People power on the Fylde coast: Rallying calls of the past

Taking a look back at how the public made their voices heard on the Fylde coast back in the last century.

Friday, 25th January 2019, 3:36 pm
Updated Friday, 25th January 2019, 3:43 pm
Policemen outside the Conservative party conference in Blackpool, when there were protests about employment, October 23, 1981

Last week’s Memory Lane looked back at the Winter of Discontent to mark 40 years since the Fylde coast – along with the rest of the country – almost came to a standstill after a series of strikes.

This week we take a look at some other shows of people power in the resort, from the 60s to the 80s – demonstrations and protests which seemed to be much more prevalent back then than today.

In October 1981, a series of big demonstrations took place in Blackpool – ahead of and during the Conservative Party conference which was taking place in the resort.

The scene at Middle Walk of Blackpool Promenade during the ban the bomb demonstration, in October 1961

Hundreds of extra police were drafted in to cope with the mass protests by trade unionists. Unemployment had hit hard, particularly in the north of England, in the early years of the 80s under Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister.

Security inside the Winter Gardens was stepped up and certain streets in the town centre were closed to traffic during the unemployment protests. More than 1,000 engineering workers marched through the resort, to protest outside the conference over job losses in the aircraft industry.

But the biggest security headache for the police came on October 16, when thousands of trade unionists and Right To Work demonstrators held a rally through the town. The police called for reinforcements from forces throughout the north west, after being told by the organisers that 5,000 people would be involved in the march.

Better trains for the Fylde has been a fight since the 60s – pictured here are Fylde commuters, handcuffed to the 1.30 train from Manchester to London are Fylde commuters, protesting in 1966.

Fylde commuters handcuffed to a train from Manchester to London in 1966

And St Annes residents are shown appealing to local councillors to reinstate the Ashton Theatre.