Chequered history tinged with tragedy at Blackpool boarding house

In the final ‘Our House’ report, Dr Michala Hulme, an award-winning historian and professional genealogist at Manchester Metropolitan University, delves into the history of Hollingworth House at 72 Albert Road...

Thursday, 8th October 2020, 3:45 pm
Updated Friday, 9th October 2020, 12:54 pm
72 Albert Road, Blackpool
72 Albert Road, Blackpool

Hollingworth House, is a late Victorian boarding house that was situated at 72 Albert Road.

The first occupants were the Boyer family from Hollingworth, Cheshire, who then imaginatively named the place ‘Hollingworth House’.

Before moving to Blackpool, George Platt Boyer and his wife Mary Carter Boyer had their own newsagents and stationers on Market Street, which was the main road through the village.

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Market Street, Hollingworth

George and Mary had four children; Fredrick James, Herbert, Lucy and Maggie. Tragically, both Fredrick James and Lucy died before their fifth birthday.

The Boyers took up occupancy of 72 Albert Road sometime between 1901 and 1903. Our House: 84 Albert Street

With no obvious experience of managing a boarding house in a busy seaside resort, life must have represented a far different challenge compared to living in the small village of Hollingworth. The family had only lived in the resort for three years, when, at the relatively young age of 46, George Platt Boyer sadly died.

He left an estate of £463 15s to his wife Mary, equivalent to approximately £50,170 in today’s money, which was no small sum.

An early scene of North Pier, Blackpool

Following her husband’s death, Mary, with the help of her daughter Maggie, continued to manage the boarding house.

The 1911 census reveals that Mary is still living at 72 Albert Road with Maggie and her son Herbert, who is now employed as a postman.

Mary died two years after the sale of the house.

The sale of the house meant that her estate had doubled to £900 6s 6d, which she left to Maggie.

The next proprietor of the boarding house was James Jowett, who, alongside his wife, was running both 72 & 82 Albert Road.

It appears the Jowett family operated both boarding houses throughout the destructive years of the First World War.

By 1921, 72 Albert Road had changed proprietors yet again.

The new occupants on this occasion were the Ingham Family. George Ingham, his wife Margaret and their children, had moved to the area from Burnley. In Burnley, George was employed as a boatman on the canal.

All his children above the age of 13 worked in the local cotton mill.

Life in Albert road was likely a big improvement to life in Burnley.

The family had not lived in the area long when tragedy struck. Ellen, the youngest daughter of the Ingham family, sadly died.

She was 21 years old. The cause of death was listed as ‘sarcoma of neck’, a rare type of tumour.

Present at her death was her aunt, Sarah Kay.

Six years later, the couple also tragically lost their eldest son Billy (William), who died at the age of 31.

The Inghams remained at the address until 1926, when they left Blackpool and went back to their native Burnley. They remained in the hospitality industry, managing the Adelphi Hotel.

In 1929, George Ingham gave up his license for the Adelphi and it was transferred to a man called Arthur Goodwin.

Just over a year later, George’s wife, Margaret, who had been in continual ill health for years, died while visiting Blackpool with her youngest son.

Her funeral was reported in the local press...

While the Ingham family were back in Burnley, the Kilner family were happily settling into life at number 72.

Bedford and Clara Kilner (née Finch) were from Yorkshire. They married in Bradford in 1926. By 1927, the couple had left Yorkshire, moved to Blackpool, and were running the boarding house on Albert Road.

Bedford was a former miner who had served in the Great War with the Royal Engineers. He entered the war in 1915, serving in France as a sapper. Sappers were responsible for the digging of trenches and tunnels.

During his time in active service, he got injured and was twice granted a war pension. The first pension claim stated that he had suffered a 30 per cent disablement and was given the sum of 12s (approx £24.28 in today’s money) per week for one year. His second pension claim stated he had suffered 6-14 per cent disablement and was given 7s 6d (approx £15.17) for 70 weeks.

The Kilners remained at 72 Albert Road throughout the Second World War. The 1939 Register reveals that Bedford is managing the boarding house, with his wife Clara assisting him. Also living at the address is the couple’s young son, Roy. Sometime between 1949 and 1952, a Mrs Potter took over the boarding house. The following 40 years of the house’s history is somewhat obscure.

What is known, is that before the end of the 20th century number 70 and 72 Albert Road were converted into one hotel.

And that hotel still stands today. Behind the scaffold, you can still make out the old boarding house with the beautiful large bay windows. Michala is based at the Manchester Centre for Public History and Heritage and specialises in the period 1800-1950. She has appeared on local radio and has featured in TV shows such as Channel 5’s How the Victorian’s Built Britain with Michael Buerk, BBC’s Heir Hunters and Who Do You Think You Are? Visit www.michalahulme.com