Letter to the Lytham St.Annes Express, 14th October
IN RECENT weeks I have followed
with interest the reports in the Express relating to the possible sale of the
Public Offices, St Annes.
I have always refrained from
becoming involved in conservation disputes within St Annes preferring to confine
myself to recording the history of the town. However I note that in the planning
applications due to come before Fylde Borough Council there is an application to
demolish the building to the south of the Public Offices (288-290 Clifton Drive
South), and to erect new buildings.
Although the Public Offices
(292-294 Clifton Drive, South) is not included in that application it is perhaps
appropriate, in anticipation of any decision that might be taken by Fylde Borough
Council concerning its future use, to stress the historical significance, to St
Annes, of this important Grade II listed building.
As I noted in my
book 'St. Annes on the Sea - A
history' the Public Offices is
arguably the most important historical building in St Annes. Designed, in 1900, by
local architect Thomas Muirhead (who also designed the Parish Rooms and the Thursby
Home) it was the first purpose built public building in the town. From 1900 until
the amalgamation of Lytham and St Annes in 1922 the Public Offices served as the
'Town Hall' of St Annes. During this period the town prospered, as a result of the
dedicated work of many able councillors guided by the farsighted Thomas Bradley in
his capacity as clerk to the council.
I accept that in the current
economic times the councillors of Fylde Borough Council are going to have to make
decisions that will not be popular. Nevertheless I trust that those who represent
wards wholly or partially, in St Annes, will recognise that they have an
opportunity to show their own commitment to the town by making every effort to
ensure that this important building is not lost to the community.
From 1900 to 1922 the Public
Offices represented the visible and enduring statement of civic pride then evident
in St Annes. Such symbolism should be no less important today as St Annes
progresses into the 21st century
I am aware that in recent years
many historical buildings in St Annes have been lost. The Public Offices is one
that must not be added to that list. It must once again become a focal point of
civic pride for all the people of St Annes on the Sea.