Welcome to donkeyrides.co.uk all new look website for the Brooks family chain of shops based in Blackpool. Statistically over half of people in the U.K. have or will visit Blackpool in there lifetime, and the chances are if you have visited Blackpool you have been in one of our shops over the years. We hope you enjoy looking round our website as much as our shops. And look forward to meeting you on your next visit to Blackpool. Here is a brief history of us and our shops we hop you enjoy finding out about us………..
We thought we would take a bit of time to introduce ourselves to you and show you a bit of our history. Brooks gifts was started In 1949 by Mr Brooks when he returned to Blackpool after having his home and all his positions destroyed during the second world war, the shop he chose was situated at the Talbot court building on the corner of Waterloo Road and the promenade in Blackpool, the shop was built years earlier but was requisitioned as a munitions store during the second world war. Where Mr brooks is stood in the shop door way of this photo (taken in the 1950`s) once stood an armed soldier guarding the munitions store entrances, and to the right on the forecourt on the promenade its self was an anti aircraft cannon facing out to sea, in case of any air raids.
The opening of the shop towards the end of rationing in 1949 coincided with the first year of the now famous Blackpool Illuminations. And no doubt contributed to the shops initial success ! In fact we still have shop’s at the Talbot Court building to this day, it is called Brooks Collectables and specializes in all areas of gifts collectables and souvenirs, and we would well recommend a visit ! this is where our web site donkeyrides.co.uk is operated from. Our most recent shop Brooks Collectables opened in 1998 and is just out of sight to the left of the lamppost in this picture, next to us is Notarini`s ice cream parlour and the front of Talbot court where our original shop was is now gift shops. In fact little has changed even to this day !
Its hard to imagine taking a chance setting up a business on your own in this day and age but it was a real risk after the second world war had ended, not only because so many had so little and every one had to make do, but because there were very few resources at the time to no wood to build shop counters and display cases or even paint for the walls. But the pioneering sprit of the time prevailed old tea chests were used for wood to make the counters and display cases then veneered with hard wood for the fronts and sides and wardrobes were changed into display cases for the walls. In fact they were so well made many of them are still in use today at our 489 promenade store ! And in this picture below from the 1950`s you can sea the original shop layout that used all the home made display cases and counters.
After Mr Brooks retired his daughter and son in law took over the business in the late sixties, and then with his brothers began an expansion program from the original store in the early seventies. Opening one store under Blackpool tower and then another in the Pablos building (which we still have today and is run by Mr Brooks nephew along) with the original shop at Talbot Court. Then in the early 1980`s they opened a smaller collectable shop on Central Drive near Blackpool town centre, and this was to become the template for the rest of the Brooks shops. Providing high end top quality exclusive gifts, souvenirs and collectables for visiting tourists. Like us many of our customers have grown up Visiting our shops and we have many third generation shoppers who come shop with us still to this day !
And that brings us pretty much up to the present day ! And we would like to thank all our customers and their families for shopping over the years. And hope you enjoyed finding out a little more about us and our connection to Blackpool over the years.
Thanks from all the team at Brooks, Brooks Collectables and donkeyrides.co.uk and the Brooks Family.
Here are some more pictures from our shops over the years………
Promenade Blackpool 1950`s
Central Drive Blackpool 1980`s
Central Drive Blackpool 1990`s
Inside Brooks Toy Shop 1960`s
Brooks Blackpool Tower Shop Barely Visible In Its Heyday In The1970`s