Page last updated at 14:38 GMT, Tuesday, 9 September 2008 15:38 UK

Memories of the pier fire in 1952

The pictures of Fleetwood pier ablaze brought back memories of a similar fire more than 50 years ago for one former local resident.

Nora Perrin, 70, was 14 years old when the pier was damaged by fire in 1952.

The pier after the fire in 1952
The pier was central to the town's social and economic life

The fire started sometime during the night and my mum came and woke me and my sister to tell us about it.

Fleetwood was a tourist town and the pier was a big part of life there.

During the week it was mainly for tourists - and there were lots of them - but on a Sunday it was a place for all the young people to meet.

There was a cinema, coffee bar and lots of slot machines and people used to fish off the jetty. It was very popular and we were a seaside town and it was one of the main attractions so when it was on fire it was big news.

I could see the fire from the window, but me, my sister and my mum and dad went out in the street to watch the flames.

My sister had actually been at the cinema earlier that night. We couldn't believe it - we were totally amazed.

The pier after the fire on Tuesday
The pier was first opened in 1910. Pic: John Stirzaker
The neighbours were the same - all out in the street watching.

It was still smouldering the next day and you could still smell smoke - I think most of Fleetwood could smell it.

Everyone wondered how it happened. The general consensus was that someone had dropped a cigarette in the cinema - but I never found out for certain.

It was really important to the town and the people - it was part of our identity.

It brought in a lot of visitors and it was something that had a central role in our lives.

After it burned down we had to find somewhere else to go.

It would have been a serious loss to the shops and businesses on the front too - they would have suffered without it.


But we all made our way back to the pier though after it was rebuilt.

I live in Nottingham now and was surprised to find out with this fire that the pier was derelict.

When you've known a place so alive with lights on, the coffee machines going and the noise from the slot machines and people milling around - it's so sad.

I hope it can be restored like last time because it's a big part of the town and its history. It would be nice if it could be saved for future generations.

This fire is very sad, but maybe it will spur people on to realise it is something to be missed.



SEE ALSO
Historic pier destroyed in fire
09 Sep 08 |  Lancashire
Town's anguish at pier's demise
09 Sep 08 |  Lancashire
Your pictures: Fleetwood Pier fire
09 Sep 08 |  In Pictures


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