College Francais, Blackpool 1855-1869.
The College Francais was a private school established in West
House, South Shore, Blackpool, in 1855. This building was on the
corner of Waterloo Road and Bolton Street.
The school later moved into larger premises (also known
as the Queen's Hotel) on the promenade. The co-principals were two French
brothers, Isadore Eugene Sanceau & Constant Auguste Sanceau.
In September 1855, Isadore Sanceau married Emily Sarah Smith,
second daughter of Christopher Smith of Dudbridge, Gloucestershire. Mr Smith was a
partner in a wool dye works in Dudbridge. Four years later, Isadore's brother,
Constant, married Mr Smith's other daughter, Annie Augusta.
BLACKPOOL: THE FRENCH COLLEGE, SOUTH
SHORE.-- The pupils of this establishment having concluded
their half-year's labours on Friday, the 13th inst., a very large
assemblage of the parents and friends met in the afternoon in the
large school-room, West House, to witness the performance, by the
students, of Moliere's comedy of "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme,"
which was admirably played at the conclusion of a concert, in which
the young gentlemen evinced much progress in the musical
M. Garreaud, of the Conservatire, Paris, the resident professor of
music, favoured the company with several very difficult pieces on
the violin, beautifully accompanied by Madame Sancean. The great
object of the institution is to afford to the sons of merchants and
gentlemen a thorough English education, combined with all the
advantages of the continent—French, German, and Italian being
constantly spoken. The school duties are directed by the Messrs.
Sanceau and a large staff of English and foreign masters. The
occasional teachers from Preston are Messrs. C. G. Hill, Gillins,
and Casey. The college is beautifully situated on the Beach.
The Preston Guardian, Saturday, 21st June, 1856.
OFF BLACKPOOL. About daybreak on Monday morning, the
residents of South-shore, Blackpool, were made cognisant that
a vessel was on shore about 300 yards south of the Star Inn.
The neighbourhood was soon alarmed, and M. Sanceau, of the
College Francais, sallied out with his assistants, in a closed
phaeton, taking with them blankets and other
The vessel proved
to be the British Token, of Dundalk for Preston. About ten a.m.,
three men, in a very exhausted state, were taken from her, and
safely landed ; but the vessel was a complete wreck, and being
laden with corn and meal, the coast soon became strewed, for a mile
in length, with oars, broken masts, barrels, sacks, &c. One boy
is said to have been washed overboard, who at four p.m. on Monday
was still unfound.
It is really a
serious matter that no steps have hitherto been taken to provide a
life-boat for the district. the danger of this coast k notorious,
and the frequency of wrecks make it incumbent on the residents to
supply the want so much felt in a case of emergency ; and though in
the present case, perhaps, the lifeboat might have been obtained
from Lytham to have released the men sooner than they were, we are
satisfied that the sufferers on this occasion were in a most
miserable and perilous condition for twice the tenth of time they
needed to lave been, had proper succour been nearer at
Gazette, Saturday, 29th November, 1856.
Advert for the College Francais, March,
BLACKPOOL LECTURE.— On Thursday
evening last, a very instructive lecture was delivered by Mons. C.
A. Sanceau, jun., F.C.S., of the College Français, South Shore, in
the infant school room, Blackpool, on "Water and its
This was the first
free lecture in connection with the Reading Room and Lecture
Association, which is about being established at Blackpool and
South Shore. Mr. Simpson, of South Shore, the president, was in the
chair, and stated that these lectures would be monthly or
fortnightly through the year. The room was well filled, and Mr.
Sanceau treated his subject in a manner that gave universal
satisfaction, and was frequently applauded. His apparatus and
experiments were very superior in showing the analysis, synthesis,
and chemical as well as physical properties, of water.
The Rev. A. Jenour
moved, and Mr. White seconded, the. cordial thanks of the meeting
to Mr. Sauceau for his excellent and important lecture. Mr. Sanceau
said be felt much pleased that he had given such satisfaction, and
that ho should be ready to give another on chemistry or some other
branch of education.
Guardian, Saturday 19th June 1858.
