End of the line: Fleetwood

North Euston Hotel, Fleetwood, Lancashire

North Euston Hotel, Fleetwood, Lancashire

We purposely located the 2012 Lancashire’s Seaside Heritage tour at the North Euston Hotel, Fleetwood [http://www.northeustonhotel.com],– not only for its comfort and quietness but because it’s significant in the history of the Lancashire coast.

Its name indicates that it was once the northern terminus of the railway from London’s Euston Station, at a time when George Stephenson proclaimed that no locomotive would ever manage the climb over Shap to the Scottish border.

The town of Fleetwood was planned and named by Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood (1801-1866) as the transhipment point between the Preston & Wyre Railway, which opened in 1840, and the steamer service to Ardrossan which was connected by rail to Glasgow.

This worked fairly well until what we now call the West Coast Main Line opened over Shap in 1847.  By that time Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood had gone bankrupt, and though Fleetwood harbour in time served other purposes, its railway remained forever on a branch line from Preston.

The grandly curving hotel was designed by Decimus Burton as part of Fleetwood’s intended holiday resort.

The hotel’s first manager, a Corsican called Zenon Vantini, was responsible for the first railway-station refreshment-room, at Wolverton, and ran the Euston and Victoria Hotels in London.

Opened in 1841, it was eventually bought by the War Department as a School of Musketry for Officers, and reopened in 1861 as the Euston Barracks.

Vantini took a lead, in conjunction with the first vicar of Fleetwood, Rev Canon St Vincent Beechey (son of the painter William Beechey), in founding the Northern Church of England School in 1844.

This school later took the name Rossall School [http://www.rossall.co.uk] after it leased and then bought the Rossall Hall estate from Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood.

Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood died in such poverty that his estate could not pay for his funeral.

For details of Mike Higginbottom’s lectures on seaside architecture, Away from it all:  the heritage of holiday resorts, Beside the Seaside:  the architecture of British coastal resorts, Blackpool’s Seaside Heritage and Yorkshire’s Seaside Heritage, please click here.

The 80-page, A4 handbook for the 2013 Lancashire’s Seaside Heritage tour, with text, photographs, maps and a reading list, is available for purchase, price £10.00 including postage and packing.  To view sample pages click here.  To order a copy, please click here or, if you prefer, send a cheque, payable to Mike Higginbottom, to 63 Vivian Road, Sheffield, S5 6WJ.

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