Blackpool nostalgia 1975: Age of super-sophisticated tourists, Cod War and keeping the airport open

A crowded Blackpool Beach in the 1970's
A crowded Blackpool Beach in the 1970's
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Here's a look at some of the stories that were making the headlines back in 1974

What is wrong with seaside cockles and candyfloss?

A scene from Fleetwood Docks

A scene from Fleetwood Docks

Take the candyfloss and cockles out of Blackpool and attract a new age of supersophisticated tourists.

That was the advice from the chairman of the English Tourist Board Sir Mark Henig.

He warned at a hoteliers’ conference that seaside resorts must change their image if they were to attract the younger, more critical generation of holidaymakers.

But Blackpool’s publicity chief Bob Battersby, hit back to those who ‘looked down their noses at cockles and candyfloss.

Throw back to 1979 - Blackpool Airport as it was then

Throw back to 1979 - Blackpool Airport as it was then

Sir Mark believed that resorts were complacent saying they were marketing themselves in an unsophisticated way.

He said the English Tourist Board should market seaside resorts on a national level from London. He had come to that conclusion after examining statements made by officials of the board.

In Blackpool’s defence, Mr Battersby said: “It is time this came out in the open. I believe the tourist board is making a bid to take over the promotion of seaside resorts.

“Only Blackpool knows itself, inside and out, and only Blackpool knows what the people want.

“What’s wrong with cockles and candyfloss,” he asked, “people in Blackpool are enjoying themselves and, if these people from London came, they would see for themselves.”

Trawlermen said enough was enough

Fleetwood trawler skippers pulled out of Icelandic waters as a deadline for an answer to their plea for Royal Navy protection, passed. Their decision to leave came on the heels of a ministerial rejection of the demand for immediate Royal Navy help as the Icelandic Cod War escalated.

But, as a gesture to the skippers, the RAF was ordered to send a Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft to the disputed fishing grounds.

The reason for deciding not send in the navy was because there was still hope that harassing trawlers fishing within a disputed 200 mile limit off Iceland, would cease so that talks with Reykjavik could reopen.

But trawlermen had had enough.

Driven to the limits of anger and frustration, having given the pull-out ultimatum to the Government, their patience had snapped. A British Trawlermen Federation spokesman said at the time: “These men are no cowards. They are some of the most courageous men Britain have got. So if they say it is too dangerous, then it is. Our skippers say that the antics of the gunboats put lives in danger. Our men have had a hell of a time.”

Blackpool Airport would not be closed to save ratepayers’ cash

It was announced that Blackpool Airport would remain open and avenues explored to reduce a deficit.

The Transportation Committee had studied a report which said the airport should not be closed.

Coun Harry Jackman said: “At this point in time there should be no question of closing down the airport. We strongly reaffirm our policy to keep it open.” Coun George Baguley had sparked off the airport probe suggesting closing the airport was one way of cutting down the local government’s financial burden. He said it was a status symbol which town’s ratepayers could not afford.

Instead the report stated, as a matter of urgency, an end should be brought to the uncertainty about the airport’s future.

It read: “This will enable the business tenants at the airport to continue to plan their business operations with a measure of security and the negotiation of new tenancies can continue on the same basis as hitherto.

Told about the meeting’s decision, Coun Baguley said he guessed it would be a foregone conclusion. But was he disappointed? “You learn to accept these things,” he said, “it was obvious there would be a saving to the ratepayers of £100,000 a year that we know of. Only time will tell whether my suggestions were right or wrong.”