How they saw in the New Year in times gone-by

The Gazette, January 1, 1944
The Gazette, January 1, 1944
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We take a look back at how the New Year was welcomed in Blackpool over the last 100 years.

The first edition of The Gazette of 1919 was full of hope.

The war was over, the elections had just taken place for the area’s MPs and life was set to get back to normal.

A large celebration had taken place in Talbot Square at midnight, to see in the New Year.

The Gazette reported: “The town hall clock, which during the greater part of the war, had been in darkness, was once again brilliantly illuminated and the lamps in the square once more shed their radiance over the happy throng.

“As midnight approached, the people gravitated towards Talbot Square.

“Here a crowd numbering several thousands gathered to make merry and to hear the Town Hall bell clang out the dying year.

“A year of wonderful possibilities was soon to see birth and it was fitting that so many of the celebrants should be those boys in khaki and blue who have done so much to make the prospects of the year entered upon happy and bright.

“On the stroke of midnight, there was silence in the square.

“After the last stroke of the deep-tongued bell, everyone began wishing everyone else ‘A Happy New Year’.

“One part of the crowd began to sing Auld Lang Syne and the New Year was welcomed in with salvoes of cheers.

“Then the bells of St Johns took up the glad music and dancing and good natured fun became general.

“It was not until a quarter past 12 that the special cars, well filled with smiling, if tired, people, left the Square for all parts.”

In January 1944, The Gazette said: “Blackpool welcomed 1944 in strictly wartime fashion.”

It reported: “The few social events bore no comparison with the jollity of peacetime.”

An alderman and ex-Mayor told The Gazette that at his house a relative let in the New Year with a piece of coal, a piece of bread and a penny.

Dr George Lissant Cox, chief tuberculosis officer to the Lancashire County Council, was made a CBE in the New Year honours.

And marine Horace Herbert Edwards, of Blackpool, was named as having been awarded the DSM.

Fifty years ago, New Year honours were going to Garstang Olympic gold medallist and vet Bob Brathwiate, for services to shooting.

In the 1964, Tokyo Olympics he became the first ever British competitor to score 192 out of 200. Three jetmen from BAC Warton were also given honours and trawler skipper Percy Allen Bedford of Fleetwood.

Members of Blackpool Beach Lifeguard made a splash by taking a dip from the Cocker Street slade, North Shore.

Sixteen of them plunged into the sea to mark the New Year.

Civil servant Charles Clifton, of Marton, jumped into the sea at Cleveleys, as part of an old Clifton tradition.

He took a New Year’s Day every year and at the age of 55, this was his 43rd.

Twenty five years ago, a centenary New Year Viennese concert took place at The Grand Theatre.

More than 30 men and women braved the waves at the Marine Hall beach, Fleetwood, to raise money for Red Marsh Special School, with a New Year dip.

And pensioners Dora Seale and Eddie Wareing showed you’re never too old to fall in love, by starting the New Year getting hitched.

Dora, 76 and Eddie, 88, both widowed, lived in Kirkham and planned their New Year’s Eve wedding to get 1994 off to the best start.