JUNE 2018 NEWSLETTER   (385)

At the time of collating articles for this newsletter the sun is finally shining!  The gardens are looking good and coming to life after their long winter hibernation.  Hope you all enjoy the summer and if you are going on holiday, have a lovely time.

My thanks go to all those who have contributed to this newsletter, without them there wouldn’t be one!    Marjorie Tonge


In spite of a hard fought and well argued campaign by the Friends of Lytham Library, we have learned that the Lancashire County library service will not  return to the Lytham Institute building but will be located in the Dicconson Room, Lytham  Assembly Rooms. We regard this as a blow to the viability of Lytham town centre and to community cohesion. Lytham Institute is purpose built for community use  and is under the control of  Fylde Borough Council.  We hope that they will now respond to the need  for continued community use of this lovely Grade 2 listed building and work with the Friends, ourselves and many others to achieve it.  Town centres are failing nationwide and it is slowly being realised that  community facilities are key in preventing this. It is not all about shopping and restaurants.  Think culture: children, dance, drama, art,  music, yoga, keep fit and a meeting place.

If the library does not go back into the Institute then the Grade 2 listed building, which was paid for by the residents of Lytham, could be lost to community use.

There is no doubt in  our minds that St Annes Town Council is good  for  St Annes. By the same token surely Lytham would benefit from a Town Council and an ideal base would be the Institute.


During the last couple of months there have been several applications for restaurants, wine bars and cafes. We have seen several retrospective applications for the ‘black box’ on the Clifton Square elevation of the Deacon.  There is a trend developing to build first and try and get permission later.  The Heritage statement which accompanies this application claims that the aim is to enable al fresco dining all  year round. In reality an extra room to dine has been  created, which is not al fresco at  all.  The conservatory does not make a “positive contribution towards the special character of the Conservation Area”.  It does not “accentuate the architectural features” of the historic building.  The so called  restoration is not sympathetic.  The character of Clifton Square is deteriorating due to extensions such as this.

We notice that the application for a similar extension to the adjacent NatWest Bank building has been refused. In addition there is a new  application for a  conservatory-like structure  on Clifton Street in front of Farina, a fairly new Italian restaurant.  This also has a slightly raised platform extending beyond the area of the canopy, a trip hazard. These extensions are a long way  from the informal scatter of chairs  we are used to!

There is also an application for underground broadband cables around the perimeter of two sections of the Green to the West of the Windmill. The various inspection chambers and free  standing cabinet will be  unsightly and  affect  the open aspect of the green. We do not think that the grass  should be intruded upon.  We are a society concerned with the need to maintain the Green as an open facility, with a minimum of clutter around it.  We normally do not  comment on events which are temporary but this application is for permanent items associated with Lytham Festival. We see them as unsightly and intrusive.  We must all respect the intentions of the historic covenants associated with the Green


 This last month has seen a lot of activity on the site. Lytham in Bloom have been busy and led by Trevor Mackay, a group of volunteers have prepared the soil and planted up the scheme. The Civic Society have purchased all the plants and seeds. They have been chosen for their tolerance of a salty, windy coastal environment. We have also incorporated plants given to us by the artist Margaret King, in particular large clumps of Sea Campion. Her seeds have been sown along with a coastal mix which we hope will give some summer colour.

Another big step forward is the painting of the perimeter wall by Fylde Borough Council workmen. We now have to complete the ramp railing and place the tiles created by pupils from the Lytham 6th Form College in the ramp wall.The site is now being well used, particularly on sunny weekends. 




An intrepid group of Civic Society members turned up promptly at Lytham Hall at 8.00 pm on Tuesday 1st May to be led into the woods by Peter Shakeshaft and his equally knowledgeable wife Maureen. It was one of the most enchanting mornings as the weather was perfect and the birds were singing their hearts out.  Peter’s passion enthusiasm and detailed knowledge of all the different birds made this a most informative and delightful visit.  Peter and Maureen have trailed the world in search of unusual birds and we were grateful he could spare the time to educate us as to the wonders of bird life in this country.  We are very lucky to have the grounds of the Hall open for us.  We are also fortunate that Paul Lomax was willing to open up the cafe early and provide us with very welcome bacon butties after our most interesting walk.

Thanks go to Peter, Maureen and Paul.  Great to know we have such civic minded people in our midst.


On 1st May, our latest blue plaque was unveiled in the sunshine at Alpha House to commemorate the first brick house built in 1875 in the new town of St Anne’s-on-the-Sea. The house was occupied by Clement Rawstron, and in 1876 he set up the Post Office here and became the first Postmaster. It remained a Post Office until 1882 and was converted into shops in 1907. It has been an opticians since 1943 and is now known as The St Anne’s Opticians.

The Town Crier announced the start of the proceedings.  St. Anne’s Mayor, Karen Henshaw unveiled the plaque. Timothy Rawstron and David Holmes, great grandsons of Clement Rawstron were among the guests.

The cost of the plaque was covered by St Anne’s Town Council.  Co-owners of the opticians, Lindsey Taylor and Tina Swift have been keen to recognise the historical importance of the building and we thank them for hosting the event with refreshments of fish and chips, cake and tea.

It was a most enjoyable occasion, and we were delighted to have The Silver New Orleans Jazz Band playing for us, arranged by Arnold Sumner

You can see it on YouTube   


Pagoda and Boat House, Fairhaven

The Blue Plaque unveiling for the Pagoda and Boat House at Fairhaven Lake  will be in September 2018

The Taps Public House Lytham

The unveiling for The Taps will be in October. 2018.


