The Mellings: A lifeboat connection

Introduction

DSC07670Prior to the installation of the Lifeboat at St Annes, the saving of lives and vessels usually relied on the Fishermen families in St Annes. The Mellings were probably actively engaged in the ‘Lifeboat’ business before there was an official Lifeboat. As well as altruistic motives there was always the prospect of ‘Salvage’. After all, these men had to make a living.

Attached to this page is an account of the contribution made by one St Annes family to the Lifeboat service in that town.

Link to Lifeboat Exploits

In pursuit of ‘Cross Slack’

During my youth, Sunday walks often included a walk from my home in St Annes, along the railway track, on a pathway through what is now the Nature Reserve on Clifton Drive, from Highbury Bridge and what we knew as ‘Gilletts Farm’ (Cross Slack Farm) to Squires Gate. Usually the whole family turned out, Mum Dad, brothers Sisters and my Grandad, the font of all wisdom to me then. ‘Pop’ had been something of a character in his day and recalled his youth playing on the beach and in the sand hills. We had our moments too with visits to ‘Gilletts Farm’ to see Old Billy Gillett’s Ferrets and chat with him about what used to be, although all those childhood conversations now lost in time.

Looking back on those times, those walks along the railway and the associated stories fascinated me. On the other side of the tracks were a couple of old and derelict cottages. Pop said they had had their thatched roofs destroyed by sparks from a passing train. I was to learn that this was all that remained of the ‘Hamlet’ known as Cross Slack. I was intrigued! Who had lived there? What did they do? Where did they go? And, when did all this take place?

Interestingly, the first ‘St Annes’ Railway Halt was located at Cross Slack, opened in 1863. The  Halt was relocated to its present site in 1873, retaining its name as ‘Cross Slack’, changing to ‘St Annes On The Sea’ in 1875.

Ditchfield (1909) refer to several definitions of ‘Crosses’ in Lancashire place names, suggesting that they didn’t necessarily have a religious connection. In addition to the Preaching, churchyard and ‘Weeping’ crosses (I.e. those marking stages at which a coffin may be rested on the road to the burial ground), there were those marking Boundaries and Meres; Crossroads, Guide Posts, Memorials and even Murders.

The nearby ditch and track known locally as Division Lane, marked the often disputed and much researched boundary between The Manor of Layton and the Priory of Lytham. Following a judgement in favour of Lytham, Division Lane marked the northern boundary of the Priory land. The ‘Cross’ in Cross Slack determined that boundary. The ‘Boundary’ is referred to by Crofton (1901), where he states ‘This slack took its name from the boundary cross which was erected by Richard FitzRoger about 1199, to mark the limits of Lytham Parish, which was then granted by him to the monks of Durham.’.

Murphy (2009), in his history of the Old Links Golf Club, records the ‘Cross’ being at the ‘western side of the Cemetery of Kilgrimol, now beneath the 10th Fairway, where locals and shipwrecked Seamen were buried until 1872.’ He goes on to define ‘Slack’ being derived from a old Norse word ‘Slakki’, referring to a shallow dell, or the Scottish for a boggy place. Urban (1842) suggests ‘Cross Slack was original termed Churchyard Slack, from there having been a religious oratory or cemetery there’.

Crofton (1901) helpfully provides the origins of The term ‘Slack’ as ‘a hollow or valley, but is generally understood as a valley containing a pool or swamp’.

In any event, a place in the sand where fresh water might be plentiful. Almost opposite Cross Slack, there is still a pool and boggy area on what is now the Nature Reserve.

Maps of the area are not helpful. Many don’t show the settlement of ‘Cross Slack’, those that do show a tiny cluster of houses of 2 to 5, in spite of Census returns showing up to six homes at various times.

image002

1897 OS Map of Cross Slack, showing 5 houses (www.nls.org)

The Hamlet

Shakeshaft (2008) describes a 1636 lease agreement for ‘Trinity Salthouse of Cross Slack’ and a 1670 Quarter Sessions record relating to a ‘George Saltus of Cross Slack, with additional references to James Webster and John Gaulter being fined 1 penny for failing to provide turf for Lytham Hall in 1691 and an Inventory Value for property owned by Christopher Hoole of Cross Slack in the 1720’s, so it can be assumed that residences occupied the land for over 500 years.
Link to additional maps of Cross Slack

