People power as residents rally round during Morecambe blackout

Staff and customers in the Royal Bar in Morecambe on Sunday afternoon during the blackout.
Staff and customers in the Royal Bar in Morecambe on Sunday afternoon during the blackout.

The ‘Blitz spirit’ was on display in Morecambe as residents rolled back the years to deal with a 30-hour blackout.

As homes were plunged into darkness and some were unable to cook hot food, householders with gas ovens passed pans of boiling water over fences to help their neighbours.

And with no TV, computer games or internet, kids played board games and outdoors like the old days.

While many pubs, shops, hotels and cafes were forced to close, the Royal Bar on Marine Road Central was one of a handful to stay open on Sunday afternoon.

Customers were greeted with a ‘Back to the ‘30s’ sign outside the pub and huddled together in the candelit darkness as staff served cask ales, bottled wines and spirits, and food cooked on a gas hob.

“Lots of people are saying how nice it is that everyone’s talking and nobody’s on their mobile phones,” said Ann O’Hagan from the Royal.

“It’s like it used to be.”

One customer likened the atmosphere to “the Blitz spirit”.

The Ranch House Bar also managed to open at around 3.15pm.

“We used a generator to get the whole of the Newcastle v Liverpool game on one TV,” said landlord Rob Ellershaw.

“We had disco lights in the toilets and pool table lights in the bar!”

A few small shops traded in darkness but were unable to use tills and were taking cash only. Sainsburys on Lancaster Road used a back-up generator to open and was packed with shoppers on Sunday afternoon – with the battery section proving popular.

Morrisons was closed but staff passed out bread, milk, margarine and cake to a queue of shoppers.

Regent Road in the West End was one of the first places where power was restored - at around 2.30pm on Sunday.