Growth of the County Borough of Blackpool in the County of Lancashire, from 1500 to 1926
Dates from various History Books of Blackpool and the Fylde, but chiefly from the Government Survey Book Amounderness, published in the year 1934.
To thoroughly understand the History of a District over a few Centuries you must know its Geography.
The first Map of the Fylde or Saxon for Field was published about the year 1500 and shows the Coastline to extend One Mile further out into Morecambe Bay than it does now, also two miles further out into the Irish sea at Rischall Point, receding to One Mile further out at halfway down the coast (that would be Bispham), and continuing still one mile out until it reaches the mouth of the Ribble.
The Map shows the River Wyre as a tributary of the River Lune, hence the name Lune Deeps.
Marton Moss was a swamp and a small brook drained from it running North West, called Spen Brook this was widened and deepened later to the Moss and renamed Spen Dyke.
This Brook or Dyke emptied into a pool situated in a large Depression about a mile (in those days) from the sea, and owing to the colour of the water was given the name THE BLACKPOOL.
Further East was a lake running East and West for four and a half miles, by half a mile wide.
This had an overflow at the West end, this ran through what is now Marton, and joined the Spen Brook in the vicinity of what is now known as Spen Corner, the junction of Waterloo Road, Ansdell Road and Hawes Side Lane.
The Lake was Marton Mere and ran from about what is now East Park Drive to beyond Peel.
The Black Pool was situated in a hollow at the North end about the present
Chapel Street or Princess Street and the South near Spion Cop end of the Football Field.
This Pool had an overflow through a small Gynn which ran through what is now Manchester Square to the sea.
There is no mention of Roman Occupation in any book that I have read, the nearest is Kirkham where the remains of a small Bath Building on the stump of the Roman Bath, were found in excavating at the beginning of the century.
There is also the Roman Road running through Kirkham and on towards Fleetwood to the Supposed Roman port of Portus Setantian, two miles out from the present Fleetwood. This road was afterwards called Daines Pad. This was the layout of the Coastal Strip of the Fylde in the Hundred of Amounderness.
The County of Lancashire was formed by the amalgamation of Six Hundreds, these being The Hundred of Lonsdale in the North, which takes in the North, which takes in Furness District including Lake Coniston and about Seven eights of Lake Windermere, Lancaster, Morecambe, nearly as far South as Pilling and across to the Yorkshire Border.
The Hundred of Amounderness, or Oak Covered Swamp, taking in Pilling and Over Wyre District across to the Yorkshire Boundary taking in the Bleasdale Fells, Garstang, in the South across County, cutting Preston out, but including Ashton on Ribble, and then following the river to its mouth.
The Hundred of Leyland, south of the river and including Southport and halfway across the Centre Strip of the County.
The Hundred of Blackburn, taking up the Eastern half of the Centre Strip.
The Hundred of Salford which includes Manchester and the whole of South East Lancashire.
The Hundred of Derby in the South West Lancashire including Liverpool.
The first mention of the Hundred of Amounderness is the year 661.
A Hundred is one hundred rouds of Cultivable land at that date when Cultivation was all by hand, and in batches over a large area including the rough land in between, which the Head Man of the district had to keep clear of outlaws and Merenders.
A Roud is equivalent to one and a half square miles.
The first mention of a Duke of Lancaster was in the year 1361.
In the year 1500 the West District of the Fylde was very sparsely populated, the two centres of Poulton and Bispham being the principal centres.
There was St. Cuthbert's Priory, situated where Lytham Hall now stands. Waddam Thorp, on the coast, a mile out from the present Squires Gate. Singleton Thorpe, just beyond the Pennistone rock at Bispham. Ross Hall, a Gentlemans Residence and accompanying building out towards the coast beyond the present Rossall College. At that time there was no mention of Blackpool other than the Pool, so far the geography of Blackpool and District.
Now for the principal dates in the development of Blackpool and District.
- In the year 1532 there was a large inundation by the sea which swept inland for two miles covering all the land from about the present Bloomfield Road, right down to the Ribble Estuary and inland to near Hawes Side Lane. Waddam Thorp was washed away and there is no record of any of the residents surviving. This land was covered by the sea for years and then it receded to the present coast line, causing a strip of land about one mile wide and useless for years.
- Another sea inundation further North in which Singleton Thorp was destroyed but the inhabitants or the bulk of them escaped and traced inland and settled in what is now Singleton Village.
- The first mention of Blackpool is found in the Register of Bispham Parish Church in the year 1602 in which is recorded the Christening on September 22nd of that year of a Child belonging to a Couple who reside on the Bank of the Black Pool.
