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Has the deckchair industry folded?

Byline: Denis KILCOMMONS denis.kilcommons@yahoo.co.uk

CLEOPATRA lounged in one. When Julius Caesar conquered Germania, he probably took his own in case the locals had bagged all the best ones by hanging a towel over them.

Yes, I''m talking deckchairs. The folding chair has been around for centuries in various forms and it has a long and glorious history. They were even discovered in the tombs of ancient Egyptians. Well, you''d expect them there, with all that sand to sit around on.

They became popular on passenger liners and for leisure activities in the 19th century when the Waverley was described as "the best ship or lawn tennis chair" and the Hygienic, which also rocked, was said to be: "valuable for those with sluggish and constipated bowels. Its action is perfect massage without the toilsome labour."

Which is nice to know. The burgeoning coastal resorts of Britain took them to their heart and hired them out so that trippers could relax on the promenade or beach and enjoy the sun. If they were lucky.

Deckchairs have been part and parcel of the seaside image, captured brilliantly in those famous saucy Bamforth postcards, for 100 years. George Formby undoubtedly sat in one while enjoying his little stick of Blackpool rock.

But reader Mrs Gaynor Clegg from Ravensthorpe says they are no more to be found in that bright and breezy West Coast resort.

"We have just had a super family holiday there. All 19 of us. Sons, daughter, spouses, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I have never missed a year since I went with my parents when I was a child. "But I couldn''t believe it - there were no deckchairs. Blackpool, with no chairs on the front! Crazy! I couldn''t go on the sands as, if I''d sat down, I couldn''t have got up again. "Still, never mind, we had a lovely time."

A little research discovered at least one place where you can get a deckchair in Blackpool, but it is rather exclusive and comes at a cost. Blackpool Tower offer a VIP deckchair service 400 feet above the Promenade. They have set aside a section at the top of the tower that can accommodate five people at a time. It costs PS25 per person for an hour. As well as deckchairs, you get ice-cream, champagne and a paddling pool.

I don''t think I''ll bother. With my luck, it would rain and I''d struggle to put the thing up anyway. How many have tried, failed, trapped their fingers, had a burst of bad language and then thrown the entire contraption as far as possible. Which is not advisable from the top of the Tower.

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Aug 20, 2013
Words:455
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