4, Canada, his email address is birnie@ pathcom.com and telephone number 001-416-438-8910.