It's A Knockout 1970
British Domestic Series

Presenters: David Vine and Eddie Waring

Referee: Arthur Ellis

Games Designer: Stuart Furber

Producer: Barney Colehan

Director: Ian Smith

A BBC North West Production

GB

It's A Knockout 1970

Heat 1

Event Staged: Sunday 26th April 1970
Venue: Yachting Lake, South Marine Park, South Shields,
County Durham, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Thursday 30th April 1970, 8.00-8.45pm

Teams: South Shields v. Tynemouth

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 S • South Shields
 T Tynemouth

12
9

South Shields qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Como, Italy:
staged on Tuesday 9th June 1970

The Host Town

South Shields, County Durham

South Shields is a coastal town in the county of Tyne and Wear at the point where the River Tyne meets the North Sea. It is located 7½ miles (12km) east of Newcastle-upon-Tyne city centre, 95½ miles (154km) south-east of Edinburgh, 126¾ miles (204km) north-east of Liverpool and 247¼ miles (398km) north of London. The town has a population of around 84,000 inhabitants and is the second largest of the Tyneside conurbation after Newcastle. It forms part of the metropolitan borough of South Tyneside which includes the towns of Jarrow and Hebburn and has 6 miles (9.6km) of coastline and 3 miles (4.8km) of river frontage, dominated by the massive North and South Piers at the mouth of the Tyne.

The first evidence of a settlement dates from pre-historic times with Stone Age arrow heads and an Iron Age round house discovered on the site. The Romans built a fort here around AD 160 and expanded it around AD 208 to help supply their soldiers along Hadrian's Wall. In the 9th century, Scandinavian peoples made Viking raids on monasteries and settlements all along the coast, and later conquered the Saxon Kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia.

 

The picturesque Westoe village is the setting
for many of novelist Catherine Cookson's novels

 

The current town was founded in 1245 and developed as a fishing port. The name South Shields developed from the 'Schele' or 'Shield', which was a small dwelling used by fishermen. Salt-panning expanded as an industry in the 15th century, polluting the air and surrounding land. Before 1820, South Shields was a predominantly sparse hamlet and village based rural economy with some small-scale shipbuilding, glass making and salt processing along the riverside. Beyond 1820 and into the Industrial Revolution, South Shields expanded into an urban settlement built around shipbuilding and coal mining. These industries played a fundamental part in creating wealth both regionally and nationally. The population increased from 12,000 in 1801 to 75,000 by the 1860s, bolstered by economic migration from Ireland, Scotland and other parts of England, and the majority of the people living in South Shields are descendants of those who migrated and settled in the area during the Industrial Revolution. The last shipbuilder, John Readhead & Sons, closed for business in 1984 and the last pit, Westoe Colliery, in 1993. Today the town relies largely on service industries, whilst many residents commute to work in nearby Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside and Sunderland.

One of the most historic parts of the town is the quaint and beautiful Westoe village, which consists of a quiet street of Grade I and II Georgian and Victorian houses, many of which had been built by business leaders from the coal and shipping industries. Given its beautiful setting, parks and trees, this street was often the setting for a number of books by the novelist Catherine Cookson (1906-1998), and with this in mind, the area markets itself as Catherine Cookson Country, which attracts many visitors.

A prominent landmark of the town is the Edwardian Town Hall, built between 1905 and 1910 by architect E. E. Fetch of London. Ornamentation includes several references to the town's nautical heritage: Britannia and other sculpted figures in the pediment above the front entrance, a figure of Mercury atop a globe on the dome of the Council chamber, fountains and nymph lamp holders in the forecourt alongside a statue of Queen Victoria. The 145ft (44.1m) clock tower contains a Potts chiming clock and five bells, and is topped by a weathervane in the shape of a galleon.

Although now located in the county of Tyne and Wear, following the complete redistribution of county boundaries under the Local Government Act 1972 (which took effect in April 1974), South Shields was at the time of this recording located in the county of Durham.

The Venue

South Marine Park

The games were played on the yachting lake located in South Marine Park. For over 100 years the park has been a place for walking, dancing, relaxing, playing and socialising. The park is a popular destination for tourists, day trippers, schools and community groups alike.

The park was designed by Matthew Hall, the Borough's surveyor and engineer. John Peebles was appointed head gardener in 1886 and immediately set about creating the park out of the old waste spoil tips, or 'ballast hills' that blighted the area. Remarkably, his diary, in which he reported on progress in the park every month to the Parks Committee, still survives. This diary proved to be an invaluable resource when planning the park's restoration. The Park construction cost £20,000 and was opened by Sir John Mowbray, an Ecclesiastical Commissioner and formerly MP for Durham on 25th June 1890. The park is registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by English Heritage for its special historic interest. A chain of three municipal seaside parks (including North Marine and Bents Park) developed from the 1870s and into the early 20th century on reclaimed land.

