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


St.Annes Pier - 1885 

St.Annes Pier was open to the public by 1883 and was officially opened in June, 1885, by
Lord Stanley (who later became the 16th Earl of Derby).

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Newspaper advertisement for the official opening of St.Annes Pier in 1885.

The latest witness to the development of St. Annes-and, may we not hope, the certain prelude to its increased popularity— was on Monday converted into the occasion for a general holiday amongst our neighbours to the south, and the prime movers in the demonstration which then took place are to be congratulated upon the signal success which crowned their labours.


The acquisition of a pier to St Annes is indeed a new landmark in the history of the town, and therefore fuller and more complete prosperity is likely to date from the proceedings on Monday. The formal opening of the new structure was deputed to Colonel the Right Hon. F. A. Stanley, M.P., and the favourable auspices under which the ceremony was consummated must afford pleasurable reflections to all concerned.

The Pier seems to have been evoked by reason of the rapid growth of the place, and its existence is a definite assertion of the enterprise which has thus far dominated the development of St. Annes. The little town is a fine example of latter-day tendencies in respect of seaside resorts, and after the flattering recognition accorded to it on Monday, it is more than likely that efforts will be made to sustain the impression then made, and to secure a repetition of what is at present a unique experience.


The pier as originally constructed.

As a witness to progress, however, the place deserves special notice. Out of what was but ten or twelve years ago a mere stretch of barren sand, the enterprise of a few capitalists, assisted and encouraged by liberality on the part of the owners of the estate, has developed an admirably laid-out seaside town, with a population in the Local Board district of which it is the centre of nearly 2,090.

St. Annes has a capital Promenade, 3,000 feet long and 180 feet wide, and its streets are broad and well arranged, with a number of substantial villa residences. For all its advantages of arrangement and design it in indebted to the Land and Building Company, and to this same source is also traceable the construction of the new Pier and extension. This structure has been erected at a cost of £18,000, and the public spirit displayed by its projectors is deserving of all praise. It is 360 yards long, and though very substantially built has a light and graceful appearance. The Pier is furnished with recesses and seats, and at the outer end there is a covered shelter and a band stand. From the pier, head there is three-storeyed iron extension which will enable passengers to embark or disembark at all states of the tide, and in the roughest weather.


St.Annes Pier, looking inland from the pierhead c1890.

The engineers for the jetty were Messrs. Garlick & Sykes, of Preston, and the work has been satisfactorily carried out by Messrs William Alsup and Sons, contractors, of Preston. The Pier, as a whole, is from the designs of Mr A. Dowson C.E., Westminster, and its construction has been effected under his superintendence. In a score always it increases the importance of St, Annie, but as a convenience to those who reside there, and who are of a nautical turn, its value cannot be over-estimated. From a purely picturesque point of view, however, it is graceful addition to the front, whilst on the more practical score of utility it gives raison d'être to the Promenade by affording not only a means of embarkation but also a further marine parade.


Although there was nothing exceptionally interesting in the programme arranged— there was an interest in the occasion which attracted a met concourse of people. Never before has St.Annes had its resources taxed so completely, and never before has it had so many visitors within its borders. In truth, the very promoters of the demonstration must have been gratified beyond anticipation, for expectation could hardly run riot to the tune of converting St. Annes into a second edition of Blackpool. Such was the case, though, and unless opportunities for a “general“ holiday are multiplied, St. Annes will have to wait a while for such another day.

The launch of the lifeboat

Mr. Porritt, chairman of the company, and under whose presidency the festivities were consummated swelled the throng by bringing his workmen (360 in number) from Helmshore. Blackpool and Lytham contributed large contingents, and Southport was not unrepresented. Inland towns contributed their quota to the guests, and taken generally the town secured a very mixed publicity. There was a liberal display' of bunting on every available station, and the Pier especially was decorated in an effective manner.

The inaugural portion of the “show” took the form of a procession, and in the direction of this, and in the other arrangements of the day, Mr. Nutter (secretary of the Land and Building Company) was particularly active and energetic. The varying elements were marshalled near the St. Annes Hotel at half-past eleven, and proceeded thence to the Pier, headed by the capital band of the 3rd and 4th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, under the conductorship of Mr. Norwood.

