Squires Gate – History Repeating Itself

Categories:1940s, In Wartime, Local News
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Tuesday 20th March 1945

Vickers Armstrong Factory

During the war the manufacturing company Vickers Armstrong at Squires Gate was busy building planes for the RAF in factories built and owned by the Government. This was one of many factories throughout the country which would soon, most assumed, be out of use with the end of the war now being in site.
Several individual enterprises were eager to provide jobs for the countries nearly one million workers and nearly 3000 companies had put their names down for peacetime production, in these soon to be unused buildings.
President of the Board of Trade stated that the space asked for was three times that which will be available once the war with Japan is won.
At the time there was 19 firms, employing 50,000 workers that had received factory allocations.
But to the disappointment of many Blackpool firms, the Squires Gate factory with it’s one and a half million square feet floor space was not mentioned on the published Government list of soon to be available government buildings. So the question the local paper asked on this day was, has the Government decided not to let the local buildings or has a decision about the use of the Squires Gate factory yet to be decided?
This is something that if utilised could help the local economy and its workforce greatly but at this time all they could do was speculate on the outcome.

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It turned out the Factory did not get added to the Government published list, instead Vickers kept it on until 1948 replacing the production of planes to aluminium houses, as part of the Government housing programme, employing nearly 4000 people.

Not too dissimilar in some ways to what is happening at this present time in the area as we wait to see if the new Local Enterprise Zone, which was launched yesterday in the Chancellors budget statement, will or will not create new employment for the area. It is suggested it could create an extra 3000 new jobs and a return to international flights. However, like back then, we will have to just wait and see.

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