This is an excerpt from our free, illustrated leaflet “MBNC – A Potted History of the Club” produced in 2007 and which is only available to members and visitors to Silverglades – subject to availability. This HTML version is for public viewing and personal details has been left out
The history of Morecambe Bay Naturist Club has been a rather chequered one, but this “potted” history brings together known references, along with a few memories from our older members.
The first official naturist beach in the UK was opened in 1978 at Fairlight Cove, approved by Hastings Borough Council. By 1987 several others had opened in various parts of the country, including Brighton beach (1980) which was rapidly gaining in popularity.
In Lancashire, a naturist beach was sanctioned by the local council at Heysham Head as an experiment (probably with an eye to eventually capitalising on it!). There were never many naturist users due to the exposed, northerly location and the necessity to share the beach with non-naturists.
However, this led to the founding of a naturist beach club in the area in 1987. Later in the same year the local council changed its mind about naturism, following comments from the public, so this initial club didn’t last long at all.
In 1988 the club tried again, obtaining a woodland site. This was described as “the phoenix of the 1987 Heysham Beach disaster”, which a MBNC member described as an accurate description! (Another member remembers this as being about 4 acres, not 20 as reported). This only lasted about 10 months. It appears that, although the manager of the land was happy with its use by naturists, the owner definitely was not, so the club was made homeless yet again.
The next (and current) site was Silverglades, established some time prior to winter 1990/91 – so perhaps in 1988 or 1989). At this point the club had some 50 members. Funds were very tight, and in spite of organised swims the club only kept going because of pledges of cash from many members. Membership was predominantly single male, which seemed to deter female and family group memberships.
A decision was made to reduce membership fees for family groups and couples, leaving the single membership fees at the original levels. This, together with better attendance at the “swims” allowed membership to increase and finances to recover to the point where it became possible to refund all the members’ pledges. Even better, the club now had more couples than singles, with families and disabled members well represented. It was particularly encouraging that many of the new members were new to naturism!
In 1995 the club finally had a small cash surplus and it was decided that the site needed upgrading. An approach was made to the lottery board for a grant. This was successful and, although ultimately cash was not provided, it allowed the site to be tidied up.
The club was quoted about £1500 for a water supply, £4000 for electricity and £3800 for the first toilet at the time! These costs were very high, partially because of the limestone pavement situation and partially because of the distance to the nearest road. We are hesitant to make too many changes to the club – there is a general feeling that were we to include much more than vary basic facilities the “backwoods” atmosphere of the club would suffer!
I’m afraid that to read more you’ll just have to visit us! 🙂
Page last updated 2018/09/13/13:00 by Martin R