 

The yachting lake in South Marine Park

 

The park has recently reopened after major restoration work with the terrace being repaired and the stonework restored to its original design when the park first opened in 1890. New benches incorporating wrought iron squirrels, mice and griffins have been installed on the terrace and are based on photographic evidence of the exact seats in place when the park first opened. The return of the bandstand is another significant addition, it is a replica of the original Macfarlane's of Glasgow model that was first erected in 1904 it can be lit up for special occasions as the original would have been. Other improvements include new layout and pathways, planting and a restored waterfall.

The impressive 'Park Ladies' have been given a new paint finish and are once again in pride of place looking over the mouth of the Tyne ready to welcome visitors to the terrace. The four iconic black statues that normally graced the terrace in the park had been removed to undergo a full restoration as part of the transformation of the park back to its Victorian splendour. The statues each displaying one of two different poses - one called 'Night' and one called 'Day' - started life outside South Shields Town Hall in 1910. All six were moved to South Marine Park in 1951 with two being returned to the Town Hall in 1983. The makeover for the statues was part of a £5 million (€ 6.4 million) restoration project by South Tyneside Council of the park in 2008 and was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The work, which included the replacement of the original flame lamps held in their outstretched hands so that they can be lit up, was carried out at a specialist lighting factory in Nottingham.

Additional Information

Aix-en-Provence was stated as the venue of the French JSF heat on the international venues section of the scoreboard at the end of this broadcast. This remained like this until Heat 4, when the scoreboard revealed the correct French venue - Avignon.

This episode was the only It's A Knockout heat of 1971 to air on a Thursday night rather than a Wednesday. The planned schedule had been disrupted due to a 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Leeds United in the FA Cup Final played on Saturday 11th April 1971. The replay was arranged for Wednesday 29th April 1971 and as the BBC had exclusive rights to show the match, they rescheduled the Wednesday night schedule around it, meaning this heat moved to the following evening.

Made in Colour • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1970

Heat 2

Event Staged: Sunday 3rd May 1970
Venue: Phear Park, Exmouth, Devon, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Wednesday 6th May 1970, 7.30-8.20pm

Teams: Exmouth v. Weymouth

Team Members included:
Exmouth -
Gordon Russell (Team Captain), John Cameron, Tommy Clegg, Keith Thorne and Victor Turner.

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 E • Exmouth
 W Weymouth

11
10

Exmouth qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Lugano, Switzerland:
staged on Wednesday 24th June 1970

The Host Town

Exmouth, Devon

Exmouth, with a population of around 35,000 inhabitants, is a port town and seaside resort in the county of Devon, on the east bank of the mouth of the River Exe. It is located 36 miles (58km) north-east of Plymouth, 60¼ miles (97km) south of Cardiff, 67¾ miles (109km) west of Bournemouth and 155¼ miles (250km) south-west of London. The town is defined by the sea and river frontages (each about a mile long), and stretches around 2½ miles (4km) inland, along a north-easterly axis. At the mouth of the river where the water passes through a narrow passage into the sea, the estuary is nearly closed by Dawlish Warren - a natural sand spit and home to rare wildlife and plants, on the opposite shore of the river.

 

The Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee clock tower
has stood on the Exmouth seafront since 1897

 

TThe two ecclesiastical parishes of Littleham and Withycombe Raleigh, which make up the town of Exmouth today, can be traced to pre-Saxon times. The name of the town derives from its location at the mouth of the River Exe estuary, which ultimately comes from an ancient Celtic word for fish.

Human habitation was restricted by the harsh exposed position on the estuary, with civilisation taking hold in greater and more permanent ways in the more comfortable outer-lying rural areas. The town began to develop in the 13th century after Morin Uppehille who owned the land, granted part of it to John the Miller who in turn built a windmill, and earned his living on the exposed point, aided by the prevailing south-west winds. The windmill, the ferry dock and a small settlement of farms began to develop into Exmouth.

The town established itself during the 18th century and is regarded as the oldest holiday resort in Devon. Visitors prevented from visiting Europe by the revolutionary turmoil in France were attracted by the views and medicinal salt waters which were then fashionable. High class tourism remained steady for a number of years. This changed when the first railway line into Exmouth was built in 1861, bringing with it mass tourism. Exmouth was renowned as a destination for the wealthy to recover their health. Notable visitors in this time included Lady Byron (1792-1860) and her daughter Ada Lovelace (1815-1852). Exmouth was also the residence of Lady Francis Nelson (1761-1831), the estranged wife of Lord Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), and her body is interred in Littleham Churchyard.

The Venue

Phear Park

The games were played in Phear Park, a large open space of grass and old trees, located in the middle of Exmouth. The park was originally part of the grounds of Marpool Hall and in 1909 the lower part of the park was bequeathed to the people of Exmouth for recreational purposes by the family of Sir John Phear.

The local council (Exmouth Urban District Council) decided to lay a bowling green in the park which by now had been renamed Phear Park, in a bid to attract visitors. On 3rd July 1911, two weeks of the green being opened, a bowls club, Phear Park Bowling Club, had been formed. The rest of the park and hall was bought by the local council in 1935.

