"Chaseside", on the corner of St.George's Square & Beach Road c1916. This
was previously a part of the gardens. Between 1898 and 1910 Porritts built on about a quarter of
These original tennis courts survived for a while. They were
sandwiched between the new Porritt-houses in St.George's Square (pictured) and those in Clifton
Drive North. They are pictured here about 1905, being used by Linden Hurst School.
This portion of the gardens, known as "The Avenue", between "the pool"
and tennis courts; it has not changed since the 1880s.
The 1913 Scheme.
Many residents regretted that the Local Board of 1896
did not possess the vision enabling them to see a greater St. Annes, and during the whole of the
period up to 1912 Mr. James Bowman persistently and frequently advocated the purchase of the
One Saturday morning in July, 1913, Mr. Bowman
invited the late Mr. Sam Hodgkinson, J.P., to take a stroll in the St. George's Gardens, and Mr.
Hodgkinson, who then made his first acquaintance with the Gardens, expressed his surprise that
there existed such a delightful spot in the centre of the town. Asked if he did not think it would
be a wicked act of vandalism to cut it up into building sites, Mr Hodgkinson agreed that an effort
should be made to secure the Gardens for the town, although he feared the cost would be too
That morning he reported his ramble at the Council
Offices, and a movement was then and there started to get information. Mr Bradley and Coun Taylor
saw Mr Porritt; the matter was discussed at a meeting of the council and a deputation was appointed
to ascertain the price and other conditions. Mr Porritt acted most magnanimously with the Council
and offered them the site at precisely the same ground rent which had been paid for the previous 16
years, namely, 3d. per yard, although the Government valuation was 5d. per yard. This represented a
gift of £21,000. At that time it was proposed to acquire the St. George's Gardens - at that time
only nine or ten acres.
The Council, however, acquired an option on the
timber yard and depot owned by Mr. Porritt, fronting North Drive—and time has proved the value of
that action. The Council accepted Mr. Porritt’s offer, and an Improvement Bill was promoted to
enable the Council to acquire and lay-out the Gardens, to construct an open-air sea-water Bath on
the shore, and to acquire various other powers.
The scheme evolved was to buy out by a capital
payment the interest of the Land & Building Company and the Clifton Estate. Although it was
announced that the scheme, along with the various other proposals for the improvement of St. Annes,
could be carried out without increasing the rates, the proposal met with strong
The town was divided into two camps, the centre of
controversy being the purchase of the Gardens. The late Coun. Hodgkinson, J.P., Coun. C. F.
Critchley, J.P., Coun. J. H. Taylor and Mr. Edwin Cooper, worked hard to persuade the ratepayers
not to let the second opportunity pass. Several ratepayers' meetings were held, and the proposal
was also keenly debated in the columns of the "Express." At the statutory meeting of ratepayers, on
January 9th, 1914, the resolution in favour of the Bill was declared carried, and a poll was
demanded. Feeling ran high and the poll was fixed for Wednesday, January 28th.