Deco builder dies at age 100

Frank Anderson.
Frank Anderson.

A Morecambrian who used innovative building techniques on iconic buildings in the town has died aged 100.

Born in Morecambe in 1914, and educated at the Church of England National School, Frank Anderson and his brother Ted joined Modern Surfaces Ltd, who had an innovative method of rendering which gives a subtle sparkling appearance to the outside of buildings.

They were instrumental in applying this technology to the outside of the Super Swimming Stadium in Morecambe and on the façade of the Midland Hotel in the mid-1930s.

His sisters and brothers, who are all sadly deceased, were Mabel, Ella, Mary, Roy, Ted and his younger brother John.

Immediately prior to the war Ted and Frank travelled extensively with Modern Surfaces undertaking work in the Midlands, South of England, and London.

At the outbreak of war, Frank joined the Army as a military policeman based in Penrith.

During this time he was escorting a prisoner to Preston by train.

He saw a young lady, Molly, pass his compartment; totally against protocol he left his prisoner unguarded, to follow and speak to Molly further down the train.

Fortunately his prisoner did not abscond, or the consequences could have been dire.

Frank’s relationship with Molly blossomed and they subsequently married.

Shortly afterwards Frank, by now also a PT instructor, was called to Liverpool for a rigorous medical to assess his suitability to travel to India to join an elite force who were to be dropped, by air, deep behind Japanese enemy lines in Burma.

His fitness as A1plus was an essential requirement of men joining this force as the physical demands of operating in the Jungle and relying soley on air-supply for rations were immense.

His experiences in India, and the bitter fighting he saw in Burma against the Japanese- virtually hand to hand on occasions- as a member of General Orde Windgate’s ‘Chindits’ made a deep and lasting impression which stayed with him for the rest of his life.

After the war Ted and Frank set up business together and both subsequently became builders constructing many houses throughout Morecambe and surrounding districts.

However Frank also had a love for Terrazzo, Mosaics and Marble work which had first been awakened when he saw this work being undertaken in India.

He developed his knowledge with a close relationship with Italians especially Eddie Quiligotti of Quiligottis in Manchester and became a member of the Terrazzo and Mosaic federation in the 1960’s undertaking work both locally and throughout north Lancashire.

There are many Terrazzo steps and floors around Morecambe that he constructed and he also did similar work on the Heysham ferries.

Frank was an active member and supporter of The Burma Star Association and Chairman on several occasions.

One of his fondest memories was being invited by his former regiment, The Royal Kings Liverpool, to a day with them at Catterick where he was honoured to be driven there by an Army driver to attend a dining in night in the officers mess, and had a day looking round their facilities including an exciting time in a Tank on the Tank training ground.

In 1972 sadly Molly died. Afterwards Frank decided to convert his house into flats as he no longer needed the whole house.

Later one of these was bought by Joan Mallinson, who had recently been bereaved.

They became friendly and subsequently married.

This opened up a new chapter in his life as Joan had previously owned a shop in Manchester and had retail experience.

They opened a no-dispensing Chemists in front of the Winter Gardens and Frank dressed in his white coat had many amusing stories of the confidences given to him by both men and women looking for suitable treatments.

Joan and Frank spent many happy years together until in April of 2010 she sadly passed away; he suffered a further blow later that year in December with the death of his younger son Roger.

Shortly afterwards Frank achieved an unusual ambition for a ninety six year old.

During a Winter holiday with David in the French Alps, he put on his skiing boots and skis and became one, if not the oldest person, in the world to learn to ski.

In 2012 he decided to be closer to his son David and moved into Friars Mead Retirement Home in Kings Langley in Hertfordshire.

He celebrated his hundredth Birthday in 2014.

This was a truly momentous occasion with parties at The Midland Hotel in Morecambe and also in Hertfordshire.

In the Autumn of 2014 he had several hospital stays with pneumonia which unfortunately recurred early in 2015 and he passed away peacefully after saying farewell to his grandchildren, close family and friends.

He is survived by his grandchildren Steven, Rachel, Michael, Karin and Gareth, his son Roger’s wife Martha, and his other son David and David’s partner Michelle.

There will be a service of remembrance at Morecambe Parish Church next Tuesday at 12pm.

The funeral will be held in Hertfordshire, followed by interment at Lancaster and Morecambe Crematorium.