Minor British Institutions: Seaside rock

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The Independent Online

George Formby's song "My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock" was a huge hit for the buck-toothed maestro of the ukulele in 1937, the peak of rock as a desirable seaside treat. By the way, the BBC banned George's song on the grounds of its rude lyrics, including the line, "It may be sticky but I never complain, it's nice to have a nibble at it now and again", that indeed being one of the trademark attractions of seaside rock.

It is made in much the same way as boiled sweets, that is with plenty of sugar, glucose and garish colourings, but this time with extra aeration and of course the magical lettering running all the way through. As a form of "pulled sugar", it dates back to the 19th century, and was earlier known as "Fair Rock", from its original market.

A chap named "Dynamite Dick" is reputed to have had the idea of adding the lettering and sending it to the coast. Rock, wrapped in Cellophane with a little picture of the resort, is surely still the best way to remember Blackpool, Brighton or Skegness.