 

The D-Day Memorial to the Devonshire Regiment,
which was unveiled in Phear Park in June 2009

 

Evacuees and then U.S. soldiers taking part in the D-Day landings were housed in the hall during the Second World War. Shortly after the war, the hall was burnt down and left derelict. Eventually it was completely demolished in 1951 to make way for the current bowling club pavilion. An old railway line between Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton used to run just behind Phear Park. It is now a tarmac cycle-way and footpath extending from the park via Littleham to Knowle, just outside Budleigh Salterton. A viaduct that connected the railway line at Phear Park to the station near Exeter Road has long since been demolished and the cutting through which the line ran at Littleham was filled in many years ago.

Today, when the weather is fine, the park is a great place for families to visit as facilities at the park now include a number of outdoor, hard court tennis courts, an enclosed mud and grass bike track for children, a skate-board and BMX area, two adjoining playground areas with slides and climbing frames for children of different age groups, a hard surface basket-ball / soccer court, an eighteen-hole 'pitch and put' course, a nine-hole putting green and a crazy golf course.

Made in Colour • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1970

Heat 3

Event Staged: Sunday 10th May 1970
Venue: Duthie Park, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Wednesday 13th May 1970, 8.00-8.50pm

Weather Conditions: Sunny and Hot

Teams: Aberdeen v. Arbroath

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team / Colour 1 2 3 4 5 6 MAR 7
Points Scored
(Joker games shown in red)
AB 2 2 4 2 0 2 1

1

AR 0 0 0 0 2 0 1

1

Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
AB 2 4 8 10 10 12 13

14

AR 0 0 0 0 2 2 3

4

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 Aberdeen
 Arbroath

14
4

Aberdeen qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Namur, Belgium:
staged on Wednesday 8th July 1970

The Host Town

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire

Aberdeen lies on the north-east coast of Scotland between the River Dee and the River Don and, with a population of around 220,000 inhabitants, is the country’s third most populous city and the 37th in the United Kingdom. It is located 137¼ miles (221km) north-east of Oban and 253½ miles (408km) north of Manchester and is in fact closer to the Norwegian town of Stavanger, which lies 312½ miles (503km) to the north-east, than it is to London, 398¼ miles (641km) to the south-east. Aberdeen has a long sandy beach between the two rivers, which turns into high sand dunes north of the Don stretching as far as Fraserburgh. To the south of the Dee are steep rocky cliff faces with only minor pebble and shingle beaches in deep inlets. A number of granite outcrops along the south coast have been quarried in the past, making for spectacular scenery and good rock-climbing, thus lending the city its nickname of the Granite City.

 

Aberdeen harbour is today more a home to ferries to
the Orkneys and Shetlands than it is to fishing boats

 

The Aberdeen area has seen human settlement for at least 8,000 years. The city began as two separate burghs - Old Aberdeen, at the mouth of the river Don, and New Aberdeen, a fishing and trading settlement where the Denburn waterway entered the river Dee estuary. The earliest charter was granted by William the Lion (1143-1214) in 1179. In 1319, the Great Charter of Robert I (Robert the Bruce) (1274-1329) transformed Aberdeen into a property-owning and financially independent community.

During the Wars of Scottish Independence (1296-1328 and 1332-1357), Aberdeen was under English rule, so Robert the Bruce laid siege to Aberdeen Castle before destroying it in 1308, followed by the massacring of the English garrison and the retaking of Aberdeen for the townspeople. The city was burned by Edward III of England (1312-1377) in 1336, but was rebuilt and extended, and called New Aberdeen. The city was strongly fortified to prevent attacks by neighbouring lords, but the gates were removed by 1770. During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (1644-1647), the city was plundered by both sides. In 1644, it was taken and ransacked by Royalist troops after the Battle of Aberdeen and two years later it was stormed by a Royalist force under the command of George Gordon, 2nd Marquis of Huntly (1592-1649). In 1647 an outbreak of bubonic plague killed a quarter of the population. The expensive infrastructure works led to the city becoming bankrupt in 1817 during the economic downturn which immediately followed the end of Napoleonic wars (1803-1815).

However, recovery eventually came with the prosperity in the coming years. The increasing economic importance of Aberdeen and the development of the shipbuilding and fishing industries led to the construction of the present harbour including Victoria Dock and the South Breakwater, and the extension of the North Pier. Gas street lighting arrived in 1824 and an enhanced water supply appeared in 1830 when water was pumped from the Dee to a reservoir in Union Place. An underground sewer system replaced open sewers in 1865.

Today, the traditional industries of fishing, paper-making, shipbuilding, and textiles have been overtaken by the oil industry and Aberdeen's seaport. Aberdeen Heliport is one of the busiest commercial heliports in the world and the seaport is the largest in the north-east of Scotland.

Aberdeen holds the record for the most-northerly venue of any It’s A Knockout or Jeux Sans Frontières programme.

