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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Walking on the Wild Side : Further Tales of Blackpool Bus Shelters

The Blackpool bus shelter saga hasn't gone away. Despite annual revenue of £300.000 upwards from the advertising contracts on both bus and tram shelters which accrue directly to the Council coffers, little if any of this revenue would seem to be utilised for the upkeep of shelters, maintenance or repair. The only maintenance that is certainly evident is a contractor's replacement and installation of advertising posters on a regular basis.

The growing list of Council owned shelters (which includes those on the tramway) in need of basic repair or complete renewal lengthens daily. A drive around the town provides ample evidence of the deplorable condition of this aspect of Council infrastructure. There are however isolated examples of bus shelters erected to a then corporate (green and cream) design in the 1970s actually still complete and in relative good condition. Bispham Library (the original one) on Bispham Road providing classic shelters from that period unharmed and with fittings and glazing intact. But these sadly are exceptions to the general rule. One shelter in particular on busy Talbot Road was the scene earlier last week of a troubled time table section evidently broken off from its fittings. Leaning against the adjoining iron fencing it has since been removed whether officially or an enterprising souvenir collector is not known.

Ironically a few yards away is the still extant tram shelter which served the Layton service inbound stop at the junction with Devonshire Road. Erected in 1931 (the trams were replaced by buses in 1936) the shelter was positioned here to serve the then important isolation hospital which was sited behind impressive wrought iron fencing still in place in 2018. The hospital facilities are now long gone leaving a flattened site used presently by contractors working on the railway electrification upgrade into North Station. Whilst neglected as is the Council's style these days, this shelter has withstood the usual grafitti and unsocial behaviour of some of the town's populace, with robust wooden seating around the interior and a trace possibly? of the original red paint that adorned the wooden fittings from Blackpool Corporation Tramway days - but I might be overegging this assumption. Nonetheless its a valid one. The shelter can be just seen in the top image - classic period structure from a more benign civic era.

More or less intact interior after nearly eighty years - they dont build public transport shelters like this any more.

Blackpool grafitti in evidence a la roman period predecessors with a neat incision marking the year of 'erection' in the roof beam; together with some nice woodworking touches. Ceiling light fittings still evident.

Possibly lingering evidence of early Blackpool Tramways colours on the wooden bench seating. Not a trace of commercial advertising in sight... All images : John Woodman January 2018

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