KIRKHAM IN 1934
THIS is an ancient market town, 8 miles W. from
Preston, and 11 miles S.S.E. from Blackpool, and in the Fylde parliamentary division. It is in
the Fylde county council division and Union, and is governed by a district council of nine members.
Considerable improvements have been made here within the last few years, and a good deal of trade
is carried on in the town and neighbourhood. The railway station is an important one. The township
contains 857 statute acres, and its rateable value is £18,780. The principal land-owners are the
Earl of Derby, J. T. Clifton, Esq., and the Birley family. Population in 1851, 2,799
; 1861; 3,370 ; 1871, 3,593 ; 1881, 3,840 ; 1891,
4,003 ; 1901, 3,693 ; 1911, 3793 ; and 1921, 3,815.
The CHURCH was conferred by Roger de Poictou on
the Abbey of Shrewsbury. It is dedicated tq St. Michael, and existed in 1066 ; but all except the
tower and part of the chancel was rebuilt in 1825, at a cost of £5,000. The chancel was restored in
1857, and the whole of the interior has been reseated and the walls ornamented, at a cost of £800.
The tower was rebuilt in 1843-4, and, with the spire, is 156 feet high. The windows are
lancet-formed, and that in the east end is of stained-glass, presented by the late A. L. Birley,
Esq. The lectern is a brass eagle with expanded wings, and is to the memory of the late T. L.
Birley, Esq. The church is spacious, being capable of accommodating 1,400 persons, and there are
750 free sittings. The benefice is a rectory, value £600, in the patronage of Christ Church,
Oxford, and is held by the Rev.
The schoolroom at Wesham, where service was
formerly held, having become quite inadequate to supply the spiritual needs of the increasing
population of this neighbourhood, a new church in Garstang Road North, Wesham, was erected to
supply the deficiency. It was named CHRIST CHURCH, and used as a chapel-of-ease to Kirkham until
1913, when it was made a separate parish. The foundation stone was laid June 30th, 1892, by the
late Lady E. C. Clifton, and the church was consecrated by Bishop Moorhouse, September 27th, 1894.
The cost of the building was £3,350. The structure is of the 14th century style of architecture,and
is built of brick, with Runcorn stone dressings, and the roof with red tiles. The church is seated
with open pine benches, and will accommodate 440 persons. The designs were supplied by Messrs.
Paley & Austin, of Lancaster. In 1927 a church spire and porch were erected and a new chancel
added at a cost of £5,000. Rev. Henry Broadbent, M.A., is vicar.
The CATHOLIC CHURCH at the Willows is dedicated to St. John
the Evangelist, and consists of nave, aisles, chancel, south
porch, and a graceful octagonal spire, 110 feet in height,
with a peal of six fine-toned bells. On the south side of the
chancel is the Lady Chapel, and on the north the Chapel of the
Sacred Heart. The former contains two elegantly-painted
windows ; and the altar, which is of Caen stone, is most
artistically carved. The window in the Chapel of the Sacred Heart is also of a very gorgeous
description, and is divided into three lights ; the centre one contains a full -length figure of
St. Helena bearing the true Cross, and the side lights are
emblazoned with flaming cherubim holding the emblems of
the passion and crucifixion. The high altar, of Alabaster stone, is exquisitely sculptured, and the
reredos and tabernacle are richly gilt.
In 1894 a large gilt statue of St. Peter
was placed in the church, and in 1896-7 the church was
greatly improved. The floor was lowered and the sanctuary
opened out by the removal of a screen. New Stations of the Cross were erected, and new
Sacristies added from the designs of Pugin. The Church
was designed by the elder Pugin, who has left upon it the impress of his great mind, and built by
Father Sherburn, who lived at the Willows over 40 years, and died in 1854. It was consecrated April
22nd, 1845, and is capable of accommodating nearly 500 persons. It has superseded the chapel at the
Willows, which was built in 1809, the ancient chapel having been at Mowbreck Hall. Rev. Wilfrid J.