The Venue

Duthie Park

The games were played in Duthie Park situated by the banks of the River Dee and comprising 44 acres (180,000m2) of land. The park was gifted to Aberdeen by Lady Elizabeth Crombie Duthie (1818-1885) of Ruthrieston, a member of a wealthy shipbuilding family, in 1881. Lady Duthie wanted to create a public park in memory of her brother Alexander and uncle Walter. She purchased the estate of Arthurseat by the banks of the River Dee for £30,000. A street called Sycamore Place was demolished to make room for the building and landscaping.

 

Aberdeen's Duthie Park was gifted to the town by
a wealthy shipbuilding family in the 19th century

 

The layout of the park was designed by the surveyor and architect Mr William McKelvie of Dundee. The first turf was cut on the Saturday 27th August 1881 by the Earl of Aberdeen and Lady Duthie herself with a silver spade. The original polished oak wheelbarrow used in this ceremony is still on display in the Winter Gardens. There were over 1000 people at the ceremony and 300 people were invited to a buffet inside a huge marquee. This included the Lord Provost Mr Peter Esslemont and the Reverend J. Mitford Mitchell.

It was hoped that the park would be opened by Her Majesty Queen Victoria but she was recovering from an accident. Her daughter Princess Beatrice was in Aberdeen, where she was opening the Sick Children's Hospital Bazaar at the Music Hall and therefore officially performed the opening on 27th September 1883.

The Duthie Park Winter Gardens were opened in 1899 at a cost of £1,550. It measured 108ft (32.9m) in length by 56ft (17m) in depth and built from St Petersburg redwood. It had a circular dome which measured 24ft (7.3m) in diameter and rose to a height of 46ft (14m). The current Winter Gardens were opened on the 9th April 1970 by Lord Provost Lennox and several extensions, like the fern house, corridor of perfumes and the temperate house have since taken place. This first new building cost £56,000. Now the Gardens are considered one of the largest covered gardens in Europe containing a wide range of plants and collections set amongst some stunning pools and goldfish. So much so that many newly-weds come especially to have their wedding photographs taken in this beautiful backdrop.

A commemorative plaque for Lady Duthie was unveiled at her former home of 34 Maberley Street by Berryden in honour of her generous bequest that has benefited so many.

Memories of IAK

Bill Brown of Aberdeen recalls this event: "At the time of this recording, on a hot summer's day in May, I was actually a special constable, and was asked to supplement the police presence at the event. I was very interested in the actual production of the programme, and noted that the BBC Outside Broadcast vans present were from Manchester. A links van was pointed towards the local Redmoss Transmitter which was about a mile and a half away to the south. The tenders used for cables etc. were still towed by tractors. The mobile control room used was AWU 374H which received the output of (I think) six Philips-Norelco PC80 colour cameras, one of which was on a large-sized cherry-picker. I remember the late David Vine doing a very good commentary and I took pictures of the TV vans on that particular day – though the one shown here was taken in Ryde, Surrey some years later. As I remember it, a great day out was enjoyed by all. The only problem even in those days was traffic congestion, caused by a huge audience wanting to see a colour television programme being recorded on a fine day."

Additional Information

Some 20,000 people attended the recording of this programme in Aberdeen's Duthie Park.

Made in Colour • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1970

Heat 4

Event Staged: Sunday 17th May 1970
Venue: Marine Promenade, Rhyl, Flintshire, Wales

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Wednesday 20th May 1970, 8.00-8.50pm

Teams: Caernarfon v. Rhyl

Team Members included:
Caernarfon -
Michael Blake;
Rhyl - Geoff Shaw (Team Manager), Barbara Barker.

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 C • Caernarfon
 R Rhyl

11
10

Caernarfon qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Avignon, France:
staged on Wednesday 22nd July 1970

The Host Town

Rhyl, Flintshire

Rhyl is a popular seaside resort town and tourist destination in the county of Denbighshire with a population of 25,000 inhabitants, situated on the north east coast of Wales, at the mouth of the River Clwyd. It is located 3¾ miles (6km) west of Prestatyn, 21¾ miles (35km) west of Liverpool, 127¼ miles (205km) north of Cardiff and 189½ miles (305km) north-west of London.

 

An aerial view of the seaside resort of Rhyl from
the now defunct 250ft high Sky Tower

 

The origin of the name Rhyl is not fully known. However, the name appears in old documents variously as Rhil (1706), Rhûl (1749), Rhul (1773) Rhyll (1830) and Rhyl (1840), all of which are variations (and some Anglicisations) of an uncertain original form. Other suggestions have been made that it might derive from the similar sounding Yr Hill (The Hill) or Yr Heol (The Street). Another theory is that the name Rhyl originates from the Welsh Ty’n yr haul meaning 'House in the sun'.

A Rhyl landmark was the Pavilion Theatre, an ornate building with five domes, which was demolished in 1973 and the adjacent pier which was finally removed in 1972. Rhyl's top attraction on the West Parade is now Rhyl Children's Village theme park. The other main attraction is the 250ft (76m) high Sky Tower (formerly known as the Clydesdale Bank tower, brought to Rhyl from the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival), which opened in 1993, but has been closed to the public since 2010. On the East Parade is the SeaQuarium and the Rhyl SunCentre. The SunCentre was an indoor leisure centre which opened in 1980 at a cost of £4.25m and featured a heated swimming pool and Europe's first indoor surfing pool. The local council took the decision to close the centre in early 2014. Next door stands the New Pavilion Theatre, which opened in 1991.

