A wander round Fleetwood

Following the very pleasant couple of hours I recently spent at Fleetwood Nature Reserve and the marshes I drove the short distance into Fleetwood itself to have a wander round there. Parking spaces along the seafront were all occupied so I went along to the large car park near the Marine Hall expecting to pay and was quite surprised to find it was free; leaving the van there I went through to the traffic free promenade and walked back in the opposite direction, eventually ending up back on the main seafront road.

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Painted pebbles along the beach wall

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Set back in a corner of the esplanade was the Beach Lighthouse, also known as the Lower Lighthouse. Commissioned by Sir Peter Hesketh-Fleetwood, the landowner, developer and MP who founded the town, it was designed in 1839 by Decimus Burton, one of the foremost English architects and urban designers of the 19th century. Built of sandstone and 44ft tall its style is neoclassical with a square colonnaded base, square tower, and octagonal lantern gallery. First illuminated on December 1st 1840 it was originally run off the town’s gas supply before later being converted to electricity. It was designated a Grade ll listed building in April 1950.
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A bit farther along the promenade was ‘Welcome Home’, a bronze life size sculpture of a mother with her baby, daughter and family dog designed as a tribute to the families who would welcome back the ships bringing their loved ones home after several weeks of deep sea fishing. Sculpted by artist Anita Lafford it was sponsored by the Lofthouse Company, makers of Fisherman’s Friend lozenges, and unveiled in 1997. Unfortunately shooting directly into the sun meant that my photo wasn’t as good as it could have been.

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A few yards along from there was the Fishing Community Memorial and farther on still was the Helicopter Crash Memorial. On December 27th 2006 a helicopter with two crew was ferrying five gas rig workers between platforms beyond Morecambe Bay when it crashed into the sea, killing everyone on board. Rescue efforts recovered the bodies of six men, including the two pilots, and they were brought back to shore at Fleetwood by RNLI lifeboat crew. The body of the seventh victim was never recovered.
An investigation into the crash started the same night as the accident and the subsequent formal report stated that ‘human factors’ were the cause of the crash. Sandra Potton, wife of the pilot Steve Potton, chose the spot near Fleetwood lifeboat station for the lectern-style memorial and met the cost of it herself.

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Fishing Community memorial
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Helicopter crash memorial
A short distance down a side road off the promenade was the Pharos Lighthouse, otherwise known as the Upper Lighthouse. Also designed by Decimus Burton and with a height of 93ft it was, like the Lower Lighthouse, first illuminated on December 1st 1840 and ran off the town’s gas supply before being converted to electricity. Operating in conjunction with its sister lighthouse it guides shipping safely through the treacherous sandbanks of the Wyre estuary. Unusually for a functioning lighthouse it stands in the middle of a residential street and was once a striking cream and red colour but in the late 1970s the paint was stripped off to expose the original sandstone.
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Back on the seafront I had a wander down by the side of what must be Fleetwood’s one and only amusement arcade just to see what was down there and came to a long concrete path running above the riverside and past several jetties. With nothing of interest to see I didn’t bother walking along but there were some good views across the river to Knott End on the other side.
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Cottages at Knott End
On the seafront once more I crossed the road into Euston Park situated on a corner plot between the esplanade and the large North Euston Hotel. Not really big enough to call a proper park it was more of a large garden but it was a very pleasant place; the obelisk in the centre bears a plaque with the inscription ‘Erected by public subscription to the memory of James Abram and George Greenall who lost their lives in the storm of November 1890 whilst heroically endeavouring to save others’.
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Heading south along the esplanade my next port of call was the boating lake and model yacht pond but I remembered they were quite a distance down so I collected the van and drove down, just managing to find a space in a small car park between the road and the yacht pond. A bridge between the boating lake and the yacht pond took me to the beach and dunes; the view was nice enough but there was nothing else there so with just one shot I retraced my steps for a walk by the side of the yacht pond before going back to the van – it was time to head for home.
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Driving back along the esplanade there was just one more place I wanted to check out before I left Fleetwood completely. About twenty years ago I’d gone with someone else to what was then Freeport Leisure, a large shopping ‘village’ on the outskirts of the town; I hadn’t been there since but I remembered there was a marina there so I went to take a quick look. Apparently the place has undergone a few changes over the years and is now known as Affinity Outlet Lancashire; for some reason it didn’t seem to be as big as I remembered but that could just be my mind playing tricks. It was a pleasant enough place though and I got a handful of shots before I finally set off for home.
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By the time I’d reached the shopping village the sky had clouded over a fair bit but the sun was still shining and it stayed with me all the way back home. It had been an interesting and enjoyable day out but with Poppie now curled up in her bed it was time to grab a chilled can of Coke from the fridge and relax for a while.

