Meet Mr Ansdell

Richard Ansdell.
Richard Ansdell.

IS Ansdell really named after a famous Victorian artist?

Mrs B Young, Fairhaven.

YES it really is. Richard Ansdell was born in Liverpool in 1815.

His father worked at the dock, and his mother was a seamstress. In 1836 he was a student at Liverpool Academy.

Between 1840 and 1885 he exhibited almost 150 paintings at the Royal Academy, of which he was elected a full member in 1870. Two of his most famous works were The Fight for the Standard at Waterloo and the The Combat which depicted two red stags locked in battle.

He was also renowned for his animal paintings.

In 1847 he moved from Liverpool to live in Kensington, London. In 1861 he had a summer house built among the sand dunes, close to Lytham, on land he had purchased a few years earlier.

It was surrounded by a high cobbled wall and he named it Starr Hills. It still stands today, at the corner of Ansdell Road South and Clifton Drive, diagonally opposite the White Church.

However, little did Ansdell realise how soon his peace and quiet would be disturbed, as within a year of building his house, the new Blackpool and Lytham railway passed a mere 100 yards from the rear of it.

The railway halt was known as Ansdell’s, (a much larger station at Woodlands Road replaced it some years later) and as builders began to develop the area more widely it became known as Ansdell, and he is probably the only British artist to have both a district and a railway station named after him.

The house was sold in 1873, but he had not lived there for some time.

Ansdell died in 1885 a relatively wealthy man, leaving an estate valued at £50,000. His Starr Hills house is today, with modern extensions, a Methodist home for the aged.

High up on the wall of the lodge, at the entrance, can be seen a blue plaque commemorating Richard Ansdell, RA.

Alex Maitland and Matt Warhurst.