Ibbison Street and the District of Revoe, Blackpool
My Dad was born on Ibbison St in the district of Revoe, Blackpool. In respect of his early life I have collected information from the contemporary newspapers. There is a lot of existing information on Revoe, and I hope some of the information provided here can complement it. Any information included that does not directly provenance itself from those newspapers, I have acknowledged and made reference to the sources and these can be found in the body text or at the endpieces.
Revoe is an indistinct area at much of its boundaries and occasionally, for those who have a clear definition in their own mind, there will be references to those bits that might be considered to lie outside their own, defined area.
The family at 61 Ibbison Street
Sources and Acknowledgements
Ibbison Street, now demolished, and reflected in the name change to Ibbison Court on the site, was situated in the district of Revoe, one of the two, descriptively ‘poor’, working class concentrations in the town, the other being Queenstown in Layton. Revoe, and especially Ibbison Street with a reputation of being a ‘rough and ready’ area, beyond the sentiment of my own father, wore its morals on its sleeve rather than hidden in the pockets of the more ‘well-to-do’ elements of the society whose privilege it was to buy up the land to sell at a good profit (and often take the risks therewith). There were more heroes than villains, and their purpose in Blackpool was to perpetuate the name and the function of the town as a holiday resort. They worked the amusement stalls, the donkeys, Punch and Judy, bathing machines, pleasure boat trips, (which craft, and their seafaring owners, doubled up as lifesavers in the often violent sea). They were sometimes an employee, and sometimes self-employed, entrepreneurs in their own right. Houses in the town, in an area like Revoe, could be packed (occasionally beyond the legal limit) with itinerant and seasonal workers, who would mostly pay their due accommodation rent, but occasionally wouldn’t. It was a world removed from the promotional picture postcard of the Blackpool sea front with its commanding hotels and the high level finance of the deals involved in land purchase and construction. There was secret, illegal gambling in the streets, child begging, fighting, theft and assault, marriage unions, marriage break-ups, deaths, suicides, murders, births and celebrations, war heroes, heroes of the sea and heroes in sport. It was a street packed with the vitality of human existence with both its sadness and its excitement. For Ibbison St and its parent district of Revoe, money, beyond the means of subsistence, when made by the inhabitants, was sometimes enough for other folk, with less – or no –money at all, to steal, or at least, make an attempt to steal it.
The family at 61 Ibbison Street from at least 1918 to about 1930.
Francis Ernest Reed was born at 61 Ibbison Street Blackpool in November 1918. He attended both Revoe and Palatine schools. He was my father. He was the second child, the first, a brother, had been given away to a family with a better material means of bringing him up. His father, George, had been discharged from the army due to failing eyesight and, on losing his 7d a day soldier’s pay, found work as a joiner until some years later he went completely blind, and the family moved to run a guest house on Palatine Rd.
His mother Rachel, had given up her war work at the munitions factory in Layton after her marriage. She had been in Blackpool about ten years when the family, minus an estranged father, had returned to England from Capetown after several years which had seen them experience the horrors of the Boer War there. Like all the young women on the street, she was yet too young to vote. The suffragette movement, whose proponents had been dismissed by the Church and chased off the town’s beaches, and had sand thrown in their faces and mouths by disgruntled crowds, did not achieve full rights for women until 1928.
The house on Ibbison St was eventually shared with George’s brother on his return from France in 1919. Francis Ernest Reed had been very badly affected by the destruction of his nerves due to nearly four years at the Front as a stretcher bearer. He was able to work but never married, and had little social life apart from drinking in his local, the Pelham Mount, after their move to Palatine Rd. My father was named after him. Brotherly love. They had grown up on Latimer Street in Liverpool. A bit like Ibbison street there. They weren’t the only returned soldiers in the district. There was a Roll of Honour for Revoe which contained the names of 80 enlisted serviceman, 5 of who had made the ‘extreme sacrifice’.
My father never really spoke of his early life on Ibbison Street, and I never asked, the future being more relevant to youth than the past. The only incident that I am aware of is that a pan of boiling water somehow fell off the stove and scalded one side of his head and rendering him deaf in one ear. But did that bother a lad from Ibbison Street? In his interview for the RAF, he got through partly by relying upon lip reading. At the outbreak of the 2nd World War, his father, acutely aware of the horrors of war as he could recall, as a medical officer, amputating the limbs of many a soldier in the medical tents at Loos, had informed the authorities of his son’s partial deafness. He was discharged (and thus avoiding the virtual wipe-out of his Blenheim Squadron in July 1940)… and eventually, via the Fire Service, joined the Grenadier Guards.
My father would have been aware, as he ran up and down the street as a young lad, or cycled as an older lad, or played inside the large diameter pipework that was to bring water from Marton Mere to the new municipal park, that the street, and the area in which he grew up, contained both its heroes (and heroines!) and its villains. And it did. Most areas do. It could be considered, and curious to contemplate, that the closeness of the community in the street where he first saw the light of day, and the natural rules and regulations of survival with little material advantage to hand, had an influence on my father’s character. There are fascinating reads of the people and the places, inducing a smile a tear or a frown, and this is my contribution to the story, here.
Revoe was in the parish of Great Marton, before that parish was incorporated into the town of Blackpool. It has indistinct boundaries with no absolute definition. For ease of reference, Alan Stott has defined the boundaries, in part. The histories of Marton and Blackpool collide towards the end of the 19th century and by 1934 Blackpool had completely absorbed its much more ancient parish neighbour. But at one time there was a small area of Marton that Blackpool wasn’t able to digest before it devoured the whole, and that was a stubborn area called Revoe which stuck in its throat until it reluctantly felt the compulsion to swallow it. And it probably only eventually swallowed it because the beer flowed there.
The earliest mention I found of Revoe in the newspapers that I had access to is that of September 1835 when, on the death of Richard Hall, the area of land in Great Marton in his ownership, and known as the Revoe Estate, was up for auction. It was at present in the tenancy of John Fare. (Alan Stott goes earlier than this and has Church farm, Revoe, rebuilt in 1758 and occupied by Christopher Jackson (in the ownership of the Worthingtons) in the 1680’s.) If the name ‘Revoe’ is to be analysed it would, without too much speculation, go back to the Viking settlement and/or early/middle English. Early English, ‘oe’ represents ‘water’. It could then refer to Spen Dyke, and/or the presence both of standing and running water in the area. Spen Dyke is a watercourse which has been both provider and destroyer to the district, until its relatively modern-day taming in its diverting and its culverting. Reasoned but somewhat speculative, too. But it could also be Norse for ‘hill’ as the low lying land of the more southerly part of the present town rises above sea level in the area which has been known as Revoe for centuries, probably from the time of the first settlers who found the need to identify their territory by name. There were two climates referred to on the Fylde coast in the early years. There was the rugged high north with its crumbling cliffs, (though many a traveller deliberately didn’t get further than Uncle Tom’s Cabin, succombing to the pleasures on tap there), and the much more gentle and low lying south, conducive to pleasant and undemanding strolls. Revoe rises above the low lying, more southerly coast but doesn’t reach the heights of the northern crumbling, glacially deposited cliffs.
Originally then, in the recorded history of the newspapers, Revoe was at first identified by an eponymous farmstead or estate and later, because of this common acceptance, in the 19th century, one of the roads to and from the area was known as Revoe Road, or Lane. So exactly wherever Revoe could be placed in it entirety, it was identified by a path to it, albeit an un-made up cart track, and a path away from it, along the same un-made up track.
Also in 1835 another building, and the pieces of land with it, to be sold off and to be recorded in the newspapers, was the tenement known as Cow Gap. From here, the road associated with Cow Gap was known as (not surprisingly), Cow Gap Road, later to be renamed Waterloo Road. It was at that time that the districts of Marton and the area of Revoe were farming land, to be eventually eaten up by the expansion of Blackpool over the next century.
In 1838, the various properties of Thomas Moore were auctioned off at Cuthbert Nickson’s Hotel in Blackpool. There were extensive properties in and around the townships of the Fylde, and these included the 15 acre Revoe farm (‘in the occupation of Alexander Moore’) with its three closes of meadow and pasture land, garden and orchard. (In 1841, Cuthbert Nickson’s hotel was situated on North Beach; the hotels on either side, separated by several residences were the Albion Hotel and Dickson’s Hotel. It was often sufficient to name the hotel after the hotel keeper.)
In 1841 the Foxhall estate was sold off at auction. Included in this was a 13 acre plot of land called ‘Tullet Hey’, with an extensive frontage to the sea and inland to the public highway between Blackpool and South Shore, and in the occupation of John Bennet. This plot was advertised as a good building plot and prime land to speculate with sea-front hotels, and promoted as ‘New Blackpool’ when the last of the sea frontage for hotel building in the area was sold off.
In July 1853 the 6 acre freehold estate called ‘Revoe’ was up for auction. It was in the possession of Thomas Johnson and his under-tenant, Widow Ball. It including a dwelling with out-buildings, and three closes of land.
In 1859 a 6 acre freehold estate called ‘Revoe’ in Great Marton was up for auction again. There were four lots, house and barn with garden and shippons, a one acre ’Little Meadow’, a two acre ’Rawcliffe’s Field’ and a two acre ‘Brick field’. In 1867 the farm was up for rent by tender, now being described as 53 acres, which has suspicions of a misprint if the two former auctions of 1853 and 1859, where only 6 acres are described, are to be considered. It had been put up for rent by the representatives of the late William Proctor.
In 1861, land in Revoe was sold off and, being described as beyond the limits of the Blackpool area Board, would not be subject to the Board’s heavy taxes. A close of land called the Hallins, one called the Ayeas (formerly in two fields called Little Ayeas’ and Great Ayeas’); others called Nearer Long Field and Further Long Field, several fields under one name ‘Land of the Stone Field’, North Meadow, Great Meadow and Bottom and Top Allotments in the occupation of William Braithwaite just outside Revoe to the south. The land south of the rumblings of the development of Blackpool could still be described in terms of ‘meadow’ and ’field’.
By 1846 the railway into Blackpool from the East was bringing people into the town in greater numbers and speed than the horse drawn stagecoaches ever could have done. Then rural Fylde was further threatened from the south by the finishing of the Blackpool and Lytham railway line and station, and the progress of constructing the pier at South Shore, where ‘many of the piles have been driven.’ But, in the face of all this the farmers continued to farm at Revoe; ‘The harvest is rapidly coming into operation in the Fylde. Mr John Moore, yeoman, of Revoe, near Blackpool, cut last week, a two and a half field of wheat, in good condition, and which is apparently of more than average quality.’ It was also the year that Doctor William Henry Cocker of Hygiene House in Blackpool, and son of Dr Cocker of Bank Hey, one of the ‘founding fathers’ of Blackpool, became a qualified surgeon and was admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons after passing his exams at the Apothecaries Hall in London.
In 1863 ‘Thomas Ibbison bought 3 acres of land off the Revoe farm of John Moore and built houses in a north-south direction on what is now Central Drive. A road was constructed in an east-west direction eventually upon which houses were built and eventually called Ibbison Street.’ (The quotes are a reference to Alan Stott.)
