Lytham St.Annes Coat of Arms
Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire, England


Kilgrimol School, Clifton Drive, St.Annes

Kilgrimol School c1876-1927


Kilgrimol School For Boys was founded by John Allen B.P.A. and opened about 1876. It was built in complete isolation amongst the sand dunes in Clifton Drive. He had previously owned or managed a commercial college in Preston.

The school accomodated between 20 and 30 pupils, not a huge number, but in 1876 it accounted for perhaps 10% of the entire population of St Annes.

The letters "B.P.A." after John Allen's name stood for the British Phrenological Association. His "Kilgrimol School" was unusual because it "operated along phrenological principles", at least until his departure c1892.

View from a sand dune in the Bromley Road area, looking towards Clifton Drive, Eastbank Road and the sea c1885.
L-R: Kilgrimol School, Lifeboat House, rear of properties on South Promenade, Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, rear of property on Clifton Drive known as Sand Hills.

John Allen

John Allen was very active in local affairs and was considered to be a most eccentric and controversial character in this small town. He published the town's first newspaper or news-sheet and was involved in the formation of the first Local Board of Health (town council). His wife, Anne, was a Poor Law Guardian for the Fylde.

He sold Kilgrimol School about 1892, opening a toy and fancy goods shop in Park Road, which almost certainly sold phrenological literature. Anne died in 1898, about the same time that his shop was twice flooded from rooms above. He moved to the newly-built row of shops on North Crescent c1899 (now Semple's "Artshop Newsagent") but by 1904 he had again relocated to newly-built shop premises near the Police Station (in Park Road). He appears to have suffered a breakdown and committed suicide there in May 1904.


Kilgrimol School, Clifton Drive, St.Annes c1905


"St. Anne’s-on-the-Sea, Lancashire, has just been celebrating the completion of a new pier. The Blackpool Times of June 17th tells all about it. Why the fact is of interest to the readers of the Phrenological Magazine is that Mr. John Allen, one of the first members of the British Phrenological Association, has a school there, and being a phrenologist he teaches his scholars on phrenological principles. "

The phrenological magazine. Volume 3 (New Series), 1887. 1.


View from a sand dune in the Bromley Road area, looking towards Clifton Drive, Hornby Road and Eastbank Road c1905. L-R Kilgrimol School, Lifeboat House in Eastbank Road, Wesleyan Methodist Church.


A classroom at Kilgrimol School, Clifton Drive, St.Annes
A classroom, Kilgrimol School c1910.


By 1893, the principal was James Frederick Davenport L.C.P.

"Cricket Group", Kilgrimol School in the 1900s. Cricket was played on the recreation ground by St Thomas' Road.


  Preston Herald - Saturday 19 December 1903


Kilgrimol School. —The tenth annual prize distribution and entertainment in connection with Kilgrimol School, St. Annes, took place in the Public Hall, on Monday evening Mr. J F Davenport, the principal, in his report, stated that out of 27 boys who entered the examination for the certificates of the College of Preceptors, 25 had passed, and during the last five years 108 had passed out of 112. The report in general was very encouraging, and Mr Davenport took the opportunity of thanking his staff for the earnest way they had seconded his efforts, which had contributed in no small degree to success the of the school.

Alderman J. Heap J.P., C.C., chairman the Blackpool Education Committee in presenting the prizes said no boy, at any age, was fully equipped for international competition of the present kind unless he knew some other language than his own. He thought perhaps the most profitable language from a commercial standpoint would be that of the German Empire.

He was fully convinced that for English boys there was no greater study at the present time the study of the German language because whatever we might think and do as nation, educationally, we might take it for granted we had got to grapple with the educational system of that country, and if had to keep ourselves in an up-to-date position and be able to deal commercially and educationally with those people we should have to follow largely their methods in that respect, because in secondary training, higher and university education, they were very much in advance ourselves.

He was surprised to see them at the evening classes in Germany learning typewriting and shorthand. Moreover, he never went into a single school where there was a single boy or girl that was not learning English. Until had established that pitch in cur own country, we could never be said to have done our duty educationally. He wanted in every school in this country every boy and girl learning some useful foreign language well our own (hear, hear). Germany had realised it. The sooner we realised it the better.


A bedroom, Kilgrimol School c1905.

1911 Census - Kilgrimol School






 James Frederick Davenport  M  58  Headmaster  Sheffield, Yorkshire
 Louisa Davenport  F (Wife)  58  School Housekeeper  Sheffield, Yorkshire
 Mary Alice Mellor  F  45  Assistant Housekeeper  Macclesfield, Cheshire
 Dorothy Hall  F  19  Domestic Housemaid  Salford, Lancashire
 Edith Florence Carr  F  15  General Servant Domestic  Helgton, Staffordshire
 Kate McLaughlin  F  29  General Servant Domestic  Bridgton, Glasgow
 Richard Greenwell Telfer  M  28  Assistant Teacher  Hebburn, Durham
 Harold Benson  M  18  Assistant Teacher  Shipley, Yorkshire
 Charles Ellis Mather  M  23  Assistant Teacher  Swinton, Lancashire
 Walter Norman Heyworth  M  15  Pupil  Rochdale, Lancashire
 Charles Forth  M  14  Pupil  Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
 Dennis Reid Porteous  M  12  Pupil  Bolton, Lancashire
 William S Mather  M  15  Pupil  Nelson, Lancashire
 Douglas M Coates  M  12  Pupil  Wath-on-dearne, Yorkshire
 John R Hamer  M  13  Pupil  Rochdale, Lancashire
 James F L Tabb  M  11  Pupil  Newcastle, Northumberland
 Ernest A Heaton  M  12  Pupil  Preston, Lancashire
 Arnold Tomlinson  M   7  Pupil  Bradford, Yorkshire
 Geoffrey S Heywood  M  16  Pupil  Chapel-en-le-frith, Derbyshire
 Frank T Powell  M  13  Pupil  Eccles, Lancashire
 Robert Hamer  M  14  Pupil  Rochdale, Lancashire
 Frank H Denham  M  11  Pupil  Preston, Lancashire
 Norman W Scott  M  14  Pupil  Accrington, Lancashire
 Frank Eshelby  M  12  Pupil  Sheffield, Yorkshire,
 Thomas P Bloomer  M   7  Pupil  Manchester, Lancashire
 Henry P Bloomer  M  11  Pupil  Manchester, Lancashire


