Monday November 7th sees Crossley's Bridge finally closed to allow contractors
begin demolition of the road crossing over the railway line linking Blackpool North with the west coast mainline at Preston. Readers may wonder just why Crossley's Bridge figures repetitively in these blogs - and an explanation is due. Crossley's at one time was Blackpool's leading timber merchant with a large multi storey facility next to the bridge complete with its own siding. The company had a small and somewhat ramshackle shed on the premises into which all the offcuts from its operation were dumped. These were then made available as firewood and kindling to anyone ready to pay sixpence for a large sackload or a shilling for a greater quantity. In those days most houses in the locality had coal fires and stoves which needed a new fire each day (in cold months) for which wood kindling was needed to get the fire going. A small stream of home made carts, old prams and similar hand pulled (or pushed) wagons would arrive usually on Saturdays to load up (you had to load yourself) after paying the relevant amount at the entrance to the property. I was one of many youngsters familiar with this local resource and made regular weekly trips with a handcart. My pocket money was thus augmented, however slightly. In those days firelighters were expensive and wood kindling was valued as a cheap means of ensuring the coal would catch light quickly. There was a knack to doing this by covering the front of the fireplace with newspaper so the air draft from the chimney would fan the initial flames. Of course you had to be careful to ensure that newspaper itself didn't catch fire - an fortunately this was relatively rare but I recall being told to wait until
the coals had caught the flame before taking the newspaper away.
The final weekend of the 9 Service across Crossley's Bridge with 402 descending northbound from the bridge and traversing the traffic light controlled junction with Warbreck Hill Road. From today it will be making a sharp turn at this point.
These are all distant memories now, but for many people travelling to and from Bispham the stops for 'Crossley's Bridge' are still recognised as such, even though the company and its operations have long gone. Blackpool Transport have now begun the inevitable diversion of the 9 Service with comments on the resulting experience to follow in good time. An interim new service 6 has commenced to Grange Park via Layton from the town centre to make up for the loss of the 9 service on its traditional run on Talbot Road and Westcliffe Drive to Layton.
Some images from Saturday 5 November when the 9 Service operating the ADL double deckers across Crossley's Bridge (the original one) for the last time.