The Families

The Hamlet itself appears in Census entries since 1841, sandwiched between ‘Headroom Gate’ and ‘Common Side’, as follows:

Scan.BMP

Cross Slack Census entries 1841 – 1911

In early days, subsistence arming and fishing seem to be the main occupations of the residents throughout, punctuated by salvaging of cargoes and timber from wrecks along the coast. Fuel certainly from driftwood and turves cut and dried from the peaty land thereabouts. Indeed in my childhood, we fed the fire with peat blocks, though I doubt they were cut locally then. The produce and control of the activities of the farm was subject to survey and Manorial Court jurisdiction. In fact Shakeshaft reveals the restrictions placed on the increasing number of cattle grazing the land, with farmers seeking and renting new pastures at Heyhouses, Freckleton Marsh and , size of the farms to likely hold a few cattle, with little arable to support the families and making a contribution to the revenues of Lytham Hall Estate.

Nanny Fisher seems to have been Cross Slack’s longest resident, appearing first in 1841 Census Return as ‘Nancy’, aged 11 years. She’s living with her father, Thomas, still listed as a Labourer at 70 years mother Nancy and siblings Nicholas 15 Edward 11 years. By 1851 Thomas is dead and the Head of the household is ‘Nanny’ at 63 a ‘Servant’, living with Edward now 17 and an Agricultural Labourer. The Census doesn’t mention the Fishers, until 1871 When Edward has his own family: a wife Jane, Daughter Ann, Twins Elizabeth & Mary, and son Thomas. 1881 sees Edward a Farmer with 3 Acres, and a larger family, including a second set of twins. Looking at the plans to Fishers Cottage (Murphy, 2009) it’s impossible to imagine how the family managed in a small 2 up 2 down thatched cottage.

With the burgeoning growth of St Annes, the family develop new skills and clearly earn a living for the family: Edward snr and eldest Son are Market Gardeners, John is a Cab Driver, Jane and Maggie are Laundry Maids. Young Edward becomes a Gamekeeper. By 1901 he’s Greenkeeper for the ‘new’ Old Links Golf Club, the Hamlet having been swallowed into the enlarged Golf Course.

Trailing the fortunes of the families of Cross Slack is frought with confusion, the Marriage Registers of St Anne’s Church and St Cuthbert’s, show much intermarrying of the inhabitants, with all the Surnames featuring. But that’s a challenge for another day!

One of the last cottages to survive, referred to as ‘Granny Fishers’, was the home of Edward (Ned) and Jane and their 9 offspring. Murphy provides a fascinating account of how Granny provided sustenance for the Golfers.

Keepers Cottage, close to the now demolished Railway Bridge and close to the 16th Tee, was occupied by Edward Jnr and his wife Elizabeth and young daughter Doris. It had been provided by Lytham Hall Estate as part of remuneration, when Edward became Gamekeeper. When Edward Jnr became Greenkeeper at the Golf Club, the 1911 Census reveals that the Golf Professional Herbert Stor was a Boarder at the Cottage.

image004

Ruins of Granny Fishers Cottage, destroyed by fire. (Watson & McClintock, 1979)

Photographs in the Murphy’s book give a clue as to what happened to both cottages. Granny Fishers cottage was destroyed by fire, (bearing out my Grandad’s account) although the ruins remained until the mid 1960’s. They were demolished to provide the base for a new 16th Tee on the Course. Keepers Cottage, remained the home of the Head Groundsman until the 1940’s.

image006

Modern day site of ‘Cross Slack’, looking SE from ‘Keepers Bridge’

 

Cross Slack Farm, or Gilletts Farm, one of 31 local farms (Shakeshaft, 2008, pp xv111-xix) located adjacent to the Old Links Club House and home to the Gillett family since 1869, was demolished in the mid 1960’s. The last resident William George (Billy) Gillett, died on 23 Sept 1963.

The family names associated with Cross Slack remain in St Annes and over the years have contributed to the Town’s good fortune.

This short article has been an attempt to raise the profile of Cross Slack.

