LOOKING BACK: Movers and shakers of 1944 revealed

The old Empire Theatre complex in Morecambe. Photo was supplied by John and Doreen Read.
The old Empire Theatre complex in Morecambe. Photo was supplied by John and Doreen Read.
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For this week’s Looking Back, we’ve gone back in time to 70 years ago.

A browse through The Visitor yearbook from 1944 reveals some interesting titbits.

The yearbook was a handy guide, published every year, to the movers and shakers in the town, listing the heads of various clubs, organisations and institutions.

The mayor of Morecambe and Heysham at the time was Councillor John Thomas Stansfield, a retired grocer.

Head teacher of Euston Road Junior School was Mr J Drummond, with Miss E Roberts headmistress of the Infants School.

At Balmoral Road Senior School, headmaster was Mr H Pickles. Mr C.T Brammer was the head at my old primary school of Lancaster Road and Mr H Palmer was head of Morecambe Grammar School.

The book contains a list of the main entertainment venues in the town, which were the Winter Gardens, the Morecambe Tower theatre and ballroom, the Empire Theatre complex comprising of the Empire Theatre itself (which opened in 1938), the Floral Hall (1940) and the Arcadian Theatre (1939), the Central Pier, the West End Pier, the Palladium Cinema (whose chairman and managing director was James Caunt, also editor of The Visitor), the Plaza Cinema on Queen Street, the Royalty Theatre on Market Street, the Odeon Cinema on Euston Road (where the DIY shop is now), Morecambe Pleasure Park, the Whitehall Cinema (on the site of the recently burned-down Megazone) and the Palace Theatre at Sandylands.

As the war was still going on, Morecambe had its own chief air raid warden, Captain George Albert Bravin of Bare Lane. His deputy was Alderman Michael Benson of Grange Street, Bare.

A fascinating read for sure.