Morecambe is a seaside resort in north Lancashire, situated on Morecambe Bay. Until the latter part of the 19th century, it was a small fishing village called Poulton-le-Sands, a fact which confused me no end when I discovered my g-g-grandfather living there at the 1871 census, and thought it referred to another Poulton about 18 miles away!
In the mid-19th century the Morecambe Harbour and Railway Company was formed to build a harbour and a connecting railway. A town started to grow up around the port which gradually developed as a seaside resort. This absorbed Poulton village, and also the neighbouring villages of Bare and Torrisholme. The new name of Morecambe was officially adopted in 1889.
By the mid-20th century, Morecambe had become a thriving seaside resort, attracting visitors especially from West Yorkshire (due to the railway link to Skipton and Bradford), and from Scotland. I remember that one week in July was known as ‘Glasgow Week’ when Morecambe seemed to be full of Glaswegians!
More recently, Morecambe has declined. The two piers were lost, one in a storm, and the other by fire. In the 1990’s the fairground and swimming pool also closed. I have happy memories of both from when I was a child.
Recently there have been some efforts to regenerate the resort, and its popularity is gradually reviving.
The Midland Hotel, a landmark art-deco building, was built by the LMS Railway in the 1930’s. Despite being designated as a Grade II listed building, it fell into disrepair in the 1970’s but has recently been refurbished and reopened its doors to the public about 4 years ago.
Another Grade II listed building is the Winter Gardens, where in the 1960’s I saw a lot of variety shows in the theatre and danced in the ballroom. Again this closed in the 1970’s, and sadly the charitable trust formed to preserve the Winter Gardens has not yet been able to raise sufficient funds to restore and refurbish it.
Currently, one of Morecambe’s most famous landmarks is the statue of Eric Morecambe who was born in the town in 1926 and became one of Britain’s best loved comedians, along with his partner Ernie Wise. Eric and Ernie’s Christmas shows were almost mandatory viewing in the late 60’s and 70’s.
Last but not least, one of the reasons I love visiting Morecambe is the wonderful panorama of Lakeland Hills which can be seen across the bay.
All other photos in public doman at Wikimedia Commons