There are plenty more opportunities for further research into Family histories, Newspaper Reports and the like, perhaps for a later update.

Mike Coyle
Jan 2015

Acknowledgements

My Grandad for planting the inspiration for this article
Ted Walker, Archivist & Historian Extraordinaire, St Annes Old Links Golf Club
St Annes Library for their resources.

References and sources:

Crofton, H.T., 1901, ‘Wind Action on the Lancashire Coast: The Sandhills at St Annes on the Sea’, Manchester City News April 27, 1901, Available here.

Ditchfield, P.H., 1909 , ‘The Crosses of Lancashire’ in Fishwick (Ed), Memorials of Old Lancashire, pp113, Bemrose & Son, London, Available online.

Murphy, T., 2009, St. Annes Old Links Golf Club, published by the Club. Pickering & Bowker, London.

Shakeshaft, P., 2008, St Anne’s on the Sea: A History, Carnegie Publishing,

Urban S (Pseud. Edward Cave)., 1842, Early History of the Coast of Lancashire, in Gentlemans Magazine and Historical Chronicle, Vol 18  available at: Google Books as a reprint.

Watson, R., &  Marion E. McClintock, M.E., 1979, Traditional Houses of the Fylde, CNWRS, University  of Lancaster..

Maps from National Library of Scotland at: http://maps.nls.uk Collection at Appendix ‘A’

Other sources:

Lancashire Online Parish Clerk:

Manorial Records & Manor Court Rolls for Lytham Manor at Lancashire Archives. Catalogue here.

Fylde Coast Heritage Links and Resources

Just a selection of Links available, explore them by clicking on them. If you have others please add to the list:

General Links:
‘Amounderness’ Website
‘Amounderness’ Resources
John Ellis Lancashire History Blog

Facebook Links:
Old Fylde & Wyre
Blackpool’s Past 
Blackpool Heritage Champions
Lytham St Annes Past 
Fleetwood Trawlers Past
Poulton Wyre Railway
Marton’s Past
Poulton Le Fylde’s Past
Layton Blackpool Past & Present
Bispham Past & Present
Blackpool Hotel & Catering Students Society
Thornton Cleveleys’ Past
Blackpool Old Shops, Old Pubs, Old Clubs
Blackpool Trams & Buses
Blackpool Treasure Trove

Blackpool Links:
Blackpool Heritage News
Blackpool Heritage Tours
Blackpool Council – Heritage
Blackpool Heritage Open Days
Nick Moore’s Fabulous Resource – ‘Progress – A History of Blackpool’
Blackpool Civic Trust
Blackpool Heritage Trail
Blackpool Seaside Heritage
Blackpool Heritage Attraction – Museum
Blackpool Gazette ‘Then & Now’ Feature
Blackpool Gazette ‘Memory Lane’ Feature

Fylde Links:

Wyre Links:

Special Interest Links:
Lancashire Family History & Heraldry Society
Fylde History Network
Fleetwood Trawlers – Bosuns Watch
Fleetwood Maritime Heritage Trust 
Friends of Layton Cemetery
Friends of Stanley Park
Winter Gardens Trust Link not working
The North West Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Report –
Chapter 4 includes Fylde Coast
Lancashire Aircraft Investigation Team: Air Crash over Blackpool 1942
Lancashire Aircraft Investigation Team: Bombers in the Marsh
Lancashire Aircraft Investigation Team: Freckleton Air Disaster
Wyre Archaeology
The Fylde & WyreAntiquarian Blog

The Fylde’s War Effort: its military archaeological heritage

Abstract:

This report offers an attempt to record the archaeological features, structures and buildings that constitute the war effort of the South Fylde towns. Samples of the types of feature are examined and a table of these, together with sources of evidence and locations are provided along with a comprehensive (if incomplete) bibliography of information about the features.

The conclusions and recommendations for future research indicate the enormity of the project and offer advice on the future gathering of data and information regarding the features and those yet to be recorded.

The file attached to the link is a PDF and you will need a PDF Reader. You can download one from here.

