Blackpool Trams in the 1980s



Some years ago I was given an album containing two sets of colour photos of Blackpool trams. One set was taken on a tram journey from South Shore to Bispham in 1985; the others were labelled 'Old trams in service for the 1885-1985 centenary of the Tram service'. I have tried to put the first set of photos in route order and have identified where they were taken.

The photos were taken around the time I moved to Lytham St Annes from Lichfield with my wife and children to work at the new DSS IT site at the old Stocks & Bonds site on Heyhouses Lane. Much of the site became the base for the Information Technology Services Agency (ITSA). In subsequent years, most of ITSA moved to new offices at Peel Park and in 1995 much of the agency's work was outsourced. In recent years, all the buildings on the former Stocks and Bonds site have been completely demolished and replaced by Booths Store, a lacklustre pub, and a large housing estate.

When I moved to Lytham St. Annes, Maggie Thatcher was in her second term as PM; unemployment was running at over 3 Million; the miner's strike had just ended; there had been riots at Handsworth in Birmingham and PC Keith Blakelock had been killed during riots at Tottenham. HIV/AIDS was beginning to spread in the UK and the government AIDS: Don't Die of Ignorance campaign was not far ahead.

On a brighter note, the Live Aid concert took place at Wembley; Dire Straits released their Brothers in Arms album; the charity Comic Relief was founded and Nissan opened their car factory in Sunderland. Mobile phone services had just started and I got my first brick-sized mobile; the short-lived Sinclair C5 electric tricycle appeared; Eastenders had just started on TV; the first UK heart-lung transplant was carried out and Robert Ballard had discovered and photographed the wreck of Titanic - an old friend from Harland & Wolff acted as an adviser to James Cameron when he made his famous film 12 years later. Personal Computers (PCs) were available, but connections were unimaginably slow by modern standards and there was no internet.

It is difficult to believe that these photos are 35 years old. I hope you will find them interesting. If anyone wants to send me further information I would be happy to add it to the site.

I would like to thank members of the History of Blackpool Facebook Group for answering my questions about various features along Blackpool promenade, and for other information recorded by group members.

Brian Watson
20 December 2022

What's New?

  • 15 February 2021: First publication of this material
  • 1 September 2021: Amended to improve readability on mobile devices and style changes for some of the content
  • 20 December 2022: Restyled
  • 3 February 2024: Restyled, photos enlarged and some errors corrected

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