BLACKPOOL’S on a roll, according to council and regeneration bosses, but 85 years ago this week, the proud burghers of the borough were saying exactly the same thing – albeit in a different vernacular.
They were celebrating 50 years since incorporation, and the council wanted to ensure every schoolchild was fired with enthusiasm and a sense of citizenship. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Tidying the loft of her home, reader Cassandra Murray, the niece of one of those children, found something of a family heirloom, a certificate sent to every pupil in the town.
Frank Alletson lived in Bela Grove, Marton, with his widowed mother Lily, and sisters Joan and Mona.
The Palatine School pupil would have been around 10 when he received this colourful document.
The certificate, signed by Mayor Ald Tom Bickerstaffe and dated January 21, 1926, tells the youngsters: “The advantages which you now enjoy far surpass any that previous generations of Blackpool children possessed and should be valued as a precious heritage.”
It highlights the “wonderful” development over the previous half century, ranging from “unrivalled” promenades to “the provision of rapid transport facilities and wide and commodious arterial roads”.
It adds: “The numerous and varied means of amusements and recreations enable the town to perform a very useful part in the life of the nation as a place where renewed health and vigour may be obtained by all who require rest and change from their daily toil.”
The Mayor bristles with pride as he proclaims: “The growth of the borough has been due to the ideals and deeds of many men and women of goodwill who, moved by civic patriotism, have devoted their energies and ability to advance the progress of the town they loved. Blackpool as it exists today forms an enduring monument to the genius and self-sacrifice of those pioneers and builders and their memory should be a source of inspiration and pride to those who follow them.”
The certificate ends: “I trust that their noble example will be followed by every boy and girl when they in turn control the destinies of this great county borough.”
Did it inspire the youngsters?
We’ll never know, but Frank’s certificate, tucked away carefully, is as bright today as it was then.
Frank never returned to the resort after serving in the Army with the Desert Rats.
He made his life in London, where he died in his sixties.
His sisters have also died.