The Fylde’s War Effort: its military archaeological heritage

The Drive Methodist Church

Grade: II
Date Listed: 8 March 2010

Location: Clifton Drive South, Lytham St Annes, Lancashire FY8 9EA

image001The original chapel and reading room was designed by Maxwell & Tuke of Bury (who later went on to design the Grade I listed Blackpool Tower Buildings) and built between 1877-1901.

It was replaced by the present church between 1890-93, to a design by the architect Herbert Isitt of Bradford. In 1901 a reading room was attached, in 1907 the church, was enlarged to accommodate 720. The 1911 Ordnance Survey map shows the chapel and reading room described as a `Lecture Hall’, additional buildings included a caretaker’s house.

More recent developments included a porch and large single-storey meeting room. Internal refurbishments have included a World War I memorial window, a glass screen, and the removal of some pews for chancel staging.

The church’s stone boundary wall, gateposts and railings running along Clifton Drive South and Eastbank Road are also included in the listing.

The church is host to four war memorials: The WW1 Memorial Window, A WW2 Altar Cross, WW1 Roll of Honour and a WW2 Memorial Plaque. The church also took possession of a relocated War Memorial, for the 524 members of the Bradford District Rechabites, who died in WW1. The board commemorates the Memorial Home that was located close by.

The Listing Decision:

The church is of an interesting design, combining good external proportions and detailing, together with a well executed interior. The school chapel, reading room and church offer a focal point in St Annes and exemplify the development of Nonconformist religion in the town over the past 130 years. The Drive Church makes a significant contribution both to the local streetscene and the wider townscape.

(Source: http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk)

The Rise and Decline of the South Fylde Ports

Abstract The paper attempts to identify the natural and man-made features that have impacted the use and decline of ports at Fairhaven, Lytham and Freckleton. Looking at each port in turn, the history and factors influencing their decline have been examined, based on documentary evidence, published text, personal knowledge and familiarity with the area. It presents the conclusion that the inevitable silting up of the Ribble estuary brought about change affecting development of the entire area. The file attached to the link is a PDF and you will need a PDF Reader. You can download one from here

The Rise & Decline of the South Fylde Ports

A Study of a Local Village: Wrea Green

Abstract

This series of tasks were set as part of a short course arranged for Blackpool Heritage Champions, by Blackpool Volunteers Centre. Visits were made to 4 sites in and around Blackpool and the Fylde, namely, Lytham Heritage Centre and Lytham Hall, Wrea Green and St Annes Church, Singleton. At Lytham and St Annes Singleton a Guide was provided to provide a brief history of the site. At Wrea Green we were encouraged to investigate an aspect of the church.

The file attached to the link is a PDF and you will need a PDF Reader. You can download one from here.

A Study of a Local Village: Wrea Green

Courage and Honour on the Fylde

Blackpool and the Fylde heritage is widely known. However, a part of our proud heritage is less known and appreciated. The town has close links with 6 winners of the highest Gallantry Awards, the Victoria Cross and George Cross.

2Lt Alfred Victor Smith, VC Croix de Guerre

Alfred Smith, a native of Guilford Surrey was a Blackpool Police Inspector, his father was Chief Constable of Burnley Police. On his recruitment into the Army in 1914, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant to the East Lancashire Regiment. He was awarded the VC as a result of conspicuous bravery in trenches during the Gallipoli campaign. On 23 December 1915, a grenade he was about to throw fell from his hand and into the trench, close to several officers and men. He immediately threw himself on the grenade and was instantly killed in the explosion, but saved many lives. He is buried in an unidentified grave in Twelve Trees Copse Cemetery on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey. His medals are on display at Towneley Hall in Burnley and plaques commemorate him and his courageous deed in Blackpool Police Headquarters and St Johns Church.

2Lt Stanley Henry Parry Boughey, VC

Stanley Boughey was born was a founder member of the first Blackpool Scout Group and the Blackpool Division of the St John Ambulance Brigade. At the outbreak of the first World War he was called to go to France with other members of the Brigade with a Royal Army Medical Corps contingent. In 1915 he was invalided home to the Kings Military Convalescent Home at Squires Gate (now Pontins). He was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the Royal Scots Fusiliers.