- This is one of the years of the Civil War between the King (Charles 1) and Parliament led by Oliver Cromwell. The gentry of the District were mainly Royalists and an Army was raised in the district to fight on the side of the King. This Army was commanded by Sir Walter Tyldesley of Mains Hall near Poulton, with a son of the Rigbys of Layton Hall as his second in command, they clashed with the Parliamentarians in the Battle of Wigan Lain and Sir Walter was killed and the Army defeated.
- In 1643 a Spanish Vessel came ashore at Rossall Beach. Both armies were after the prize, but as Cromwell's army had to go round by Garstang and over Wyre where his supporters were, and Lord Derby being amongst friends was able to march right up to Layton Hawes and alongside the Fylde coast without any interference, therefore securing the Prize for the Royalists.
- After the death of Cromwell and the Restoration of the Monarchy, Charles the Second was very lavish with his promise to families who had suffered in the support of his father. Edward Tyldesley was one of these, for his father's death at Wigan Lane Battle. Unfortunately for them, the King, although a good promiser was a very bad fulfiller of said promises. Edward Tyldesley of Mains Hall, having his eye on Layton Hawes which was now drying out, built a small hall at the very South of the then Blackpool as a seaside residence and called it Fox Hall, here he entertained the Gentry of the district, including horse racing on the Hawes. Unfortunately for Edward Tyldesley he was one to whom the King did not fulfil his promise, and after continuing as a private residence for several years, eventually became a farm house and as Blackpool developed, finished up as Licensed Premises, the present Foxall Hotel.
- Ernest Whiteside living in a two bedroomed house at Fumblers Hill (bottom of present Cocker Street) added two more bedrooms to his house and became the first Company House Keeper as a business.
- In this year it is recorded that there were two dozen cottages in Blackpool, and a small Inn near where now stands the Clifton.
- Bowans Map of Lancashire.
- The Fylde Coast had its share of Shipwrecks in the old days, and being sparsely populated it was a common thing for the inhabitants to help themselves before the Coast Guards or Excise Officers could get to the wreck. In the year 1755 a ship named "The Travers" was wrecked on the coast, it had a cargo of Lace, and there was "Travers Lace" in homes all over the Fylde for years after.
- In 1779 owing to there being a bad summer and poor crops, food was scarce.
- During the autumn a ship was wrecked on the Coast, which among other articles was carrying a cargo of Peas, this was raided and helped out the food supply, the wreck became known as "The Pea Soup Wreck".
- First mention of Coaches being run between Manchester and Blackpool for the Conveyance of Passengers.
- In this year Baylies Hotel, now the Metropole commenced advertising for visitors, in the Manchester Mercury.
- Bonneys Hotel and the Lane Ends Hotel, afterwards called the County, now demolished to make room for Lewises Stores, both commenced advertising for visitors.
- At this date there were Fifty Houses in Blackpool, a Theatre in a Barn in Lane Ends Street now Church Street and two Bowling Greens.
- A Gentleman named George Cook started Blackpool's first Post Office and Lending Library.
- "William Hutton, a Gentleman from Birmingham, published a small book entitled "A description of Blackpool". The population of Blackpool at that time was four hundred. (400)
- First church built at Marton. The present church built in 1909.
- Population of Blackpool and Layton, four hundred and seventy three. (473) The population of Poulton was seven hundred and nine. (709).
- Marton Windmill, near the sight of the present Oxford Hotel struck by lightening and destroyed, a girl was killed.
- Blackpool's first school was built in Church Street. The National School, now St. Johns.
- A man named Thomas Moore built the first houses at South Shore.
- Owing to the sea erosion the old Ross Hall and its accompanying building had to be abandoned.
- A new Ross Hall was built further inland, and this is now part of Rossall College.
- In this year a ship called "The Fanny" was wrecked off the coast, she was laden with red and black flannel. The same fate happened to this cargo as happened to the lace and peas of previous wrecks. Fanny Petticoats were prevalent for years in Blackpool from this date.
- The first Non Conformist Chapel was built in Kent Road, then out in the fields.
- A building named the Grand Promenade was erected at the North East Corner of Victoria Street and Bank Hey Street. This was the first building to be erected in Blackpool as an Entertainment Theatre. It is now shops on the ground floor and a restaurant above.
- There was a Wreck at The Gynn, the crew being saved by steering for a light in one of the windows of The Old Gynn Inn, this Inn stood in the centre of what is now Gynn Square and was very old, reported about 1700.
- The First Wesleyan Chapel erected in Adelaide Street.
- South Shore Parish Church (Holy Trinity) erected.
- First house built in Fleetwood.