At a meeting of the Blackpool Board of Health in September 1863, the trustees of Mr Joseph Eccles complained of the nuisances from Spen Dyke and the Trunk. The Trunk appears to have been the main sewer for it was resolved that a committee should consider the outlet of the main sewer into Spen Dyke, at the next meeting. When the board eventually met, it was decided to provide a 3 foot diameter pipe from the ‘Stanner’, to low water, and to advertise for tenders for the length of pipe required.
In February 1864 a house called Revoe Hill House was up for lease. It had 12 acres of meadow lands beside it and, curiously, a selling point was the 150 tons of good manure lying upon it. Perhaps someone had a nose for a good bargain. A vinery and kitchen garden, stables, boiler house and piggery were included, and the house was evidently the privilege of the well-to-do to rent.
In April of 1864, under the provisions of the Acts for the ‘Inclosure and Exchange and Improvements of Land’, various pieces of land including a little more than four acres of Revoe, were exchanged, by certain ‘gentlemen’ of the Fylde, for farmland in the township of Hambleton. A canny deal no doubt, as land near to Blackpool would have a progressively higher saleable value as time marched on.
In February 1864 John Moore put up for sale by auction, all his farming stock. The reason being was the decline in farming. In September 1864 a whole swathe of Revoe was up for auction. John Moore, also described as a druggist, (nothing to do, of course, with the cognate word ‘druggie’, which would describe the sad, aimless and self-destructive lives of many who are evident in the town centre of the modern Blackpool), died in July 1864, and his will was proved in September. At the sale of his property and the distribution of his effects, the occupants of the plots of land are variously, Mrs Moore, Mr Alexander Moore, Messrs John Braithwaite and Ormerod and others. The fields and the buildings included, amounting to over 20 acres, are called Stack Croft, Nelsons, Field east of Gaulters, Gad House Field, Shippon End Field, Field behind the house, Revoe meadow and Middle meadow. And then further, Great Meadow, and South Meadow all describing the former, and slowly disappearing, rural nature of Revoe. Perhaps in 1864, those who wanted to farm left for a better economic climate inland and those who wanted land for development, saw good opportunity in the area immediately outlying the burgeoning town of Blackpool.
In 1865 an ‘eligible residence…with or without a few acres of land’ and called ‘Revoe House’ was for letting. It had a garden and a greenhouse attached, and was within ten minutes’ walk of Blackpool.
In 1866 the area could still claim to be rustic when Anne Smith was committed to the House of Correction for one month for stealing a ham from the Victoria Hotel. She was seen hiding something beneath a haystack near to Revoe Lane and, on recovery by PC Eastham, it was found to be the ham. She had asked the bench to be lenient since she was ‘not in the habit of stealing much.’ Either she was a persistent, petty thief or she did not have the means to support herself.
1866 Elizabeth Nixon widow of John Styth Nixon died at Revoe in her 92nd year.
At Revoe on the 14th May 1869 Ann Singleton, wife of Richard Singleton died only 31yrs of age.
In August 1880, while John Pearson had been fined 5s (25p) for permitting a cow to wander onto Lytham Rd and Squire Ridgway 10s (50p) for leaving his horse and carriage unattended; William Longbottom for being drunk and disorderly, Thomas Ball of Revoe was sent to the House of Correction for two months with hard labour for assaulting his wife. He had come home after 11pm and kicked her in the body and ‘knocked her eyes up’ and afterwards kicked her out of bed.
In 1866 the railway had already ploughed through the meadows from Preston into Blackpool, creating greater opportunity for the town’s development and further the demise of the rural landscape of the Fylde Coast. However, already, for those who bemoan the lack of care in modern building and builders, those Victorian builders, who they might praise in their place, had built three bridges which already were in need of care and protection as the brickwork of each of the bridges at Ballam Road, Revoe and Cow Gap Lane were giving way. By the end of 1866 the bridges were being repaired with iron girders.
In 1868, the coping and part of the parapet was again found to have been removed from Revoe bridge and the railway company was expected to pay for its repair. Either this was due to bad workmanship or the keen hands of those who needed bricks without considering the need to pay for them.
In 1869 ten plots of building land were up for sale in Revoe.
In October 1869, the problems of letting property to people who didn’t want to pay the rent, were evident. James Eastham was summoned for removing goods from a home in Revoe Meadows, in the ownership of Mr and Mrs Sanderson. The agent for the property, had gone to collect the rent and found items from the property missing. Though Mrs Eastham had promised to pay the rent, she was later seen to be taking the last item from the house, the fender. It was a problem for landlords who let their property to itinerant seasonal workers, who could leave without paying the due rents, and never be traced.
Also in 1869, John Cragg, a beer-house keeper of the Sailor’s Home in Chapel Street, was charged with keeping his house open for the sale of beer on a Sunday. It turned out in the court that John Cragg had signed over the house to his wife who had, with the help of ‘strong men bullies’, kicked him out, and he hadn’t been there for some time. Mrs Cragg, it seems was considered the guilty party, and was given a fine of 10s (50p) and costs or 14 days.
In 1870 a severe storm ripped up the carriage way at South Shore and the retaining wall for the railway line, inundating the fields as far as Revoe. The crests of the waves were so high, they even broke through the bedroom windows of the Star Inn at South Shore. The railway embankment was washed away in Blackpool, and trains could go no further than South Shore station. The sea washed over and covered fields of valuable crops, rendering them useless, right up to the borders of Revoe. These incursions of the sea could destroy whole harvests, picking up the haystacks and scattering them about across the landscape.
In this year a whole swathe of former farmland was sold off and advertised as building land, which is by now increasing in value. The plots possess good sand for building and are on a base of red clay which is equally invaluable for building. The rural nature of Fylde in the proximity of Revoe is now disappearing at a faster pace.
In 1870 there was a problem with a lack of fencing alongside Revoe lane, but the decision to ensure that fencing should be erected was rescinded at a following meeting. This problem appears to have persisted throughout the decade since in 1879 and there were also some ‘dangerous places’ on the south side of Revoe Road which the Authority expected the owners of the land to fence off to make it safe for the public. Perhaps these ‘dangerous places’ were claypits and very possibly contained household waste and sewage. Sewage – or the lack of dealing with it efficiently- was a continuing problem. Running water didn’t arrive in the town until 1864, the same year as the first official Lifeboat was provided and the voluntary fire brigade was formed. Water had to be retrieved from pits or wells and was often in close proximity to sewerage pits and cesspools. When the sea came over the land, sea water, residual fresh water, sewage and anything else that wasn’t securely fixed to the ground, were mixed together like a soup in the storm-chef’s recipe.
In 1870 James Nuttall of Revoe was a candidate for election to the Blackpool Local Board. The Board met at the Board Room, Market Street Blackpool.
In 1871 a milk farm in Revoe in the occupation of Henry Hall was up for lease, along with two closes of common land on the south side of Revoe Lane in the occupation of Henry Hall and Edward Whiteside.
In October 1872, James Bagot, landlord of the Mason’s Arms, Revoe was fined 40s and costs for allowing the selling of beer on his premises on the restricted hours of a Sunday. The police inspector who had visited the premises and found Ellen Wade drinking beer there along with several men outside the back waiting to get in, described the house as ‘very badly conducted, besides being a very low and dirty place.’ Ellen Wade herself was fined 5s (25p) and costs.
In August 1873 Ann Bagot was granted the transfer of the license of a beerhouse in Revoe which had formerly been kept by her husband who had recently died. Presumably this is James Bagot of the Mason’s Arms.
In 1874, a widow named Ann Coope, and residing at Revoe, who had three children with her was slightly hurt in a railway accident at Poulton station, while at the same date there was damage to an engine at Hounds Hill station.
In 1874 the County Licensing Committee was obliged to determine the districts to which the new Licensing Act of that year referred. It seems that Revoe was a ‘populous’ place and, though not strictly within the boundaries of Blackpool, nevertheless, as a populous place, qualified for inclusion in the control of licenses under the new law. It is referred to as a village possibly because of its isolation from its parent township of Great Marton. In these ‘populous’ places publicans, beersellers and the retailers of wines, were allowed to keep open their premises until 11pm. Anyone not in these populous districts would have to close at 10pm till 6am.
In 1875 the medical officer for health appointed by the rural health Authority had been sacked and, in a bitter attack on the Authority, complained of the lack of consideration being given to drainage and sanitation. His suggestions to deepen the drainage ditches hadn’t been carried out in Revoe among other areas, and ditches through Revoe should have been deepened to run into Spen Dyke.
In 1875, the Urban Sanitary Authority, based at Kirkham, took action on the endemic overcrowding of lodging houses in the Fylde. Though the worst case was at ‘Cham Bridge’ in Staining, and a further bad case near the mill at Great Marton, a house in Revoe was found to have two more than was allowed in the front room. All the rooms in the houses could be occupied at some time or other, including the kitchen. The people usually in occupation were described as ‘mountebanks and the itinerant class of musicians who visit Blackpool during the season.’ Quite a condescending opinion on a class of people who weren’t privileged with the favourable opportunities of the monied and landed ‘classes’. The wells at Revoe also came under criticism, as they were close to open cess pools and ash pits. Though the wells were on private land, their closure, or thorough cleaning and the roofing of the cess pools before being put to use again, should be ordered. The public nevertheless had access to the water in the wells, and the owner could charge 1s a year for its use. There would be an epidemic if nothing was to be done, it was (quite rightly) claimed.
In 1875 another plot of land in the ownership of William Bailey, of Bailey’s Hotel, was up for sale by auction. It was on the south side, and fronted by, Revoe Lane and bounded on the west by the Lytham to Blackpool railway. It was in the occupation of James Harrison, a livery stable keeper.
In 1876, The Blackpool Urban Sanitary Authority had reason to complain about the sewage in Revoe when a previous notice, served on the Rural Authority by them, had been disregarded. Sewage was allowed to run into Spen Dyke and, at other parts of the town, the sewers should have improved ventilation points.
In 1876 the 25 acres of meadow, pasture land and arable of Revoe farm in the occupation of Mrs Crookall was offered for sale by auction. In October at Revoe Lodge farm there was a sale of cattle, hay and turnips.
In 1877 there were cases of scarlet fever and typhoid identified in Marton. The case at Revoe was caused by bad water due to the proximity of the well to the ‘ashpits and privies’ from which the water was extracted. Later in the year, the wells came under criticism again. They had been ordered to close and be rendered useless, but it was discovered that though the pump at Ibbison’s well had been taken away, that of Bickerstaffe’s had not, and he had refused to take it away. It was agreed that the Health Authority could close the well and charge him the costs.
In 1878 the Rural Sanitary Authority, in assessing the health of the Fylde, while complaining of the sanitary conditions of the closets at St Annes, appeared to be satisfied that there were only a few cases of Scarlet fever in Revoe this year and a few whooping cough cases.
In 1878, Peter Gill of Revoe was fined 10s (50p) and costs for having a 2lb weight which was two drachms (a drachm; one eighth of an ounce, and a little more than a hundreth of a kilo) light and a 1lb weight which was half a drachm light in his grocer’s shop. (website for conversion rates at bottom of page).
