OPENING OF THE NEW LYTHAM PIER
Easter Monday in this year will be a marked day in the annals of Lytham, being the day on which was celebrated the opening of the new iron pier. Lancashire has the luxury of possessing three first-class watering places— sanatoriums where the inhabitants of the busy hives of industry may enjoy a release from the smoke and turmoil of ordinary life and revel in the pure breezes of the ocean. Commercial enterprise has not been long taking advantage of the provision which nature has made, and the valetudinarian and visitor for pleasure has always found comfort and abundant accommodation. Southport, “the Montpelier of England,” led the way with providing a handsome and elegant pier ; Blackpool, ” the Brighton of the North,” soon followed in the same direction; and Lytham has not been slow in bringing up the rear; and has added to her park and promenade the additional charm which her neighbours can boast of. With Southport the case was the old story about Mahomet and the mountain. As the sea, albeit unruly at times, persisted in keeping at a considerable distance from the shore, the inhabitants determined with characteristic spirit that the shore should extend to them, and they provided in addition to a handsome esplanade, a pier of a light elegant structure, no less than 1,465 yards in length. Blackpool pier has not in length the number of feet that Southport has in yards, being nearer the sea. Lytham is situated on the estuary of the River Ribble, looking towards Southport and the Irish Sea. The pier there constructed, the opening of which was celebrated yesterday, was commenced in June last year. It was undertaken by a “limited” company, and so great was the faith in its success, arising from the undoubted beauties and attractions of Lytham, from its mixed rural and sea-coast character, and from the known and acknowledged success of the Southport and Blackpool schemes, that the shares were taken up at once, without entailing any of the usual expenses attendant upon the promotion of such a scheme. The cost of the pier was estimated at between £5,000 and £6,000; and the actual cost has been about £5,600. The money has been raised in 1,260 shares of £5 each, the shareholders being principally inhabitants of Lytham and their friends. Directly the scheme was set foot, Colonel Clifton, the lord of the manor, gave the promoters every facility, and placed the land required from him at the disposal of the promoters at a nominal rent. The Admiralty authorities and the Ribble Navigation Company were found to be equally complacent, and hence the flourishing progress of the project. The services of Mr. E. Birch, C.E., of London, were obtained, and that gentleman designed the pier, and its construction was carried out by Messrs. Laidlow and Sons, of Glasgow. The pier is about 900 feet long, reaching to low water mark, about 30 or 40 yards on the beach side of the channel. It is approached in a direct line from that part of the promenade which leads from Dicconson-street, and is near the Assembly Rooms and Clifton Arms Hotel. The entrance to the pier is by a broad area of 150 feet wide; the width of the pier proper is 18 feet; and there is a recess in which a gas lamp is placed on each side, at a distance of 250 yards. Seats are placed on each side throughout the whole length. The pier stands upon cylindrical iron columns in clusters, the footway being of wood, and the remainder of the structure entirely of iron. At the end nearest to the promenade there are elegantly-designed balustradings of iron, and two octagonal houses of ornamental design, for the accommodation of visitors and the officers of the company. At the sea terminus there is another house of similar design, also for the accommodation of persons embarking and disembarking from the steamers running between Southport, Blackpool, Preston, and other places. The town yesterday presented quite a holiday aspect. The railway companies ran special trains from Manchester, Bolton, Preston, and other places, and from an early hour groups of visitors poured into the town. About eleven o’clock the friendly societies of the town and district met in the market place and marched in procession to the pier, headed by the band of the 3rd Royal Lancashire Militia. The societies represented were the Independent Order of Oddfellows, the Druids, the Shepherds, and the mechanics, and they took up their station on each side of the pier. They were followed by the 29th (Lytham) Lancashire Rifle Volunteers, of which Captain Clifton is the commanding officer, under the charge of Lieut. Hinckman, and the (Rossall) L.R.V., under Captain Charles Clarke. These corps, numbering about 100 men, formed a line from the promenade to the entrance to the pier, and were the guard of honour on the occasion. The pier was very gaily decorated with banners and on the water several boats, including the Lytham lifeboat, also displaying flags, cruised about, thus giving a very animated appearance to the scene. Mrs. Clifton, the wife of Colonel Clifton, the lord of the manor, had consented to perform the ceremony of declaring the pier open, and that lady and her son, Captain Clifton, were met at the Assembly-room by a distinguished company of visitors, consisting of the mayor (J. Isherwood, Esq.) and corporation, of Preston, the directors of the Ribble Navigation Company, several naval and military officers, the clergy of the town and neighbourhood, the directors of the Lytham Pier Company, the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, the Blackpool and Lytham Railway, the Blackpool and Southport Pier Company, and others. These visitors formed themselves into a procession, and escorted Mrs. Clifton to the pier. The procession walked from the Assembly Room to the pier, and as Mrs. Clifton and her son passed the entrance, the bands struck up the National Anthem. The party proceeded the whole length of the pier, and returning to the entrance, Mrs. Clifton was invited by Mr. G. Morton, chairman of the directors, to declare the pier opened to the public. Capt. Clifton then stepped forward and said, “On behalf of Mrs Clifton, I hereby declare the Lytham pier to open to the public, and may it in every respect be prosperous.” Cheers were then given for Mrs. Clifton and Captain Clifton and Mr Murton, on behalf of the directors, thanked that lady and gentleman for their attendance. Three cheers were given for the success of the Lytham pier, and the procession, headed by the bands, afterwards moved through the streets of the town. About 4,000 persons were present during the ceremony, and directly on the opening of the gates they flocked on to the pier in large numbers.
