Looking Back: Reliving days when resort was Naples of the North Recapture resort’s heyday in seaside heritage book

Hannah Hayton, centre in leopardskin costume, in a heat of the Miss Great Britain contest at Morecambe.'Among those also pictured are some of the judges on that day, Morecambe and Wise.
Hannah Hayton, centre in leopardskin costume, in a heat of the Miss Great Britain contest at Morecambe.'Among those also pictured are some of the judges on that day, Morecambe and Wise.

Britain’s lost seaside heritage is celebrated in a brand new book which features Morecambe.

Through the stories of the most popular destinations, readers can step back in time to relive the heyday of the Great British seaside.

Morecambe Super Swimming Stadium in its heyday.

Morecambe Super Swimming Stadium in its heyday.

Known as the Naples of the North, Morecambe once boasted two piers, eight cinemas, four dance halls and was flanked at either end by fairgrounds.

Read all about Eric Smith, who in the 1940s brought one of the resort’s most unusual attractions to life.

Eric would spend his summer holidays helping out at the circus.

His dad Frank built a mechnical elephant to make a big impression on Morecambe seafront.

The ride, which was sixpence a time, was so successful that Frank eventually sold a patent to a company who wanted to manufacture a whole herd of the mechnical creatures.

One of Morecambe’s most ambitious projects, the Super Swimming Stadium, opened in July 1936.

The art deco lido was built to capitalise on a swimming boom sweeping across the country.

The stadium itself became a focal point for visitors and those daring enough to brave one of the high diving boards quickly became local celebrities.

In the summer of 1945, a group of young women in swimming costumes and high heels gathered at the side of the pool in the resort’s inaugural Bathing Beauty contest.

By the 1950s, Morecambe and its super swimming stadium had become the focus of every would-be beauty queen.

One of the early winners was the first female Blue Peter presenter Leila Williams and the winner was always guaranteed a place in the ultimate pageant – Miss World.

“Parading in front of a group of guesthouse landlords and ladies does all sound a little old-fashioned now, but then it was an accepted route into show business, “ said Dinah May, who was crowned Miss Great Britain in Morecambe in 1976.

Dinah would later become PA to the film director Michael Winner.

Beside the sea: Britain’s Lost Seaside Heritage, by Sarah Freeman and priced £25, is printed by Aurum Press.

Call 020 7284 9300 or visit www.aurumpress.co.uk.