- Ascension of Queen Victoria.
- Opening of New Promenade.
- The Reverend William Thornber published the first history of Blackpool.
- A ship called "The Crusader" was wrecked at South Shore, and a few Marton men were sent to Prison having been caught taking silk from the wreck.
- The Preston Railway was extended to Poulton. The Population of Blackpool was two thousand one hundred and sixty eight. (2168).
- The Brig "Aristocrat" was wrecked opposite the Imperial Hydro. Two passengers were drowned.
- The Old St. John's Market opened. British Home Stores now stands on the site.
- The Railway was extended from Poulton to Talbot Road Station (now Blackpool North).
- The Wellington Hotel was built.
- Gas Works and Blackpool has its first street lighting by gas.
- Theatre Royal
- The Union Baptist Chapel was built in Abingdon Street. The site is now occupied by the general Post Office.
- Uncle Tom's Cabin
- The Schooner "William Henry" with a cargo of flour and lard was wrecked at South Shore. There were plenty of cheap tubs of lard for the South Shore people.
- The Wesleyan Chapel in Adelaide Street Rebuilt. Christ Church Mission built and consecrated 1870.
- First Pier Company and Blackpool and Lytham Railways opened.
- North Pier opened.
- Lytham Railway extended to Blackpool Central.
- Blackpool gets its first Lifeboat. July 14th. Wreck of the St. Michael (September 18th) the Lifeboat saved the crew of fourteen.
- United Methodist Church, Adelaide Street built.
- Fylde Water Works. First piped water.
- Blackpool Parade Act for Promenade Development passed through Parliament.
- The Barque "Lexington" wrecked, crew of fourteen saved by new lifeboat.
- Assembly and Concert Rooms Company
- Central Pier
- (April 21st) Charles Dickens visited Blackpool and stayed at the Beach Hotel, which stood where the Tower Vaults and Cafe now stand.
- Prince of Wales Arcade
- Grand opening of new Promenade.
- Population of Blackpool, seven thousand, nine hundred and two. (7,902)
- Raikes Hall Gardens. Derelict by 1898.
- Blackpool Cemetery opened.
- Talbot Bowling Tournament began.
- The Aquarium, (now incorporated in the Tower) opened. At that time it ran along Bank Hey Street, and the space in front was an amusement park. This was built, owned, and run by Dr. Cocker the first Mayor of Blackpool, and was the real start of the Blackpool Tower.
- Winter Gardens
- Primitive Methodist Chapel in Chapel Street opened.
- Unitarian Church, Dixon Road, opened.
- Blackpool received its Charter of Incorporation and became a Municipal Borough.
- William Cocker became first mayor of the Borough.
- Start of Electric lighting.
- The new Pleasure Steamer "The Bickerstaff" commenced sailing on pleasure trips from the North Pier.
- The Aquarium was floated by Dr.Cocker (the owner) into a Company under the Title of Blackpool Central Property Company and in 1889 acquired by the Standard Debenture Corporation Limited, who formed the Blackpool Tower Company in 1891.
- A ship the "Bessie Jones" was wrecked, four men were rescued from the rigging, one youth swept away and lost.
- Free Public Library opened in the Octagon Room, Talbot Road, now part of Yates Wine Lodge.
- Hoo Hill Windmill in Layton (now demolished) struck by Lightening in a July thunderstorm.
- Wreck of the "Arethusa", ten saved.
- Blackpool became a Parliamentary Division.
- Blackpool Tramway Company. Electric trams started. Company bought by Corporation in 1892.
- Wreck of the "Mexico" off Lytham. Twelve persons rescued by the Lytham Lifeboat. The Southport and St. Annes Lifeboat capsized with loss of life.
- The Blackpool Borough Police Force established.
- Rawcliffe Street Wesleyan Church opened.
- South Shore Church rebuilt.
- The Opera House, Church Street, opened June 10th with The Yeomen of the Guard.
- Proposed South Pier
- Blackpool Tower Company Registered. Alderman John Bickerstaff elected chairman. Foundation stone of Tower was laid September 21st.
- Wreck of "The Sirens" against the North Pier, the crew managed to climb onto the Pier for safety.
- The Victoria Pier, South Shore, opened.
- Opening of the Tower, Whit Monday May 14th.
- Opening of Grand Theatre, December 22nd.
- Wreck of the Abana off Norbreck. Lifeboat saved crew of seventeen.
- The New Victoria Hospital in Whitegate Drive (now the Health Centre) received its first Casualty on August 25th.
