With Neil Newton Echoes of past glory to be found in edifices of today
WE are fortunate in Southport to have an incredible selection of historic, often listed buildings.
No matter what you might think about new constructions, planners down the decades have been (pretty) good at preserving our past.
There are however a few exceptions.
The subject of this week’s Southport Top 5: You know it now, but what did it used to be?
At Five: Carnegie Court, Birkdale. Hugging the junction between York and Weld Road respectively, is this a red-bricked high rise apartment block.
Operated as social housing by the Regenda Group, this prime site wasn’t always accommodation.
It opened in 1905 as a library and was demolished in 1970; its namesake, philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
This place of learning boasted an impressive clock tower, not dissimilar to the Atkinson on Lord Street.
Such a shame it’s gone, maybe you borrowed reading materials from here?
At Four: General Register Office, Trafalgar Road.
We stay in Birkdale for our second subject matter, that of Smedley Hydro.
I have many friends who are civil servants and work here, it’s still known as Smedley to this day.
As the picture shows, a lot of the NHS records are kept and processed here, back in the day it was a grand affair.
Smedley Hydro opened as a hotel in 1876 for wealthy Victorians to take the sea air and the waters. The grand ballroom still exists. The Government took over in 1991.
At Three: Another former Hotel, this time it’s the Palace.
Standing on site now is the superb Fisherman’s Rest Pub.
Reputed to be built the wrong way around, haunted and the backdrop to countless films, it’s only the original coach house that remains – this is the modern day ‘Fish’.
Synonymous as the ‘morgue’ during the Mexico Lifeboat Disaster, they still raise a glass to commemorate that dark and stormy night.
At Two: Mecca Bingo. Eyes down, who can tell me what this Lord Street gem used to be?
Well done if you said The Garrick Theatre.
It’s still got to be one of the most glamorous bingo houses in the UK, back in the day it played host to the likes of Laurel and Hardy.
At One: The Moulin Rouge/Tiffany’s Ainsdale.
In 2018 it’s the home of the roast, thanks to the Toby Carvery... back in the day it was where Sandgrounder’s tripped the light fantastic.
Originally the Moulin Rouge, complete with windmill sails, it became Tiffany’s in 1975.
These days the roast spud and Yorkshire pud are king, back then it was dancing galore!
Did you meet your partner there or like me do you remember it as the Natterjack in the 1990s?
So there you have it, my Southport Top 5 of now, but what did it used to be?
Congratulations them right.
You can follow me on Twitter @ presenterneil Another Southport Top 5 next week. if you got
General Register Office, Trafalgar Road – still known as Smedley to this day
Above, Mecca Bingo on Lord St, once the Garrick TheatreLeft, Moulin Rouge/Tiffany’s Ainsdale, now Toby CarveryRight, Carnegie Court, Birkdale
The Fisherman’s Rest pub – part of former hotel the Palace