A small town, a parish, and a sub-district, in Fylde district, Lancashire.
Lytham was where I grew up in the 1950s. We moved to the town in 1949, and lived with two of my aunts and an uncle in Ashton Street while our new house in Lowther Terrace was converted into two apartments. Another aunt and uncle lived a few yards away in Church Road. My first school was on Church Road (now a block of apartments, in one of which my father eventually lived until his death in 1987).
The house in Lowther Terrace overlooked Lowther Gardens, a lovely park with bowling greens, tennis courts and a small theatre, the Lowther Pavilion. My memories are of a startlingly yellow forsythia hedge, and masses of cat-mint and montbretia.
The most memorable things about Lytham itself? The Green; the Windmill; walls built of cobbles; and the Life-boat. Club Day was also a very special occasion. And, of course, potted shrimps!
Ancestors on my mother’s side of the family are buried in St. Cuthbert’s Churchyard. I still have cousins living in Lytham
St. Cuthbert’s Church
The parish church of St. Cuthbert, entirely rebuilt in 1834, on the site of the old church, is a building of red brick in the late perpendicular style, consisting of a chancel, clerestoried nave, aisles, south porch and an embattled tower at the west end containing 8 bells. An organ was erected in 1881 at a cost of £700. The reredos of oak, beautifully carved, is a memorial to Lydia Constance Hawkins, and the stained east window a memorial to Ellen Fisher, who died in 1837. The north and south chancel windows were given by Thomas Clifton and his wife Lady Eleanor Cecily Clifton.
Built on what is now Lytham Green in 1805, the Windmill is the landmark that everyone sees when they come to Lytham. One of several mills on the Fylde, Lytham Mill was worked until 1919 when a fire destroyed most of the machinery. Rebuilt and renovated several times since, the Mill now houses a permanent exhibition of the history of the Mill and of Bread-making; tableaux of Lytham life during the last 100 years, various memorabilia and models. Open to visitors, free admission.
In its present form, Club Day has been around for 112 years.The town is closed to traffic in the morning for children and adults to roam the streets in fancy dress and the town is alive with tableaux, decorated cycles, horses, local traders, bands and of course Lytham Rose Queen and Visiting Queens from the Fylde.
Punch & Judy shows are staged throughout the day and Morris Dancers perform all over town.A parade of Vintage cars heads the main procession, Lytham Rose Queen makes a short stop at the cenotaph laying a wreath. Afternoon entertainment gets underway at Lowther Gardens, where the Crowning of the Rose Queen, the Mammoth Draw, the Tomes Trophy for Visiting Queens and the presentation of the trophies to the winning classes all takes place, among other exciting entertainment.
Since Lytham beach was part of the estuary of the River Ribble, there were no golden sands, as there are at Blackpool a few miles further north, but instead there were cobbles so many cobbles that many of the garden walls in the town were built from them, giving a rather special effect.
More recently, a kind of pavement art has grown up in Lytham, with patterns being formed from the smaller pebbles.
The worst disaster in lifeboat history happened when on the 9th December 1886 the Lytham, St Annes and Southport lifeboats were launched to the aid of the “Mexico” of Hamburg, which was in distress off Southport. The Lytham lifeboat succeeded in rescuing the crew of 12. Meanwhile the Southport boat, which had also launched to the casualty, was struck by heavy seas and capsized. She was found the next day; 14 of her crew had drowned; there were only two survivors. The St Annes boat also met the same fate and all her crew of 13 drowned. It will never be known what happened to her as she was found washed ashore the following morning.
Here is a view of Lytham from a resident:
“Lytham is a nice place. Its tree lined streets are flanked by interesting small shops that are still family businesses. There are some especially good speciality food shops for the more discerning customer. Lytham brims with old-fashioned charm and courteous people. The town has a history as a seafaring area whose economy was based on fishing and shrimping. Later, wealthy industrialists moved from the industrial east of the county. To-day Lytham is famous for golf at Royal Lytham Golf Club, The Green, the recently restored Windmill and Old Lifeboat House Museum, and Lytham Club Day, a local festival each June. The Green overlooks the estuary of the river Ribble and the Welsh mountains.”