The Road to Cleethorpes Pier

This is my latest project – a poetry memoir of childhood and adolescence growing up in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire.

I have been looking out old photographs from the late 1940s /early 50s and I was forcibly struck by how “ Victorian” they look. Everyone seemed to wear a hat and suit, even on relaxed occasions. The pram in the photo looks ancient. I remember that my mum pushed me around in something called a Tansad – a cross between a pram and a pushchair, made by the Tansad company, hence the name, and widely in use at that time.


The adverts for Cleethorpes boasted
five miles of glorious golden sand –
no mention of the biting East wind!

The Meggies*were always a hardy bunch –
a daily dose of mind-numbing fresh air
an absolute must for the health-conscious locals.

My mum and friends believed in bracing walks.
She would push me in the old Tansad**along the Kingsway –
fine when I didn’t have to share it with Michael!

Oh how I hated him, loud, impatient, whiny,
sharing the pram with a boy was humiliating.
The only recompense a choc-ice at the end,

bought from Mr Oliphant’s open-all-hours shop
crammed with buckets, spades and kiss-me-quick hats
exuding cheerful optimism on the sea-front

Familiarity breeds contempt, they say. How true!
It is only now, living as I do in a landlocked place,
that I find myself frequently craving the wildness of the seashore

*Meggies – folk originating from Cleethorpes. The origin of the term is disputed.
**Tansad – a type of pushchair with adjustable footboard in use
in the 1940s/50s. Tansad became a generic name for a baby buggy

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