Memory Lane: Local people wanted to be next space voyagers after moon landings

The US astronauts who took part in the Apollo 11 mission to the moon -  Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin.
The US astronauts who took part in the Apollo 11 mission to the moon - Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin.
Share this article
0
Have your say

This month marks 50 years since the first manned mission to the Moon, sending space exploration to another level.

This month marks 50 years since the first manned mission to the Moon, sending space exploration to another level.

How the Evening Gazette reported the Moon Landings

How the Evening Gazette reported the Moon Landings

It’s one of those days in history when people can recall where they were when US astronaut Neil Armstrong took his first step on the surface of the moon.

And the words he spoke as he did so - “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” have become one of history’s most famous statements.

In the first issue of the Evening Gazette after the moon landings, editors reported the epic story in depth, relaying to readers how Apollo 11 had successfully touched down on the moon.

It was reported how Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin had settled down to sleep in spaceship Eagle on Tranquillity base after their incredible walk on the moon.

The launch of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon

The launch of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon

The edition on July 21 went on to explain how at 6.55pm BST that day, the spacemen were due to fire their ascent engine to lift off from the moon’s surface and dock with Columbia, before firing the main engine for their journey back to Earth.

Such was the excitement and awe that man had actually landed on the moon, people began to wonder whether they could be next. It sent would-be space travellers into a frenzy of enquiries to find out how they could also visit the moon.

And Blackpool residents were no exception.

A Gazette report a few days later stated: “The incredible success of the lunar spaceship Eagle has boosted inquiries at the offices of Blackpool Travel Agents from would-be moon voyagers.”

The moon landings, photo from the Gazette archives

The moon landings, photo from the Gazette archives

One travel agency had put an advertisement in the Evening Gazette which stated: “Registrations now being accepted for flights to the moon, descriptive brochure available.”

The manager of the agency added that they had received three letters and 24 phone calls from people who had expressed interest.

In the article, he said: “We are keeping a register of names and sending each a brochure. I think everyone realises that this is not planned for next year but it will happen sometime in the future.”

Another national agency office in Blackpool reported: “We have been taking moon bookings for some years.

“One USA airline has sent a brochure to travel agencies as a guide for future out-of-this-world charter travel.

“This shows a map of the moon and illustrates various means of space and moon transport.”

It went on to say: “For those individuals who wish to tour the moon on the free days of their tour at a leisurely pace in their own time, and for those who wish to discover many pleasing and unforgettable surprises not usually experienced on ordinary tours, consider renting your own Budget Rent-a-Mooncar.”

Elsewhere in Blackpool, as Apollo 11 took its place on the surface of the moon, guests at some hotels stayed up all night to watch the landings take place. Among the guests who sat it out at the Clifton Hotel in Talbot Square were singing trio The Bachelors. They were in town for a Sunday concert and they admitted they were very tired when they left in the morning.

Night workers such as taxi drivers and policemen gathered in a small crowd in Birley Street at 4am to walch the moon walk on a television set up in the window of an electrical shop.