Born in Southport, when this seaside town was a part of Lancashire, not Merseyside, I moved far away for many years but have been living back in the Red Rose County for a long time now. My current home is Carnforth on the Cumbria border. It’s a straightforward little place with a strong railway heritage, famous as the setting for classic 1940s weepie, ‘Brief Encounter’.
Here are 21 things I really love about Lancashire
1. Sunny beaches, brash piers, crazy fairground and Victorian architecture in Blackpool.
2. The butteriness of Chorley Cakes
3. The clanking of halyards on yachts in Glasson Dock
Carnforth is a small town on the Lancashire/Cumbria border, famous for its Railway Station which was used in the classic movie ‘Brief Encounter’. Filmed at the end of WWII in 1945, the Ministry of Transport chose Carnforth Station as it was deemed safe from enemy fire – why would anyone bother to come so far north to bomb this town?! Filming took place at night so as not to interrupt regular train operations.
The film had a great cast, with relative new-comer Trevor Howard making his name and Celia Johnson overcoming her dislike of filming (she preferred stage acting and didn’t like being away from her family) to win an Oscar nomination for her delicate performance as a married woman verging on infidelity. It may come as a surprise to know that Trevor was 8 years younge than Celia. Stanley Holloway created a memorable comedy cameo asthe Station Master. It was co-directed by David Lean, famous also for ‘Dr Zhivago‘ & ‘Lawrence Of Arabia’. What is less well-known is that Noel Coward co-directed it, produced it, wrote the screen play AND the music.
There is now an award-winning Visitor Centre at the station with lots of interesting railway memorabilia. You can have a cup of tea at the Refreshment Room, faithfully restored to 1940s splendour, as it looked when Celia and Trevor gazed adoringly at each other whilst Stanley flirted outrageously, oblivious to the heart-breaking drama being played out nearby …
Find out more at Carnforth Station Next time you are in the area, why not visit and who knows, you may have your very own Brief Encounter …
“Are you going on holiday?” asked the friendly chap in the car as I trundled my suitcase down to Carnforth Station (its claim to fame being the setting for ‘Brief Encounter’s tearful farewells from Celia to Trevor). “Yes,” I replied. “I’m going to London for the weekend.” And that set me thinking .. Was I going on holiday – and if not, what was I doing?
Attending a TravelWriting Workshop is not really the stuff of holidays – is it? But I didn’t see it as work; rather a great and hopefully enjoyable way to learn some new skills, meet like-minded people and enjoy myself. I was also meeting up with a new-found friend from Twitter, Sharon Eden, whose inspirational website Women Of Courage was part of the reason I decided to take the plunge to write. I would be sight-seeing and was really looking forward to it all… in my mind it was a holiday.
The question is then “What is a holiday?” Do let me know – because I am really not sure, thanks to that cheery chap in Carnforth!