In August 1880, while John Pearson had been fined 5s (25p) for permitting a cow to wander onto Lytham Rd and Squire Ridgway 10s (50p) for leaving his horse and carriage unattended; William Longbottom for being drunk and disorderly, Thomas Ball of Revoe was sent to the House of Correction for two months with hard labour for assaulting his wife. He had come home after 11pm and kicked her in the body and ‘knocked her eyes up’ and afterwards kicked her out of bed.
In 1881, William Fisher was fined 10s (50p) and costs for sleeping under a haystack in Revoe.
In March 1881, the committee of Marton continued to discuss the ongoing problem of the bad state of Spen Dyke and other water courses in the township. As in Blackpool earlier, it was decided to appoint a committee in order to look into the matter.
In May 1882 an agreement was reached between the Council and the Lancs and Yorks railway company to widen the Chapel Road bridge on the condtion that the Railway Company would stand the cost of £300 for the completion of Revoe Road.
In 1882, of all the variety of cocks on show at The Burnley Poultry and Pigeon Show, T Eaves of Revoe (guessing it was a man) won a joint second prize for a non standard variety. The nature of the intimated, coarse humour here would be evident on Ibbison St, but more concealed behind the back of the hand in the more ‘refined’ areas of the town.
November 1882 saw the birth of Annie Monks who went on to became one the more famous superstars of her day in the Music Halls. Popularly known by her stage name of Victoria Monks, she rolled in the luxuries of men, money and fame. I haven’t yet been able to determine just where (it is claimed) in Revoe she was born, but her early life was spent in Duke St where she would have been familiar with the sounds of the excursion trains loading and unloading the millions of hoildaymakers into, and out of, the town, mostly from the industrial areas of Lancashire and Yorkshire. They all needed entertaining. Possibly Victoria had a vision of these masses as, in 1914 and during the South African mining strike (where a large proportion of the white miners were English), she was at the Palladium and, always being able to connect with an audience, played to the proletarian gallery with their vociferous trades union response. (Kind of ironic since Victoria’s stooge was a burnt corked individual, who represented an ethnic group with no rights at all, and who were pummelled back in to the mines with threats of eviction from jobs and homes.) My story of Victoria’s life here; http://cmronline.co.uk/victoria-monks-musical-hall-artiste/
But, back to Revoe and Ibbison Street….In March 1883 it was decided that Ibbison St should be sewered, which would put an end to the open cess pits and polluted wells. The first piped water arrived in the town in 1864, the same year that a voluntary fire brigade was first formed and the first lifeboat was launched, but piped water on tap from the Bowland reservoir, had not yet reached Revoe, and its streets, in great quantities.
In August 1883 Thomas Lingard had an application for a billiard license at the Revoe Inn, refused.
In 1883 the plans for the new Preston to Blackpool railway line to culminate in the prospective Cenral Station were open for inspection. The proposed line would be done in three sections; the first from Preston to Lytham; the second from Lytham to a station which would be built opposite the Post Office (on Coronation street); the third , which was never built, was to continue underground from the new station to a point at the junction of Cocker St and ‘Dickinson’ Rd where a new station would also be built, and then the line would continue out of the Borough of Blackpool to terminate at Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Bispham. Its route through Revoe from St Anne’s would cross Revoe Rd, Upper Albert Rd, Upper Adelaide St and skirting along the eastern side of Coronation St, in the Winter Gardens grounds, to the end of that street, where it would end at the new Central Station. Much of this never happened of course.
In November 1883 in order to close a trust, several lots of land and housing were sold off. These included properties on Revoe Road in the ocupations of Mr Tatterfield, Ernest Moses, Robert Wikinson, and James Swarbrick. Other lots included dwellings on Ibbison Street in the tenancies of Henry Brown (both the house and the shop), William Cardwell, James Crook (and the stable and loft adjoining) in the occupation of James Ibbison and Mr Troughton. Two dwellings in Back Ibbison Street occupied by Mr J Caton and Mr R Grimblestone respectively. Also three closes of land and garden known as Long Field, Middle Field and, merely, ‘The Land’ with all buildings upon it and in the occupation of James Ibbison. A little further afield were Old Anne’s Meadow by Bloomfield Rd and Low Meadow, by Cow Gap Lane, both in the occupation of James Ibbison.
In 1887 land to the north of Revoe and bounded by Whitegate Lane and Revoe Road was sold off as building land, which included Revoe Villa and a close of land formerly known as Revoe Meadow.
In 1888 the Act concerned with the constructionof the Blackpool railway was formerly pubished. In order to build the railway through a built up area, footpaths, sewers, and roads needed to be blocked, diverted, and modified in its prospective route through Revoe to the proposed new Central Station.
In 1889 during another storm, part of Rigby road was torn up and the low lying land around it flooded. At Revoe, three houses in the course of erection for Messrs Ward and Brown had been almost demolished.
In 1889 Ellen Wilkinson of 28 Ibbison Street was charged with stealing blankets, curtains and towels from Ann Houseman, a widow with whom she had been staying. She was sentenced to two months’ hard labour.
In June 1890, Helen Hall of East James Street, Revoe was found dead in bed. The coalman noticed that her coal had not been taken in from last time he had delivered. With assistance, the house was broken into, and the decomposing body was found lying on the bed.
In January 1891 John Simpson, who was a farmer at Revoe, was fined 5s (25p) for erecting a building of combustible materials within the Borough boundary of Blackpool. It was a shippon for cows and was in the middle of a field and, in his defence, he claimed ignorance of the bye-laws. At the same Police Court, William Cardwell, George Boardman and Robert Varley were fined variously 20s (£1) and costs and 10s (50p) and costs for assaulting Charles Hudson during his duty as a lamp lighter at midnight on Whitegate Lane. They had pushed him into a ditch and maltreated him after that. William Cardwell was fined the higher amount because he was identified as the ring leader.
In 1893 on the second anniversary of the Revoe Mission, it was shown that the Mission had been paid for and there was a balance of 18s (90p). There was a tea party at which about 200 people were present, and a sale of work and entertainment afterwards. The death of Mr Thomas Ibbison was noted, the ‘gentleman’ who had given the site upon which the new Mission room now stood.
In 1893 a Mr Green of 82 Ibbison St advertised his Punch and Judy show as open for engagements.
In the storm of December 1894 several houses under construction in Revoe were seriously damaged. It happened again to more houses in 1899. In 1894 at the annual tea meeting of the Revoe Mission, the Rev J Crabtree referred to the rapid growth of Revoe, and the need for a new church very soon. Also at this time the Blackpool Town Council applied for borrowing to include £1,103 for the extension of Great Marton Rd and the construction of a bridge over Spen Dyke.
In July 1895 the Corporation wanted to borrow £33,760 for improvements of which about £3,000 would be set aside for part of a new road from Revoe to Cow Gap Lane (later renamed Waterloo Rd.). It also wanted to borrow £500 for the purpse of acquring a plot of land at Revoe from Fisher’s trustees (for an undisclosed reason.)
In October 1895, unemployed Richard Thomas Morgan, who had been living at 6 Harrison Street Revoe, was found dead on the railway track between St Annes and S Shore. His sister later identified the body. He had come to Blackpool to look for work.
In November 1896 John Edward Waring of Ibbison Street was fatally injured while engaged in shunting operations at the Central Station. Both his legs were cut off below the knees.
In 1896 Sam Harrison, of Harrison street Revoe, and described in the paper as a ‘nigger,’ (with the paper’s quotes) was up in court for assaulting his wife. The wife claimed that when she was confined to bed, he threatened to set fire to it. She claimed he carried a razor around with him all the time and had threatened her with it, threatening ‘Death will be your ….. doom’. A swear word to be inserted there, which the newspaper would not print but probably only, for these days ‘damn’ or ‘bloody.’ He counter claimed that his wife was a drunkard, and he had been dragged out of the house and kicked by a number of men. He was bound over in the sum of £5 to keep the peace for six months.
In June 1896 Frank Macdonald was found in the house of John Leach at 16 Rigby Road with the intention of stealing. It seemed that John Leach, having arrived home with his wife about midnight, found the man hiding under the sofa and though he jumped out of a window, he was soon caught. Frank Macdonald was a convicted thief and pleaded to be let go as he was caught, being worried about a long, 5yr jail term that could very well be imposed.
In the same year, William Sherlock a donkey driver of 37 Belmont Ave fell off a plank while crossing a ditch, and was taken to hospital with a broken collar bone. Drunk – or just an unfortunate victim of the inherent dangers of walking here and there on unsuitable roads and paths with little or no street lighting?
In December 1896, 75yr old Jabez Kay, the builder of Pelham Mount, died. In 1880 he had come to Blackpool and had acquired land on the east side of the railway near Chapel Street and built a number of houses there. In the same year he had offered to give up 295 yards of land towards the widening of Nelson Rd. Though it was agreed in the end, it wasn’t all plain sailing since some members of the Council did not want the town to have to pay to improve private property. Pelham Mount, which was his residence, was later known as the Pelham Mount estate. When Pelham Mount was sold to become a social club, it was the favourite watering place of my great Uncle Frank, formerly of Ibbison St and who lived around the corner in Palatine Rd.
Jabez Kay married Ann Wylie at All Hallows, Bispham Parish Church in 1851. He is stated as being a farmer in Darwen, and his father is a farmer too. Ann’s father is also a farmer, and presumably farmed land in Bispham where the marriage took place. They have a son, Jabez Kay, baptised at the same church and his father’s abode is given as Grimsby; his occupation, a woolen draper. Grimsby is where he made his money before coming to Blackpool. They also have sons, Tom Wylie Kay, baptised at Bispham Parish Church in 1865, and Frederick Kay both solicitors in the firm of Messrs Wylie Kay. Tom Wylie Kay continued the residence at Pelham Mount, and in January 1931 he died, leaving over £41,000 in his will. (He gave £50 each to his office staff of two years standing.) The name lives on in Blackpool in the firm of solicitors, Wylie Kay. In 1887 Jabez Kay junior had married Isabella Sampson. The banns were read out in both Manchester and Blackpool (St John’s) and, in the latter, he is described as being ‘of this parish’
On New Year Day 1887 the foundation stones for the new schools in Revoe which were connected to the Primitive Methodist Church in Chapel street, where they were much needed, were laid.
In 1896 when William Roberts applied for an off-beer licence for his grocer’s shop on Ribble Rd, it was refused due to the objections of both the police and the owners of the George Hotel, who were presumably worried about the competition.
In the Brewster sessions of August 1897 an off licence was granted in Revoe to Arthur Schofield of the Huddersfield Arms, but denied to William Speight of the Shakespeare Hotel in the same street, (both these pubs, – with reference to ‘Blackpool Pubs’ by Allan Wood and Chris Bottomley – were on Topping Street so not sure why the newspaper article placed them in Revoe). An application from both for the sale of wine and spirit was not granted. Thomas Kenyon a grocer of 28 Central drive was allowed an off-beer license despite opposition from the George Hotel which had been built four years previously. Applications were denied also to W Stewart of 6 Freckleton St and C Smith of 218 Central drive for off-beer.