He single-handedly attacked an enemy machine gun position with grenades, killing many and causing the surrender of about 30 enemy soldiers. As he returned for more bombs, he was mortally wounded. He died shortly after on 3 December 1917 and was buried Gaza War Cemetery in Palestine.

Stanley’s VC was presented to his mother by King King George V at Bucking Palace on 2 March 1918. A plaque presented to Victoria Hospital by his mother in his memory was recently lost, found at a car boot sale and is currently kept at a private house near Blackpool. His name and VC is commemorated with others at St Georges Methodist Church in Layton.

LSgt Arthur Walter Evans (Alias Walter Simpson), VC DCM

Lance Sergeant Arthur Evans was born in 1891 in Liverpool. He seemed to have had a ‘colourful’ life before joining the Army in 1914. By then he had travelled widely, joined the Royal Navy and changed his name. He joined the 1st Kings Liverpool Regiment, seeing service in Mons and Ypres. He later joined 6th Lincolnshire Regiment, probably as a casualty replacement. He earned his VC in action in France when he swam across a river and single-handedly silenced a machine gun position, taking four prisoners. On his return across the river his patrol came under very heavy fire, wounding an Officer. He managed to cover the withdrawal of the Officer ‘under most dangerous and difficult conditions and under heavy fire’. The success of the action was described in the VC citation as being ‘…was greatly due to the very gallant of Sgt Simpson’. After the war he joined the Australian Army Tank Corps for two and a half years. He died in Sidney Australia in 1926. His ashes are buried with his stepbrother in a grave in Park Cemetery Lytham

2Lt John Schofield, VC

John Schofield attended Arnold School, in Blackpool. He was born 1892, a native of Blackburn. He was a Temporary Second Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers at the time of his award. The citation for the VC describes how he led a raid on a strongpoint at Givenchy in April 1918. The action resulted in the capture of 123 officers and men when 2Lt Schofield stormed a parapet under fire, and ‘… by his fearless demeanour, skilful use of his men and weapons forced the enemy to surrender’. He was killed at the scene a few minutes later.

There are a number of commemorative plaques in the school. His medals including his VC is displayed at the Fusiliers Museum in Bury.

2Lt Hardy Falconer Parsons, VC

A native of Rushton Lancs, he was a pupil at King Edward VII School in Ansdell, attending the Drive Methodist Church in St Annes. His father was a Wesleyan minister.

Parsons served with the Gloucester Regiment in France. On the night of 21 August, the Germans launched a major attack on a position commanded by Parsons, close to the St Quentin Canal. His men, under heavy fire were forced back. However, Second Lieutenant Parsons stayed at his position and although badly scorched by flame throwers he single-handedly held up the enemy until fatally wounded. The citation records that ‘this very gallant act of self-sacrifice and devotion to duty undoubtedly delayed the enemy long enough to allow of the organisation of a bombing party’. This action led to a retaliatory raid by his comrades which succeeded in driving back the enemy before they could do any real damage in the trench system.

There are memorial plaques in the Drive Methodist Church in St Annes, which includes a copy of the VC Citation and in King Edward VII and Queen Mary School in Fairhaven. Parson’s V.C. medal is on display at the Gloucestershire Regiment Museum in Gloucester.

The George Cross (GC) shares equal precedence with the Victoria Cross; the senior gallantry award for civilians and the military whose actions don’t meet military honours requirements.

LAC Albert Matthew Osborne GC

Enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in July 1940. He was awarded a posthumous GC for his “unsurpassed courage and devotion to duty” during constant German air attacks on Malta. Recorded acts of valour included making safe torpedoes in burning aircraft; rescuing a pilot from a burning plane and rescuing trapped airmen during enemy bombing. He was killed on 2 April 1942 by an explosion while fire fighting in a similarly courageous manner. (Wikipedia). Osborne is remembered on a memorial in Kirkham Grammar School.

IN ADDITION:   There are 2 other, somewhat spurious records linking Blackpool to the Victoria Cross.

