Margaret Broom

The granddaughter of Luna Park founder Percy Firth, Margaret Elizabeth Hill (now Broom), got in touch with the author of Pennies by the Sea shortly after publication of the book. Subsequent correspondence has resulted in the discovery of some new family photos and many happy memories living at Bridlington's Bay View Amusement Arcades:

“Thank you for writing this book, which is a memorable insight into the development of Bridlington's amusement arcades and the people and their families who have been instrumental in their continuing evolution. Your book certainly opened up my eyes and brought back my magical childhood by the sea.

"When Percy Firth died, Mum, Dad, my sister Pat and I were living with him and Grandma at 'Sunny Banks', Alexandra Drive, Bridlington. It was a large sized house and Grandma felt we couldn't afford to live there with such large death duties. The Gibsons had just acquired Jolly Spot Amusements and offered the flat above. This was 1955, and as my Dad (Bernard Hill) had been working for my Uncle since 1947 it seemed a logical idea. Plus the family would almost all be together again.

"I was so lucky; not many children had a life like mine. The arcade was my playground in the winter. I learnt to roller skate, play darts, get into mischief.

"I could feel all the excitement as Easter loomed. Everything cleaned, painted and decorated. Some new machines would arrive, new bingo stalls being built. To me it was pure magic and I loved it, even when it was cold and windy!

"I think Grandpa Firth's choice of name for his arcade - 'Luna Park' - was influenced by his uncle Percy Batley Firth who used to live in New York. He came back to live with my Grandparents around that time.

"Our family moved from Bay View Amusements in 1968, just before Grandma died. My Dad continued to work there until Mr Ling took over.

"I enjoyed all my childhood at Bay View; it was magical, exciting, sometimes boring, but mainly great fun. The Browns were almost like an extended family. The whole area was very much a close-knit community in the 1950s and 60s.

"Pennies by the Sea has brought back many happy memories as well as an insight into the early history of the Esplanade and Promenade.”

Margaret Broom
Kesgrave, February 2007

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New Photograph: Three girls - Marjorie Firth, Dorothy and Margaret Broom's mum, Connie. Photograph: Margaret Broom

New Photograph: Percy and Olive Firth (left) with Marjorie (with dog), Dorothy (on fence) and Margaret Broom's mother, Connie (right).  Photograph: Margaret Broom

New Photograph: Dorothy and Raymond Gibson. Dorothy was the daughter of Percy Firth, founder of Luna Park (which would become Joyland) and Raymond Gibson was the son of William Gibson, founder of Bridlington's second largest arcade, Bay View. Their marriage would bring the two arcade families together. Photograph: Margaret Broom

New Photograph: Michael and Geoffrey Gibson, Dorothy Firth's two sons and Margaret Broom's cousins. Photograph: Margaret Broom

New Photograph: Angela Gibson (Dorothy Firth and Raymond Gibson's daughter) outside Bay View Amusements in the mid-1960s.  Photograph: Margaret Broom

New Photograph: Margaret Broom's father, Bernard Hill, by the toy stall in front of the bingo at Bay View in the 1960s. He worked at South Cliff Amusements before Raymond Gibson took over: "My Uncle liked my Dad and took him in at Bay View permanently. He became caretaker manager when he moved in  1955".  Photograph: Margaret Broom

Published by:
Skelter Publishing LLP
© 2006

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