Newspaper article fom 1907.
A ST. ANNES
INTERESTING LOCAL HISTORY.
The hand of the builder is now
upon a house which is of more than passing interest to those who have watched
the rapid growth of St. Annes. In May, 1875, there was not a brick house
in St. Annes, though the hotel was in course of erection, and the first
permanent house tenanted was occupied by Mr. Clement Rawstron in August,
St.Andrew's Road South, St.Annes, built in 1875, converted
to shops in 1907. Pictured here in the 1870s, pass
your curser over the image to view the same building
photographed in 2009. The shops are Claire Hindmarch
Opticians, the Bilash Balti and Nigel Shaw Hair
That house was in St.
Andrew's-road South. It has yielded to the march of progress, and is, along
with its neighbour, being turned into shop premises. With this house is
associated much that tells of the progress of St. Annes.
Dr. Andrew Wilson said St.
Annes had been created as "if by rubbing an Aladdin's lamp," and to many who
live in the town St. Annes seems to be of much greater age than it really is.
Does it seem credible, for instance, that the
of a town of 10,000
inhabitants, only celebrates his 31st birthday next Sunday? Yet, such is the
case. And this house—Alpha House—is the residence also of Mr. Arthur Rawstron
who possesses that honour.
Another circumstance of great
interest is that this house was the first post office and Mr. C. Rawstron was
the first postmaster St. Annes possessed. Mr. Rawstron was made postmaster in
March 1878. For a long time the sliding window to the left of the front door
(which can be seen in the accompanying photograph) was used to hand letters out
to callers, and the letter-box was at the house side. For the first three or
four months letters had to be called for, and were dealt with through Lytham.
It is interesting to recall that
THE FIRST LETTER
to pass through the office was
for Mr. Ed.Thomas, landscape gardener, who laid out the St. George's Gardens
and the Esplanade. Later a wooden erection was added to the house, and a
separate entrance made so that the volunteers, who in those days encamped for
training at St. Annes, could write their letters. When this addition was made
the letter box was also removed to the front of the house where it remained
until Alpha house was discontinued as a post-office in 1882. During his
postmastership Mr. Rawstron had varied experiences.
On one occasion a builder who was expected a note
to pay the wages of his workmen called for his letter. The letter was handed to
him, and he opened it. In extracting the letter from the envelope the note,
which was for £20, must have been
by the wind, for onlooking for
it he could not find it. He at once reported his loss, and inquiries were
instituted along, the course on which the letter had travelled, from Fleetwood
to St. Annes. Voluminous correspondence followed, and naturally Mr. Rawstron
felt very uncomfortable. His integrity was established, however, by the finding
of the note in a bush in the garden at "Seafield," Wood-street, by Mrs.
Shepherd, who was hanging out, some clothes. The note was none the worse for
the rain, to which it had been subjected.
"Alpha House," it will be
understood, has been occupied the longest by one family of any house in St.
Annes. When Mr. and Mrs. Rawstron came to St. Annes they I occupied a wooden
shanty on the site;. Smethurst's shop in St. Andrew's road South, and after
removing into Alpha House never changed their abode again. Mr. Rawstron
evidently believes in the Yorkshire saying that "Three removals are as bad as a
A DESERT OF SAND
Mr. Rawstron came to St. Annes
at the age of 41, and he can graphically describe what St. Annes was like 32
years ago. There was really no St. Annes, for there was not a single inhabited
house. There was no railway station and no post office; it was a desert of sand
dunes. A gang of navvies at work on the construction of the railway was the
only sign of animation; and the site of the town afforded no index to the
future prosperity of the square-mile of sand.
Mr. Rawstron is the oldest
member of the Parish Church Choir, having been a member for 29 years, and he
has now been made .a life member. Mr. Arthur Rawstron has also been a member
for nearly 22 years, and twenty years ago sang in the Jubilee festival at
Lytham. Parish Church.
Mr. and Mrs. Rawstron
celebrated their golden wedding three years ago, and were the recipients of
many congratulations. May they enjoy many more happy years amongst us. They
have seven children—one daughter and six sons.