Private William Proctor ‘of Layton

It is already known that Proctor never did get a VC, but it was reported in the Blackpool Gazette and News in 1915 that he had been awarded one. The story is completely spurious. On the other hand Smith and Boughey did receive the award. (Tony Sharkey, 2011)(Nick Moore, 2009)

Jonathon Quayle Higgins III

Then there’s the entirely fictional star of ‘Magnum PI’ (starring Tom Sellick), a detective series from the 1980’s. Jonathon Quayle Higgins (played by John Hillerman), claimed to have been awarded a VC though we are not told what for. Higgins was the British character, an ex Regimental Sergeant Major who looked after the Magnum estate, and his link to Blackpool? His father treated the young Jonathon to a holiday in Blackpool to celebrate his graduation from Sandhurst. It seems that the boy Jonathon was not impressed, he thought Blackpool to be ‘…a bit gaudy for his tastes’!

MP Coyle

September 2009

(Sources: The internet via Google. Photographs are available on the internet. Photographs of the commemorative plaques mentioned are available from MPC.)

Local Visits: ‘Singleton Thorpe’

Visit Date:                       03 June 2014
Place Visited:                 Rossall Point for Singleton Thorpe
When was it built?              Not known
For what purpose was it built?      Fishing, arable & pastoral farming

Interesting Facts:

  • Singleton Thorpe was a village about 2 mile off the present coast line of Cleveleys (or as it was known then, Ritherham), although its exact location or even existence has been debated since Thornber reported the hearsay location of the village in 1837.
  • Porter in 1876, appears to simply refer to the earlier text in terms of ‘history’ ‘reputed’, ‘reasonable probability’ however, no real evidence
  • In 1554 the village or hamlet was inundated during a major storm. The very few survivors were said to have relocated inland to the present day Singleton.
  • 1877 C. E. de Rance went looking for the remains of Singleton Thorpe and recorded finding horse troughs and shippons full of sea water in the sand
  • 1893 Alfred Halstead published a booklet entitled ‘Singleton Thorpe: Discovery of Remains’ which followed his own expedition in search of the ruins. He found large joist or rafter timbers.  Several years later Halstead returned accompanied by Mr Pearson, Ben Bowman, J. Whiteside and a number of labourers, carts and equipment. They claimed to have taken away, a door post, a lintel and several other artifacts.
  • Whilst recent aerial photo’s show the remains of what have been described as ‘petrified tree stumps’, there has been no evidence of the village, nor the often recalled ‘cobbled’ route to the village.
  • Singleton Thorp was one of two villages thought to have been lost to the sea, the other was Waddum Thorpe, situated off Squires Gate, South Shore. Although linkage has been made with ‘Kilgrimol’ in St Annes, there is likely to be no association, all the researched evidence puts Kilgrimol sited at or near ‘Cross Slack’, now part of St Annes Old Links Golf Course. Kilgrimol seems to have been some sort of ‘Oratory’ or Chapel and graveyard.
  • There are casual ‘web’ references to Boat trips to see the ruins from Cleveleys, although these were probably entrepreneurial opportunities. Any ruins would only be visible in the mud at very low tides. (Reference during the visit to ‘Neap’ tides to view the ruins would have been false since Neap Tides are those when there is little difference between low and high tide.)

Sources & Further Info
wyrearchaeology.blogspot.com/2008/05/legend-of-singleton-thorpe.html
http://fyldeantiquarian.freeforums.org/singleton-thorpe-and-other-things-t284.html
http://www.visitcleveleys.co.uk/about/history/petrified-forest.php
http://wyrearchaeology.blogspot.co.uk/2007/07/legend-of-kilgrimol-part-one.html
http://www.amounderness.co.uk/kilgrimol_and_cross_slack.html

MPC
03/06/2014

Inundations: Floods on the Fylde

Reflecting on the recent storms and writing the missive on Shipwrecks, coupled with memories of early adulthood working on South Shore, caused me to put this piece together.image002

The references to early adulthood refer to my time as apprentice chef at the Headlands Hotel on South Prom. Regularly at Easter and other times of High Tide, I was called upon to carry the ladies who worked at the hotel from the hotel front door, wading sometimes at past knee height through the water to the bottom of Harrowside Bridge, so that the ladies didn’t get their feet too wet. I was a big lad in those days, a Rugby player and as strong as an ox. Piggybacking the ladies, I saw as not just a good deed but part of a regime of keeping fit, and a I did it for about 7 years. Needless to say, I paid for that good intention in later life! The hotel never seemed to suffer too much. The cellar flooded of course and oil fired boiler injectors housed down there were brought into the kitchen, serviced by me and the owner, replaced and they and we carried on working, as though it was an everyday occurrence, though nowadays, I feel sure that Health & Food Safety officials would have something to say about that. In the early 1970’s too, I helped colleagues move their goods and chattels in the floods at Larkholme Estate.

