Fylde nostalgia 1977: Dark days of power cuts, flood devastation and the day bus rides were nearly free

Here's a look at some of the stories that were making the headlines back in November 1977

Friday, 6th December 2019, 5:00 pm

The lights went out as power cuts struck

The North West Electricity Board was giving advance warning to customers about when they were likely to be cut off, after 19 million homes were hit nationwide in power cuts.

Thousands of homes on the Fylde coast were hit and hopes for a solution to the dispute, which was an unofficial work to rule over expenses and allowances, were pinned on a meeting with the National Joint Council.

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Floods of November 1977

Rotas showing the areas at risk were on display in Norweb shops and showrooms. The board was aiming to spread the cuts as evenly as possible throughout the area.

According to the rota, central and south Blackpool were in line for power cuts between 4pm and 7pm and again from 10am the next day.

The system was similar to the one operated during the miners’ strike of 1974, divided Norweb’s West Lancashire area into 10 districts.

Each one took its turn in line for power cuts and the Fylde was split into five of those districts.

A flooded Chatsworth Avenue in Fleetwood during the storms of November 1977

Hotels and households were forced to cook by candlelight whilst pubs were left dry except for bottled beer.

Devastation as storm raged in

Gales reaching 75mph battered the Fylde coast causing a trail of destruction.

Fleetwood was devastated by the worst floods for half a century as the cruel sea crumbled parts of the sea wall and swamped a third of the town. The area worst hit was the distance from Rossall School to the Sea Cadet base. Water also flowed onto the Flakefleet estate.

Working by candlelight during the power cuts of 1977

All emergency services combined as people fled their homes carrying children and possessions. Broadway was blocked and only juggernaut lorries and boats were able to reach people. Even when the high tide turned, the water remained because of blocked drains caused by debris. Much of the flooding was due to three spots on the seawall where the bullnose on the top had been snapped off.

Almost a free bus ride when the conductress went missing

Workers catching the 8.45am bus from Bispham must have thought April Fool’s Day had arrived early.

At first it seemed like any other Monday morning with bleary eyed passengers taking their seats and the driver in the cab of the double decker, sitting patiently reading his paper waiting for the off.

It was only when the driver got out his cab and came into the lower deck that it dawned on the passengers that something was sadly amiss - the conductor was missing.

“Has anyone seen my conductress?” asked an embarrassed driver.

On being greeted with blank faces the driver exclaimed: “I must have left her at the bus station!”

And he added ruefully: “What a silly mess this is, ring the bell when you want to get off.”

The bus set off with the passengers hardly believing they were to get a free ride to town.

But three stops later the bus pulled up and the missing conductress jumped on.

“I have been looking all over for this bus,” she said.

She explained that she had parted company with the 7A bus and its driver because of a mix-up at the town centre bus station.