In 1898 Patrick Meakin a bricklayer was found dead at his lodgings in Ribble Rd. He had been carried home drunk by another man but refused to go to bed. His landlady left him downstairs, and in the morning he was found dead by the other lodgers with a cut on his head. Stephen Gamble, barman at the Royal Hotel was later found not guilty of manslaughter, as he had earlier thrown him out of the Hotel for being drunk. Violence on his behalf was not proven.
In April 1899 Richard Leach, 37, a bricksetter of West View Revoe launched a savage and violent attack upon his wife when he arrived home drunk one night. In front of their daughter he pushed her to the floor. It was a protracted assault which eventually came to a close when the daughter, 8 yr old Mary, after vainly pleading with her father to stop, went next door for help. Such were the severity of the injuries to his wife (the blood had to be washed off the floor) that two doctors, who were witnesses at the trial, stated that the accused was very fortunate not to be facing a murder trial. He was given eighteen months hard labour. His wife had later pleaded his cause, stating that an accident at work, when several bricks fell upon his head, had changed him. Perhaps true, perhaps apocryphal. Perhaps the wife was still married to the memory of the good times. There is a story about a head injury concerning my grandad, George Reed. Not the most popular of folk in his later years, his blindness was said to have been caused by someone hitting him on the head with a plank during construction work. It wasn’t; it was due to a fall on the ice when he was a young teenager, but cruel stories are often created as fiction about those to whom it is felt it should be deserved. Quite coincidentally a Richard Leach and George Reed, shared the same address of 61 Ibbison St, albeit at different times, the one almost immediately preceding the other.
In 1899 as a result of a heavy rainstorm which appeared to have cruelly centred itself on Revoe (there was no rain in Poulton, and only fifteen minutes in Lytham), a sewer burst, flooding the houses in the vicinity.
In 1899 there were a great many poor folk in Blackpool, the chief districts being Queenstown, Canary Island, Great Layton, Marton, Revoe, and a couple of streets in the town centre (Back Chapel and Oddfellow Streets). The Blackpool Ladies Nursing Division organised a distribution of clothing to these poor, and warned the pawnbrokers not to take back these things on pledge. Also in 1899 the Council had accepted the tender from the Barrow Haemetite Steel company for the supply of tramway rails for the tramway from Revoe to Cow Gap Lane.
In 1900, along with the sale by auction of the remains of the Reads estate and the decreasing open land (with extensive frontage to both Whitegate Lane and Palatine Rd) are two dwelling houses numbered 18 and 20 Revoe Road. In the same year, the Corporation applied to borrow £1,050 to purchase land at Revoe to build a library and gymnasium. (The Free Library Act had been adopted in 1879 and the Museum and Gymnasium Act in August 1899).
In this year, Dr Cocker offered £1,000 towards the expense of culverting Spen Dyke ‘for some distance inland.’ In October 1900, it had been decided to widen Bloomfield road, which would mean the culverting of Spen Dyke –this was tidal up to a point and it could become sluggish and offensively smelly. It regularly had to be cleaned out and the banks steepened to prevent overflow. Dr Cocker’s money would be quite conveniently and correctly spent for the purpose. It was also proposed, among a long list of required powers to extend and modify the Blackpool Improvement Bill of 1865, and to divert parts of Spen Dyke. Perhaps the folk of Ibbison Street had acquired the spirit of the Dyke, as they could not be moved, but only be ultimately tamed by the demolition of the street itself, as the Dyke could only be tamed by diversion and culverting.
Spen Dyke had its dark secrets, too. In August 1901, it would have known who would have thrown the infant girl child into its waters, after the decomposed body of the infant was found in about 18 inches of water. The cause of death could not be determined, but it was thought that it had been smothered and sometime later placed in the Dyke.
In August 1900 three youths, Thomas Tierney, John McCay and William Jones were charged with stealing two pairs of galoshes from under the verandah of Mr Briscoe’s shop in Revoe Rd.
In 1901 Elizabeth Keena(?) died of natural causes after dancing. She had worked at the Victoria café and lived at 39 Freckleton Street Revoe. She was 23yrs old and was reputedly the widow of a man, Robert Fulcher from London, who had died ‘at the front’ (presumably in reference to the Boer War.)
In June 1902 11yr old Florrie Harrison of Jameson Street Revoe fell over the hulking at Central Beach, a distance of about 24 feet. I guess she fell onto the sand because, at the hospital, she was only found to have severe contusion to the right femur. The ambulance men that attended her had made a splint on her leg out of a walking stick, and a nearby cab had provided a cushion. It was the only accident reported throughout the whole day which had been exceptionally busy for the town.
In 1902, unemployment in Blackpool was under scrutiny. While many local men were not considered for work on the promenade, the same men had been employed on Spen Dyke because it was less salubrious work, and men from outside the town would not work it.
May 1903 saw the death of former alderman and mayor, James Cardwell at his home at South Lawn Waterloo Drive. He had been born in 1842 and was the son of Robert Cardwell a grocer and brickmaker. He was educated at Baines Free School and after working on his uncle’s farm, he moved over into the brick making business of his father, putting down a brick making plant at Revoe which later became Messrs James Cardwell and Brothers, a firm which was responsible for constructing some of the most significant buildings in the district and included the Winter Gardens, Raikes Hall, Palatine Hotel and the Blackpool Tower keep walls. He had married Agnes Wade of Marton with whom he had seven children, and, sometime after her death married a second time to Miss Kirkham of Chorley.
Also in May 1903, the family of Richard Benson, an engine driver of 46 Rydal Avenue, who was killed near the Central Railway Station on Dec 29th, sued the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company for compensation.
In July 1903, a Blackpool Corporation workman named Frederick M’Donnell, aged 34, of Jameson St Revoe, committed suicide in a ‘very determined manner’. For some days he had been drinking heavily, and about 9.30 on Sunday night he went home the worse for liquor. As he was going upstairs to bed he cried to his wife, ‘Goodbye! You won’t see me after four o’clock in the morning.’ During the night Mrs M’Donnell twice visited him, but when she entered his bedroom about 8.30 the following morning, she was shocked to find him lying ‘quite dead’ on the floor with his throat cut, and an open razor by his side.
May 1903 saw the death of Thomas Heap. He was originally from Yorkshire but had made his money as a builder in Burnley. In Blackpool, he bought up the Revoe portion of the Read’s estate and put up most of the buildings in Reads Road. He sold the rest of his estate which was later converted into Palatine Rd and adjoining streets.
In May 1904 it was revealed that the death rate was the lowest on record, but the health conditions of the poorer classes in the districts of Queenstown and Revoe were a concern, and steps should have to be taken to combat this. It was also hoped that a female health inspector could be appointed.
In April 1904 Mr Briggs, a member of the Council, walked out of a meeting in protest over the public being prevented from being at the opening ceremony of the gymnasium proposed for later in the year. When it was eventually opened on October 6th, a demonstration was provided by the ladies’ classes of Bolton. Miss Madgwick of Bolton had earlier been recommended by the Revoe Library Sub-committee for appointment as instructress of physical culture at the Gymnasium. It is not known whether the public were allowed to attend the opening.
In October 1904 the St John’s estate was put up for auction. It did not reach the reserve of more than £16,000 so it was offered in lots, of which only one was sold. This lot of 3,026 sq yds fronted Central Road and was sold to Mr J G Pye at 3s 4d (17p) a yard. Possibly because the estate contained the brickworks, (from which much of Blackpool was built), it may have been too much for purchasers to clear up before building could start).
In November 1904 a high tide backed by a strong south westerly wind destroyed many of the newly built kiosks on the promenade. Spen Dyke overflowed creating an ‘inland sea’ to the east of Central Drive.
In July 1904, six year old Leana Cooke of 44 Rydal Avenue was knocked down by a horse belonging to the Bathing Van Company while on the sands. She was attended to by PC Lord and was able to return home. In 1904, Ann Haslam of Harrison Street Revoe cut her own throat. She was removed to the hospital, though the wound was not found to be very serious.
In October of 1905 Mary Ann Nuttall was found dead in her bed at 59 Ibbison Street. She was only 26 yrs old, but death was due to natural causes. She had been out after tea with her husband and had walked to the Gynn where they had a glass of hot port each and then, walking back into Blackpool, had two cold ports at the Wine Lodge. They had bought some chocolates on the way through town and had eaten some. On arriving home they both vomited, so something hadn’t agreed with them both. Her husband, John Robert Nutttall slept on the sofa and Mrs Nuttall, not being very well was attended to by her mother and a neighbour. In the morning, despite checking on her during the night, Mrs Nuttall was found to be dead.
In 1906, Blackpool still did not have a municipal park, the argument against this being that it had plenty of open spaces, especially the beach. However the Council were urged to open one in Revoe, ‘a well populated working class locality about a mile distant from the beach’.
In June 1906 the brickworks at St John’s was up for sale again, with all its contents.
In August 1906 there was a fire in the bedroom of No 12 Central Rd. A visitor had put her children to bed in the front, upstairs bedroom and left a candle with them. The fire was noticed by three youths (including F Howe of No 2 Rydal Ave) from the top of a tramcar from which they immediately jumped and, rushing into the house, pulled down the curtains and extinguished the fire. Though the fire brigade arrived soon after, their services were not required.
In May 1906 the two year old son of Mr William Henry Cowell, a fruit dealer, was drowned in a pit in the Revoe district while playing with friends.
In May 1906 Baldwin’s bottling plant on Ibbison St was up for sale by auction due to bankruptcy. All bottles and equipment including two horses and harnesses, carts and stable requisites were on the liquidator’s list.
July 21st 1906, as Blackpool grew and expanded, so did the necessity to create new ecclesiastical parishes. In Revoe the parish of All Saints had been in existence only a short time, but there was already the need for further extensions. The foundation stone of a new Mission Hall was laid in connection with the St Andrew’s Mission. The Hall itself was built by the volunteer force of the members, all the skills being put together to create the finished product. In all, the Hall cost nothing to the Mission to build, the plans and the building materials being locally supplied and gratuitously provided.
In July 1906; ‘wanted’ a strong girl, who should be able to milk, was required, and to apply to Butcher, Revoe farm Bloomfield Rd.
In July 1906 there was a fatal shooting accident in the Big Wheel grounds next to the Winter Gardens. A gun in the hands of James Johnson, a painter of West View Revoe went off while at the shooting gallery, and the bullet lodged in the back of his head. He died later in hospital.
In December 1906, Patrick Callaghan, had come to Blackpool from Preston, to escape the heat of being accused of the murder of James Fell in the town. There was money to be had on the warehouse premises in which 62 yr old single and slightly eccentric, James Fell owned and lived within, sleeping on the floor on brown paper and covering himself with rags as was his habit. Patrick Callaghan and his co-offender Thomas Beardwood (Tommy Buck) had beaten him on the head with a hammer. Patrick Callaghan on fleeing to Blackpool, had found lodgings on Ibbison St, which probably reflected the social environment he would have been used to in Preston and where he could be somewhat anonymous. His lady friend and sometime co-habitee, Martha Whiteside came to Blackpool and had no trouble in finding him. She had tried to persuade him to come back to Preston with her, but he refused. The consolation was a night with him on the sofa before leaving the next day.