About 1862, Leon de Landfort became principal of the
College Français. He was born c1823 in Corte, Corsica, France,
though by the 1850s he was living in England. He published a book
in 1856 entitled "A Guide To Youth: Or The Christian Philosopher's Lessons On
Moral Duties, Virtue, And Etiquette." In 1861 he was a language teacher
lodging at a house in Broughton, Manchester; the boarding house was run by Jane
Ogden and he went on to marry her in 1863.
ACCIDENT. —A YOUTH BURIED ALIVE.—On Monday, Mr. Myres,
coroner, held an inquest at the College Français, South shore, near
Blackpool, on the body of Christopher Howarth, between sixteen and
seventeen years of age, son of Mr. Christopher Howarth, bleacher
and coal proprietor, of Horwich, near Bolton.
John Millington, of
South shore, said : I was with deceased on Saturday last. I had
gone from the college with him to make a cave, about half-way
between the college and the Star Hills. When we got there we looked
about for a spot where we could make one. We dug a cave with two
small spades, and took it in turn to dig. We undermined the front
of one of the sand hills. After we had out about five feet into the
earth. I went on the top to see if it was safe. I thought it was
perfectly secure, and told the deceased so. He then commenced
digging again, and I stood a little on one side.
Whilst the deceased
was inside, the earth fell upon him, and some of it also fell
against me and knocked me down. The deceased was covered with the
earth, and I immediately went to the top and tried to get the sand
off him. I cleared his back, and then same more sand fell upon
him, then began calling for help. I saw a gentleman walking
on, the sands, and he heard me call, but he did not come to me
until some time afterwards. When he came he helped me to clear away
the earth, but we could not move the deceased. Another boy of the
name of Knowles was with us and he assisted us. Knowles was also on
one side when the earth fell, and not on the top at the time the
The gentleman ran
off for assistance when he found that we could not move him. As he
did not know where to go I ran to the college and gave information.
I afterwards returned to the spot, and fresh efforts were made to
extricate him. I was sent to Blackpool to telegraph to his parents.
When I left the spot his head was clear, but he was not got out.
The deceased would be covered with the earth about ten minutes or a
quarter of an hour. The gentleman I called to was the only person I
could see about at the time. We had two spades with us. The spades
were at first covered with the earth, and when they were got out we
were afraid of using them for fear of cutting the deceased. There
would be more than a cart load of sand upon the
M. Leon de
Landfort, principal of the College Français, South shore, said : On
Saturday last, about six o'clock in the evening, in consequence of
the information given to me by Millington I ran to the spot where
the deceased was buried. I was joined by Mr. Horace Hardy, one of
the professors, and we had the body taken out. In about a minute
after we arrived we had the head uncovered. The earth appeared to
have been about three feet in depth when first the deceased was
covered, but much of the earth bad been removed when we arrived. I
think he was quite dead when got out. He was in a kneeling position
and his hands rather backward. I did not see anything of the spade.
We tried every means to restore the deceased. The jury returned a
verdict of "Accidental death."
Guardian, Saturday, 17th October, 1863
WHALE CAPTURED AT SOUTH SHORE.— On Thursday week, at the
ebbing of the tide, a large fish was observed struggling on the
sands, and after a speedy capture it was convoyed to the Seven
Stars inn. A number of persons attracted by the circumstance,
attended to inspect the gigantic curiosity, and among others, Mons.
de landfort of the College Francais, who, perceiving it to belong
to the whale species, telegraphed to the eminent naturalist, Frank
accompanied by a friend, came down from London by train on Friday.
and their inspection resulted in an offer of £10 being made for the
animal, which they pronounced to be a young whale, about a month
old. The offer was, however. declined, as the then proprietor was
deriving a good sum from an exhibition of the curiosity; but,
proper attention not being paid to its sustenance, it expired, on
The Preston Guardian, Saturday
13th August, 1864
Albert Terrace and the College
Francais, South Shore, Blackpool, 1867.
|Advert for the College Francais, October, 1868.
Advert for the sale of contents from the College
Francais, Blackpool, by Capes Dunn of Manchester, June 1869.
The college was taken over by Isaac Gregory F.R.G.S. in July,
1869, opening it as the Merchants'