AN iconic statue which was a landmark of the Lytham pub scene for much of the 20th century has a new home with the town’s Heritage Group.
The Talbot Dog, thought to have once been on display at Lytham Hall, stood at the door of the former Talbot Hotel in Clifton Street from the latter part of the 19th century through to well into the 1980s.
On more than one occasion during their 15-year spell as landlord and landlady, including on the day they retired in 1986, Alf and Sheila Wood rescued the dog from the skip as refurbishments were carried out at the Talbot, which eventually closed in 2005.
But now Sheila has donated the dog to the Lytham Heritage Group – and it has been earning admiring glances from visitors to the group’s current exhibition on the inns and hotels of Lytham at the town’s Heritage Centre.
“The dog figure was the first thing we saw when my husband and I walked through the doors of the pub in the early 1970s and we always had a really soft spot for it,” said Sheila, who now lives in Warton.
“It was originally on a plinth which said it had been donated by the Clifton family and while we were there, I polished it every day.
“When we left, we took it with us, as it had been left in a skip, and it has been here ever since.
“But after my husband died a few months ago, I thought it would be appropriate to donate it to the town’s archives and I am delighted to see that it is part of the Heritage Group’s current exhibition.
“I am sure a lot of people will remember it from the pub and it is like it is going back home.”
Alan Ashton, chairman of the Heritage Group, said: “We are so grateful to Sheila for her kind donation.
“The dog figure is an important part of Lytham pub history and we believe it was on display at Lytham Hall, possibly as one of a pair, for some time before that.
“We believe that it was donated by John Talbot Clifton to The Talbot at a time when the Beesley family were running the pub in late Victorian times and it stood at the door for years.
“It is made of hard wood and its nose is very shiny, apparently from it being rubbed by generations of customers as they entered The Talbot.
“It is an important part of Lytham history and it has certainly proved a talking point at our exhibition.”