Next after the band came the St. Annes Lifeboat, given some time ago by Mr. Chadwick, of Manchester, drawn by six gaily caparisoned horses, with the crew in their picturesque scarlet caps and cork jackets ; then the local ambulance corps, with their uninviting " appliances," which seemed out of place on such a festive occasion ; the Chairman and Directors of the Land and Building Company, and the Secretary, Mr. W. H. Nutter ; pier engineers and the clerk of works : members of the Local Board, Sunday scholars, workmen representing various trades, members of the Clifton Industry Lodge of the Independent United Order of Mechanics, headed by the handsome two-poled banner belonging to the Fylde district, and the St. Annes Subscription Brass Bend : invited guests, representatives of the estate, and Mayors of various Lancashire boroughs. The Church of England Sunday scholars were accompanied by the Rev. W. G. Terry, Vicar of St. Annes, and Mr. J. Pearson, superintendent ; the Wesleyans by Mr. Telford, superintendent ; the Independents by the Rev. A. Somerville, pastor, and Mr. Robert Boyle, superintendent ; and the Baptists by the Rev. K. Brown, minister, and Mr. F. Standring. Accompanying the Mechanics, who numbered about 50, were Bros. Richard. Lawless, I.G. of the Clifton Industry Lodge ; George Howarth, D.M. ; W. Rowstron, secretary ; T. Gillett, treasurer



pany) handed to Col. Stanley a key, with which the latter opened the Pier entrance gate. The party forthwith proceeded along the Pier to the head. Col. Stanley, who was accompanied by Mrs. Clifton, Mr. A. W. Clifton, Mr. Porritt, Mr. T. Pair, J.P., and other gentlemen, subsequently taking up his position on the band stand, whilst the guests and processionists filed down either side of the enclosure on the pier head.


Frederick Arthur Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby (1841-1908).

Colonel STANLEY who was received with cheers said he had been asked to declare that Pier and the “extension” open and he did so with very great pleasure. He believed he was not wrong in saying that while the directors were content to see the commercial advantages of the Ribble, and ready to allow the trans-oceanic steamers which they hoped to see some day going up to Preston, pass their doors, they felt that they would not have fulfilled their duty towards St. Annes if they had not rendered it a place where persons could embark or disembark whether for purposes of pleasure or otherwise under all but the most extraordinary conditions of weather, and with as much comfort as art and skill could produce. (Applause.)

Notwithstanding that great difficulties had had to be encountered, by the energy and perseverance of the promoters and directors and the skill of the engineers, the work had been brought to a satisfactory impletion. He had much pleasure in declaring the pier open for the use and benefit of the public. (Applause.)

On behalf of the shareholders, directors, and others concerned in the work, Mr. Porritt proposed a vote of thanks to Colonel Stanley for his attendance.

Mr Maxwell, in seconding the motion, said they were -highly indebted to Colonel Stanley for his kindness. The peculiar position of our Government at the present moment must have made it a very difficult matter indeed for the right hon. and gallant gentleman to have come down to discharge his promise on that occasion. (Applause.) The proposition was received with “three times three"—(Lancashire style).

Colonel STANLEY, in a brief response, said thanks were rather due to those gentlemen, the members of the Land and Building Company, to whose energy they were indebted for the successful completion of that work. (Applause.) On all occasions of that kind they were glad to know and to feel that their Sovereign was associated with and interested in the successful carrying out of such enterprises, and he thought they could do no better than signalise the opening of the Pier by singing the National Anthem. (Applause) The suggestion of Colonel Stanley was forthwith acted upon.


The Wellington

Upon the conclusion of the formal ceremony, on the invitation of the Chairman, a large number of the invited guests took their place on board the steamer “Wellington”, which had been placed at the disposal of the company for the day by Mr. Bickerstaffe, manager of the South Jetty, Blackpool. The steamer, like all the other craft, was gaily decked with bunting, and presented a charming picture. Brilliant weather with a very slight westerly wind, favoured the party and the sail was most enjoyable. At half-past twelve the steamer put off a little to enable the passengers to witness the launch of the lifeboat, which proved a most interesting spectacle. Shortly afterwards, the Southport lifeboat, with the Mayor of that town on board, appeared in might and was subsequently in tow by the "Wellington".