Tributes have been made to Ted Lightbown, who passed away on March 3, for his outstanding dedication to local history and for being a ‘true and genuine gentleman’.
When he didn’t get the grades in his exams his father said the best thing he could do was go into the civil service – so he joined National Savings Premium Bonds and remained there until he took early retirement at the age of 51.
He joined the Blackpool and Fylde Historical Society in 1976, then called the Fylde Historical Society which had been formed in the 1930s, but prior to that, his local history interest went back to the late 60s.
Married to Ann, Ted once told The Gazette that he thought of himself a citizen of the Fylde Coast rather than just Blackpool and when he went out of the Fylde, he felt like he was in foreign climes.
One of his passions was decorative arts and when he became interested in art nouveau and art deco, he was only too happy to be living in a town which was full of art deco buildings.
He became Secretary of the Historical Society in 1982 and instigated putting on exhibitions about the various areas of Blackpool. Layton was the first in 1980, followed by Bispham and Marton and with his own dark room at home, Ted was able to process photographs for the exhibitions. He also held the position of president on many occasions and gave lectures.
Later came a memorable Millennium exhibition which Ted was involved in, held by the Historical Society at the former Lecture Hall of Central Library.
He produced local history books including two volumes of postcard books with co author Allan W. Wood in 1983 and 1990, followed by Blackpool: A Pictorial History completed by himself in 1994. He also oversaw society publication Dane’s Pad.
Ted’s diligent contribution to local history and his exceptional knowledge meant he was involved in most of the society’s publications from the 1980s and helped other authors, either by lending images or imparting some knowledge.
Such was his passion for Blackpool’s history he would give up his free time to could help in any way. On many occasions The Gazette drew on his local knowledge, particularly for Memory Lane features and he even wrote the odd article for the pages put together by former journalists Craig Fleming and David Pearce.
In his own tribute, Craig said: “I value our friendship which grew through Ted's patience with my regular questions on local history and his invaluable contributions while I was responsible for the Memory Lane pages in The Gazette. He was a true and genuine gentleman."
Ted was also the archivist for Leisure Parcs, who held the archives of the Tower Company and the piers as well as involvement with the Pleasure Beach archives – there was a lot to be proud of.