Friday, 15 November 2013

FLEETWOOD



Fleetwood is one of the most interesting coastal towns on the north-west coast of England.  The most fascinating aspect of the town is its lighthouses.  There are three of them, two on land and one out in the bay, and all three of them came into use in the year 1840.  The Lower Lighthouse, aka the Beach Lighthouse, was designed by Decimus Burton, a protege of John Nash.  It appears to have an identity crisis, with its neoclassical colonnaded base more reminiscent of a civic building than a beacon for troubled mariners.  It is a beautiful sight though and worthy of preservation.  The Upper Lighthouse, or Pharos Lighthouse was also designed by Burton and looks much more like a traditional lighthouse, apart from the fact that it is very much in the town.  It also has a striking red colour, from the sandstone used in its construction.  The relative positions of these two lighthouses was a deliberate attempt to ensure a safe passage into the channel leading into Fleetwood.  The last of the three lighthouses is the Wyre Light, an iron "screw-pile" lighthouse built by a blind engineer called Alexander Mitchell.  The lighthouse, which has fallen into disrepair, is sunk into the seabed at the edge of a sandbank in Morecambe Bay.  Every year the local RNLI organises a four-mile guided walk across the sands at low water to the remains of the lighthouse, an event dubbed the Wreck Trek.

Lighthouses aside, Fleetwood is a perfect example of a traditional Victorian seaside resort.  Landmarks along the seafront include the Marine Hall, an art-deco building which hosts shows and concerts.  The North Euston Hotel and Gardens is another prominent landmark.  Designed by Decimus Barton and opened in 1841, the hotel became a School of Musketry in the latter half of the 19th century before reverting to its original purpose around the turn of the century.  The pleasant gardens outside the hotel house a number of features including an obelisk and memorial stone dedicated to those who have lost their lives at sea.  Other attractions in the town include the Freeport FleetwoodOutlet Village and the Fleetwood Museum, housed in a handsome building and telling the story of the Fylde coast.  One of Fleetwood's claims to fame is that John Lennon had a cousin who lived in Fleetwood and the young John used to spend his summer holidays there. 

Each year at the end of August/beginning of September the town hosts the Fylde Folk Festival.  For other events on the Fylde coast see here.

Map of the area. 

File:The Lower Lighthouse - geograph.org.uk - 1454967.jpg
Lower Lighthouse. Photo by John Driscoll, via Wikimedia Commons

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