- The new Hospital was maintained by voluntary subscription, one scheme being started by the Trades Council, by which members of the different branches in the town paid a voluntary contribution through their branch of two pence per week, this scheme was soon taken up in different firms in the town, by deducting the two pence from the employees wages, which in several cases was sixpence as the person was paying through both their branch and their employment.
- Opening of The Hippodrome Theatre, now the A.B.C Theatre, Church Street.
- The Lytham Tramway opened.
- The Big Wheel in Coronation Street opened.
- During the summer there was a Railway Disaster at Poulton Curve.
- Lord Nelson's Flat Ship "The Foudroyant" which was anchored off Shore for Exhibition purposes was driven inshore by a sudden gale and wrecked near the North Pier. (June 16th)
- Alhambra (opened 1899)
- The Alhambra (afterwards named the Palace) opened by George R. Sims. This replaced the old Prince of Wales Theatre and the Prince of Wales Aquatic Entertainment Baths.
- This year was the completion and opening of the new Town Hall, the new Bethesda Chapel, Unitarian Church, South Shore and Ebenezer Primitive Methodist, Egerton Road.
- The First Musical Festival was held.
- The Marton Tramway was opened this year.
- Opening of the New Railway line from Waterloo Station, (now South Station) across the Moss to Kirkham.
- Blackpool raised to the Status of County Borough.
- All Saints Church, Palatine Road, opened.
- The widening of the Promenade to the South Shore was completed, this was started in 1902.
- St. Thomas`s Church, Caunce Street opened.
- Blackpool Secondary School opened.
- Mr. M.W.Astley elected Conservative Member of Parliament.
- Blackpool's first full programme Cinema opened in the old Coliseum, Lytham Road, on the site of the Coliseum Bus Station. There has previously been shorts shown at the Palace and Hippodrome.
- The first Waterloo Bowling Tournament was held this year.
- Blackpool's First Aviation Week held during the summer at Squires Gate Racecourse (now the Airport) and the first flight round the Tower from the seaside.
- Blackpool Pleasure Beach Company Registered. This was not the start of the Pleasure Beach as several people had been operating a Pleasure Beach on the site for over Twenty Years previous to the Company being formed.
- The Gipsy encampment of the sandhills, south of the old Star Inn was erected this year.
The Second Aviation Week was held in July, the Frenchman Monsieur Tetard flew round the town.
- This year saw the Carnegie Free Library at the Grundy Art Gallery in Queen Street opened for use.
- St. Stephen's Church on the Cliff opened.
The New Princess Parade was opened by Princess Louise.
- The Blackpool Cremation Society established in April.
King George and Queen Mary visited Blackpool.
- The Great War commenced (August 4th). Blackpool was used as a training Ground for troops and also the headquarters of the Royal Army Medical Corp. (R.A.M.C.) Hospital beds erected in the old race-course grandstand at Squires Gate, under Doctor Winder of South Shore.
- Hebrew Synagogue in Leamington Road opened.
- Sir Albert Lindsey Parkinson elected Conservative M.P. for the Blackpool Division.
- The first Election held under the New Municipal Redistribution scheme for the rearrangement of wards.
- Blackpool Town Planning Act came in force.
- St.Mary's Church, Highfield Road, South Shore opened.
- Blackpool Ramblers Club formed (March 2nd) Allan Clark, Lancashire writer and author of Windmill Land was one of the leaders.
- Regent Picture Palace, Church Street opened.
- Mr. David Lloyd-George, the Wartime Premier, presented with the freedom of the Borough.
- Major Morley (Conservative) elected M.P.
- The First Blackpool carnival (June 9th-16th) held.
- South Shore Open Air Baths opened.
- Lt. Col Maylor (Liberal) elected M.P.
- The Second Carnival held (June 11th-24th).
- Sir Walter de Freece (Conservative) elected M.P. (Oct 29th)
- Stanley Park off Whitegate Drive, including golf course, tennis courts and bowling greens opened.
- Independent Methodist Church, Central Drive opened.
- The First Illuminations were held in the autumn of the year.
- (Nov & Dec) skating at Marton Mere. This winter had the severest frost for years.
- St.Mark's Church Layton and New Baptist Church were in course of erection.
- This was Blackpool's corporation "Jubilee Year", also the year of the general strike.
- Big Wheel demolished
- Madam Tussauds Waxworks opened
- Stanley Park Municipal Aerodrome opened by P.M. J Ramsey MacDonald
- Greatest fire in Blackpool R H O Hills
- Graf Zeppelin over Blackpool
- 1st Drama Festival held at Opera House
- Pleasure Beach fire
- Wurlitzer Organ installed at Winter Gardens
- Talbot Road Bus Station and Car Park opened
- Technical College opened