The Blackpool photographer who snapped the news a century ago

Franklin Nansen Bain was chief photographer at The Gazette in the grand old days of newspapers.

Monday, 15th November 2021, 3:45 pm

Franklin Nansen Bain was chief photographer at The Gazette in the grand old days of newspapers.

He joined the company 100 years ago in 1921 and was the man who put the focus on Blackpool during some of the biggest stories and snapped the famous and the infamous.

When he retired in December 1959, he wrote a series of articles about his experiences.

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Franklin Nansen Bain in the old Gazette offices in Victoria Street

One of his first assignments, just four weeks into his new job, he found himself in the centre of a hot scoop, literally.

He said: “I was leaning on the rails of the Promenade at Central when I saw the North Pier Pavilion burst into flames.

“I beat the fire brigade to the job that time!

He even got to the top of the Cenotaph in Princess Parade having been hauled up by the foreman on a shaky one man cradle by rope.

Fire rages on North Pier in 1921

He photographed the unveiling of the Cenotaph too.

“I recall the soldier son of Blackpool Brig Gen TE Topping unveiling the Cenotaph.

“He excelled himself. I have never heard a finer speech in all the thousands I have been forced to listen to in my career.”

Franklin also photographed the Fylde’s darkest days including the Freckleton Disaster. He was one of the first on the scene.