A larger-than-life legend of Morecambe passed away last month. We look back at the life of Fred Edmondson.
When The Visitor interviewed Fred Edmondson in 2008 he said: “I have enjoyed life in Morecambe. The town is definitely on its way back.”
Fred was a big champion of Morecambe. In his later years he’d often call The Visitor to talk about goings-on in the town and was keen to share his own memories of an incredible life when the Edmondsons were, and still are, at the forefront of town business.
One of nine children, five boys and four girls, Fred was born into a thriving local firm. His father Charles Edmondson was in the antiques trade and the family had various shops in the area including on Main Street in Heysham village and Barrows Lane.
His grandma, Elizabeth Edmondson, had a fish shop outside the Winter Gardens, sister Anne was friends with Thora Hird and had her own shop – Anne Tique – on North Road in Lancaster, while his brother Jake manned the public weighing scales in Heysham Village for nearly 40 years.
As a boy, Fred went to school with Eric Morecambe and had fond memories of going to the Odeon Cinema (now First Stop DIY) with him. They remained in touch throughout Eric’s life.
Fred had set up a haulage company in 1953. The family-run company is still enormously successful today, trading on White Lund as F Edmondson & Sons, and taking the names of Edmondson and Morecambe across Europe on their trucks.
When he started the firm, Fred often moved people to Morecambe from Bradford and Leeds.
The company also worked for Morecambe and Heysham Corporation and its first task was to move 10,000 deckchairs to 14 sites on Morecambe Promenade, including the band arena.
Edmondsons was also contracted to transport all the animals to Morecambe’s Marineland attraction in the late 1960s.
Fred was part of a consortium that bought Heysham Head, site of a popular entertainment complex until it fell into decline in the mid-70s, and gained permission to build private houses on the land. His own house on Heysham Head, converted from a former stable block, boasted breathtaking views across Morecambe Bay.
He also bought and sold many of Morecambe’s key buildings including The Winter Gardens (which he sold to the Buildings at Risk Trust in 1995 for more than £1m), the Empire Arcade, the main ICI works at Heysham, the Odeon Cinema, the Briggs building and Coopers Amusements.
Fred had a keen interest in antiques and was an avid collector. He also did a lot of auctioneering for The Rainbow Centre in Morecambe and for various other organisations and charities.
Fred married his wife Patricia in 1949. Pat passed away on December 3, just a few days before Fred, aged 88.
The couple had five children, Peter, Garry, Tony and Andrew, and the late Julie. They were also much-loved grand and great grandparents.