The Marine Lake in the west of the town used to be a tourist destination with fairground rides and a zoo, and was officially opened in 1895. The lake, a 12-hectare (120,000m) man-made reservoir, is joined to the sea by a single sluice gate and is so big that it has its own island in the middle. Rhyl Miniature Railway is the only original attraction remaining on the site, a narrow gauge railway that travels around the lake and is now based at the new museum and railway centre. There is also a playground and numerous water-based sports clubs around the lake.

The Marine Lake Funfair was demolished in the late 1960s, having been replaced by the nearby Ocean Beach Funfair. Ocean Beach finally closed on 2nd September 2007 and was demolished to make way for a planned new development, Ocean Plaza. This was to include apartments, a hotel and various retail outlets. However, work on Ocean Plaza never went ahead as scheduled and the land lay vacant for several years after the original developers, Modus Properties, went bankrupt in 2009. The site was sold to a new company, Scarborough Development Group (SDG), in 2010 though again no work commenced on the site for several years. In 2014, SDG submitted revised plans to develop the land on a much smaller scale than the original plans The plans no longer include the building of new apartments on the land as Natural Resources Wales’ flood regulations now prohibit this.

At the time of transmission, Rhyl was located in the county of Flintshire. Following the Local Government Act 1972, the town became part of the new county of Gwynedd on 1st April 1974. Following the Local Government (Wales) Act of 1994 when most of the original historic counties of Wales were re-established, the town did not return to Flintshire, instead it became part of a newly-enlarged Denbighshire on 1st April 1996.

The Venue

Marine Promenade

The games were played on the Marine Promenade which links the eastern and western arms of Rhyl's seafront. When originally constructed, the western arm of the promenade only stretched from Butterton Road to Sandringham Avenue. In 1878, shortly after the pier was opened, it was extended to River Street. The reviews at the time declared it to be one of the finest seafronts in the country. The West Promenade was tastefully laid out with gardens, terraces and sheltered walks, delightful green lawns and pleasing flower beds to greet the eye. The East Promenade comprised many recreative features including tennis courts and bowling greens. The two promenades were linked together by the Marine Promenade.

 

The Marine Promenade and pier at Rhyl as it looked in the 1960s and 1970s

 

The 2,355ft (717.8m) long pier opened on 19th August 1867, at a cost of £23,000. Admission was 3d (1½p) and entertainments included the Bijou Theatre, bands, dance and pierrot troupes, slot machine, diving competitions and steamer rides. The pier had numerous accidents - in 1883 the schooner Lady Stuart rammed it and in 1909, storms caused part of it to collapse. In September 1913, the aforementioned Bijou Theatre was destroyed by fire and, following damage during World War I, it remained closed until 1930. In 1966, the pier was declared unsafe and was closed again, never to re-open. The council demolished the pier in 1973.

Since then the Promenade has seen many changes. In August 1980, a Monorail service located 15ft (4.57m) in the air on specially constructed pillars, opened up along 600 yards (549m) of the central promenade. It was the middle section of a proposed longer line. However, it was doomed from the outset and its 40-seater trains ran for only six or seven weeks. The owners were forced into liquidation with debts of more than £650,000! The Clock Tower, which was located on Marine Promenade near the pier, was then moved a few yards to the north-east and onto the middle of a roundabout at the northern end of the High Street.

The council acquired the Sky Tower from the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1993 at a cost of £825,000. Rides to the top in the rotating gondola cost £2, with a taped message giving information on the views of the bay, wind farms and Snowdonia. However after 17 years of service and with a decreasing number of visitors, the 240ft (73.15m) tall tower closed for the final time at the end of the 2010 summer season. The company which ran the tourist attraction on behalf of Denbighshire council, Clwyd Leisure Limited, asked for a safety report after coming to the end of its 10-year lease. The report found that the weather had taken its toll on the structure and required over £400,000 of repairs. However, whilst costs to refurbish the tower were significant, it was structurally sound and probably had another 30 years of workable life.

On 9th June 2014, the area around the tower was evacuated when a loud bang was heard from above. Following a thorough examination the tower was once again found to be structurally sound and therefore no cause for concern. On 29th September 2014, the council discussed the future of the tower and it appeared that it would get a new lease of life. Rhyl Going Forward (RGF) programme manager Tom Booty issued a statement that there were three options open to the council - the ride could be refurbished and re-instated, the tower could be dismantled or it could be given a new use - with the latter being recommended with the proviso that it would never operate as a ride again. All equipment associated with the ride, such as the observation gondola, would be removed with the main tower structure remaining. The cost of this was estimated to be in the region of £30,000, although this would need to be confirmed through a full external survey. Alternative uses for the tower could then be explored, and options could be to seek sponsorship or using the tower as a site for a public art installation. Denbighshire council's cabinet was due to make the final decision on 23rd October 2014.