Alcock (rector) and Rev. John McGavney.
A plot of ground situated to the south of the
Catholic Church was purchased for the sum of £300, and has been converted into a cemetery. It has been walled round, and catacombs have been built in the
centre, under the cemetery cross. It is a great addition to the town of Kirkham, and is ornamented
with a variety of shrubs, which greatly enhance its beauty. The whole expense incurred was about
£1,200. The Catholic population of the parish is about 1,000.
A new CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, situated in Poulton
Street, the foundation stone of which was laid on July 2nd, 1896, was opened June 19th, 1897. It is
a neat building in the Elizabethan' style of architecture, and the total cost of the edifice and
site was £3,500. This has superseded the old Independent Chapel, first built in 1793, and rebuilt
in 1820. A Sunday school, opened in March, 1914, which cost £3,500, exclusive of site, was the gift
of the late Mr. A. C. Bowdler, of Blackburn, a former scholar and teacher. Rev. Herbert Mills,
minister. The METHODISTS have also a good chapel here. The CHURCH OF ENGLAND SCHOOLS at Kirkham
have been enlarged at a cost of £925 and at the Willows is an ENDOWED CATHOLIC SCHOOL ; a new
girls' school was added in 1871, so that there is now room for 340 children.
The GRAMMAR SCHOOL is a very old and well-endowed
foundation. It dates from 1549, and was a free Grammar School till remodelled by the Endowed
Schools' Commissioners in 1880. In 1911 the buildings situated near the Parish Church were
superseded by new buildings erected in Ribby Road, at a cost of £10,000, and are replete with every
modern convenience. The Governors award annually a number of free place scholarships which are open
to boys educated at elementary schools in the ancient parish. The Lancashire Education Committee,
since 1928, have undertaken financial responsibility. The school is recognised as efficient by the
Board of Education. The head master is the Rev. Cresswell Strange, M.A. Accommodation is provided
for 190 pupils, including 38 boarders.
The GASWORKS, erected in Orders Lane, in 1839, and
reconstructed in 1882, contains two holders, and the annual consumption of gas is about 27,000,000
cubic feet, and the number of consumers is 1,340. Frank Ashton, secretary and manager.
The CONSERVATIVE CLUB has a reading room well
supplied with newspapers, etc., and a billiard room. KIRKHAM
SAVINGS BANK, established in 1844, was merged into the Preston Savings Bank in November, 1912. The
FYLDE INDUSTRIAL CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY, LTD., Poulton Street, was formed in 1868, The MIDLAND BANK
CO., LTD., and the DISTRICT BANK, LTD., have each a branch at
Kirkham and sub-branchs at Wesham and Freckleton. PETTY
SESSIONS are held at the Court House every third Thursday, and
the clerk is Mr. R. C. Dickson, who is also clerk to the Urban
District Council. The COUNTY CONSTABULARY OFFICE is in Freckleton Street.
The INSTITUTE, (Lancashire No. 3 Area) Wesham, for
the Fylde Union, was built in 1900 at a cost of £50,000. There is accommodation for 320 inmates.
This building supersedes the one dating from 1844, which was pulled down, and Children's Cottage
Homes erected on the site, and is in connection with the Union. Mr. Fred H. Brown is clerk to the
Guardians Public Assistance Committee (No. 3 Area) and superintendent registrar.
Urban District Council.
Rev. C. Strange (chairman), J. Postlewhite, J. R
Yates, H. Marquis, J. Ward, T. Jackson, J. W. Sutton, T. W. Hodgson and J. F. Hornby. Rating
Officer : F. Pickup ; Clerk : R. C. Dickson ; Surveyor and Sanitary Inspector : Jas. R.
Post, Money Order and Telegraph Offices at Joseph
Whiteside's, 83 Poulton street, Kirkham, and Mr. Parker's, Station road, Wesham. Letters arrive,
via Preston, at 5-0 a.m., and 1.45 and are despatched at 10-30 a.m., and 7-40 p.m.