Uncle Toms Cabin – Bispam’s First Centre Of Entertainment – By Norman Cunliffe
After William Parker had left Uncle Tom’s there followed several
licensees and managers over the next few years into the next decade, and these included Janet Card well, James Edwin Higginbottom, T. Coleman, Cornelius Card well and D.C. Morville. The changes no doubt contributed to the partial decline of its popularity. The aura of Uncle Tom’s, however, still appealed to many visitors who walked the cliffs or took the less strenuous journey by landau or carriage.
Even though there were more sophisticated and progressive forms
of entertainment in the centre of Blackpool the location of
Uncle Tom’s set on the cliff overlooking the sea and beach and yet still in the country was unique in these parts. From the Gynn Inn
to Red Bank there was only the Cabin, Bank Farm, and Fanny
Hall, a smallish house located opposite to where the Miners Home
now stands. Variety entertainment was still given with
performances in the morning and afternoon. There was the usual
Quadrille band for dancing, whilst most of the outdoor amusements
were still well supported, During the 1880’s even more attractions
were added in the hope that more business would be stimulated.
These included a new Tea, Coffee and Refreshment Room and a
Photographic Studio run by James Wright, who specialised in
American Portraits’. These buildings were erected on the south side
of the Cabin whilst to the west a Camera Obscura had been placed
close to the flight of steps leading down the cliff face to the sandy and shingle beach. A new outdoor amusement was the switchback set alongside the occupation road leading to the Cabin Farm.
Everywhere flags flew from the masts, adding colour to the scene,
especially when the sea breeze blew. Other small stalls catered to
the needs and whims of the visitors and were run by various
individuals but regulated by the incumbent licensee of the Cabin.