Growth of St Annes

Growth of St Annes

Find out about local history and the growth of St Annes with the help of a 1909 Ordnance Survey map.

Godfrey Edition Maps

Like most towns and villages all over the UK, the streets, buildings and landmarks of St Annes have changed with population growth over the years. The Godfrey Edition are copies of original Ordnance Survey maps from 1909. It’s fascinating to look at them in comparison with what we know exists today.

We know St Annes as a popular north west seaside town, busy all year round with residents and with visitors. You can see how this has happened and compare the lie of the land then with that of today.

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You can get copies of local Godfrey Edition maps of the whole of the Fylde Coast in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s from Lighthouse Stationery in Fleetwood.

See the growth of St Annes with the help of a 1909 map
See the growth of St Annes with the help of a 1909 map

Similar maps are also available for St Annes, Lytham, Lytham Hall, plus the Fylde & Southport. Along with Poulton, Fleetwood (1890 & 1910 versions), Rossall, Thornton Cleveleys, Bispham  and Norbreck. Complete your set with Blackpool North Shore, Blackpool North Pier & Town Centre, Blackpool Central Pier and Blackpool South.

On the reverse of each map is a fairly thorough overview of the history of the area, which makes it doubly interesting.

See the Growth of St Annes from Old Maps

The St Annes-on-the-Sea map from 1909 shows an area which is already starting to get popular. It’s not as residential then as it is now, with what seem to be large garden areas and open spaces between areas of development, with plenty of farmers fields still to be seen.

The written history on the back of the map tells us that St Annes was the western edge of the estate owned by the Clifton family from the early 1600’s. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, the Cliftons had been developing their hamlet of Lytham to take advantage of the increased popularity of sea-bathing. According to the earliest OS maps, this western edge was left to the seagulls and rabbits and the only early buildings were Cross Slack and a few scattered inland farms.

The start of the growth of St Annes

In 1873, the then Lord of the Manor, Colonel John Talbot Clifton, built a chapel which he dedicated to Saint Anne in honour of his wife’s aunt, Lady Anne Bentinck.

In 1871 just before the chapel was built, the Blackpool and Lytham Railway merged with the Preston to Wyre Railway. These two lines originally had separate termini in Lytham. They were connected to give an uninterrupted line from Preston through the Clifton estate into Blackpool. Clifton Drive was opened the year after.

St Annes on Sea Land and Building Company

The growth of St Annes really took off in 1874. Mr Elijah Hargreaves, a businessman from East Lancashire, was on holiday and was inspired with the areas potential. After negotiating with the Clifton estate he formed the ‘St Annes on Sea Land and Building Company’ with seven others.

They had £50,000 share capital, a 999 year lease and a pledge to invest £70,000 in urban infrastructure ‘in a few years’. They had a grand start with the laying of the foundation stone of the Saint Annes Hotel. However, the early years were plagued with problems and a general reluctance from other business people to invest in a long term plan. William John Porritt was one mill owner who did invest, building stone houses on Clifton Drive North and St George’s Road.

Utilities and Facilities come to St Annes

In 1878 St Annes Local Board of Health was set up to oversee matters like sewerage and street lighting. In 1894 it became an Urban District Council.

By then, St Annes had grown considerably. The pier had opened with steamer boat trips running from the end of it. Houses and hotels had been built at Clifton Drive North and South. In 1897 the Lytham St Annes Tramway was operating gas powered trams between the towns – you can see the tram lines on the map.

Many of the public buildings in St Annes are from the time of this 1909 map. The Carnegie library, the college and the police station. Also St George’s Hall and Gardens – which was renamed Ashton Gardens.

St Annes Merges with Lytham

In 1916, Blackpool made a second unsuccessful attempt to get St Annes to join it in a County Borough. Six years later St Annes instead merged with Lytham to become the Municipal Borough of Lytham St Annes.

Find out More

This is just a little bit of the fascinating history of St Annes and the wider Lytham area.

Why don’t you get your own copy of the maps from Lighthouse Stationery. Then you can compare today with yesterday, and find out much more about our fascinating past.

Have a look at the Visit St Annes website homepage for more of the latest updates.

If you love the Fylde Coast you ought to sign up for our weekly email newsletter. It’s packed full of interesting things and will arrive in your inbox all 52 weeks of the year.

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