With my Little Stick of Blackpool Rock(George Formby) - Arncroach to Blackpool After no Luck on The Ancestry Trail - 15th August 2016

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August 15th 2016
Published: August 20th 2016
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Our two days with Carolyn and Trevor have gone in a flash and today we are off to Blackpool after a little more digging around the Angus area on ancestral matters.

And not a bad day again has dawned which will give us dry weather for the reasonably long drive we face once we get onto the motorway and head southwest.

First through Carolyn has got a special breakfast lined up for us of smoked salmon and scrambled egg, very tasty and something the BBA V3 hasn’t quite stretched too yet.

Time for some photos in the garden to update those we already have from 2009 and then we are on our way after a memorable couple of days in Arncroach.

We retraced our drive across the Tay Bridge to Dundee and headed first for Broughty Ferry, the seaside suburb a little further east of Dundee.

My father had spent some of his early years here although I have never been able to find whether he actually lived here or it was a place he travelled to from nearby Dundee.

However, it is Gretchen’s great, great grandfather David Anderson, Banker of Dundee, which we are coming to check out. Now we have been to the house he had commissioned in Seafield Road before which he named ‘Mount Rosa’ and is a category B listed building with 3 pairs of gatepiers, a bound and a conservatory.

On the BBA V1 the grand house on a very large piece of land looked to be split into flats. Then when we returned on the BBA V2 in 2013 the house appeared to be in a stage of conversion back to a single dwelling.

This time we couldn’t actually get a full view of the house as the previously opened double gates at the rear were firmly closed and locked as was the side door through the tall, solid wall. The house did look as though it was now back to one dwelling again from what we could see by standing on the other side of the road and looking over the wall.

Gretchen did ask a couple who lived across the road and were getting into a car whether they knew who lived in the house but they didn’t even though they had lived in the street for nine months.

Perhaps the current owner of Mount Rosa likes to keep to themselves! Gretchen was going to go and knock on the door and introduce herself with a little history on the Anderson’s but with her way barred to the front door this couldn’t happen. Never mind we did get some updated video from the best angle’s possible over the wall.

Next it was onto Balgay cemetery in Dundee to see if we could find George, my grandfathers ‘grave site.

I had the section and the ‘lair ‘number so it should be easy, right? Wrong.

Well actually it was relatively easy in the end with the help of a cemetery worker and another guy I had asked directions from who didn’t actually work there but seemed to know where to find a map from an office and lead me while Gretchen was being shown separately by the cemetery worker. We weren’t sure why we were getting such special help but perhaps they had realised from our accents that we had come a long way and deserved such assistance.

Not all the ‘lair’s ‘were numbered as they should have been on the concrete headstones but through a process of elimination and checking the sites in sequential way we came to Georges lair only to find there was no headstone. Whether this was because there had never been a headstone arranged by his third wife or his family, which of course includes my father, who we understand had not been happy with his third wife and therefore didn’t buy one is unclear but George lies in ‘lair ‘number 651,section HH without any recognition which seems rather sad.

Two investigations down and one to go before we headed south to Blackpool.

Next we drove north to the lovely little town of Kirriemuir, the birthplace and final resting place of J M Barrie who created Peter Pan.

I had discovered that Jane, my grandmother (George’s second wife) was buried at Kirriemuir cemetery and we had hoped that like at Balgay there would have been a curator on site to help locate her grave site.

Unfortunately this wasn’t to be the case and the cemetery was much larger than we thought so searching on foot would have turned out like looking for a needle in a haystack. I did a quick circuit of the area that had mostly graves from the 1920’s which was when Jane died, but had no luck in finding a headstone with her name on it.

So all three expeditions had come to nothing which was rather disappointing but such can be the way sometimes when one is searching out ancestors long gone.

Time to hit the road south and so it was onto the A90 again which would take us past the turnoff to the hamlet of Benvie although not before we stopped in at a Tesco’s we have been to on both the previous BBA’s to buy lunch and then a stop just down the road to consume it.

For once the weather and temperature was pleasant enough to have a boot lunch. That is until a large truck pulled up opposite us in the rest area and we had to move on as he didn’t look like he was going to turn his motor off. Then as we set ourselves up again a little further into the rest area the driver walked past with his lady ‘passenger’ and apologised for stopping where he did but he said ‘he was out of time’. We thought he could have driven a few more metres to avoid being next to us!

The drive according to the GPS looked to be motorway all the way. And although this doesn’t make for scenic views generally it was the fastest way to get us to Blackpool given that it was now nearly 2pm and we had a drive of over 4 hours to our destination making it one of the longer days we have had.

The Scottish countryside whizzed past as we moved from the A90 to the A9 near Perth and then the M9 to the M74 which took us past Glasgow and into the Southern Uplands of the Scottish Borders.

This area seemed very much like the Highlands in so far that there is little population. Farming however seemed to be at least a better prospect than those who lived in the Highlands and there were scattered areas of cropping and sheep roaming the hillsides.

All too soon the border with England arrived and the M74 became the M6 without actually changing roads! Why they couldn’t give the road the same number between the two ‘countries’ of the United Kingdom is not obvious but then one day if Scotland does decide to break away on its own then that will be one task the authorities will not have to attend to. Although interestingly the A1 on the east coast is the same number in both Scotland and England.

The turnoff to the Lake District and then the Yorkshire Dales went by and then Morecambe Bay on our right away in the distance gave it away that Blackpool, that high spot for English holidaymakers, was almost in sight.

We turned off the M6 onto the M55 which took us almost right to the street we needed for our ‘cosy apartment’ at Lindisfarne Holiday Apartments just 50 metres from Pleasure Beach and the Blackpool promenade.

Our host was on hand to guide Gretchen driving the Skoda down a very narrow alleyway to a small car park behind the 3 storied Victorian apartment building that our ‘cosy apartment’ was located in.

And what a ‘cosy’ apartment it was! From the entrance door you went left to a bedroom with a queen size bed and just enough room down either side to stand sideways, a little more room at one end of the bed (just enough for one suitcase), a shower and toilet off the bedroom and then right from the entrance to a kitchen and ‘lounge ‘with a settee that had a flat screen TV hardly less than a metre away for viewing. All very snug and cosy!

Gretchen had mentioned to the owner that we had really come to Blackpool just to see the Illuminations, the light show that is a feature of the promenade. He thought we might be too early for that but a short while later in the evening he knocked on our ‘cosy apartment’ door on the second floor and said that the Illuminations were being tested and it might be best to get down to the waterfront as soon as we could.

We weren’t disappointed and although they were only testing the lights, which remain up all year round, they were on for at least an hour. Then as we were walking back to the ‘cosy apartment ‘the lights suddenly went off leaving just the roadside light standards and lighting from the numerous bars and hotels that are packed in along the waterfront. Another ‘must do’ ticked off the bucket list!

We finished off a long day with a bit of Olympic TV watching and then bed. Tomorrow should be a quiet day with a stroll along the promenade about as far as we will wander.

PS:what better way to celebrate Blackpool than with the George Formby classic that was apparently banned from radio stations when it was first released due to some suggestive words.Available on Youtube as usual.

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