Redman’s cafe and shop collapsed in 1956

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Scenes from one of Blackpool’s worst town centre tragedies when a popular cafe crumbled to the ground

The start of the rescue work as firemen and other helpers move debris in search of trapped people. Three of the floors had ballooned outwards into the street, bringing down with them tons of masonry, including lead-covered rafters and pieces of stonework

Chaos came to one of Blackpool’s busiest streets when Redman’s cafe and shop collapsed in 1956.


A woman was killed by falling debris and around 20 other passers-by were injured, including a little girl, trapped by brickwork, who was rescued from the rubble.

Drapery assistant Miss Amy Hardwick, who worked at Wilcock’s shop in Abingdon Street, died after missing her usual bus home to South Shore by seconds.

Instead of waiting for the next one outside the Winter Gardens she decided to walk and died under falling masonry just after turning into Bank Hey Street.

But the toll would have been far worse had the incident happened even half an hour earlier than when the alarm was raised at 5.50pm on Friday, June 29, 1956 because the pavements would still have been packed with pedestrians leaving stores as they closed.

Construction work had been taking place including the demolition of the rear of the building which had been re-built.

Bank Hey Street was cordoned off from Church Street through to Victoria Street after the three storey building, undergoing alterations, crumbled to the ground.

Police, firemen and others worked throughout the night under arc lamps, making sure the rest of the building was safe, shoring up the walls and erecting scaffolding.