Fylde nostalgia 1978: Yobs cause havoc, slamming on the brakes and a complicated case of happy families

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

Friday, 13th December 2019, 5:00 pm

Tram braking technique tested

A new way of applying brakes on Blackpool trams - which could drastically cut stopping distances in emergencies - was on the cards for driver training.

The idea was put to senior transport officials after a driver, who had been using the system for years, approached his trade union.

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It was hoped that a new method of applying the brakes would cut stopping distances and avoid collisions, such as this one pictured.
It was hoped that a new method of applying the brakes would cut stopping distances and avoid collisions, such as this one pictured.

Under standard procedure, drivers were taught to slam on the electric brakes and air brakes if they needed to stop in an emergency. But the new alternative involved applying the air brake gradually and simultaneously putting on the electric brake.

Stan Grundy, chairman of the TGWU Blackpool Transport passenger branch, said his union had tested the technique and found it reduced the overall stopping distance of a tram.

Yobs cause havoc for elderly residents on council estate

Gangs of teenagers were terrorising old people on the Grange Park council estate.

An one elderly lady, a retired nurse, put it: “Our lives are a living hell. We are at our wits’ end what to do.”

The old folk all lived in neat, lovingly cared for council bungalows in the pleasant surroundings of Dinmore Avenue, Shipley Close and Marchwood Road area of the estate.

They claimed they had put up with clothes lines being cut down, dustbins being overturned, soil thrown at their houses, being threatened by the youths, their garden gates stolen and bottles and other glass smashed on footpaths.

The former nurse like everyone else was afraid to be named.

“I shudder to think what would happen if these monsters knew who we were,” the lady said.

One old man said: “We can put up with all the shouting and screaming as long as they stay away from the houses.

“These youngsters, who are only about 14 and 15, have so much offered in life and they still do this.”

Blackpool Council had made every effort to make their environment as pleasant as possible, the residents said, and the police had played their part in putting up patrols.

Coun George Baguley said: “I would welcome any suggestions from anyone about what can be done.”

Harry’s sister Gloria is his mother-in-law

Male nurse Harry Virco is confused since his sister Gloria got married - because the ceremony made her his mother-in-law.

His father-in-law is now his brother-in-law.

If he stretches things a bit, he says, his mother becomes his grandmother.

And just to make it all worse, his wife has become his niece!

The family worked all this out when they met to celebrate the wedding.

Playing around with relationships has become a Christmas parlour game in the Virco household in Beech Street South, Preston, and the Brindle household at Westfield Road, Blackpool.

How did it all happen?

Well, Harry Virco’s sister Gloria married his wife Wendy’s father, James Brindle in a ceremony at the Blackpool Register Office.

The knot was really tied (tangled?) in earnest, then.

But it gets worse still when you factor in James’s son and Gloria’s son.

The permutations are endless. As Harry says: “You can sit down for hours to work this all out.”

Yes indeed. But when the Brindles sit down to work it all out, it is a genuine variation on Happy Families.