A luncheon was afterwards held at Mr. Knowles’s, the Clifton Arms Hotel, and was attended by about 100 guests. Mr. G. Murton, the chairman of the company, presided and on his right hand sat Mrs. Clifton, and on his left Captain Clifton. There were also present the Messrs. Wilson, Captain and Mrs. Barstow, R.N., Captain and Miss Stevenson, Rev. R. B. Robinson, Rev. J. H. and Mrs. Podmore, Rev. R. S. and Mrs. Stoney, Rev. R. and Mrs. Thistlewhaite, Rev. Joseph Walmsley, Rev. Arrowsmith, Mr. and Mrs. Hargreaves Kay, Mr. and Mrs. Fair, Rev. R. and Mrs. Moore (Lund), Rev. G. and Mrs. Brown (Kirkham), Rev. S. E. and Mrs. Wentworth, Rev. J. B. and Mrs. Wakefield (Southshore), Rev. A. and Mrs. Jevour (Blackpool), Mr. and Mrs. E. Watson (Preston), Mr. E. Birch, C.E., Mr. Laidlaw (Glasgow), Mr. H. Blackmore (Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway), Messrs. Knowles, S. Wartenburg, D. Wilcockson, R. Cookson, R. C. Chew, W. Dobson, M. Satterthwaite, and J. A. Robinson (Southport).
Grace was said by the Rev. R. B. Robinson.
The CHAIRMAN, having proposed the usual introductory toasts of “The Queen,” “The Prince of Wales and the rest of the Royal Family,” which were very loyally received, next gave “The Clergy of All Denominations” —The toast was responded to by the Rev. Mr. Robinson, who said that they had been attended that day by a large phalanx of well-wishers to Lytham, among whom the clergy of all denominations, although the ceremony had not been strictly a religious one, could not object to include themselves. (Cheers.) Among their visitors he had been pleased to observe the Mayor of Preston. He hoped his worship, if he was not married already—(laughter)—had not been extravagant enough to throw a ring into the Ribble, like the Doge of Venice when he married the Adriatic; for the Ribble, by her encroachments on its neighbours, had shown that she was a most extravagant creature to live with, and like bad wife, was always meddling with other people’s business. (Laughter.) He hoped their pier was founded on a structure of honour and truthfulness equal to the character of the lady who had performed the opening ceremony. (Cheers.)— Captain Barstow, R.N., returned thanks for the navy, and Captain Clarke for the army and volunteers.
The CHAIRMAN then proposed the health of Mrs. Clifton. He expressed his regret that Colonel Clifton was unable to be present to witness the ceremony of that day. The colonel had given them the land for the pier at nominal rent, and was also enrolled among the number of the shareholders of the company. They hoped soon to see him among them in restored health. (Cheers.) They had often heard that great riches entailed great responsibilities and serious duties. Mrs. Clifton had showed that she entertained a sense of those duties, and of her as of a previous Mrs. Clifton it would be said, ” Her name shall live to future ages. In her was seen whatever is amiable in daughter, wife, mother, friend, and Christian. Admire, O man; a pattern to her sex, O woman, imitate.” (Cheers.)— Captain Clifton returned thanks. He said he was sure his mother felt highly gratified in having been selected to fill the post of honour in the engaging ceremony they had just witnessed. (Cheers ) Knowing the interest she took in Lytham, and everything that concerned Lytham, she was highly gratified that by the energy of the inhabitants they had succeeded in completing so useful work. (Cheers.) It had fallen to his lot to propose the toast of the day, ” Success to the Lytham Pier.” (Cheers.)
It would not be out of place to say something of the length, breadth, and cost of the pier, and the number of people it would accommodate. The length of the pier was 914 ft., its breadth 20ft.; was capable of accommodating between 4,000 and 5,000 people, of whom 1,000 could be seated. The total cost had been £5,860. (Cheers.) Several watering places had thought proper to avail themselves of the advantages of pier accommodation—Ryde, Margate, Southport, Blackpool; and he heard they were all paying excellent dividends. (Cheers.)— The Chairman briefly responded, and several other toasts were proposed. — The proceedings terminated shortly before five o’clock.