Why Crime?  And dreadful accidents?  And suicides?

When I came to live in Blackpool I hated it.  I thought it was shallow, gaudy, profit-motivated, tacky, kitsch.  I still think that but now I love it.

Walk anywhere in Blackpool, go into the best hotel and people will have plotted to murder other people there.

Why crime?  Well crimes are well documented and tell us things about the recent past that we have forgotten.  I do not believe in ghosts but the people of the past walked on the same ground that we walk on.  Walking along the promenade you may pause where the young Myra Hindley posed for a photograph.  And that photograph with its Blackpool icons of the Tower, the Pier and the poster for Ken Dodd captures the dizzying strangeness of the passing of time.  Myra Hindley was not a murderer then and now her image adorns Toussaud’s.  There is  wonder.  Crime confronts us with but does not explain time and place and mortality and chance.

I have added a few words and pictures I call Pychogeography.  Sometimes this has a point and sometimes it doesn’t.  My  idea was to take a theme and explore it.  Sometimes it is connected to crime and sometimes to an area.  If that kind of thing bores you just avoid it. My feeling is that walking around towns is an extraordinary experience and that even the worst things have a power either because of their ugliness or because of  a sheer fleeting quality.

People woke up in the morning full of hope and ended the day in the mortuary at Layton Cemetery.  There is something gothic about Blackpool, and something connected with the sheer number of people who have passed through Blackpool that connects it to world events.  Lenin noted a conference in Blackpool in 1912.  Engels tried to persuade Karl Marx to recuperate in Blackpool.  Freud visited Blackpool twice.  John Lennon had formative experiences in Blackpool.

I have now added two other kinds of thing.  One is to do with history and  religion and may not have much to do with Blackpool and the other is a kind  Daily Mail Rant.  I’m a bigot but of the Left.  This also has little to do with Blackpool.  I will  warn you.

When Shelley wrote that: ” Hell is a city much like London,” I like to think it was because he had not visited Blackpool.


      1. Hi. Been reading this blog for a while.
        Do you have any info on Stuart Diamond case?
        Keep up the good work


      2. Hello Jack I know a little bit from memory because oddly I was working in the library when it happened and Stuart came into the library… I think he had a book about anatomy. (!) I had thought about writing about it sometime… thanks for the idea best Martin


  1. Thanks for an amusing and informative website. I lived in Blackpool as a Boy in the 1960’s when it was a very different place to what it is now. Thanks for the memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. my husband is the direct descendant of George Morrison, who was the Sergeant in charge of Abingdon Street Police Station in central Blackpool, and he also was stationed in Poulton in the 1850’s, but, i can’t find anything about him there.
    George’s wife Ann Jane, was, when she died in 1901, described as being the oldest resident in Blackpool!


    1. Many thanks Ann. You will probably get more information about George by posting a question in the blackpoolhistory site on Facebook. There are a number of interesting papers about early Blackpool Pólice in the Local History Centre at Blackpool Library. Good hunting Martin


  3. Rudy Mancini was a highly respected business man and skilled musician you have no rights or evidence that he was ever connected to the criminal fraternity as you imply remove my deceaced fathers name from the site my family are disgusted by this slander of a wonderful gentleman . Raymond Mancini and family.


    1. Done.
      The information came from Frankie Fraser’s Mad Frank’s Underworld History of Britain.
      I forgot to say in the book he is actually called Ruby… Is it possible he’s another person altogether?


  4. I feel much the same as Shelley might. I’ve been stuck here for 3 year on family duties. Still detest it! Your blog has proved fascinating though. littl did i know that I walk our dogs past two murder houses (339 Devonshire, and Robins Lane), and I parked the car next to another (seafield Ave) only last week!
    Every day is a school day!


  5. Interesting reading Martin.
    Do you have any info on the Alan Rosser kidnap event in December 1999 ?
    Public domain stuff; Court records; press/media reporting for example.


    1. No, sorry I did have a look at the time but wasn’t able to find much. That said I didn’t look very hard at the time and I think I will have another look. Thanks for the idea. I believe the kidnapping trial was in Carlisle. I will have another look and get back to you if I find anything interesting. Thanks for you comments. Best Martin.


  6. Interesting stuff Martin. I’m intrigued by the link between Manchester and Blackpool. Couple of points:
    1: You call it the Cromfield Club. Do you mean the Cromford?
    2: The Quality Street Gang was a fanciful title for a group of loosely connected crims who mixed with the sports and showbiz celebrities of Manchester in clubs like the Cromford. They were not a formal gang or family like those in London such as the Krays, the Richardsons, the Tibbs etc. One of them, now dead, was involved in the management of Mr Smith’s in Catford, scene of the Krays-Richardsons shoot-out.
    Have you any more info re Sheila Jackaman who married George Porritt? What happened to her after the bank heist debacle in Manchester?
    Thanks, Colin.


    1. Sorry Colin but this is a pretty rubbish reply.
      Sorry yes I do mean the Cromford. I haven’t been able to find out much about Sheila Jackaman although there is a picture of her in Google Images… at the wedding… she looks quite glamorous. I am not certain she was Abie Tobias daughter she could have been adopted or brought up as his daughter… he had another daughter if I remember correctly. I have been unable to find anything more about her despite looking. Part of the problem is not knowing what name to search under. Most of the information about her… assuming it is right… comes from Frankie Fraser’s book Mad Frank’s Britain which is surprisingly informative… he probably had a good local ghost writer. The stuff about Abie himself is reliable… I have looked it up in the Gazette. Sorry to be useless… if I can at all let me know. Interesting stuff about the QS. If I find any more I’ll let you know. Best Martin


  7. Hiya, I wonder if you could find anything about a terrible accident my grandmother had on xmas eve c1940 in Talbot rd Bus Station, she was getting off the #14 bus (the old type with doors in the middle of the bus, the driver thought everyone was off the bus and set off again, My grandmother went under the back wheel and her leg was badly crushed.. Her name was Norah Davies.


    1. Hello John sorry I looked in the Gazette for the date but couldn’t find the incident. Lots of accidents were happening because of the blackout including a really astonishing number of fatal injuries so it may be that this incident was just not recorded. I will have another look just in case but I think it might not have been reported. Sorry. Best wishes Martin


  8. Hi martinz thanks for the info ive finally got info on my dads uncle joe brandons death.just wish my dad were around to read the write up.joe sounded like a bit of bad un knocking anne about but i think killing him was a bit ott lol hopfully there up above reunited.regards chris


    1. Thanks for this. I’ve really no idea about Joe… a lot of the evidence was in Anne’s defence. Clearly she was fond of Joe… its a sad incident and I hope they found peace. Sorry your dad isn’t here to comment. Best wishes and thanks Martin.


    1. really I don’t know anything about this, William Thornber Blackpool’s first historian was a mason for a time and the No 4 used to be called the freemason’s arms or something like that and there was the oddfellow’s arms in oddfellow’s street which was a kind of masonic institution. Sorry that’s all I know glad to hear more. Best Martin


    2. Phil I read some of your work which I’ll look at again. I have to say I fundamentally disagree with you but I still find your piece utterly fascinating. Thanks so much and if you want to… and there’s no reason why you should… I will try to clarify my disagreement. Don’t let that make you feel I don’t value your work its just that I generally think most things happen by chance… on the other hand I fully accept that Manchester Town Hall has a masonic motifs.


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