The story behind Tram 227's famous name

On Thursday 25th October 2018, we had the privilege of naming one our iconic “Open Boat” tramcars in honour of Blackpool’s legendary Clown, Charlie Cairoli. The naming ceremony was carried out by the great man’s son, Charlie Cairoli Jr.

Charlie Cairoli Jr standing proud next to 227

Naming trams in this way is part of our broader heritage culture, it is a way to connect different aspects of Blackpool’s prestigious history with its enviable reputation in the entertainment world. Back in 2012, tram 230, the sister tram of 227 was named George Formby.

Tram 227 arrived, brand new, in Blackpool in 1934, just a few years before Charlie himself did, and has given almost unbroken, faithful service ever since. The tram is one of three unique types of single deck tramcars remaining in Blackpool out of an original 12 and are for many, the perfect visitor tram on a warm summer’s day.

When the time came for the 227’s latest refit we sought permission to name it after one of Blackpool’s legendary icons and who better than Charlie Cairoli? It was decided to repaint it in Blackpool’s pre-1930’s livery of red and cream to reflect the bright red nose of Charlie whose red nose and bowler hat are as synonymous to him as he himself is to Blackpool and the Tower.

Charlie Cairoli starred at the Tower Circus for 40 years. He was performing in Blackpool when the Second World War broke out and never left the resort. He became rightly known as one of the greatest and most creative comedy geniuses of the 20th century. Charlie Cairoli Jr said, “When I was growing up as a child, I didn’t then realise just how special my dad was. He was just my brilliant dad! It’s only with hindsight that I began to realise what a legend he was. I am so proud of him and the unique place that he created in the hearts and memories of millions of children and families who were delighted and entertained by him at the Tower Circus. I am so thrilled that Blackpool now has a beautifully restored tram named after him.”

The tram was internally restored close to its original condition by the delightful team of volunteers from Blackpool Civic Trust. They worked diligently for several months with us and did an incredible job for which we are most grateful. We are sure that 227 will go on to give many years of pleasure and raise countless happy memories and a smile or two as Charlie Cairoli’s cheery face greets visitors and residents old and new as it sails gracefully along the promenade.

It is entirely fitting that the internationally famous clown who spent 40 years at the Tower Circus giving fun and excitement to millions of holidaymakers has been recognised in this way. We should be proud of and cherish every aspect of our unique and precious heritage and do all we can to keep every aspect of it alive and thriving in Blackpool for future generations to rediscover and enjoy.

Bryan Lindop alongside Charlie Cairoli Jr
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