16 thoughts on “A wander round Fleetwood

  1. I’m sure the Upper Lighthouse looks much better in the original sandstone although I prefer the Lower Lighthouse building on the seafront. The Welcome Home sculpture is lovely, I’m particularly drawn to the dog. I kept finding painted pebbles down at our harbour last year, they must be some sort of children’s project. I have to say all these retail outlets look the same to me 🙂

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  2. I prefer the Lower Lighthouse too, it’s unusual square design is very attractive. I’ve been trying to imagine the Upper Lighthouse painted cream and red – would probably look nice if it was on the seafront but in a residential area definitely looks better in its original sandstone.

    The painted pebbles thing seems to be yet another craze originally started in America but having found out what it’s all about I think it’s quite a fun thing to do. Have a look here –

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1261041450616946/

    I’ve seen painted pebbles on garden walls, public benches and at the side of various footpaths while I’ve been on different walks – I might even get some pebbles and join in myself 🙂

    I didn’t look in any of the shops at the retail place as they all seemed to be those with high end prices. Kildare Village over in Ireland is a nice place – full of designer shops of course but much bigger than the Fleetwood one with several offshoots from the main part and lots of attractive corners with seating, fountains and foliage. It looks especially pretty around Christmas time 🙂

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  3. That statue of the mother, child and dog is so evocative. It often has flowers attached which is a nice touch. Much nicer than the Lowry Matchstick Man and Dog which wasn’t at Knot End for you. Somebody posted about the latter a few days ago – https://lancashirepast.com/2020/08/23/lowry-statue-knott-end-on-sea/
    I used to take my 90+ year old mother to the North Euston Hotel for lunch [old fashioned dining room overlooking the coast with reasonably priced meals] and then walk that bit of esplonade, I seem to remember fishes embedded in the pavement?

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  4. I saw the post about the Lowry statue on Lancashirepast, I would have asked when the photo was taken but there’s no way of leaving a comment or making contact. The mother, child and dog at Fleetwood is lovely, very detailed and lifelike. I’ve only ever been in the North Euston Hotel once, went for lunch with a friend back in September 2009, and yes, the fishes are still embedded in the pavement.

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  5. Another lovely day out with great photography. I really enjoy these posts, especially now, with not being able to venture more than 5kms from home. Love the lighthouses & their stories plus that sculpture is beautiful & poignant. Thanks for sharing, take care, stay safe & huggles.

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  6. It’s nice to know my posts are appreciated Susan 🙂 The Welcome Home sculpture is really lovely, so beautifully done and so lifelike, it’s a shame I couldn’t get a better photo but the sun was just totally in the wrong direction. I hope it isn’t too long before you’re allowed to go more than 5km yourself – take care 🙂

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  7. What an interesting collection of memorials in one walk! I like the family carrying flowers, nice of someone to put them there. For years, a particular angel in the Necropolis always had a pink flower in its hand, then it just stopped – a mystery! I wonder what happened to make whoever was doing stop? I never thought about lighthouses running on gas, but I suppose it’s obvious they must have done in between fire and electricity. I sometimes come across random painted stones, but since COVID a lot of communities have started “snakes” of stones in a designated place.

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    1. The Welcome Home statue is really lovely, so lifelike and beautifully sculpted. Maybe the people who leave flowers there are families of former fishermen. Possibly whoever left the pink flower on ‘your’ angel moved away or maybe passed away and no-one else carried it on.

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  8. I seem to remember going to Freeport Leisure one of the many times I stayed in St Anne’s but apart from that I’ve never been to Fleetwood so it was nice to see what I’ve been missing.

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  9. I actually missed out one big thing and that was The Mount, a grassy hill on the seafront with a lovely pavilion building at the top. I could have got some great photos but unfortunately it was surrounded by scaffolding so I didn’t go up there – a good excuse to go back another time I think 🙂

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  10. It looks really quite pleasant there and I’ve enjoyed reading about the statues and memorials. Previously I’ve only ever heard unfavourable comments about the area and, as I’ve never been myself, it is good to see and read of your experience. X

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    1. At one time the approach road to Fleetwood, which runs past where the docks once were, had several run down shops and gave the impression of the place as being a bit of a dump but there seems to have been a fair bit or regeneration round there over the years since I last went and it’s looking better. I don’t know what the town centre is like as I’ve never been – although I believe the market is good – but the seafront itself is very pleasant and it’s worth spending a couple of hours there. If I go again sometime I might get the little ferry over to Knott End and back just for the experience 🙂

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  11. I have never been to Fleetwood and it looks like a nice place for a wander. I love anywhere by the sea though. Saying that, years ago I did go to Freeport shopping village. Didn’t realise it had changed its name. X

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  12. The shopping place changed its name in May 2018 but the road signs still say Freeport Leisure. I wouldn’t purposely go there but it was nice to walk along by the marina. The seafront itself is really nice for a wander on a sunny day 🙂

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