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






A SEASIDE town has been bought up - lock, stock and pier—by a man who started building houses when he was invalided out of the Army in 1945.

For £220,000, 40-year-old property chief Gabriel Harrison is the new ground landlord to the centre of St Annes-on-Sea, sedate sister of brassy Blackpool.

Last night, as he sat in his Kensington (London) flat in a block he built six years ago, he pointed to the discreet lighting and pastel shades of the lounge and made this promise to St Annes: "You will never become another Blackpool."


The meeting to clinch the deal will be held on Friday on the pier which is included in the take-over. "No, we won't change the pier," said Mr Harrison.


Nostalgic sniff of the sea

Gabriel HarrisonOnce he lived 50 yards from the pier. As he talked of his main ideas for St Annes he raised his head as if he were taking nostalgic sniffs of the sea breezes.

"I want to replace some of the big old hotels by small modern ones; I want to build modern blocks of flats; I want a smaller and more modern shopping centre," he said.

"I intend to keep the character of St Annes. It is rather the Bournemouth of the North, and so it shall stay.

"There will still be the palm courts and the old ladies will still be able to take sedate teas."

Slim, dark - haired Mr Harrison becomes ground landlord to the town hall, 70 hotels, including the, 170 - room Majestic, 330 shops, ten banks, nine churches, and 2,000 houses and flats. And, he thinks, two pubs.


He is chairman and managing director of the Amalgamated Investment and Property Company. His company has bought up the St. Annes-on-the- Sea Building Company which owned the genteel heart of the town known locally as the Square Mile. Mr Harrison, in navy blue jersey and charcoal grey slacks, rustled through some town plans last night and explained his position as the new landlord.

He said: "The St Annes Company was founded in 1874 by eight Lancashire business men. I once lived in St Annes, and I have often thought it would be a good investment to take over the company.

"So my company offered the St Annes Company 35shillings plus one share in my own company for each of their shares.

"But the ground rents in St Annes were granted in the last century. They don't bear much relation to this day and age and, in fact, only bring in £16,300.

"Now my idea is to redevelop. Most of the properties are old. In fact, it is a fine old town but it must bring itself to realise that times change.

 No pressure will ever be it brought upon tenants to redevelop their properties. We don't want to do that and, in fact, cannot. But we shall encourage tenants to make changes. They can come to us and we will see • what can be done—they have not had these advantages before."

St Annes is noted as a holiday resort, but is also one of the top Lancashire residential towns with many business men travelling to Manchester

Daily Express 12 June 1962.