To mark the 125th anniversary of Blackpool Tower opening we asked visitors for their favourite memories of the landmark
My grandfather Joseph Morris was the chief electrician for the Tower Company during the Second World War years and was also a fire warden at the top of the Tower.
When my mother Barbara Simpson was around the age of eight years or so she auditioned for the Children’s Ballet in front of the dance mistress Madame Schultz.
My mother passed the audition and danced in the ballroom with the famous Children’s Ballet, she has many happy memories of those years.
Over the years her children and grandchildren have had such great fun in the ballroom and circus. I myself remember the great Charlie Cairoli and my son was taken to see Mookie when he was young.
So you see our family have a strong connection with Blackpool Tower from the war years to recent days.
My mother shares her birthday May 14 with the tower and she will be 88 this year on the exact day as the tower celebrates its own special birthday. Mum can imagine herself dancing once again as a small child in the Tower Ballet. What magical memories she has.
The fondest of my memories of Blackpool Tower is going into the ballroom as a six-year-old with my mum and dad and being amazed when the organ came out of the ground. I’d never seen anything like that before.
That Christmas I got an organ and every week for the next nine years I had lessons which I loved. Unfortunately once I’d left school I gave up the lessons and now I regret that but I still have those precious memories.
Whenever we had family holidays to Blackpool we visited the Tower and since then we’ve visited with my husband and son.
Liz Donaldson, Houghton-le-Spring,
I was born and brought up in the Broughton-with-Fulwood area of Preston from the early 1930s and still have very happy memories of visits, with my parents, to Blackpool - its Tower Circus and Ballroom - from the middle of the 1930s and on into the wartime period and after.
One particular, but rather hazy, memory was when, in about 1936, aged four, I was taken by mum and dad to the Tower Ballroom. We were in the balcony area with the dancers below following the strict tempo of (I presume) Reginald Dixon on the Wurlitzer. The number one ‘pop’ tune of the day being ‘The Music Goes Round and Round’. I must have learned the lyrics off by heart and, standing behind and looking over the balcony’s edge, began to belt out the song to the obvious delight of the dancers below who almost were stopped in their tracks (so my parents told me!). So much for my show business career of ‘treading the boards’ I grew to become an architect, only recently retired. As a footnote, I also remember seeing at the Circus, Doodles the Clown (before Charlie Cairoli) and have a memory of his continuously eating from a bunch of bananas as he plodded quietly around ringside!
John Mayson Whalley, Longridge
I have lived in Blackpool all my life, the first 31 years in sight of the tower. My memories of the Tower go back to the sixties when I was taken every year to see the circus which was spectacular for a young child and everything seemed so big especially at the end when the ring filled with water, magical! When I was a little older I was taken by my father, Fred Parker, underneath the seats where all of the animals lived while they were in the circus and can remember seeing lions, tigers and elephants. How things have changed, no animals now. I even have a picture of my father escorting the elephants from the railway station to the Tower at the start of the season, probably before the war.
My mother, Claire Parker, always had a pass for the tower and would go dancing there every night, not on Sunday, that was the night when you rested up for work on Monday morning. She was only in her twenties and used to tell stories of dancing in the tower with American Airmen who were billeted in Blackpool all through the war, unfortunately they only had their military boots but she had great fun. There was a steward in the ballroom, Mr Pigeon, and his job was to make sure everyone danced the same way round the ballroom, necessary with hundreds on the floor every night. Some of her friends went to America to marry airmen after the war, but not my mum who stayed here and married a local policeman. Strangely enough my mother has no memory whatsoever but if her carers mention “the Yanks” her face lights up and they can have a laugh together.
We met in the month of the tower’s 75th Anniversary and our first jaunt alone was on my 16th birthday on May 11, 1969 when we spent a fun filled day together in our wonderful northern resort. Things that year went very fast for us and by the end of the same year we were married amid prophecies of doom. Like Blackpool however we became an institution and over the years we have returned with children and grandchildren to enjoy the timeless atmosphere. This month we are celebrating 50 years since our first train journey and like Blackpool we have seen many changes and also like Blackpool the love will always be there!
Mags and Ernie Dignam, Manchester
My memories of the circus are being taken there as a child although in those days they had the animals there. The atmosphere in there, laughing at Charlie Cairoli and being amazed at the water feature at the end of the show. Trapeze artistes swinging high above us and being in awe of their skills. Even now I am grown up I have taken my children there when they were little to wonder at the spectacle all housed in our wonderful and unforgettable Blackpool Tower once seen never forgotten. Proud to come from and live in Blackpool and enjoy what is on our doorstep.
Beverley Beaumont, Blackpool
I support a gentleman with learning difficulties and whose wishes each year are to visit the Tower Ballroom and Circus. He just loves the organ music and is in awe when it sinks down in to the stage and disappears. He also loves watching the dancers and visiting the circus. Just to see him trying to sing along with the organ music is so heart warming and makes my job so worthwhile. He has white organ ornament and always wants to buy a new CD at every visit. He also enjoys the afternoon tea on special occasions . The Tower just has so much to offer to everyone be them young or old. Long may it continue.