Marvelling at Morecambe music hall memories

Debbie Cain, whose grandfather was comedian Albert Modley, pictured with a poster of him from the exhibition of old-time entertainment at the new Morecambe Heritage Centre. Pic by Julian Brown.
Debbie Cain, whose grandfather was comedian Albert Modley, pictured with a poster of him from the exhibition of old-time entertainment at the new Morecambe Heritage Centre. Pic by Julian Brown.

A world famous exhibition of 150 years of entertainment has opened in Morecambe in what volunteers hope will be the first step towards a permanent heritage centre in the town.

Ken Bowe’s stunning collection of music hall and variety posters, autographs and memorabilia can now be seen inside the new Morecambe Heritage Centre on the seafront.

Mr Bowe, from Blackpool, has collected the precious items throughout a lifetime of interest in old-time entertainment. Names who appear include Morecambe and Wise, Les Dawson, George Formby, Ken Dodd, Thora Hird, Liberace, Sir Bruce Forsyth and Norman Wisdom. If more funding can be found, organisers hope the temporary centre will house many more nostalgic displays in future.

Christine Stebbing, chairman of the Morecambe Heritage Group, said: “I think it’s absolutely fantastic.

“Ken has offered us this exhibition for as long as we want it.

“We haven’t got anywhere that can showcase Morecambe’s heritage and there’s so much of it.

“We’ve been offered a railway exhibition next.”

The centre is located in the former Taylor’s gift shop on the seafront, next to the Winter Gardens and Bruccianis.

Morecambe Heritage Group is run by volunteers including Mrs Stebbing and Debbie Cain, whose grandfather the late Albert Modley features in the exhibition.

People attending the grand opening on Friday included David Morris, MP for Morecambe, Darren Clifford, chairman of Morecambe Town Council, Amina Lone, who stood against Mr Morris in the recent General Election, town councillor David Brayshaw, city councillor Peter Yates MBE, Mike Fountain, Eric Morecambe’s former chauffeur, and theatre impresario Duggie Chapman MBE.

The centre is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 4pm, until September at the latest. Admission is £2, with £1 of this going to the Grand Theatre at Blackpool, which Mr Bowe supports.

Morecambe Heritage is seeking more volunteers to work in the centre. Anyone interested can contact the group through its Facebook page www.facebook.com/MorecambeHeritage .