Opening of Blackpool Branch Railway, 1846
The Preston Guardian, Saturday, May 2, 1846
BLACKPOOL BRANCH RAILWAY.
A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of recording the proceedings
attendant upon the opening of the Lytham Branch Railway; and we have now the
further gratification of noticing the festivities and rejoicings on the occasion of
another important feeder of the Preston and Wyre line being rendered available for
public accommodation. Important indeed the branch is, not merely to the interests
of the shareholders of the parent line, but as affording increased facilities for
the inhabitants of this and neighbouring manufacturing places, to pay a visit to
the health-inspiring breezes of the seashore, and furnishing a further link in the
grand network of railway communication, now being rapidly, extended over the whole
The Opening was fixed for Wednesday last, the day upon which the
ordinary half-yearly and a special general meeting was held at Fleetwood; and, as
it was understood that it train would be in readiness at the conclusion of the
business to convey the proprietors to Blackpool, there was a much larger assemblage
than usual of proprietors at the meetings. The day, too, was exceedingly fine, such
a one as a Blackpool would only be too happy to bespeak on a sojourn at his
favourite watering place. The utmost preparations had been made to give every
possible éclat to the occasion, and make the whole festivities pass off in a way
worthy of the event in honour of which they were held. The steam engines,
carriages, &c., were adorned with numerous flags, as tokens of some auspicious
event; the shipping and public buildings, at Fleetwood, bore similar emblems of
rejoicings; the inns, church, railway station, dwelling houses, &c., at
Blackpool, were similarly bedecked; and the inhabitants, generally, seemed to
regard with much satisfaction the placing of the advantages of railway travelling
within their reach. From an early hour in the morning, cannons were fired in honour
of the occasion; and preparations had bean made for treats for the children of the
Sunday schools, dinners to the workmen, and other public celebrations. In the
course of the day, several trains passed to and from the Poulton station, to
Blackpool, parties being allowed a free passage, and every arrival and departure
was welcomed with hearty cheering from the numerous assemblages collected to
The processions of the Sunday school children were formed along
the beach and streets of Blackpool, with innumerable flags and banners, and the
hearty youngsters were treated with warm ale, buns, &c., on the spacious
bowling green of the Talbot Inn. Not only, too, were the inhabitants of Blackpool
alive, but the lads and lasses of the neighbouring villages were on the spot, and
the crowds at the Blackpool station comprised a goodly assemblage of smiling
beauties, whose gracious approval of the proceedings of the day were ever and anon
expressed in looks and words. Here, too, as is Fleetwood, and along the line, the
enlivening strains of music added to the general attraction. The Rochdale band, the
Preston Church of England, and the Preston Blue Coat School band were in
attendance, and their exertions were called forth at intervals during the day.
The Blackpool Railway branches from the main line a little
beyond the Poulton station. It is three miles and a half in length, and tolerably
level, excepting a slight inclination on nearing Blackpool, and with but little
curve. There is only a single line of rails. From the favourable character of the
country through which the line passes, and the good spirit in which the directors
were met by the landowners on the line, the cost of the undertaking has been only
from £4,000 to £5,000 a mile. The station is in Talbot-road, the new road out by
Mr. Clifton a short time ago, and which brings into an advantageous situation for
building land his property in Blackpool, It is built from the designs of Mr.
Bawling, of Fleetwood, in the Ionic order. It is an exceedingly spacious and well-
planned building; the general arrangement is pretty much the same as the Lytham
station but larger. When completed, it will be a great ornament to that part of
Blackpool. The contractors for the work are Messrs. Towers and Westall, of
Fleetwood; the works on the railway have been executed by Mr. Jardine.
The opening train, for such the one from Fleetwood, conveying
the directors and shareholders was considered, arrived at Blackpool immediately
after four o'clock, about half an hour before the time fixed for dinner, and was
greeted by the assembled multitude most enthusiastically.
The dinner in honour of the occasion was held at Miss Nickson's,
the Clifton's Arms Hotel, and comprised every delicacy of the season, served in a
style for which the house is celebrated. The fineness of the day had induced so
many of the shareholders to attend, that there was scarcely accommodation for all
who wished to join the feast. About 150 sat down, Clement Royds, Esq., being in the
chair, supported on the right by Captain Evans, R.N., W. Taylor, Esq., T. German,
Esq., mayor of Preston, D. Glib, Esq., Hugh Hornby, Esq.; and on the left by J.
Laidlay Esq., J. Dewhurst, Esq., T. B. Addison, Esq., E. Tootall Esq., &c.,
After the dinner had been partaken of,
The Chairman proposed in succession "The Queen," " The Queen
Dowager," "Prince Albert, and the rest of the Royal Family," "The High Sheriff,"
and "The Lord Lieutenant of the County," which toasts were duly honoured. The last
was acknowledged by Hugh Hornby, Esq.
