A Pavilion on the Pier by Ray Wilcockson

‘Pavilion’: early 13c., paviloun, large, stately tent raised on posts and used as a movable habitation.

125 years ago, on April 6, 1896, Morecambe’s first stately pavilion on the sea opened on the newly erected West End Pier. Just 21 years later it was utterly destroyed by a fire fanned by wind in less than two hours. Look out today from the great windows of the Alhambra and you can hardly believe what once filled the view: a Moorish dome and minarets. The stuff of legend.      

By contrast, Mrs Brown’s humble boarding-house still stands on Thornton Road. In the time it takes for sunlight to reach Earth, I can stroll round from home and recall the lad I was on holiday some 65 years ago. Like the pier pavilion, Mrs Brown, too, is long gone.

Nothing is for ever. Our lives and our creations are as impermanent as the nomad’s tent, as open to the elements as a pier pavilion ’twixt sky and sea. Vanished into the sands. Except in memory and imagination, those other worlds at the end of the pier that hove into view if we step off the terra firma of reality.

I did this in this time of lockdown and that’s what you’ll hear in ‘A Pavilion on the Pier’.

Best, Ray (who actually timed that stroll to Thornton Rd! 😜)

Ray Wilcockson is…

…a wandering scholar and widower who, once upon a time, taught English and Drama. Born in the Dales oasis of Harrogate, his travels have taken him from the Cambridge Fens, via the Black Country to Mid-Wales’ Berwyn Hills, whence he retired to the sands of Morecambe Bay and is currently happily encamped on Bare Promenade.