In February 1907 Miss E A Tomlinson aged only 23 years, died of an illness. For two years she had been teaching at St John’s infants in Lytham and was a particularly well liked infant teacher. In July of 1906 she had achieved a certificate of higher grade but the County Council couldn’t fund the higher rate of pay. She then found employment as an infant teacher at Revoe, but was unable to take up the post immediately because of her sudden illness. The post had been kept open for her in the expectation of her recovery but, of course, sadly, she was never able to fill it..
In July 1907 the Revoe library was opened. In a somewhat condescending speech the Mayor said that he hoped the working classs (poor sods) of the district would appreciate what the Corporation had done for them, and he trusted that they would strive to have healthy minds and strong bodies.
In 1907 Yates Whittaker was fined 2s 6d (18p) plus costs for allowing his post card stands, outside his shop opposite No 3 Central Drive, which was the Revoe Post Office, to be placed too far out onto the pavement, thus causing an obstruction there. His defence argued that his shop was the busiest post office apart from the Head Post Office in Coronaton Street.
In May 1908, in further discussions to buy up land in order to create an open space to become the first park in Blackpool, Revoe was again one of the areas considered. The main focus of attention was, however, on the Raikes estate where many of the more well-to-do people lived, and probably Revoe didn’t qualify because of its plebeian status. Well, no decisions were made, then the War came, then it ended and then the first park was opened sometime afterwards near the Raikes estate and called Stanley Park. My Dad and his Ibbison St pals played in the large diameter piping that would bring the water to fill the ornamental lake from Marton Mere, so they had taken a bit of Revoe to the park, if the park wasn’t going to come to Revoe.
In 1909 Mr W Ashley, the Parliamenty member for Blackpool was not able to donate to the work of the Bethesda Sunday School among the poor of Revoe, ‘one of the poorest parts of Blackpool’ quoting the heavy taxes proposed in the forthcoming budget as the reason. It was Lloyd’s George’s Liberal Budget raising the taxation from 1s to 1s 2d (about 5p to 6p) in the pound. Mr Ashely,of course, was Conservative, and the poor would just have to suffer. That was their birthright.
Sometime after their marriage in 1916 George and Rachel Reed moved into 61 Ibbison St where, in November 1918, their second son, Frank Reed was born.
In 1918 Mr S Brodie, the Borough surveyor was instructed to lay out more land for allotments at Claremont, Revoe and South Shore. Demand exceeded supply, and food supply was restricted because of the War. The return on currently existing allotments showed a profit, and allotments to grow your own food, had been in demand.
In May 1918 No 126 Central Drive was raided by the police, and Annie Solomon was fined £5 for keeping a disorderly house. The soldiers that were at the premises ‘just happened’ to have been billeted that day. Nellie Whelan and Louise Tarr were each charged with aiding and abetting. Annie Solomon was also charged with allowing two children to be at the house at the time.
In July 1919 the Council had bought land on the St John’s estate in Revoe to build 400 new houses. Perhaps the land had been lying idle since 1904, when nobody wanted to buy it.
In May 1920 due to ill-health, a fully licensed stud of donkeys was up for sale at 22 Ibbison Street Blackpool.
In June 1920 the Council applied for £700,000 to build new houses in Layton, Revoe and South Shore. The post war house building boom was well under way in the town.
On August 30th 1920, Palatine School was opened as a central school. It was part of the new education plan of the local Education Committee. From now on, it would not take pupils of junior age from 7 to 11 years old. Children of that age would have to be removed from the school. It would take infants, and the older children would be admitted by exam. My Dad matriculated from Revoe and won his place at Palatine. Matriculating sounded quite ritually painful to me as young lad. I looked it up later. Not as painful as it first sounded. The parents of the excluded age group were up in arms and in their meeting at Whitegate Baptist Schoolroom, the decision was made not to send their children to any other school. On the opening day those few, determined parents who arrived at Palatine with their children, under protest, met with no success. There were plenty of places at other schools in the district, but the parents’ main objection was the further distances that would have to be travelled for their children to attend these schools.
1921 The Mayor of Blackpool, Councillor C W Callis, unveiled a war memorial at the Central Men’s Club, Revoe. The Roll of Honour contained the names of over 80 members, five of who had made the supreme sacrifice.
In October 1921, John Gerrard of Laundry Rd Marton and Catherine Crawford of Ibbison St were accused of entering the house of Catherine Abbott at Stockydale, Marton. Though a ‘four generation’ coin was allegedly missing from the house, it was found only that the bed had been slept in, so the motive for entering the house, was not likely to be initially the theft of anything. Not so bad these two. Catherine Abbott had been staying there, and all that they stole was the pleasure of each other’s intimacy. Perhaps he same John ‘Jack’ Gerard who nearly lost his life as a lifeboat man during a rescue.
In December 1921 Mrs Swift of 33 Ibbison Street, widow of the late Corporal Swift of the 2nd Seaforth Highlanders, received a gift of £3 from the Prince of Wales. Corporal Swift had been presented to the Prince when he had visited Blackpool, and James McEvoy on behalf of the Blackpool Central Workmen’s Club had written to the Prince to inform him that Corporal Swift’s widow was in very poor circumstances. Fred Swift snr had died 1921, which prompted the above action. Mrs Swift had given birth to twins after Fred had died and the young family of six, the eldest, Fred jnr, 13 yrs, was fatherless.
In January 1924 George Lynn of Ibbison St attempted to rob a house in Lancaster Rd in Marton. Unfortunately there was a policeman lodging in the house and who ran out in his pyjamas and arrested him. Presumably George Lynn was not from Blackpool, since he was given a suspended sentence on the understanding that he left the town immediately.
In 1924 Thomas Dunn aged 50, a journeyman painter of Ibbison Street was knocked down by a Corporation bus in the town centre. He later died in Victoria Hospital. It was the second motor accident he had been involved in recently and had been out of work for a while.
In May 1924, the year of the Carnival, four youths from Revoe Street had stolen 11 costumes intended for the Carnival from a shop on Clifton Street. The shop was being refurbished and they had gained access by using a ladder. They had made no secret of the theft, since they had dressed up in the costumes and had paraded around the district in them before going into the police station in a good humour. The Chief Constable didn’t see the humour, and he could threaten that, ‘I have four birch rods in pickle for them tomorrow.’
In the Parliamentary elections of 1924, there was now a very distinct support for both Liberal and Labour ideas. The Conservatives could not have it all their own way any more. There was the usual mud-slinging between candidates, trying to trip each other up in argument. Electoral meetings were well attended, and in the Ibbison Street Mission Hall, the Conservative candidate, Sir Walter de Frece got a noisy and stormy reception. However, at the Revoe school, the packed audience was ‘as orderly as the people at Ibbison street had been disorderly.’ A good read of ‘Revoe for Ever’ http would show that Walter de Frece had rather a famous celebrity wife, Vesta Tilley, and she proved to a better canvasser in Ibbison street than her husband ever could have been. A posh git stood no chance but a celebrity female stood every chance even though she might have had the same political viewpoint.
Also in 1924 William Clark of 32 Ibbison St was sent to prison for three months with hard labour for allowing his children (age 5 and 7yrs respectively) to go out begging door to door while he sat at home smoking and reading the sports papers. The court and the NSPCC inspector agreed it would be better if he was away from the children for a while so that they could live in a comfortable home where they could be washed, clothed and fed. In 1921 both William Clark and his wife had been accused of neglecting their children and Mrs Clark had already served a prison sentence prison while the family was in Manchester. William Clark, who was a baker, had at one time gone away to sea as a ship’s cook to get away from family life and the children had been put in the workhouse.
At the memorial service for the WW1 dead at the new Cenotaph on Princess Parade, there were many schoolchildren present and one of the wreaths was presented by Revoe Council School.
In September 1925, May Clark of Ibbison St was not given the chance she pleaded for and, despite the pledge that she would never drink again, was given a prison sentence with hard labour for being drunk and disorderly.
In May 1926 Joseph Macauley of Boothley Rd was summoned for allowing his son to beg on Ibbison Street. He was fined 20s. (£1).
In 1926 the police eventually caught the gamblers who were rumoured to have been secretly taking bets in a cul de sac off Ibbison Street. They dressed up as Council workmen and entered the street from the East in a Corporation repairs van. They arrested two men and eight youths. They had been playing a popular card game called ‘banker’. Among those caught were Fred Swift, Christopher Ogden, Jame Ashworth, Henry Cowell, Thomas Davies , Albert Edward Hornby, Joseph Myers, Frank Taylor, Harry Whitehead, Fred Fish and George Dewhurst. Mrs Jane (Jinnie) Swift, Fred’s mother, tried to prevent the police from bundling her son into the van, a protective mother whose other son Frank was to become the celebrated Manchester City and England goalkeeper. Fred Swift, would have been 18 years old at the time, and he himself kept goal for various clubs, beginning his career at Fleetwood, before moving to Blackpool briefly. Frank, who would have been just 13 yrs old at the time, and not invloved in the gambling, died at Munich in 1958 while reporting for The News Of The World, after his playing career was over. His former team mate Matt Busby from Man City, had tried to lure Frank over to the ‘other side’. Such was Frank’s popularity that his paper received condolences from all over the world including a personal regret from one, Senor Bernabeau, president of Real Madrid.
Frank, at 6’2” and 14 stone in his playing days was, however, not the macho swaggerer. Though his physique was ideal for pushing and rowing the family pleasure boat out and of blocking the goalmouth of his playing career, a certain sensitivity perhaps, which lent itself to journalism and a likeable character, encouraged his pre-match nerves and saw him faint at the final whistle of the cup final against Portsmouth which Manchester City had dramatically won.
Fred Swift, Frank’s elder brother had a different temperament. A goalkeeper like his brother, a boatman like his brother, lifeboat man, a petty crook, a victim of violence…. In 1931 he was fined by Chorley magistrates for not being able to produce a certificate of insurance for his motor car. But it wasn’t the only penalty in Fred’s life since, while playing in goal for a successful Chorley team he had scored a penalty to create a fifth goal for the team. In May 1935, while Thomas Lawrence ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ was lying critically ill in hospital at Bovington camp, Fred Swift was transferred from Oldham to Bolton. He was a boatman in 1935, when a woman’s body was spotted in the sea off North pier and, at the request of the police, Fred and his brother Alfred accompanied the lifeboat Coxswain, C Cartmell in their pleasure craft. It was excitement for the crowd on the shore, who watched the boat for over an hour. Though the men reached the body, a strong swell took it under the water before they could retrieve it. It was found the following morning at low water by a man strolling along the beach.
28/1/1956. Fred became president of the Central Men’s Working Club and was a well-known figure in the Club world.
In November 1957, Fred, as president of the central Working men’s Club, was knocked unconscious by a certain Michael Walsh, of Bethesda Rd, because he wouldn’t allow him membership of the Club. When the doorman had refused him entry (even though his relatives had been allowed in), Michael became a bit miffed, and when Fred, the Club president was called to intervene, Michael Walsh threw a punch at him. It took a ‘cricket punch’ to knock out Fred who, in the above photograph, is almost as tall as his 6’2” brother. 26 yr old Michael Walsh was afterwards on the run for a month, and was lying low because his wife was applying for a Council house and he didn’t want this to go against her. That was his explanation when eventually caught. The case brought to light an alarming prevalence of violence in Blackpool. Michael Walsh was eventually sentenced in Liverpool to two years for the assault.
