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Letter: When Blackburn Wakes week was special for the town

In years gone by we would have been in the middle of the Wakes week (or fortnight) holidays.

Each town would have a different holiday week in turn and everybody in that town would all go away together and the town was nearly empty.

As I remember it seemed to start with Burnley, then it was Darwen and the last two weeks in July it was Blackburn. No doubt were there lots more towns on that list and it extended over more weeks.

As I recall at Barrow-in-Furness, it was know as Vickers’ fortnight as nearly everybody there worked for the Vicker’s shipyard.

I even remember that Morecambe used also to have a Glasgow fortnight, when all the Scots used to come down and in a lot of shops you would get Scottish bank notes in your change which you would then struggle to spend when you went home.

I think in Lancashire it was eventually organised by the cotton mill owners and all the mills in the same town closed for the same weeks. I don’t think that they were being benevolent to the workers, it was just that once a year they needed shut down the boilers and the steam engines to maintain them.

I do just about remember that on the Saturday morning there would be queues of people spreading outside the station and across the Boulevard waiting for trains to the seaside.

If you didn’t go away on holiday, then you would find all the shops would be shut for the fortnight, even the newsagents and you would not be able to get a paper delivered. Although a lot of newsagents, whilst closed, would have somebody in the shop doorway with a table selling newspapers.

Them were the good old days, sort of.

Michael Albin