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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

House Of Lords Moves North ?

John Woodman


With the need for Parliament to find a temporary new home due to need for refurbishment of the structure in Westminster all manner of suggestions on alternative venues have been proffered in recent moned as a prime option in the late 1930s when the British Government awoke to the very real possibility that another war with Germany was actually becoming a reality. Not only were trainloads of children moved away from industrial centres to the Fylde coast to be taken in by hosting families, but entire government departments were shifted en masse to take over some of the resorts larger hotels. York being one city proposed for the House of Commons - for its origins and much else. However this past week has seen Blackpool North's MP Paul Maynard proposing the Winter Gardens complex as a viable venue for the Upper House ; no doubt throwing shivers of anxiety across hundreds of ennobled Peers and management of that Body.


In 1938 Blackpool was selected as a suitable and safer destination for children and families evacuated from industrial centres in England, with trainloads arriving at Blackpool Central and taken by Corporation buses to assigned sponsor homes around the town. Entire Government departments took over certain hotels such as the Norbreck Hydro, while new military headquarters sprang up to serve as administrative and training units for a fast expanding army and airforce. Marton Tram Depot and the recently completed Talbot Road Bus Station's upper levels were given over to RAF technical and aircraft assembly operations. This was in addition to the vastly expanded Vickers Bomber Assembly plant on Squires Gate Lane and aerodrome facility at Stanley Park. Even the Transport Department's estate on Rigby Road was used for training, with consequent need for armed sentries and fencing around the bus and tram depots.


Paul Maynard is to be applauded in raising this alternate use of the Winter Gardens as a temporary home for the House of Lords; offering the potential for year round employment for supporting staff and of course hundreds of hotel rooms being requisitioned to accommodate transplanted Peers and their staff on a semi permanent basis.

1938 Steelwork erected for the new Bus Station and multi=storey car park. St John's Corporation Market can be seen immediately to the left with the Hop Inn just out of camera range. The Bus Station upper levels were requisitioned for the RAF technical training needs immediately the building work was completed in 1939.






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