Barry Band: The growth of the small screen on the Fylde coast

Gazette advert for R Waring Ltd, Cleveleys, in 1953
Gazette advert for R Waring Ltd, Cleveleys, in 1953
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‘The Television Pioneers of the Fylde’ was how the firm of R. Waring Ltd, of 105 Victoria Road, Cleveleys, advertised themselves in the 1950s.

Their advert was the largest in a three-page Gazette ad feature on September 2, 1953, to coincide with the opening of the National Radio Show, at London’s Earls Court.

Blackpool celebrating winning the 1953 FA Cup Final'Harry Johnston hoists the FA Cup aloft on the shoulders of Stan Mortensen (right) and Bill Perry while the Blackpool manager Joe Smith looks on

Blackpool celebrating winning the 1953 FA Cup Final'Harry Johnston hoists the FA Cup aloft on the shoulders of Stan Mortensen (right) and Bill Perry while the Blackpool manager Joe Smith looks on

Note the name Radio Show!

The telly was the poor relation.

The big star shows were on the radio and the Gazette’s programme guide gave only four lines of type to BBC televison.

But the public’s interest in television was picking up after the live screening of the FA Cup Final (Blackpool 4, Bolton 3) and the Queen’s Coronation.

A 1950s family watching TV

A 1950s family watching TV

Last week, we listed the Blackpool TV dealers who advertised in the feature.

Today we name the firms from nearby towns.

Waring’s, of Cleveleys, invited the public to see the 1954 Bush TV sets, while Colemans, of 10 Breck Road, Poulton, demonstrated the Ekco 14-inch table model.

At St Annes, Edgar Sumner Ltd, pushed the 12-inch Bush set at their shop at 13 St Andrew’s Road South, and were also agents for Murphy, Ekco, Pye, KB and Ferranti.

JL Schofield Ltd, in association with R Darbyshire Ltd, at 28 St Albans Road, St Annes, was the English Electric TV retailer.

On the Woodlands Road bridge, at Ansdell, JH Wilson were agents for all leading makes, while Lytham Television and Radio Mart, at 79 Clifton Street, offered a 24-hour repair service for all makes.

There would have been other dealers who preferred to advertise in their local weeklies.

Owners of the early TV sets were more likely to need repairs and service than owners of today’s hi-tech receivers. And the main problem was the cathode ray tube, the bulky main component of the TV set.

If the tube failed, the screen went blank.

As ownership of televisions grew from half a million in 1950 to 10 million in 1960, thousands of jobs in the TV components industry were created here in Lancashire alone.

The main producer, Mullards, had a huge factory in Blackburn and several smaller units, including Fleetwood and Lytham.

If this seems like fascinating history to younger folk, we could also tell them about the other shops that have vanished from the high streets.

What happened to town centre grocers like Maypole, Home and Colonial, and Liptons, and butchers’ shops?

The shopping streets were full of department stores. Menswear, ladies fashions and shoe shops.

Music and records shops. Newsagents and bookshops. Banks and building society offices.

The choice was amazing.

Bob Dylan was before his time!

Nostalgia can be very worrying.