Express to thank for Garden gift

MEMORY LANE SPECIALS'St Annes'Ashton Rose Gardens
MEMORY LANE SPECIALS'St Annes'Ashton Rose Gardens

THE colourful history of Ashton Gardens, St Annes, has gone under the microscope!

Supporters have unearthed a wealth of information – including how your Lytham St Annes Express played a key role in securing the park – as a town gift from Lord Ashton.

And all will be revealed when up to 150 North West history lovers attend St Annes United Reformed Church hall in St Georges Road, St Annes, on Saturday, 9.30am-4pm.

Fred Moor, chairman of Supporters Of Ashton Gardens (SOAG) explained the newspaper’s link.

“Many people know there was trouble between the ratepayers and the Council about the cost of acquiring the Gardens, and that’s why Lord Ashton stepped in.

“What people might not know, is that letters written to the Express by Charles Frederick Critchley (later councillor and alderman Critchley who also became a Freedom of the Borough holder) expressing support for the plan to buy the gardens appeared in the Express in January 16 and 23, 1914.

“Critchley was a personal friend of Lord Ashton and was undertaking Lord Ashton’s duties as president of the Old Links Golf Club. Critchley had spoken in the favour of buying the St George’s Gardens but the Poll or Ratepayers to decide the matter was scheduled for January 28 and it was thought likely that the vote would be 50/50 or perhaps marginally against buying them.

“However, in the week before the Poll, James Bowman, the first Editor of the Express, called on Critchley. Bowman suggested to him they should send a copy of the Express to Lord Ashton.... and the rest is history!

“So the inspiration for Lord Ashton’s gift of the gardens actually came from the Express.”