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Constant as the Northern Star


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ďDonít Forget the DiverĒ

Memories of New Brighton

from Norman

New Brighton Beach


New Brighton Beach

I am a nipper of 63 and so I donít actually remember the one legged diver although stories of him still remain. What I heard is that he was a deep sea diver that lost a leg in an accident and finding that there was not much call for a one legged deep sea diver and not knowing what else to do, he turned himself into a one man tourist enterprise.

To drum up trade he placed a sandwich board at the end of the pier with the words ďDonít Forget the DiverĒ on it. For years afterwards it became the custom for waiters in pubs and restaurants to use the phrase. Customers had such fond memories of him that they rarely took offence at this oblique yet blatant way of asking for a tip.

Comment ""I was born in Wallasey in 1940 and my grandparents managed the restaurant on the pier during the war."

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In the seventies there was a ship called the Landfall which was moored in the Liverpool Salt House dock. This was turned into a nightclub and in one of the public areas there was a deep sea diversí suit with the name Hector Crompton on the chest. I often wondered if this had a connection with the one legged diver and if in fact this was his name or whether it was just the deep sea diving equivalent of Calvin Kline. I thought of asking but the barmaids were unlikely to know and the bouncers were not there to make small talk with the punters so my curiosity just withered on the vine.

I do remember going to rock concerts at the tower. I once saw Little Richard Performing there. He greatly over ran his slot and it was a scramble to catch the last ferry and the last bus home. I was one of those who didnít usually go to places where the Beatles were performing. It wasnít a case of one day they didnít have talent and the next day they did, it was just that their equipment was totally crap. I was amused years later when McCartney discovered the fuzz box and tried to include it on a lot of his records, he could have just got his old gear out of storage and it would have had the same effect.

I went to school with Jerry and I didnít rate him as a performer either although his mum worked in my local chippy and she was a lovely lady.

There were a lot of better turns around at the time including the Merseybeats; the Swinging Blue Jeans and King Sized Taylor and the Dominoes.

The memory I have as a child which I donít think anyone else has mentioned is the Guinness clock. This stood on a picnic field and was so high as a room of a house. The Guinness toucan stood atop with the clock underneath and all manner of animations underneath. Windows would open and close like a cuckoo clock and some mechanical animations would perform their tricks. I think they lasted about a minute on the quarter and three quarter hours; two minutes on the half hour and about four or five minutes on the hour. I went back several years later and the clock had disappeared along with the picnickers as New Brighton gradually slipped into genteel decay.

My last visit was about six or seven years ago and was pleasantly surprised at the fine work which had been done on the prom and the fort had been turned into a war museum displaying reassembled shot down aircraft and all manner of naval exhibits.

New Brighton is a small attractive seaside town where people live, not a town built for the benefit of day trippers. Letís hope it can stay that way. Norman.

Many thanks Norman for your memories


I was born in Wallasey in 1940 and my grandparents managed the restaurant on the pier during the war.
I was told that the diver was called Peggy Gadfly. There is now a pub named after him on Victoria Road.
"Don't forget the Diver" was a catch phrase used by Tommy Handley on "ITMA" during the second world war. As Tommy Handley was from Liverpool it is almost certain that he picked this up from the diver at New Brighton Pier. I can remember on one edition of ITMA c.a. 1948 that Tommy came out with "Mersey Docks and Harbour Board and I can see New Brighton" to the tune of the, then popular song Maresy dotes & dosey dotes - they don't write them like that today - thank goodness! G.H.

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Memories of Wilkies Palace, Funfair, New Brighton