Bro Robin’s illustrated talk about Bridlington in the 1970’s was read for him by Sal Cooke OBE. As usual it was full of detail that informed, amused, and jogged memories. In this case the stand out feature was the mass of information about Bridlington’s businesses.
This being the Purvis Memorial Lecture Bro Robin began with a resume of Bro J S Purvis’s achievements including being the first Director of the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research in York.
Bro Robin’s main source of inspiration was the many Free Press cuttings he has amassed. He noted that it was in 1973 that this newspaper changed from broadsheet to tabloid form.
He listed a surprisingly large number of Bridlington businesses that started before 1970 and are still thriving today. Many other 1970 businesses have now ceased trading though. He was able to list street by street significant businesses that operated in the 1970’s.
New buildings appeared in this decade. These included the Hammonds store (now Boyes), Boots on the Promenade, the fish quay on the south pier, the swimming pool, Eastfield Garden Centre, and Ebor flats. Other buildings were lost, including the Pier Buffet on Garrison Square, the Alexandra Hotel, and the gas works.
Bro Robin recalled that the 1970’s were his school years and he gave an account of his experiences at both Burlington and Headlands school, where he regretted that the sound of his typewriter often annoyed his fellow pupils. He remembers visits by “Mr Fireworks”, or more correctly Councillor Trevor Pearson, who toured schools warning of the dangers. Bro Robin also reviewed his time in the 4th Bridlington Scout Group.
The 1970’s was a decade of housing expansion in Bridlington with work on West Hill, Danescroft and Sandsacre continuing and building starting on the Barley Croft and Marton Fields estates.
Bro Robin spent some time explaining how European legislation adversely affected our fishing industry with, at one point, our fishermen blockading the harbour.
It was amusing to hear how a 1970’s guide book warned that the one system at the Quay should be treated with care, and that parking is difficult.
Other 1970’s events mentioned were the move of the Fair away from High Green in 1974 for the first time in 700 years, the opening of the Carnaby Industrial Estate, the arrival of the Lada Cars and Sara Lee businesses, and changes at the railway station.
The Sub-Prior Maureen Bell asked Bro Tom Ainley to give the vote of thanks. In giving his thanks he remembered teaching history to Bro Robin at school, but admitted that he learnt many facts about Bridlington from Bro Robin that he didn’t know before.