Blackpool 1897

Some of the Bentley’s trippers took a ride on the Queen of The North paddle steamer from Blackpool. Built by Laird Brothers in Birkinhead in 1895 she operated until lost on active service in the Great War in 1917.

MESSRS. BENTLEY’S ANNUAL TRIP. Rothwell Times. 9 July 1897.

The workpeople and officials of Messrs. Bentley’s Yorkshire Breweries Company, visited Blackpool on Saturday last, by special excursion train leaving Woodlesford Station at five o’clock in the morning. Travelling expenses, as in previous years, were again defrayed by the firm, each workman being entitled to a ticket. 

Besides the firm’s employees a large number of residents in Oulton and Woodlesford availed themselves of the opportunity of visiting the seaside, the long line of carriages being well freighted on leaving Woodlesford. 

After stopping at Hunslet, Armley, and Shipley to pick up officials employed in Leeds and at the Bradford depot, the train sped on briskly, the dull weather experienced at the start brightening into sunshine and warmth as Preston and other large Lancashire towns were passed. 

After a pleasant journey the Blackpool terminus was reached about nine o’clock when the weather was fine, though rather wild and boisterous. A notable and fresh feature on the sands was the wreck of the old vessel “Foudroyant” which was driven ashore a few weeks ago in a heavy storm, and now lies a few hundred yards to the north of the north pier, a striking emblem of the power and damage to be done by an angry sea. 

The “Foudroyant” is an ancient war vessel, having done service in the royal navy as Lord Nelson’s flag-ship. The advertised sea trips to Southport, Morecambe Bay, and other ports on the north-west coast had to be abandoned, on account of the rough weather, the sea being too heavy for the “Greyhound” and the “Bickerstaffe” to take on passengers. 

Hourly sailings, however, were made by “The Queen of the North” a comparatively new and powerful paddle steamer specially designed and built for the Blackpool and Isle of Man service, combining great speed with first-rate sea going qualities. 

The Tower buildings with its continuous round of entertainment, was one of the principal places at which the trippers congregated; besides the fine collection of wild beasts, the aviary, aquarium, gardens, monkey house and other attractions, first-rate programmes of musical and acrobatic performances were rendered in the grand pavilion, one of the artistes being the well known and talented Mr. G.W. Nicholson, of comic song fame, and eminent local repute. 

The ascent of the Tower was successfully accomplished by many of the visitors; the view from the top of this eminence is to be seen rather than described, whilst the breeze on such a day as Saturday, makes a-body think of personal safety rather than of a prolonged stay at such an elevation and with such seemingly slender support. 

At the Winter Gardens the engineering attraction is the new “big wheel,” which during the day carried many passengers. The foreshore with its donkeys, ventriloquists, and other outside amusements pleased many, the youngsters especially having a high day amongst the rocks and on the sands. 

In one way or another, in indoor entertainments, or taking full advantage of the strong and invigorating sea air along the beach, the day was spent all too soon, and at 7.30 the brewers of the famous Yorkshire village found themselves seated in the not too luxurious compartments of the Lancashire and Yorkshire carriages, and ready for the long ride home. 

A Pullman car and a saloon had been put on for the conveyance of the officials, and in the first-names of these, during the return journey, songs were sung, and toasts proposed to all and sundry. 

Mr. B.W. Higgins proposed the health of Mr. Cliffe, to which Mr. Cliffe suitably responded; “the visitors” were then toasted by Mr. Higgins, and acknowledged by Mr. Lawton, shareholder, and Mr. Armitage, of the Rothwell Times. 

Mr. Higgins then sang a song which was followed by toasts to Mr. Barrett, Mr. Peel, Mr. Dickinson, Mr. Scarr, Mr. Cleaver, Mr. Newsome, Sergeant James, the Directors, Mr. Barnes, the Managing Director (Mr. Hoyle), the head brewer (Mr. Trinder), “the Queen,” and “the Company,” most of which were acknowledged by the gentlemen concerned. 

A vote of thanks was also passed to Mr. Higgins for arranging the trip in such an excellent manner, and to the Company for their generosity in giving the outing. 

Woodlesford was reached about half past eleven, after a most enjoyable day’s outing, the weather having been fine and pleasant, in fact ever since the trip was first inaugurated, favourable weather has always been experienced, and Saturday was no exception to the rule.