In an effort to regenerate and boost declining tourism, a number of projects are underway or being proposed. In addition to the £85 million Ocean Plaza complex on the site of the former Ocean Beach Funfair, projects include the Drift Park development on the promenade and the reopening of the town's miniature railway around the Marine Lake.

Returning Teams and Competitors

27-year old Caernarfon team member Michael Blake participated again for the team at the age of 50, when the town took part in the revived Jeux Sans Frontières in 1992.

Rhyl team member Barbara Barker would return to the series in 1971 playing for the Colwyn Bay team.

Made in Colour • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1970

Heat 5

Event Staged: Sunday 24th May 1970
Venue: Beaconsfield Recreational Ground, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Wednesday 27th May 1970, 8.00-8.50pm

Teams: Great Yarmouth v. Lowestoft

Team Members included:
Great Yarmouth - Terry Wing;
Lowestoft -
Jeff Frost (Team Captain).

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 L • Lowestoft
 Y Great Yarmouth

11
10

Lowestoft qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Cardiff, Great Britain:
staged on Wednesday 21st August 1970

The Host Town

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

Great Yarmouth is a coastal town located in the county of Norfolk on a thin spit of land sandwiched between the North Sea and the River Yare, 20 miles (32km) east of Norwich and 13km north of Lowestoft, the most easterly point of Great Britain. Known to locals simply as Yarmouth, It has been a seaside resort since 1760, and is the gateway from the Norfolk Broads to the North Sea. For hundreds of years it was a major fishing port, depending mainly on the herring fishery, but its fishing industry suffered a steep decline in the second half of the 20th century, and has now all but disappeared.

 

An aerial view shows Great Yarmouth’s spit of land
between the North Sea and the River Yare

 

In 1208, King John (1166-1216) granted a charter to Great Yarmouth which gave his burgesses of Yarmouth general liberties according to the customs of Oxford, amplified by several later charters asserting the rights of the borough against Little Yarmouth and Gorleston. In 1552, Edward VI (1537-1553) granted a charter of admiralty jurisdiction, later confirmed and extended by James I (1566-1625). In 1668, Charles II (1630-1685) incorporated Little Yarmouth in the borough by a charter which with one brief exception remained in force until 1703, when Queen Anne (1665-1714) replaced the two bailiffs with a mayor.

The town has borne witness to several disasters over the centuries being the site of a bridge disaster and drowning tragedy on 2nd May 1845, when a suspension bridge crowded with children collapsed under the weight killing 79. They had gathered to watch a clown in a barrel being pulled by geese down the river. As he passed under the bridge the weight shifted, causing the chains on the south side to snap, tipping over the bridge deck. During World War I (1914-1918), Great Yarmouth suffered the first aerial bombardment in the United Kingdom, by Zeppelin L3 on 19th January 1915 and was also bombarded by the German Navy on 24th April 1916. The town suffered Luftwaffe bombing during World War II (1939-1945) as it was the last significant place on which German bombers could drop bombs before returning home.

On the night of Saturday 31st January and morning of Sunday 1st February 1953, the town was badly affected by the North Sea flood, a combination of a high spring tide and a severe European windstorm, which led to a water level of more than 18ft 4in (5.6m) above mean sea level. More recent flooding has also been a problem, with the town flooding four times in 2006. In September 2006, the town suffered its worst flooding in 50 years. Torrential rain caused drains to block as well as an Anglian Water pumping station to break down and this resulted in flash flooding around the town in which 90 properties were flooded up to 5ft (1.5m). On 9th November 2007, the town braced itself for more flooding as a result of a tidal surge and high tides but disaster was avoided and only a small area was under water.

The market place at Great Yarmouth is one of the largest in England, and has been operating since the 13th century. The Tollhouse, with dungeons, dates from the late 13th century and is said to be the oldest civic building in Britain. The town had its own electric tramway system between 1902 and 1933.

Great Yarmouth has two piers, Britannia Pier (which is Grade II listed) and Wellington Pier. The theatre building on the latter of the two was demolished in 2005 and reopened in 2008 as a family entertainment centre with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the beach. Britannia Pier is home to the Britannia Theatre and is one of a few end-of-the-pier theatres left in England.

The main local football club is Great Yarmouth Town, also known as the Bloaters, who play in the Eastern Counties League. Currently managed by Mike Derbyshire, their ground is at Wellesley Recreation Ground which played host to the programme when the town participated again in 1979.

The Venue

Beaconsfield Reaction Ground

The games were played at the Beaconsfield Recreation Ground, a popular and well used green space comprising a children's playground and a large playing field and pavilion used for football and cricket matches.

 

A deserted Beaconsfield Recreation Ground

 

The southern end of the recreation ground borders on Sandown Road and the other side of that road borders on the northern end of Wellesley Recreation Ground which played host to the programme in 1979!

