Step inside a piece of resort history

From a distance Judith Hunter's house looks just like any other.

Monday, 17th July 2017, 6:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:46 am
Judith Hunter inside the big wheel car
Judith Hunter inside the big wheel car

But take a closer look and what looks like a regular cottage hides a relic from Blackpool’s past.

And she’s preparing to open up her St Michaels home to visitors seeking a rare glimpse of a unique attraction.

Judith said: “I have what is perhaps the last of the cars from Blackpool’s big wheel, which stood outside the Winter Gardens for more than two decades.

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The big wheel car on the side of the house

“I have opened it up a few times to the public but this will, perhaps, be the final time.”

The big wheel car, which acts as a conservatory at the rear of Judith’s home, was built in 1896 during Blackpool’s seaside resort heyday.

And it landed up at Judith’s cottage, in Rawcliffe Road, thanks to a resort charity.

She said: “It’s a massive thing.

The big wheel car on the side of the house

“People don’t realise the size of it until they are standing in it.

“It was brought here on a trailer, hauled by shire horses.

“When the wheel was taken down the car was bought by the matron from the Swallowdale children’s home.

“She looked after the orphaned children.

“The story goes that a family were forced to abandon their baby with the home.

“Years later the family prospered and wanting to give something back bought two farm labourers cottages in the village.

“The matron retired here but missed the children.

“So every summer they would come out to the village.

“The girls would sleep in a dormitory in the carriage and the boys in a bell tent in the garden.”

The wheel was taken down in 1926 and the carriage, which Judith believes is the only one remaining, has been in St Michaels for more than 90 years. She is hoping people will be interested in seeing the historic car and can help raise cash for a good cause.

She said: “I’ll open it up to the public for a few days, to come and have a look.

“I’ll be taking donations and selling some pickles and jams and all the proceeds will be going to Marie Curie.

“They are a wonderful organisation.

“The nurses helped my mother when she was ill with cancer.

“They cared for my husband when he had cancer.

“Now I have a friend with cancer and they are wonderful again.

“Just come along, it is a rare occasion to be able to step inside a piece of Blackpool’s history.”

The open days, at Wild Boar Cottage in Rawcliffe Road will be held over the bank holiday weekend of August 26, 27 and 28.

Judith said: “There’s no need to get in touch.

“People can just come along and the more we get the more we will raise.”