Fred Swift, a popular man in the entertainments world, died in 1971 and was cremated at Carlton cemetery in February.
In August 1927, 20 yr old Charles Burke of Ibbison Street was sentenced to four months hard labour for stealing bicycles from outside both the Cocker Street and South Shore baths.
In September 1929 Lilian Fish aged 39 was found dead in bed at her home at 57 Ibbison Street. For many years she had been subject to attacks of epilepsy.
In October 1929 Margaret Elena Ogden of Back Ibbison St was witness to a fatal accident in which a mother and adult daughter from Blackburn were knocked down and killed by a reversing charabanc. It was a rather tragic trip to see the Illuminations which had only been shining again for a couple of years after being turned off during the War. Today, in a safety conscious and legally obliged world, we would always have a banksman to assist in reversing.
In July 1930, Tom Rimmer, fish merchant and lifeboat crew member, of Ibbison Street, plunged into the sea fully clothed at Manchester Square to rescue a dog which had followed a ball into the water. There was a heavy sea, but he was able to rescue the dog and, for his actions, received the bronze medal from the RSPCA.
In May 1931 Captain Erskine-Bolst, the National Conservative candidate for the Parliamentary seat in Blackpool, came up against the first heckling of the campaign in a packed meeting at the Revoe school.
In 1931 at the election of the new mayor, Councillor Newsome, who had spent most of his life close to Central Pier, it was recalled that the Coucillor might not have been here at all, ‘but for the kindly aid of an old lady who lived in Ibbison Street, and who rescued him in his early days from a pond that used to be situated in the district’. Even the status of future mayors, it is revealed, have a place on Ibbison Street, and took risks like playing by ponds when their mothers no doubt had forewarned them of the dangers.
In 1931 Victor Charles Kearton, a butcher of Ibbison St was remanded for a week on a charge of embezzling 7s 9d (44p approx.) from his employer.
Sometime in the early 1930’s George Reed moved from Ibbison St to Palatine Rd, just off Park Rd. By now he was completely blind, and his joinery tools had been laid up for the last time. While his wife worked herself to the bone in running the boarding house, he immersed himself in the extremes of religious passion, eventually becoming a minister of the Plymouth Brethren and expounding his anti-papist views from a booth on Central Promenade. A group of Catholic girls from St Cuthberts School used to be entertained by the blind man with the flowing white beard, giggling openly because they knew he couldn’t see them. He broke the heart of one of them when she found out he was to be her future father-in-law. Conflict. I saw my grandad for the first time when I was about 18 years old. He fondled the faces of his grandchildren in order to get a mental picture of the physiognomy. His son was very much different. He thumped his father for belting his sister when she came in late one night (a female out in the streets after 9pm could only be selling or offering her sexuality gratuitously, or at the very last enticing lewd thoughts into the minds of men who were free to walk the streets at any time.) There was a spirit of justice and survival in my Dad which could well have reflected the natural education he had received on Ibbison Street.
In December 1932 William Rossall was fined 10s (50p) for receiving bets on Ibbison St. He is described as a ‘cripple’, not having the full use of his legs, and relying on sticks.
In February 1933, 6yr old Sarah Whittington, of Chadwick Street, a pupil at Revoe school, was knocked down and killed on Grasmere Road near the gymnasium. There were many witnesses to the accident, who saw the girl run into the road without looking.
In June 1933 Peter Hardman of 102 Ibbison was in Victoria Hospital after falling off the back of a donkey and breaking his leg while riding on the sands.
December 1933 saw the death of Alderman Henry Brown. At 77 years of age, he was the oldest member of the Town Council. Born in Freckleton, he lived most of his life in the Revoe district. His father was a brick manufacturer, and he and his brothers followed him into the building trade and were responsible for much of the construction of Central Drive and Grasmere Rd. In his early days in Revoe he remembers the farmland and outstretching fields, and when Central Drive was little more than a lane. He retired from building and opened up a grocer’s shop on Ibbison Street. As a Councillor, he represented Foxhall Ward, and he had married Anne Lewis, a Blackpool woman who survived him along with two daughters and a son. On the day of his funeral at the Chapel Street Methodist Church, all the blinds of the houses in the district were closed.
In 1933 when people polished their shoes, or paid someone to do it for them, Tom Jones a labourer and shoe black of Ibbison St, had had his shoe stand impounded by the police for ‘having an abusive manner to the public’. When he arrived at the police station to claim his stand back, he became abusive and assaulted an officer for which he was sent to prison for one month.
In April 1933 19 yr old Walter Hull was seen in Ibbison St wearing a gold watch and gold and platinum wristband valued at a total of £15. As ‘it appeared to be too expensive a kind for a person of Hull’s station of life, and the locality in which he lived, people became suspicious as to how he came by it’. He had actually taken it from the pocket of a jacket left in a car near the Bloomfield Rd ground while Blackpool were playing Bolton.
In 1933 the problem of the flooding caused by the overflowing Spen Dyke had not been satisfactorily resolved. The residents of houses in the Revoe area were in constant fear of flooding, and the local flooding of 1933 was no exception.
Also in Nov 1933 there was an unusual first for Blackpool when old girl members of Palatine school took off their clothes on the amateur stage. ‘Old’, of course here, means ‘young’,- such is language – and referred to ‘former’, as they are later described as young women. However, the completely undressed shape and form of the ideal female body would not have been on display as they only changed their dresses in full view of the audience, no doubt revealing only the voluminous underwear of the day. It was worth a mention in the papers, but it hadn’t created a great stir. Because it was Blackpool perhaps?
In February 1934, 40 yr old Mary Gillet was seriously ill in hospital after fainting and falling onto the fire in her home on Ibbison Street.
In1934 when Manchester City beat Portsmouth in the FA Cup Final, the bond between a mother and son of Ibbison St was demonstrated. At the final whistle, 19 yr old Frank Swift, the goalkeeper slumped to the ground in a faint at the realisation of winning. His mother in the crowd, on witnessing this, fainted also, and came round a few minutes later to witness her eldest son Fred, in the crowd with her, holding a glass of water to her mouth. At Frank’s homecoming, there was a Union Jack fluttering outside No 33 Ibbison St and the street was bedecked with bunting.
In July 1934 Mrs Bibby of Ibbison Street won the first prize for being the owner of the donkey that won the Derby at the gala of the Our lady Star of the Sea Church gala, held at the greyhound track on St Annes Rd.
In 1934, during an epidemic of housebreaking, three men, Thomas Bucke, James McCormick and John Frederick Swift (26 yrs old and who had an address on Bloomfield Rd), pleaded guilty to breaking into the warehouse of Messrs John Smith’s Tadcaster Brewery Co Ltd Back Ibbison Street and stealing 538 small bottes of whisky and brandy, and other articles with a total value of £63 14s 6d. (£63.72 approx). They had got in through a skylight in the roof. Bucke was sentenced to 15 months hard labour, and Swift to nine months. McCormick was let off by being bound over for 12 months because, it was believed, he had been led on by the other two.
In 1935 Joseph Christopher Ogden was found dead in his house in Back Ibbison Street. He had gassed himself and efforts to revive him by the doctor had failed.
In May 1935 James Birkett, a donkey and second hand horse dealer, of Ibbison St bought a car for £4 and allowed James Hogarth of Central Drive, who was desperate for a job, to drive it for him. Unfortunately he found himself before Fleetwood magistrates, summoned on eight counts of motoring offences . In his defence, he claimed ignorance of motoring laws, ‘I will never have anything else to do with motor cars again. I will stick to donkeys.’ All the cases were dismissed on payment of costs. He subsequently sold the car for 65s (£3.25).
In December 1935 Samuel Womack Junior of 88 Ibbison St who died in the October, left £2,126 11s 6d (£2,126.57p approx.) with £1,815 18s 2d (£1,815.81p approx.) as net personalty.
In December 1935 at the monthly meeting of the Blackpool Education Committee, Mr D T Setterington, headmaster of Palatine School, received a certificate of merit for his long service from the mayor. He had been at the school since 1922 (…..and signed my Dad’s annual school reports).
In 1935 Mr J R Robinson, the National Conservative parliamentary candidate, faced fierce and continued heckling during a political meeting at the Bethesda School on Kent Rd. He then went on to Revoe School. Brave, determined, or foolish?
In January 1937 Arthur Ford was bound over in the sum of £10 for assaulting his mother-in-law Mary Emma Whiteside of Ibbison St. His address is given as Larkhill St, so he is presumably estranged from his wife whose address is given as Ibbison St. He was also fined 2s 6d (12p) for damaging windows at her home, and the same amount for damaging windows at his wife’s.
In May 1937 gang warfare hit the streets of Blackpool, according to the prosecution of two alleged gang members from Glasgow and London respectively. On Central Drive outside the George Hotel, claw hammers were used in a fight, and there were allegations of razors and knuckle-dusters being used earlier at the Palace. Feet were used to kick the victims once on the floor, and the girls got involved too. It was alleged that the Glasgow gang had come to down to face-off with a gang on Ibbison Street.
In June 1937 the new Sunday trading laws (Sunday Trading Restrictions) were in place, but not everybody knew about them. Nominal fines of 6s (30p) were imposed among others upon Harry Allday, a fancy goods dealer of Chapel Street and Arthur Kirk a fish and chip proprietor of Ibbison Street.
In September 1937 Christopher Ogden of Ibbison Street was drunk and disorderly on Bank Hey Street after drinking ‘Red Biddy’ (a mixture of red wine and methylated spirits.) He was fined for assaults on a police officer and barmen. He was also fined 40s (£2) for causing a scene and inciting a crowd to violence against the police outside a snack bar in Blackpool in August 1942. He was also caught, after a chase down the streets, of breaking into (with two others) and stealing from the Crown Bottling Stores of Ripon Rd. Evidently, he was a committed law-breaker and perhaps, if Joseph Christopher Ogden, was his father, there would be some indication of a motive towards his suicide.
In November 1937 the occupants of Ibbison Street were again the victims. Ada Chadwick had £6 stolen from her by her lodger, 18yr old Jean Duncan from Birmingham, who was working as a waitress.
In July 1938 Richard Smith of Wildman Street and Archie Walmsley of Ibbison Street were each given nine months imprisonment with hard labour for breaking and entering a warehouse in Cocker Street and stealing cigarettes and property to a total value of £103 4s (£103.20p). Walmsley also had broken into the Northern Embroidery Co Ltd. Their alibis were blown because finger prints were found on the jemmy which had been used to wrench the safe away from the wall.
In June 1939 the junior half-length race for girls at the Blackpool swimming gala at Derby baths, was won by P Merrill of Revoe school.