Additional Information

Both Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières from this heat - one as winner and the other as highest-scoring loser (although Great Yarmouth had to play a tie-breaker on Sunday 31st May 1970 as three other losing teams had also scored 10pts). In the International competition it was these two teams that proved to be the two highest placed teams for Great Britain, with Great Yarmouth qualifying for the International Final. However, it was not until after the points allocation of the last game of their International Heat and a scoreboard correction, that Great Yarmouth were revealed as being the best performing British team this year (though of course, the British Domestic Champions of 1970 were Aberdeen, by virtue of their scoring the highest points total in the Domestic Heats).

Made in Colour • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1970

Heat 6

Event Staged: Sunday 31st May 1970
Venue: Marina Bathing Pool, Ramsgate, Kent, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Wednesday 3rd June 1970, 8.00-8.50pm

Teams: Ramsgate v. Margate

Team Members included:
Margate - Heather Campbell, Michelle Campbell, Les Chambers, Kevin Fletcher, Daryll Harding, Jack Harris, Christine James, Bert Joy, Gilleen Rossiter, Terry Rossiter, Shirley Tomlinson, Vic Tyler, David Walker and Dave Wornham.

Games: Tea for Two, Saucepan Paddle, Riding the Wave, The Indian Tents, Podium Hop, Swaying Footbridge and The Iceberg;
Marathon: The Limbo Pole.

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 MAR 7
Points Scored
(Joker games shown in red)
M 0 2 1 4 2 2 0

0

R 4 0 1 0 0 0 3

2

Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
M 0 4 3 7 9 11 11

11

R 4 4 5 5 5 5 8

10

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 M • Margate
 R Ramsgate

11
10

Margate qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at Groningen, Netherlands:
staged on Wednesday 19th August 1970

The Host Town

Ramsgate, Kent

Ramsgate, with a population of around 40,000 inhabitants, is a port and seaside resort on the north-east Kent coast at one of the most easterly points of the United Kingdom. It is located 24km north-east of the English Channel port of Dover and 78 miles (109km) south-east of London. Due to its position, Ramsgate has its own meridian line and Mean Time (5 minutes 41 seconds ahead of Greenwich) and its main industries are tourism and fishing and it has one of the largest marinas on the English south coast.

 

In addition to it being a port, Ramsgate also doubles as
a seaside resort with two sandy beaches

 

The town is an amalgamation of two settlements - a fishing community on the coast in the shallow valley between two chalk cliffs, and an inland farming community that is now the Parish of St. Lawrence. The cliffs are known as the East Cliff and the West Cliff and are predominantly residential areas. There are promenades along both cliff tops with parks at both ends and sandy beaches on the coast. The earliest reference to the town is in the Kent Hundred Rolls of 1274-1275 both as Remmesgate (in the name of ‘Christina de Remmesgate’) and Remisgat (with reference to the town).

The construction of Ramsgate Harbour began in 1749 and was completed around 1850 and has the distinction of being the only Royal Harbour in the United Kingdom. Because of its proximity to mainland Europe, Ramsgate was a chief embarkation point both during the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) and for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.

In 1901, an electric tram service, one of the few inter-urban tramways in Britain, was introduced on the Isle of Thanet, resulting in the towns of Ramsgate, Margate and Broadstairs being linked by 11 miles (17.7km) of track. Between 1915 and 1916, early aircraft began to use the open farmland at Manston as a site for emergency landings. The location near the Kent coast gave Manston some advantages over the other previously established aerodromes. During the First World War, Ramsgate was the target of bombing raids by Zeppelin airships. As RAF Manston, the aerodrome played an important role in the Second World War, but today it is now called Kent International Airport.

Although Ramsgate has the most valuable fish landings in Kent, the fishing industry is in serious decline. Today the main industry is tourism and travel with the Port of Ramsgate providing cross-channel ferries for many years. An emerging industry is power generation, with 800 jobs expected to be created by the Thanet offshore wind project, a wind farm just off the coast. Each August Bank Holiday, the Summer Squall multi-arts festival serves up a feast of workshops, exhibitions, film, theatre and dance. While in July, Thanet at War brings the 1940s vividly to life.

The Venue

Marina Bathing Pool

The games were played in the Marina Bathing Pool which had been commissioned by the local Tomson & Wotton Brewery which had been located in the town since 1634 but which was eventually taken over by the Whitbread Brewery in 1968. The company appointed Mr. J.H. Somerset as architect and the main contractor being Messrs. W. & C. French Ltd. of Buckhurst Hill in Essex. The project was completed in the summer of 1935, with the pool officially opened on 27th July 1935 by Ramsgate's Mayor along with Mr Martin Tomson and Mrs T. Wotton.

The Olympic-sized swimming pool was constructed using the reinforced concrete system patented by François Hennebique (1842-1921) in 1892, in which columns and beams were integrated into one single element. Along with the pool, Ramsgate was gifted with a diving pool, a boating lake, changing facilities for 1000 men and 600 women, a cafe, a roof top car park, and later a skating rink and access to the Eastern Undercliff.

