Thomas Cook – It’s why I’m a Nottinghamshire ‘exile’ living on Merseyside

The fact that I live on Merseyside is down to Thomas Cook. I’m a Nottinghamshire born lad but left my Notts mining community of Kirkby-in-Ashfield at the age of 6 and headed for Rochdale. Then at the age of 10 I left the home of the Rochdale Pioneers and wandered due west to Maghull on the outskirts of Liverpool. These moves were in effect organised by Thomas Cook, not as holiday trips of course but as a consequence of my Dad working for this famous travel agency.

This is dad (George William Robertson) back in 1957 at work in Thomas Cook Nottingham

Dad first worked for them at their shop in Nottingham, which if memory serves was originally a Dean & Dawson, and our family move to Rochdale followed him getting his first shop to manage in the Town’s Drake Street. We stayed in Rochdale for 4 years until he gained a bigger shop to manage in Liverpool’s Lord Street. That move brought us to live in Maghull where both Mum and Dad died in retirement in 2008 & 2009 respectively.

The last shop Dad managed was in Lord Street Southport so no further move of house was required and he retired from that Southport shop around 1991 if memory serves.

Watching Thomas Cook go under in the past few days I have wondered what Dad would have thought? Thinking back to the odd thing that he said about the company I seem to recall that he felt the company lost its way when it was sold to HSBC many years ago.

Southport – For mild winters

The postcard depicted below is from the National Railway Museum’s collection

And the claim was as true then as it is now because the area around Southport generally does have milder winters. I say that as someone who has lived in the Nottinghamshire coalfield and Rochdale where winters really are winters.

But what also caught my eye about this postcard was the small print at the bottom because my old dad was the manager of Thomas Cook’s Lord Street shop in Liverpool from December 1968 to probably the early 1980’s when he moved to manage their shop in Southport. I’m guessing that there was no Thomas Cook shop in Southport at the time the postcard was published.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Thomas Cook and my connection with the company in utter disgrace

I live on Merseyside because of my Dad’s job. He worked for the Thomas Cook travel agency and the last two shops he managed were Lord Street in Liverpool and finally Lord Street in Southport.

Dad (George Robertson), who died in 2009, had very high standards when it came to both personal and business behaviour and I am sure he would have been utterly horrified at the way his former employer dealt with the tragic deaths of two children on a holiday booked via Thomas Cook.

Whilst it is pleasing to see the head of Thomas Cook fronting up in recent days saying how badly his company had dealt with the tragedy you can’t but wonder how on earth they came to deal with the matter in such a terrible way in the first place.