In 1939 Moses Louis Parker, a showman, of Ibbison Street was among several men who were charged with stealing nearly £300’s worth of wire. He was considered the brains behind the operation, and was accused of receiving the wire after it had been stolen. When he was sentenced his wife threw a scene in court, claiming ‘He’s not as bad as you make him out to be!’ He had a string of previous convictions including prison terms, and was given a further prison sentence. In 1953 Dorothy Ann Parker divorced her husband on the grounds of his adultery.
In 1939, as the Second World War was under way, the sea didn’t cease to be a challenge to those who used it, and it took life as much as enemy ordnance could. A shipwreck off the Fylde coast was a ship in distress whether or not it was in peace or war, and it took medal-worthy courage to step from the land into the water to rescue the lives of fellow men in acute danger of drowning. The crew of the Blackpool lifeboat ‘Sarah Ann Austin’ that stepped into the dangers of the sea in November 1939 included the Rimmers of Ibbison St. The ship in distress was the Liverpool pilot boat, Charles Livingstone. Without the use of direction equipment, which was banned in wartime, it had grounded on a sandbank in the darkness of a 3 o’clock winter morning off Ainsdale. The crew, who thought that the ship was two miles from the shore but in fact, it was only 500 yards, stayed put, and had they known this they would all have reached the shore safely. Over twenty men from the ship lost their lives. In the later enquiry one pilot thought that the boat might have been on Hilbre island and another, off Rhyl flats (in the Dee estuary off the Wirral). Wherever they thought they were, they had hoped however, to re-float on the incoming tide, but this eventually proved impossible as the seas inundated the vessel, leaving the remaining crew clinging to the rigging. Out of the darkness and into the light of the morning, courageous attempts from the shore were made by the onlookers at Ainsdale, Southport. Men could be seen dropping off the rigging one by one through exhaustion or the violence of the sea, and rescuers, (including a woman ambulance driver) waded waist deep onto the sea and did manage to retrieve and resuscitate a couple of men. There were six men left clinging to the rigging when the Blackpool lifeboat arrived, and it was only the skill and experience of the coxswain William Parr in keeping the boat alongside the wreck until the men, too exhausted to even speak after their eight hour ordeal, had been safely taken into the lifeboat and landed on the shore. But the dangers to the lifeboat crew were not over. On the way back to Blackpool, a wave hit the boat broadside and washed two crew members into the sea. Jack Gerard was clinging to the lifeline at the side of the boat but Frank Cornall jnr was 20 yards away and almost out of sight. ‘I thought it was all up,’ reminisced Frank afterwards ‘but I managed to keep afloat and the crew were very quick in coming round to me’. Once on shore both Jack Gerard and Frank Cornall went back home to get dry and changed, and then returned to their crewmates to help with the boat. All in a day’s work. The following day, the lifeboat was out again and brought in an overturned lifeboat from an unknown vessel. On December 8th, during a supper given by the Mayor in Blackpool for the lifeboat crew, and after a silent toast to the seamen who had lost their lives, the seven crew were given £5.15s (£5.75p) each from the funds from the Blackpool Branch of the RNLI.
This picture hasn’t travelled well. It reads, ‘Members of the Blackpool Lifeboat crew who saved six members of the Liverpool pilot boat at Ainsdale yesterday. Left to right; T Rimmer (chief engineer), F Cornall, senior (sub-coxswain), J. Rimmer ((bowman), J. Gerrard, F Cornall, junior (second engineer), and W Parr (coxswain). Another member of the crew, R Cartmell was absent when the photograph was taken. J Gerrard and F Cornall, junior were both swept overboard during the lifeboat’s return towards Blackpool and afterwards rescued. Turn to page 3 for the full story.
Photo; The Lancashire Daily Post
The crew in the Sarah-Ann Austin from E-bay
In 1940 Flying officer Herbert John Woodward, an ex Revoe pupil, and currently a Spitfire pilot, was awarded the DFC. The news was cheered, in these war years, when received at his old school, Blackpool Grammar, where he had been a prominent rugby player.
In February 1941 Andrew McCandlish of Jameson Street, a scaffolder, was one of two men accused of receiving stolen fur coats. Christopher Ogden of Ibbison Street was a witness to the swap in a pub via a suitcase. The fur coats had allegedly come from the ruined stock of a bombed shop in Manchester. Both men received prison sentences with hard labour.
In June 1942 17 yr old Ernest John Bickerstaffe a plasterer of Ibbison Street was drunk and disorderly, and assaulted a police officer in an amusement arcade in Blackpool. As an underage drinker, he was bailed for £10 with a further surety of £10 from his father, and that he reported to the police station twice daily.
In May 1944, 28 yr old Joseph Patrick Higgins, a window cleaner of Back Ibbison Street was in court on a charge of thefts, including one from the holdall of a WAAF. In all, his thefts amounted to £115. His brother Stanley was in court to plead for him. On leave from the Eighth Army, and soon to return where it ‘would not be much fun’, he was wearing the African Star and, with tears in his eyes, he said he would ‘knock him straight himself’ if he didn’t improve. It worked with the magistrate and Patrick was remanded on bail for three months to see how he behaved. I haven’t found a death for Stanley so it may be that he survived the War but whether he had to knock his brother into shape is not known!
In 1945 a safe containing £800 was stolen from a house in Ibbison St while the occupants were out. The money was takings and demonstrates that not all the folk of the Street were poor or incapable of making money.
In March 1947 21 yr old unemployed Anthony Kyle of Back Ibbison Street was caught after a police chase through the streets. Three men had been seen loitering in a shop doorway by the night watchman from the roof of the Co-op Emporium and who phoned the police. Bail was refused because Anthony Kyle was wanted for a similar offence in Preston.
In September 1947 a fight and attempted murder outside Central Station, involved 34 yr old Thomas Johnston, a traveller, from Back Ibbison St. Johnson ran in front of a taxi in which his intended victim was travelling, forcing it to stop. Opening the door, he pulled the trigger of his gun at point blank range, but the gun didn’t fire (the wrong bullets had been loaded into it). For some reason Thompson had vowed to kill his victim after an altercation, in which tables and chairs were disturbed, Wild West saloon style, in a town centre pub. When eventually arrested, Thomson was found with a razor.
In November 1951 27 yr old Madge Higginbottom (real name Madge Leadbetter) of Back Ibbison St, a prostitute, was found dead in a house in York St. (another report says Oddfellow St). There was a light on in the house, and the patrolling police office knew that the occupant was away at the time. Getting the key off a neighbour, the body was found in the house. The story, and the surrounding underworld of Blackpool, is ably told by Martin O’Callaghan https://blackpoolcrime.wordpress.com/. Norman Mitchell, a miner working in Barnsley, and variously known as Alley Pan and Tarzan, who was accused of the murder, had his charge commuted to manslaughter due to lack of evidence. The house in York St was the home of Mitchell’s parents.
In 1953 Thomas Hardman, of 102 Ibbison St, ex seaman, and Tom Rimmer, lifeboat mechanic, attempted to rescue a 54 yr old lodger from a the bedroom of a house in Sutton Close, which was seen to be ablaze at 1am, by Harold Cox of 69 Ibbison street. Tom Rimmer, more accustomed to rescuing folk from the salty waters of the sea, was beaten back by the thick smoke, and Thomas Hardman put up a ladder to the window and smashed the glass with his bare hands. Eventually the fire brigade arrived and continued the rescue.
In June 1953 a house at 88 Ibbison St was advertised in the papers at a cost of £2,500. Ibbison St was described as a ‘working class area.’ It was a mixed business with a bakehouse and two large bedrooms, and a vacant house next door. Why it should have been advertised with a vacant property next door is unknown; perhaps it was an indication of safety not to have neighbours in the street or, perhaps, it was a caveat towards empty properties not being desirable.
July 1956 saw the death of 55yr old George Pearson Ford at Victoria Hospital. A stalwart of the teaching profession, he began his teaching career at Revoe in 1925, and went on to teach for 35 years at Palatine. Sport was his special interest, and he was chairman of the Lancashire Schoolboys Football Association. From his coaching, many footballers developed into top division players. George was the son of Ezra Ford, Liberal councillor and conscientious objector of the First War.
In November 1956 Roy Walsh an old boy of Palatine School was picked for the British Olympic swimming team.
In September 1956, 44 yr old Harry Carpenter, an old boy of both Revoe and Palatine Schools was installed as president of the Association of Public Lighting Engineers. He was in charge in Blackpool of both the street lighting and the Illuminations, and he promoted the greater safety of the streets especially at night. He recalls the times of over a hundred years ago when there was no street lighting at all, and indeed there was stern opposition to it at the time, owing to the ‘fact’ that ‘it would destroy the divine order between night and day, and people would be tempted to remain longer in the streets at night and so catch colds’. Such is the opposition to change!
In July 1957 after being punished and sent to bed for playing truant from Revoe school by their mother, two young boys, nine year old Roy and six year old Raymond Molyneux, ran away from home. (It’s assumed they were eventually found and brought back home.)
1958 saw the Munich disaster, an event which killed many of the Manchester United players on their way home from playing in Europe. I was nine at the time and all the street football names (before we were prevented from playing in the (largely car-free) road by any of several parents) were all Manchester United based. However, it was also the crash which killed one of the most popular Manchester city payers, now journalist, Frank Swift. http://bluemoon-mcfc.co.uk/News/Article.aspx?id=487#.WblxRsiGPIU, Blackpool born, and Ibbison St resident. On his death, the News of The World for which he was reporting as a journalist, received condolences from round the world. He had been Manchester City goalkeeper and the first goalkeeper in the C20th to captain England. Fred Swift, his brother, first played as a goalkeeper for Fleetwood before moving to other clubs. They had boats on Blackpool foreshore. Frank, who was also described as a director of a catering firm, left over £3,500 in his will, showing that a boy from Ibbison St could make it good, find fame and reasonable fortune and even shake the hand of the king (though I would preferably shake the hand, in admiration, of Jinnie Swift, his mother, any day).
In the 1959/60, football season, it was the turn of another Revoe resident, George Eastham, to become prominent in the football headlines. The high value of transfers in the football markets of today owe their origins to a football family of Revoe, and the stubbornness and determination of one of its members. George Eastham his father, (mentioned in the article above from the Liverpool Echo of January 1939) had spells as a manager and player (he had played for Blackpool before being transferred to Brentford) and introduced his son to football.
George Eastham went on strike while playing for Newcastle because the club would not give him a transfer on his request. The clubs owned the players at time in a kind of slavery contract, keeping their registrations yet not allowing them to play. Though Newcastle eventually caved in and he went to Arsenal, he took on the Football League in a protracted court case which he eventually won, thus allowing the modern footballer (or at least his highly paid agent) to freely barter his footballing assets.
Gerry Wolstenholme at;
would also suggest Yaggie Harry Read of 45 Ibbison St and also show that George Eastham’s uncles and father all played for Blackpool at one time before moving on to other clubs. Other noted Revoe footballers, and Blackpool players, Dave Durie, (doubling up as a Methodist minister) and Jimmy Armfield who after his single club playing days at Blackpool (and a member of the successful 1966 world cup squad with George Eastham) became a sports radio broadcaster.