The Chairman next proposed the health of the Lord of the Manor,
to whom they were much indebted for the successful prosecution of the undertaking
opened that day. (Applause.) Mr. Clifton had been, he was sorry to say, prevented,
by the indisposition of his wife, from being present that day.
Mr. Fair assured them that Mr. Clifton was highly complimented
by the attendance of the gentlemen who honoured him with their company at the
opening of the Lytham Railway, and he would have been happy to have returned their
kindness by being present that day, had not the serious, Indeed dangerous, illness
of Mrs. Clifton prevented him. He was glad to say, she was now, however,
considerably better. On Mr. Clifton's part he thanked them for the honour conferred
The Chairmen gave, with a suitable eulogy, the Mayor of
The Mayor, in rising to return thanks, was greeted with loud
applause. He congratulated them on the opening of the Blackpool Branch, and the
general prospects of their line. They had conferred a great benefit on the
inhabitants of Blackpool and the community generally, and be hoped the Chairman,
and all interested in the undertaking, would be amply rewarded for their spirited
exertions to promote the public convenience.
The Chairman proposed the Army and Navy.
Captain Evans returned thanks on behalf of the navy, for the
honour conferred upon the profession to which be had the honour to belong. He hoped
that whenever their services were required for their country, they would be found
as useful as they had before been.
Captain Parkinson also returned thanks.
Captain Evans would give a toast in which they would all most
heartily join; the health of the Chairman, and Directors, and prosperity to the
Wyre Railway.—(loud cheering.)
The Chairmen returned thanks. He thought the Wyre Line was now
on a solid and firm foundation. They must "let bygones be bygones;" he thought the
Preston and Wyre Railway would now be one of the best concerns in the kingdom. The
Blackpool Branch was their second daughter. When they considered that Lytham and
Blackpool were two of the best watering places In the kingdom, they could have no
doubt of the ultimate prosperity of their Line, and he had himself little fear but
in course of time there would be a connecting link of railway from Fleetwood by
Blackpool and South Shore to Lytham. There was one toast it gave him exceeding
pleasure to propose, and that, was the health of Sir Hesketh Fleetwood, than whom,
a better-hearted man did not exist.—(Loud and long continued cheering.) He would
connect with that toast their friend. Mr. Kemp.—(cheers.)
Mr. Kemp returned thanks for the truly flattering manner in
which Sir Hesketh Fleetwood's name had been received. He had hoped his enterprise
would be for the public good and also be for his own, benefit. (Cheers.) He had
acted always with 'the best feeling, and if the railway had been productive of good
to any district or individual, Sir Hesketh would be well pleased.
The Chairman gave as the next toast, one that was endeared to
the hearts of all, a class essentially conservative, conservative of power, place,
and patronage, and conservative too of that power of which no man would wish to
deprive them. He gave The "Lancashire Witches.' (Loud cheers,)
The Chairman next proposed the health of a gentleman present,
the Recorder of Preston.
Mr. Addison cordially thanked them for the honour conferred upon
him as Recorder of Preston. He felt interested in all that concerned Preston, which
was the capital of the hundred of Amounderness, and, indeed, of North Lancashire;
and he saw with particular pleasure that these undertakings were mainly owing to
the enterprising spirit of one individual, and he the representative of Preston.
But he (Mr. Addison) also filled another office, though perhaps not known to most
of them, being Chairman of the Preston and Longridge Railway Company. Like the
Preston and Wyre, the Longridge company had been slow scholars; they lead been a
long while in learning to spell the word "Dividend." (Laughter.) But latterly they
had much improved, and they had just declared one of 8s. a share. Ho trusted he
should aeon be able to appear among them as a shareholder of their own line, for
the Longridge railway stood like a bride awaiting her nuptials (laughter); although
she did not bring a very large fortune with her, she was willing to join her
fortunes with the 'Preston and Wyre, and he trusted their union would he to the
advantage of both, (Cheers,).
The meeting then broke up, a special train being in readiness to
convey the company to Preston. Some of the party, however, remained a further time
in Blackpool, a second train being obligingly placed, at their disposal by the
company, to leave at a later hour.
In the course of the day, upwards of 40 workmen were regaled
with a good old English dinner, with plentiful libations of "home-brewed," at Mr.
R. Carter's, the Talbot Hotel. Mr. Jardine, contractor, occupied the chair, and the
whole proceedings passed off with the best feeling.
Indeed the whole of
the celebrations attendant upon this auspicious event passed off in the best manner
; and much commendation was bestowed upon the hospitality, courtesy, and general
kindness of the officers of the railway, in their endeavours to add to he enjoyment
of the numerous company assembled to do honour to so important an