Another dip into history of Fairhaven Lake

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THE Reflections look back at the heyday of Fairhaven Lake solicited a wonderful nostalgia-fuelled look at the history of the attraction from St Annes man Geoffey Cunliffe.

He first discovered the Lake in the 1940s, but says that it was in the 1950s that he really got to know it — and fell under its spell.

He wrote: "At that time, the lake was managed by Norman Bernsen who held the post since he was appointed in 1920 by Thomas Riley, the man responsible for building the lake in the 1890s.

"He was not the liveliest of lake managers by then but, to be fair, he had done his fair share over the years. He had built the lake up into a major tourist attraction, constructed many of the boats himself, struggled through WWII when there were impossibly conflicting demands on the lake, saw its post-war resurgence and faced the challenge of the emerging television service which made coach potatoes of so many.

"To cap it all, during his final years, an accident occurred when a couple of swimmers were swept through the filling pipe from Granny's Bay into the lake. Miraculously one survived, but the other died. This was only the second fatal accident in the lake's history."

Mr Cunliffe recalls the numerous boats available for hire in the '50s — a dozen yachts, six single-seater skiffs, rowing boats, twin and four-seater rowing boats and a launch called Fairhaven, built in Freckleton in the 1920s which took families on cruises around the popular lake. He added: "The lake was very similar but certainly not identical to today.

"There was a large promontary to the east of the filling pipe which was removed one winter; it was considerably narrower behind the first island; and there was a further significant promontory between the islands on the seaward side.

"The former Japanese Garden, latterly used as a model yacht pool and filled in a couple of decades ago, was very much in use and there were two sandstone rock outcrops on the north side by the tennis pavilion.

"The cafe — Bunty's Lakeside Cafe at that time — was thriving and a special open-topped circular bus service was run linking the lake with St Annes.

There will be more of Mr Cunliffe's memories of the Lake next week — including the arrival of waterskiing on the lake.