Metal Micky

The Central promenade is one of the beautiful Blackpool beaches. Almost a century ago, thousands of souvenir pendants were produced for the first Blackpool Carnival, which saw two million people enjoy a week of pageants, parades, shows, and races. At least one of them dropped a pendant – and that’s the one found by detectorist ‘Metal Micky’ almost 100 years later.


He’d been stuck indoors for over 10 years with aching legs and associated health issues and just had to get out of the house. Things were about to change.

Preston based Michael Brady is about 45 years old and, like a lot of us, rather overweight and battling depression. But, in Michael’s case he was born with rheumatoid arthritis and didn’t start to walk until six years old.

Michael was motivated and inspired when a friend showed him a detecting  magazine and, as a result, he went and bought a detector. In no time at all he says, “I was hooked”. The good news is that the hobby encouraged him to get out and walk more. As a result, he’s gradually losing weight and friends now call him ‘Metal Micky’.

On one of his early forays using his Garrett Ace and searching on wet sand, he made a rather special find, a pendant with the following words: BLACKPOOL CARNIVAL JUNE 1923. None were believed to still exist. Michael had struck heritage gold. So, a rare piece of Blackpool history was discovered on the beach after almost 95 years.

The pendant found and donated by Michael. Courtesy of the Blackpool Museum Project. The pendant will be displayed in the Local and Family History Centre in Blackpool’s Central Library from February 2021.

Blackpool is soon to get its first museum – telling the story of Britain’s first mass seaside resort and its place in the history of popular culture. The museum is due to open in 2021 and will be named SHOWTOWN.

Michael offered to donate his find to Blackpool’s Heritage Collection as they didn’t have one.

A spokesman for The Blackpool Museum Project said:

“Blackpool began what it thought would be a new tradition, holding an annual Carnival in June. The 1923 Carnival was such a greatsuccess that another even bigger and longer carnival was arranged to take place the following year. Unfortunately the 1924 carnival was set to be the last of its kind Blackpool held … although the crowds were equally as immense as the previous year, drunkenness and violence were rife.”

So, the find was rather significant. In 1923 Blackpool organised its first Carnival and in 2017, the year Michael found the pendant, the Carnival was re-launched.

Emma Heslewood, Curator of the Museum Project, said:

Florence Stevenson – face of the 1923 Carnival. Courtesy of the Blackpool Museum Project.

“We are delighted to hear of this exciting discovery on Blackpool’s beach. The pendant is a rare souvenir of the 1923 Blackpool Carnival which was held in June and attracted over two million visitors who enjoyed processions along the promenade and entertainment including pageants, dog shows and motor races.

Michael’s souvenir pendant features an image of Blackpool girl Florence Stevenson who was the face of the 1923 Carnival. Emma said, “Her image appears on other souvenirs including the front cover of the Blackpool Carnival song … we don’t have an example of the Carnival pendant in the collection …”

Until now, of course!

In November 2017 Blackpool Museum Project announced that they were ‘absolutely thrilled’ with Michael’s donation and said, “this beautiful souvenir … joins other items from the Carnival in the Heritage Blackpool collections. Blackpool holds extensive collections on its history as the UK’s largest seaside resort including images and postcards related to its carnivals.”

I like a story with a feel-good factor. At a time when detectorists are chastised and maligned by some for simply carrying out their hobby, this is yet another example of the good they can do. Michael hasn’t found a gold artefact worth a lot of money, but he has uncovered an important part of Blackpool’s history and donated it to their heritage collection … and that’s priceless! Well done, and thanks to Michael for sharing his delightful story.

Michael has the last word,”Since I got my detector and starting to get healthier, plus the feeling when you find something nice, kills any pain so I would advise any one in a similar situation as me to get involved in the hobby”.

The lady on the pendant

The picture of Florence Stevenson that inspired a range of 1923 Blackpool Carnival memorabilia. Picture: courtesy of Emma Bonney and The Blackpool Gazette.

Florence Stevenson, who used to perform in a music hall on the Prom, was picked to be the face of the huge event. The pendant is understood to have been brought to the surface by the strong winds, which also whipped up strong emotions for the family of the woman pictured on it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

 

16 thoughts on “Metal Micky”

  1. I love stories like this John…, there is a history to the item.. and the gentleman donated it.. In our field of enjoyment [Avocation .. LOL] that makes for good public relations and even better good feelings to Mikey.

    Thank you for another good one

    Micheal

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done in many respects.Our Hobby has been a life saver to many over the years.
    Bite the Bullet and we will get out in Gods green and pleasant land again.
    Keep Safe,
    Jerry.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a tough way to start life John, but I’m sure we are all pleased to hear that he is out and trying to get and take back control of his life. I know how hard RA can be on a persons mind and body, so good for him for taking up the hobby.

    Even nicer (and surprising) to see somebody turn over a fantastic find like that, especially when it’s likely to be one of his earliest finds.

    I hope he at least gets free admission and a 99 for his gesture. LOL…..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great result for Michael Brady.

    Your description of metal Mickey bought back memories of a holiday Bernard and I had some years ago while house and dog sitting for some friends in Bournemouth. We set off for a doggie walk along the coast at Studland after walking for some time and chatting away suddenly realised that we had gone much further than we thought and were slap bang in the middle of the nudist beach, that didn’t really bother us as there were very few naked people to be seen.

    Coming towards us was elderly gentleman swinging a metal detector/. He was completely nude apart from piercings of various shapes which starting from the top and working down were inserted in his eyebrows, ears, nose, chin, upper and lower lips, tongue, both nipples, tummy button, penis and scrotum at this time both Bernard and my eyesight was exhausted, so we never got to the knees or feet.

    Hence we named him “Metal Mickey”

    Best Wishes
    Jamie

    Ps. How on earth could he metal detect being a foundry himself?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a delightful story Jamie, but I see that episode has scarred you for life.
    Not all detectorists are so quirky but it clearly shows that he had more than one hobby.
    Full marks for noticing that, apart from swinging a metal detector, he was also adorned with metal bits.

    I’m wondering if they were some of his finds and he was ‘making an exhibition’ of himself.
    A great idea for sharing with the farmer’s wife for Christmas. It’s always a problem.
    If the guy isa reading this, I advise him to wear a face mask on his visit . . . at least!

    DID HE LOOK ANYTHING LIKE THIS?
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-nCmWpObW5gs/Tw2y_B2ht_I/AAAAAAAAAZo/yDAd3mb8k_A/s640/DETECTOR.jpg” title=“”>

    Like

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