In 1896, without a School Board in Blackpool, the Education department had deplored the inadequate provision of elementary schools in the town and, by June 1899, with a School Board now in place, the committee decided to erect a temporary school building in the playground of the Kent Rd schools to house the children who would be turned out ‘on to the streets’ since that school had been condemned by the Education Department, and would have to close. A further committee was appointed to meet in a month’s time to decide on the siting of the new school in Revoe.
For this purpose, the Board was asked to approve the purchase of 7,240 sq yds of land on the west side of Central Road for the purpose of building a school at Revoe, at a cost of £1850. A temporary school was also needed to accommodate the children from Kent Road School which had now closed. The temporary school would be divided into infants and mixed departments. The infants department headmistress would have a salary of £90, assistant mistress £60; and ex-pupil teacher £45. In the mixed department the headmaster would have a salary of £150, assistant mistress £60, and ex-pupil teacher £45. In November of 1899 Mr J Rigby was appointed headmaster of the new Revoe temporary school, though his appointment was not unanimous as he was involved with the Congregational school which might carry with it ‘a certain, denominational influence.’
In February 1900 the plans for the new school at Revoe were approved by the Education department.
In August 1900 the Blackpool School Board agreed to apply for the borrowing of £16,000 for the new school at Revoe. Work would also begin on the siting of the Devonshire road school.
On Sep 8 1900 the foundation stone of Revoe School was laid by Mr W C Thompson, chairman of the Blackpool School Board.
In October of that year the plans for heating and ventilation by the architect of Revoe school, Mr Crawford, were approved by the Blackpool School Board. The purchase of the land for the school had been completed, and it was agreed to increase the salaries of Miss Selina Wood, assistant mistress at (presumably the temporary school) Revoe to £70, Miss Hutchinson infant mistress at Chapel Street to £85 and Mr Charles Wrigley school attendance officer to £1 7s 6d (£1.37 approx) per week. The school leaving age is 13/14 years of age, usually provable with a birth certificate before work could be acquired. The ventilation appeared to be quite adequate and of good design, but it wasn’t entirely free from criticism as later on it was claimed by one Councillor that it merely helped the fumes and the smoke from the nearby brickworks at St John’s to circulate through the building. Ignorance perhaps or a valid point?
In 1902 the school Board was pressing for a completion date for the school, and it was hoped to be fixed for April 7th. It will be the first of the three schools to be completed, (Claremont and South Shore, the others). Despite the generous dimensions of the new school, because of the large amount of children in the area, the temporary school, recently closed, would have to be continued since some of the infant classrooms had been taken over for the juniors. It was argued that it would be necessary to build an extension of the existing school to accommodate the infants.
The completed school (built by Messrs Jacob Parkinson and Sons) did eventually open on the proposed date of Monday April 7th 1902. ‘This school is the first of its kind to be erected in Blackpool’. A site was selected fronting Central Road with streets to be formed on the three other sides, and having a gentle fall to the West.’ A modern school, it cost £17,424 and had an intake of 1,047 children and a staff of 31.
By March 1903 the school was so full that the temporary school, recently closed, would have to be re-opened. The 1902 education Act, now in force, put obligation upon the local councils to provide for education. With the rising population, the construction of more schools was debated, including a further one near Revoe.
In October 1902 the school was flexing its political muscle when it fined James Newsham 5s (25p) for not sending his son to school. He claimed that because his son ‘did not know his letters’ despite being 13yrs old, he was to be put in the preparatory school in order to start from scratch, and he felt that this was demeaning.
By April 1904 a new school had been opened on the corner of ‘Waterloo Road and Bloomfield Rd’ (there is no such corner; probably should be Waterloo Rd and Ansdell Rd) to accommodate 359 scholars from Revoe to ease the oversubscription of places. During the day 103 children were entered upon the books from the Marton and Hawes Side areas.
By October 1904 Revoe was competently competing in the Blackpool musical festival, and by June 1906 the reputation of the school’s children’s choir had reached great heights. It had already won the trophy three times. On this occasion at the Lytham Festival the judges were so impressed that they decided to award each child an individual medal. In 1907 they won the Challenge Banner Trophy again. The conductor of the choir was Mr J R Rigby, the headmaster. They did not compete for some reason in 1909 but by then they had won the competition for five years in a row.
In 1908 the school football team was top of the schools’ league, having played eight games, lost none and drawn three. Other schools in the local league, both voluntary and board, included Devonshire Rd, South Shore, Adelaide street, St John’s, Victoria, Claremont, Christ Church, Talbot Rd, Marton, St Cuthbert’s and Waterloo.
In May 1908 at the Lytham Music Festival Miss Myrtle Gardner ‘presided over a little troupe of Revoe Council school children’, who came a good third with their rendition of ‘Little Drummers’. They ‘had a fine military bearing, and their evolutions were marked with precision and their singing was very sweet’.
In April 1909 three football players from Revoe; Salisbury, Benson and Bonny were in the Blackpool schools elementary representative team to play an equivalent team from Preston. The match was to be played at Blackpool’s South Shore ground, and even then was billed as a keen game between the two sides.
On the 12th April 1915, as the First World War had been raging for a few months, a Catholic school for 220 Belgian refugee schoolchildren was opened at Revoe, where several classrooms were put aside for them, (a standard rent was charged). There was also another 150 schoolchildren in various other schools in the town. The school at Revoe was the first of its kind to be established in the country, and its model was used for different parts of the country. Mother (‘Mere’) Angelo was in charge of the largely Catholic, Belgian school and she had three sisters of the Ursuline Order to assist her. But facilities were provided for other religious denominations.
In August 1917, Mr John Rigby headmaster of Revoe received notification that his son, 2nd Lieutenant Carl Rigby, was missing in France. In April 1919 his son re-surfaces in the news at a dinner to entertain the returned prisoners of war referring to the dedicated work done by Mr Bentley and the women who worked tirelessly in arranging and sending parcels to the POWs. Carl Rigby stated that all the returned prisoners were ‘grateful for what had been done for them, and had it not been for the parcels sent many of them would never have returned.’
In February 1918 Revoe School contributed £400 in the Julian the tank appeal at Talbot Square. Palatine contributed £1,000, Christ church £320, Claremont £170 and Ashburton Rd £62. The children, gathered in the Square, had their war savings certificate stamped at the tank.
In February 1918 a boy charged with stealing an overcoat from Revoe school was ordered to have three strokes with the birch.
On the last day of February 1919, the Belgian refugee children at the school broke up for the last time. They were on their way back to Belgium with their families who had been in the town for four years. They were sent off with cheers and tears from North Station en route for Hull, and home.
In November 1920 the ‘play centre’ at the Revoe School was opened. It was an after-hours centre separately for both girls and boys. It included arts and crafts and storytelling, and was generally for keeping idle hands occupied and energetic minds interested. By May 1921 however, it was due to close, since the Council didn’t want to put up the £1,000 for its upkeep. By November of 1921, it must have earned a reprieve for its success and popularity, and the good work done, was such that the Council hoped that the ratepayers would not object to the £200-300 a year for its upkeep, and were keen to open another play centre in the town.
In October 1925 Elizabeth Packard of Erdington Road was fined 20s on more than one count for assaulting the head teacher of the girl’s school, Myrtle E Garner. She carried a brief case which served as an enlarged handbag for hitting the teacher. It seems that Mrs Packard, a somewhat troubled woman, was incensed that her daughter had been kept behind for extra tuition for which she was, it was claimed by the school, in severe need.
In December 1929 three youths (one with an address in a caravan at Piccadilly, Blackpool) were caught stealing a bicycle from outside Revoe School. In court, it was evident they had been systematically stealing bicycles over a period of time, and swapping the parts so that the bikes would become unrecognisable before selling on.
In November 1929, in the Blackpool Juvenile Court, three boys, two aged 12 and one 11 were charged with stealing money from the handbag of schoolteacher Mrs.Edna Hirst at Revoe school. They had spent their ill-gotten gains within the neighbourhood, and one boy had buried some of his booty, which was later found, in the churchyard near his home. Another had bought a puppy which was a surprise to his father; one took a pound note back to his parents and another invested 2s 11d (nearly 15p) in a Christmas club in a shop. Two of the boys, it seemed had been led on by the younger boy who had been before the court previously and had got off because of his skills at lying. The two older boys were given suspended sentences, but for the youngest offender, ‘a dose of the birch was the better course’.
In June 1931 Miss Edith Wolstencroft was given two days leave from Revoe School to attend her investiture by the King at Buckingham Palace. She was to receive the honour of a Serving Sister of the Order of St John for her ambulance work.
In August 1933, Miss Margery Cleator, assistant mistress at Revoe Junior Boy’s School for eight years was married at the Wesley Methodist Church Fleetwood. Both bride and groom were Fleetwood residents.
In June 1934 6yr old Duncan Stott Jackson, formerly junior swimming champion of Palatine School, and working as a pier attendant, heard a woman screaming in the water, ran a hundred yards and dived over the side into the choppy sea. It was a difficult rescue with a struggling subject and the current taking them dangerously towards the steel girders of the pier. Nearing the shore, a boatman, Albert Cornall and another man waded in to the sea to collect the exhausted couple. Despite his confidence in his bronze medal for life saving proficiency it was nevertheless a very brave rescue. Albert Cornall claimed, ‘It was the bravest rescue I have ever seen, and I have seen a few at Blackpool.’
In October 1935, Thomas Wood and E Thompson regretted in a letter to the newspaper that the Revoe’s Boy’s Club had received little support from an appeal.
In February 1937, and regarding higher education, the modernising of Revoe Gymnasium (which would be completely overhauled) and the preparation of a scheme for the structural alteration of the Palatine schools was undertaken.
In 1937 in the education Committee’s five year plan had costed in it, among prospective building work including Talbot Rd bus station, an extension to Revoe School.
In October 1938 7yr old piano prodigy, Margaret Galley played for the children at Revoe School. She had been able to practise on the piano of 13yr old Phyllis Boar, the Blackpool pianist (also, it would seem quite a prodigy).
In February 1945 a weekend of school drama arranged in conjunction with the Community Council of Lancashire was held at Revoe school.
In 1953 Henry Beaumont retired as a teacher from the Blackpool Grammar School. He was the rugby master of Monty’s Bantams, a junior rugby side. He started his career as a pupil teacher at Revoe in 1903. …Beaumont…a familiar name to Fylde rugby.
In 1953 nine year old Linda Wild of Park Rd, a pupil at Revoe School was chosen from 40 competitors to sing solo in the Wykeham Parry Cup. (Not sure what this cup represents as it refers to dance in the 2017 Lytham St Annes Festival of Performing Arts of 2017.
Sources and Acknowledgements
Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).
Sometimes it’s the picture that makes the story and other times it’s the story that makes the picture. The view of the street that would have been familiar to my father’s eyes, materialises here at Revoe Forever
Lynn Richardson and the Blott studios Revoe Forever here;
Nick Moore here;
Alan Stott is featured here;
Gerry Wolstenholme’s football information here
England Football online here re Frank Swift
Martin O’C’ and Madge Leadbetter murder here;
Blackpool Pubs by Allan Wood and Chris Bottomley here;
The Revoe Foerever Facebook pages.
Further reading of course, Revoe Forever by Shirley MacCartan.