 

The Marina Bathing Pool at Ramsgate with
the constructor's rail track along its perimeter wall

 

The proposal from Tomson and Wotton put the cost at between £25,000 and £30,000 and they requested a lease of 99 years with a yearly rent of £750. This offer was duly accepted on 24th September 1934, but after further negotiations, only a 60-year lease was granted with a £1,000 rent and a longer lease on the adjoining property, the Marina Ballroom run at the time by Tomson & Wotton. Further to these changes, the Town Council required the pool to remain open from Whitsun (Pentecost) to at least the 15th September every year. After the plans had been approved by Government departments, Tomson & Wotton had six months to complete the lease paperwork, with construction work to start within one month. If these terms were not met, then the site would be forfeited and on top of all this they were required to provide continued access to the beach throughout construction.

Work on the open air pool started in December 1934, the first job being to construct a dam to hold back the sea after which a 2ft (0.6m) gauge wooden rail track was laid, this was to allow a locomotive to deliver concrete, steel and aggregate etc. around the site. A concrete mixing plant produced enough for a workforce of over 200 working in shifts, 24 hours a day - Sunday evening till the following Saturday. However, the bitter winter of 1934/5 was unforgiving and delayed the opening previously envisaged as June 1935. The outer wall of the pool also became the sea wall, a hollow box construction with a 10-inch (25cm) thick seaward outer skin and 18ft (5.5m) high with a bull nose to return the waves. The pool was one of the largest in the country 250ft x 90ft and varied in depth from 2ft 6in to 15ft (0.75m to 4.5m) at the diving pool. Within the outer wall, settling tanks and filter beds were incorporated as the pool used seawater which was not the cleanest by any standard, with a reserve seawater tank being built in case of a very low tide. A diving tower was constructed of concrete with a marked diving area and a marked regulation sized polo pitch. The changing areas were industrially designed with steel cubicles and wire clothing racks for outer clothing and belongings.

With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Marina Pool was mothballed and afterwards a great deal of remedial work was needed especially to the filtration systems and pumps before it could be used again. But reopen it did and Ramsgate residents and visitors alike used and loved the open air pool, and it was considered by many the place to be in the summertime from opening until being thrown out, with many a romance flourishing at this social meeting place.

All was well until the closing of the 1975 summer season, when concerns were raised over the water level and it was discovered that the pool floor was cracked, caused in part by the pool being left to drain with the pressure of the seawater at high tide causing more cracks, so exasperating the damage. In March 1976, council engineer Barry Wrightson informed the Leisure Committee that repairs to the floor and filtration system would cost approximately £63,000. The decision was taken by Thanet Council not to spend the necessary funds, although a few councillors were not in favour of this and demanded the pool opened for the 1976 season. However despite these demands it remained closed, never to open again.

Ideas at this early stage were to give the site a change of use - a paddling pool, a crazy golf course, an adventure playground, trampolines, motor boating, canoeing and radio controlled boating were all mooted around the committee but no action was taken. In March 1977, Thanet Council allocated £54,000 to repair the pool but this sum was insufficient to carry out the necessary repairs. The storm of January 1978 put paid to all efforts of reopening the Marina Pool, with more damage caused by debris and shingle deposited in the now sorry-looking site. In July 1978, East Kent Times reported "Ramsgate seafront's Marina Pool has become a derelict, decaying slum" and Thanet Council Leisure Committee were told to stop promising 'Pie in the Sky' schemes and to face up to reality.

In August 1980 a forward looking, ingenious plan was to turn the pool into a fish farm breeding oysters, scallops, clams, mussels, lobsters, turbot, sole, eel, rainbow trout and salmon. But in the end a car park was decided on and the site was filled in. A very sad end to a wonderful piece of British holiday fun!

Additional Information

Standing-room only tickets for this event were on sale at a cost of 2/6d (12½p) and were available on a first come, first served basis on the day of the contest.

Margate team member Shirley Tomlinson has been a Thanet District Councillor since 2003 and was, with her husband as Mayor, the Mayoress of Margate in 2006.

This heat holds the record of having the two closest-located teams of any Jeux Sans Frontières related programme with the two towns separated by a distance of just 4 miles (6.45km)!

After this heat had been held, four of 1970s six losing teams - Great Yarmouth, Ramsgate, Rhyl and Weymouth - were tied on 10 points each as the losers with the highest scores. An additional game was held after the Ramsgate v. Margate event which pitched the four teams against each other in a tie-breaker, with victory going to Great Yarmouth. As it was only necessary to decide a winner, points were not awarded.

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 GY • Great Yarmouth
 RA • Ramsgate
 RH • Rhyl
 W • Weymouth

0
0
0
0

As he highest scoring losing team, Great Yarmouth qualified for Jeux Sans Frontières at West-Berlin, West Germany: staged on Wednesday 2nd September 1970

Made in Colour • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

JSFnetGB Series Guide pages researched by
Alan Hayes, David Hamilton, Neil Storer, Christos Moustakas, Philippe Minet,
Sébastien Dias, Ischa Bijl and Paul Leaver