Memory Lane: Fighting to have their voices heard

When news breaks about issues close to the heart of people and communities, it can trigger all kinds of reactions.

Friday, 2nd August 2019, 3:42 pm
A meeting of inshore fishermen at Jubilee Quay in Fleetwood in February 1981

And the Fylde coast has seen its fair share of people fighting to have their voices heard, to bring changes in their neighbourhoods and protesting against decisions and policies on wider issues such as health care, pay and industry.

Memory Lane takes a look at some of the stories which have brought people out on the streets to try and make changes.

The fishing industry in Fleetwood began its rapid decline during the Cod Wars of the 1970s when British fishermen were excluded from Iceland’s rich and extensive fishing waters.

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National Front marchers surrounded by police as they demonstrate about the demise of Fleetwoods fishing industry in October 1982

It was a complex, emotive and difficult time for the port’s distant-water fleet and they fought and fought to save the industry from collapse. The inshore fleet followed a similar downward spiral, partly due to fish being caught from other areas and brought into the town by road and prepared in Fleetwood for markets all over Britain and abroad.

There was a meeting of inshore fishermen on Jubilee Quay on February 11, 1981 and it was reported later that there was an outbreak of violence on the docks.

Furious fishermen threatened to throw fish landed by an Irish boats back into the dock and lorries owned by the port’s main fish importer were vandalised as the fishermen’s dispute took a dramatic turn.

In another photograph, a cardboard coffin representing the demise of the fishing industry was carried at the head of a march of around 100 National Front supporters. The marchers had travelled from all over the north west to protest about the slump of the Fleetwood industry.

Striking staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospitals Whinney Heys Road entrance in July 1982

In the summer of 1982, hospital workers in the union NUPE went on strike over pay. Services at local hospitals were restricted for the fifth time in two months by the 24-hour strike.

Elsewhere in Blackpool, in February 1981 around 100 demonstrators marched through the town centre campaigning for the return of two-way traffic in Hornby Road. They were concerned about the loss of passing trade since a one-way traffic scheme was put in place five years earlier.

In another photo, angry mothers set up a road block in Pilling Crescent, Grange Park by chopping down a tree.

They were protesting about their street being used as a shortcut ‘racetrack’ resulting in a series of near misses.

Protestors campaign to see Hornby Road returned to two way traffic in February 1981

And in Thornton, April 1983, residents launched a campaign to avert the threatened closure of the area’s sub post office.

The scene at Jubilee Quay in Fleetwood as inshore fishermen hold a meeting
Fish merchant Ken Hayton examines the smashed side of his lorry following a violent protest on the docks at Fleetwood
Pensioners demonstrate against the possible closure of Thorntons sub post office in April 1983
Angry mothers cut down a tree on Grange Park in protest against motorists using their street as a race track