Weston was suddenly a boom town

IN 1944 my parents bought a hotel on the seafront. I was 14 years old and thought Weston was a 'dump'. The war had turned Weston into a holding camp for the Yanks, Poles

IN 1944 my parents bought a hotel on the seafront. I was 14 years old and thought Weston was a 'dump'. The war had turned Weston into a holding camp for the Yanks, Poles and Czechs who were billeted all over the town. Then peace in 1945 and Weston was suddenly a boom town, with the troops returning to Blighty and bringing their loved ones to Weston for a well-earned holiday! In 1946 Mr Brenner Senior bought the pier. He was a real showman and a great character, reviving and turning his purchase into the Grand Pier: 'The largest undercover amusement park out at sea in the world'! Here was the jewel on the seafront, but the promenade was dark and dismal. Blackpool boasted about its illuminated extravaganza along its promenade, which lengthened their summer season into the autumn. When the council was approached by the hoteliers in Weston, they were told there was no money available and if the hoteliers wanted illuminations they should pay for it! The challenge was accepted by the Hotels and Restaurants Association who set about raising funds to start this project. Some of our members visited Blackpool after the season and bought several smaller 'set pieces' from Blackpool (which we did on a yearly basis) to mount on the lamp standards and we purchased strings of lights to hang between the lamps. It took us many years starting at the Royal Hospital end until we reached the Royal Pier Hotel to complete the challenge. I'm sure many will remember the prancing donkey over the lights on the Knightstone Theatre, saying Welcome to Weston. The donkey used to be our logo for Weston but that donkey was born and made in Blackpool. So I say to the members of the 'WE' club, stop being so negative to new ideas happening in Weston. I am and have always been an optimist. Great things are happening in Weston and I predict that within five years Weston will be a boom town again. I love Weston now. JOHN SMITH - Past president of the Weston Hoteliers and Restaurants Association (1980-82), Boulevard, Weston


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