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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman


Blackpool was once famous for many manufacturing companies in diverse sectors. Sadly most have been absorbed by other businesses and moved on, or run into commercial difficulties and closes; or others for whom their markets have moved on. One notable survivor is the Burton's Biscuit operation on Devonshire Road which is still very much in business under the latest ownership. Booths supermarket firm started its first grocery outlet on Blackpool promenade and has gravitated under the same family ownership into a highly respected, valued retail firm in the northwest. Fisherman's Friend similarly remains in the same family (Lofthouse) ownership providing employment with an international brand headquartered across from Wyre Dock, Fleetwood; whilst Beaverbrook's is another successful Fylde coast family business which has gained a strong market share in its specialist sector of jewellery and watches. And of course the Pleasure Beach company remains in family hands reinvesting in its thrill rides and anchor leisure operation on south Promenade. Blackpool is also fortunate in now having its three piers in strong family ownership.

One name sadly which was submerged in a takeover in the early 1960s was the coach builder HV Burlingham, retaining the founder's name even though he had been bought out by local interests and moved to Garstang to focus on caravan design in the 1930s.

Taken over by the Hendon headquartered Duple company Burlingham survived for a further decade losing on the way its original brand in favour of its successor owner. This didn't last. However the quality design and craftsmanship of the Blackpool firm has become a classic marque in the bus and coach preservation sector. Naturally Blackpool Corporation aided and abetted the growth and success of the business from its formative years in the early 1930s up until the 1950s with successive orders for buses to augment the town's services through the years.

Two classic examples of the Corporation centre entrance double deck buses (246 and 300) built in 1949 and 1951 respectively are kept by private owners and awaiting their time for reconstruction to prime 'as built' condition reflecting the style and level of passenger comfort expected of this municipal operator in the immediate postwar era.

A reminder of what those times:

Salford Corporation tried Burlingham's work with a handful of postwar examples.

Burlingham's postwar series 201 - 250 with 202 acting as the 'press bus'

Burlingham's last delivery for Blackpool Corporation - 301 - 305 in 1957. Lower Saloon

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