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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

The Redundant 'Cabin'

John Woodman

The tram stop on the headland overlooking the Irish Sea and the 'Boating Pool' below was forever associated with the original 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' sited at the edge of the cliffside. A position which became eventually fatal to its structural integrity. Final demolition of the old wooden buildings and installation of the electric tramroad providently located on safer terrain included the construction of a sizeable public house with outside recreation space just east of a tramroad stopping place.

Forever known as 'Cabin', both the stop and the venue, took on especial importance with the later installation of a lengthy passing loop which provided an intermediate terminus for short working Promenade 'Specials' during summer timetables. This also eased pressure on Bispham's short workings at peak times. Never given its full title with the 'Uncle Tom' being tactfully deleted - at least by tram crews and on destination blinds and timetables, over successive decades 'Cabin' became a familiar stopping point and intermediate terminal for northbound trams.

Below : short working for this Lytham Road 'Extra' as it reaches the crest of 'Skew Bridge'. Photo : John Woodman

The busy bar latterly providing televised football matches, was always crowded whenever Blackpool's team was in action on the screen. I recall my visits there when Blackpool FC were on their successful upward trajectory in the football tables under management of Ian Holloway; culminating in a season in the Premiership never to be forgotten. Forever known as the 'Cabin' complete with its own tram stop across from its front door one had the distinctive pleasure of seeing a continuing stream of passing trams outside, whilst following the televised match on multiple large screens within (and replenishing beverages throughout the game).

However. The 'Cabin' is no more; having been taken over by an assertive chain of pubs branded as 'Ma Kellys' - the first of these greets visitors arriving at Blackpool North railway terminus complete with an artistic rendition of the lady herself. The business (I believe) originated in Fleetwood but spread its operations across much of the Fylde coast, possibly with the exception of Lytham. It can only be a brief moment in time before the 'Cabin' tram (and bus) stops are renamed accordingly. When Central Station closed during the 1960s the important intermediate tramway terminus a stone's throw away from the railway terminal abruptly lost its railway nomenclature and became 'Tower' - also a stone's throw away. Renaming tram stops (or stations) along the tramway is a continuing litany of changing era. 'Fishermans Walk' replaced the long familiar 'Ash Street' in Fleetwood, whilst 'Miners Home' has faded into history along with 'Talbot Square' - the latter for the time being perchance. While 'Harrowside' is now the 'Solarium'. One wonders whether new shortworkings will in time emerge for 'Tram Town & Hopton Road'.


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