 1914-18 War

Richard Greenwell Telfer, the assistant teacher in the 1911 Census, was killed in the Somme in 1916.

Kilgrimol School XI Football Team 1916-17. When this photograph was taken several teachers and many ex-pupils were serving in the Great War.


"John Irwin Cooke. Lieutenant, 33rd Light Railway Operating Company, Royal Engineers. Accidentally killed at Reninghelst 3rd September 1917. Aged 24. Son of John and Mary Cooke, of 19, Wellington Rd., Whalley Range, Manchester. Born 1891 in Prestwich. Educated at Kilgrimol School, St. Annes-on-Sea..."

Source & further details:



Kilgrimol School swimming class c1920. The nearby open-air baths (opened 1916), St Annes Promenade.


A Kilgrimol Boy Scout

This brightly coloured neckerchief carries the Maltese Cross cloth badge for Kilgrimol School and another with the Boy Scout fleur-de-lys emblem. It probably dates to some point between 1912 and the closure of the school in 1927.

Handwritten on a tab is the pupil's name: "A L COX" or "ALCOX". The neckerchief is something of a mystery as it turned up about ten years ago in Washington State, on the West Coast of the United States.


The 1920s

 By 1924 the principal was C. Bertram-Stinson B.A. (Hons) Lond. F.C.I.

The school closed in 1927.


Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 11 February 1928

Premises in Clifton Drive South, St. Annes-on-Sea, for many years known Kilgrimol School, are in the hands of Messrs. J. Entwistle and Co., who will bring them to auction next Wednesday. They are considered adaptable for hydro, private hotel, or convalescent home.


The building was converted into St.Anne's District Club which officially opened on 23 May 1931. The playground was replaced by the present bowling green. 

Externally, very little has changed since construction of this school. Viewed from Clifton Drive in the 2020s the building would be instantly recognisable to scholars of the 1870s. 



1. The phrenological magazine. Volume 3 (New Series), 1887.

St. Anne’s-on-the-Sea, Lancashire, has just been celebrating the completion of a new pier. The Blackpool Times of June 17th tells all about it. Why the fact is of interest to the readers of the Phrenological Magazine is that Mr. John Allen, one of the first members of the British Phrenological Association, has a school there, and being a phrenologist he teaches his scholars on phrenological principles.

As a health resort, St. Anne’s may be pronounced to be second to no other watering-place in England. The monthly reports of the Medical Officer show the exceedingly satisfactory condition of the district with regard to sickness and mortality, and the care which is taken to uproot anything which may be construed into a nuisance, or is likely to prove detrimental to health. Dr. Wartenberg, in his last annual report, said that during the year there had been 40 births in the district.

The number of deaths registered had been 22, namely 10 males and 12 females, or a mortality of ?17 '6? per 1,000. Of these deaths two were the result of accident, one premature birth, one found dead in bed, and one old age. If these were deducted from the total the actual mortality per thousand from sickness and disease would be only ?13*6?, which was a very satisfactory state of things. During the whole year there had not been a single death from zymotic or preventable disease.

The water supplied to the district had retained its reputation for purity. In conclusion, the Medical Officer congratulated the Board on the exceptionally low death-rate, the excellence of the general health of the population, and a total absence in their midst of anything approaching epidemic sickness during the past year. Those who would like to know more about St. Anne’s would do well to write to Mr. Allen himself, at Kilgrimol School.

Lancashire Evening Post - Tuesday 12 July 1938 p.4 "Kilgrimol Model Lifeboat"

At nearby St Annes I came across a relic of the sea disaster of 1886, when the Southport and St Annes lifeboats capsized in going to the rescue of the crew of the Mexico, a German barque.It is on the top floor of the Town Hall, and comprises a model of a local man's invention of a non-sinking lifeboat.Mr John Allen, principal of Kilgrimol School, a preparatory school which then existed at St Annes, worked out to scale a lifeboat of his own design, shallow in draft, and fitted with a unique method of propulsion.

Cranks similar to those used for starting a car were installed the length of the boat, and the idea was for the crew to wind them, thus working the propeller. Motor power was then unknown. It was claimed that the craft was much faster than an oar-driven boat.Nothing came of Mr Allen's invention. His scale model, in a glass case, reposes in this quiet corridor of the Town Hall. The paintwork is chipped and faded.

 St Annes Parish Church World War I & II Memorial Grave Trail (PDF). (1939-45 War)

Robert Augustus Francis Eltoft. 326705, Gunner, Royal Artillery, 77 Field Regt. He died on war service on 05/04/1940 aged 32. The son of John A. F. Eltoft & Annie Maria Eltoft of St. Annes Rd East. He was educated at Kilgrimol School and Manchester University.