Remembering the taxi drivers’ outings to Southport

For several years, a popular fixture of most taxi drivers’ calendars was a trip to the seaside. Instead of being a typical seaside jolly, there would be no cases piled in the boot. Nor would its passengers be couples or families hoping to make rail, air or coach connections. Instead its passengers would be underprivileged or disabled children living locally. They may have been ferried to and from schools by the same drivers.

The Tameside area is no exception. Ashton’s taxi drivers would pick up its passengers from their respective homes and assemble at the car park on Camp Street [Ashton-under-Lyne]. What would normally be Jack’s grey Ford Sierra on a school day would be transformed beyond recognition. The grey would be decked out in psychedelic colours akin to a carnival float. Minicabs and black cabs alike take part with the customary black replaced by a Walt Disney background or the like. Balloons and streamers would by waving from the windows in a most joyous occasion, both for the driver and its passenger(s).

With all the cars fully assembled at Camp Street, all drivers would travel to Southport in convoy. They would hoot all the way from Ashton up to the M67 motorway. In the 1980s they would head towards the M67 or M63 via Birch Lane [Dukinfield]. The noise was nothing short of unbelievable yet joyous with all the multicoloured cabs passing. The outing would often take place during the Whitsun half term holidays.

I never had the joys of embarking in one of these outings, though was fortunate enough to borrow a video of one in 1987. It neatly displaced Where There’s Life or Top of the Pops from that night’s viewing (it was a Thursday when I borrowed it), covering all aspects of the outing within an hour, from assembly to arrival in Southport. The end of the film would show the children eating ice cream and enjoying themselves at Pleasureland. Back in 1987, being filmed with a video camera seemed a novelty to a nation weaning itself off Super 8 cinefilm.

In most urban areas throughout the UK, the taxi drivers’ outings for disabled and underprivileged children remain a popular part of the cabbies’ calendar. In 2011, a similar scheme in Glasgow celebrated its 66th year.

Down to you…

I would love to hear your memories of these excursions, whether you’re a driver or a former passenger. Feel free to reminisce.

S.V., 29 April 2011.

7 thoughts on “By Multicoloured Cab to the Seaside…

  1. I remember going when at High school in the 1980s also there was a girl called Michelle who live in top Mossley on that road past the co-op and I think 2 others

    great day that was


    1. Lucky you, Michael.

      Did you get quite a buzz from passing Ashton with the horns going off in all directions? It was amazing to watch from the window, but it must have been something special to have headed to Blackpool or Southport in this mode of transport.

      Bye for now,



  2. I think they did at the time I went to samuel Laycock at Ridgehill great school at the time I was there


    1. Hi Michael,

      You would have liked Ewing School during the late 1980s. One of the classrooms, its CDT and Home Economics rooms overlooked the West Didsbury bus terminus. As well as having a grandstand view of GM Buses’ vehicles, there was also the joys of Walls, Finglands et al passing by. From September 1988 to April 1990, you also had the joys of AEC Routemasters on the 143. Happy days!

      Bye for now,



  3. 1979 I was sixteen and worked as a controller for a cab company in Sale. The drivers were respectable gentlemen with names like Arthur and Bernard. Many had been in the forces. Bernard was a Korea Vet and Arthur WW2.

    We all dressed up; I was a clown. We had bunting and banners on the cabs. The convoy was attended by motorbike outriders. It was quite spectacular.

    I buddied up with a young girl with cerebral palsy. Michelle couldn’t speak and could barely walk but she seemed to be far more aware than she was given credit for. We went on the swing seats ski lift at Southport. She was scared as we had to move to get off at the end of the ride. We made it and the sense of achievement in her eyes is a moment I’ll always remember.


  4. Any videos of Tameside taxi outings to Southport. Anywhere would love to see my car back then…


  5. remember we went to Southport great day i now work in a Mossley Primary school as a cleaner and love it takes me back to my school days and also work for Oldham community lesuire at Saddleworth centre as centre cleaner


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s