image003Getting back to the storms, the massive investment in sea defences have mitigated a lot of the inconvenience and anguish over the regular floods of those days in the early 1960’s. More recent storms have been put down in part to ‘Global Warming’, however, the Fylde coast has a long history of ‘Inundations’ and long before there was any reference to its affects on weather..

A little bit of further investigation at Central Library and a 1937 account lists what are referred to as ‘Inundations’ that occurred regularly if not frequently over the last few hundred years and proimage005bably before that. These inundations wrought havoc in the Fylde flatlands. Fields, houses, hamlets and presumably people and stock losing their place in the landscape, ships and crews lost from the seascape.Indeed, 2 separate occasions hamlets just off the present coastline were consumed by the waves; Waddum Thorpe just off Squires Gate and Singleton Thorpe (aka Singleton Scar) off Rossall Point/Bispham, although there is no evidence that these existed or were lost, but popular folklore and early histories of the area refer to them.

The ‘Saxton Map’ (right) of the 1500’s show the extent and shape of the Fylde Coast, compared its shape and form today, although we can assume some artistic licence. 1752 Emanuel Bowen’s Map of Lancashire confirms the erosion of the coastline over a couple of hundred years.

The following is a record of Inundations over the last 500 years:

Year      Impact
1532     Loss of Waddum Thorpe, a Churchyard and 2 miles of pasture at South Shore
1555     Loss of Singleton Thorpe, west of Cleveleys by Penny Stone Rock
1720     Loss of 6600 Acres in Lancashire including the Fylde Coast
1744     A ‘Disturbance’ or earthquake on Pilling Moss. ‘The Moss rose up and slid South’
1796     Inundation of Fylde Coast
1821     Inundation
1833     Inundation covering Marton Moss, up to Fleetwood
1863     Inundation affecting Rossall and Fleetwood
1870     Loss of the Promenade and ‘White Houses’ at Rossall Point

Mawson’s ‘Amounderness’ report only covers the area to 1937, But we know of many floods since. Research at Durham University cites 15 occasions of severe flooding at Blackpool in the hundred years between 1870 and 1970. even though the Promenade at Blackpool, as the first defence against the sea, was built before 1870.
Clearly, the sea and its floods are an integral to the life and life of Blackpool. Floods have a significant effect on those who suffer as a result, but what a spectacle for those who simply observe!

MPC
15/01/2014

Sources:
Books Bibliography
Thornber, William, 1837,The History of Blackpool and Its Neighbourhood
Porter, John (1876). History of the Fylde of Lancashire.
Mawson, T.H., 1937, Amounderness: Being a report of the Regulation Planning Committee for the Area of the Fylde, Batsford Ltd.

Websites Bibliography
Floods of 1720 at: http://www.amounderness.co.uk/1720_floods.html accessed 13/01/14
Flood of 1870 at: http://www.amounderness.co.uk/1870_september_storm.html Accessed 13/01/14
Floods of 1927 at: http://www.amounderness.co.uk/1927_storm_&_floods_st.annes.html accessed 13/01/14
Film of recent floods at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwYcUFj2uJs accessed 13/01/14
Zong, Y. and Tooley, M. J. (2003) ’A historical record of coastal floods in Britain : frequencies and associated storm tracks.’, Natural hazards., 29 (1). pp. 13-36 at: http://dro.dur.ac.uk/1072/1/1072.pdf Accessed 13/01/14
Recent Blackpool Flood at: http://www.halcrow.com/Global/Images/coastal_engineering/wave_overtopping_blackpool.jpg Accessed: 15/01/14
Extract from Saxton 1537 Map of Lancashire at: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~genmaps/genfiles/COU_files/ENG/LAN/saxton_lancs_1579.htm Accessed 15/01/14