Fleetwood Civic Society, working with Fleetwood Museum Trust and Fleetwood Rotary have  been fundraising for the recently unveiled statue of Sir Peter Hesketh, founder of the town. Fleetwood  has  many  fine  buildings designed by his friend Decimus Burton (who designed the recently restored Palm House at Kew). The statue is outside the North Euston Hotel. Do visit  it.


We are  grateful to James Hatfield for  donating  his  research  file on  Lytham  men who fought in the war. This provided the information for  the blue plaque we placed on the Homestead, former location of  the Drill  Hall in Lytham in 2014. If you’d like to consult  it please  let  us know, and also if you’d like to  pursue  research into the Dickie Bush area of Ansdell.


The Winter/Spring Series of four evening talks have been well attended and feedback has been very positive.  All the talks were held at the Clifton Arms Hotel, Lytham. The monthly speaker programme will resume in September with a further three talks planned before a short break in December.

Thanks must go to the Events Team for arranging such varied and interesting speakers for members to enjoy.


On Tuesday 15th May this year a group of members and friends enjoyed a very interesting and informative tour of the Rigby Road Tram Depot, home of the famous Blackpool Heritage Trams.

Bryan Lindop, Head of Heritage, together with Alan Greenhill of the Depot led the tour which took us through the Paint Body and Repair Shops which are all still in use in the historic building though in a more diminished capacity.

Garages to the rear of the Depot house 50 heritage trams which exist from the original fleet of 100.  Bryan explained that the Heritage trams, despite their obvious historical importance, played a very important part in transporting passengers during the Summer months, one particular 1964 model carried up to 160 passengers, a great asset for keeping travellers moving!

Possibly, one of the most exciting parts of the tour was to see the wooden frame of the lower deck of the first Lytham St Annes tram from the Lytham Tramways Company, which travelled along Clifton Drive through St Annes to Blackpool. Bryan was very excited to reveal that the intention is to restore the whole tram, including the upper deck, using the original plans which are in the Depot’s possession.  He  suggested that fundraising to save this importance piece of our heritage would make a good collaborative venture with the Civic Society. A vote of thanks was given to Bryan and Alan for a most interesting visit, and the possibility of our further association with the Heritage Trams


This event will be held on September 6-9th and 13-16th September 2018Properties will be open all over England.   We will have a display in St Annes Town  Hall as usual on 15th September 2018.



We are delighted to see that the painting of the exterior of Lytham Hall has commenced.




The Chairman sent a letter to Mark Menzies MP, who managed to get a member of the Bovis staff to look into the matter of the West Park Gates.  All we can do now is wait!  £100 has been received from a lady who was present when Earl Mountbatten planted the tree and wanted this to go towards the renovation of the gates.  Another £50 has also been received from another member.  We thank them both.  We have a dedicated fund and anyone who wishes to donate towards the renovation of the gates please get in touch.

We also thank another member who has donated two old postcards of Lytham.

MEMBERSHIP – Jakki Hatton

SUBSCRIPTIONS WERE DUE ON 1ST MAY 2018  Please continue to support us!  Call if you’d like to set up Standing Order payments as this cuts  down on administration. We hope to increase in numbers and support so if you can help with this please direct friends/neighbours to our website or please give me a call on 01253 795756


The wood is rather splendid at the moment, the tress are in leaf – the canopy has returned, birds are singing and the sunny weather we are enjoying makes it a pleasure to walk through the wood and enjoy its splendour.

Witchwood as most of us realise is  maintained by a small group of three society members and there is a request for  further volunteers to assist or work in tandem with this group.  To give members an idea of what work is carried out, the pond at Skew bridge end has recently been cleared of debris, work is ongoing at middle bridge to reinstate the  posts and gate that had fallen over. There will be some planting of saplings and supervision of dead trees being felled. There is  gravel being delivered for maintenance of the path, ground clearance work to  control the weeds and Ivy and the occasional complaint from residents adjoining the wood to deal with. It would be good if we had a reserve of volunteers who could be called upon to assist with any function that the Society becomes involved with.  Please contact Michael Barden on 01253 711404  if you would like to become a much needed volunteer.


We are sorry  to announce the  deaths of long standing  members Alan Bushell (who founded Bushells Benstead  Surveyors) and Harry  Collings.  Harry made us a generous donation towards the upkeep of Witchwood each year as he and his wife enjoyed their walks there so much.


The student  bursary scheme for which Graeme Fallows  left a   legacy is now ending, as of late there  has  been  little  response  from the local  schools. The remaining  funds  will be  designated  toward Witchwood  expenses.


The AGM of the Lytham St Annes Civic Society will be held on the 20th September 2018 at 7.30 pm at the Lytham Assembly Rooms.

Please save the date and let us know in good time of any issues you might wish to raise, plus any nominations to join the Committee.


Please consider whether you would like to join the Committee.  We welcome any members to attend three meetings (let Marion Coupe, Chairman know in advance) and then consider whether you would like to join. Date of the next committee meeting is 16th July 2018.

We urgently need a Treasurer and a Membership Secretary  (Contact Mark Smith and Jakki Hatton if you think you  could help with either of these positions).


We were very pleased to distribute about 300 information leaflets in The Avenues Conservation Area on behalf of Fylde Borough Council and took the opportunity to enclose one of our own.  A big thank you to Eric Hornby for organising it and to the twelve volunteers.

Coffee Mornings at Lytham Hall

Every second Tuesday in the month at 10.30 a.m.

The next ones are

10th July      14th August      11th September    9th October

Please keep a look out on the Events Calandar


Please see our Contacts Page