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Pebble pavements in Bath Street, Lytham

A Grade II Listed Building in Clifton, Lancashire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.7364 / 53°44'11"N

Longitude: -2.9604 / 2°57'37"W

OS Eastings: 336746

OS Northings: 427097

OS Grid: SD367270

Mapcode National: GBR 7TR7.WB

Mapcode Global: WH85P.HBJY

Entry Name: Pebble pavements in Bath Street, Lytham

Listing Date: 11 February 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1423132

Location: Fylde, Lancashire, FY8

County: Lancashire

District: Fylde

Electoral Ward/Division: Clifton

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Lytham St Anne's

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Lytham St John the Divine

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn

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Lytham St Annes

Summary

Two pebble pavements, one dating to the 1830s the other slightly later, on the east and west sides of Bath Street, Lytham.

Description

Two pavements formed of multi-coloured pebbles, predominantly dark grey, pink, white and blue, running along part of the west and east sides of Bath Street and considered to be of early-mid-C19 date with later repairs. The pavements are composed of beach pebbles laid thin side up on sand and inlaid with various patterns and geometric shapes.

WEST SIDE: The pavement fronts a Grade II listed former Methodist Chapel built in 1846 and continues in unbroken fashion in front of three Grade II listed neighbouring houses numbered 1 & 3 Bath Street and the Bath Street facade of No.9 South Clifton Street, all built between 1850-60. The pavement is edged with a sandstone kerb at the roadside.

In front of the entrance gate to the former Methodist Chapel the pattern depicts a three-sided frame widening in width towards the kerb with the kerb forming the fourth side. At the centre of the frame there is a large, four-pointed star above two semi-circular features adjacent to the kerb that may represent hills to give the composition an impression of a large star rising above hills.

In front of each of the gates to Nos.1 & 3 there are two parallel lines of white pebbles running across the pavement from each gate to the kerb. That in front of No.3 is more complete than the other.

In front of No.9 parts of two sub-circular patterns are picked out largely in white pebbles within an area apparently of recent repair.

EAST SIDE: the pavement runs adjacent to the west boundary wall of No.6a East Beach and continues in unbroken fashion in front of a terrace of Grade II listed houses in Bath Street numbered 2-10 that were built in about 1830. It is edged with a sandstone kerb at the roadside and is crossed in places with moulded sandstone channels designed to carry rainwater water from downspouts across the pavement to empty in the road.

Adjacent to the boundary wall of 6a East Beach three sides of a tapered frame widening towards the kerb are inlaid. Within the frame there is an inverted anchor with the date 1831 or 1837 inlaid with blue pebbles on a white background. The composition reflects Lytham's maritime heritage.

A short distance to the north, also adjacent to the boundary wall of 6a East Beach, is a six or eight-pointed star within a circle or wheel suggesting the points of a compass. A line of white pebbles extends diagonally from the circle or wheel to the kerb and the arrangement is topped with a pattern making the composition vaguely resemble a horse trap or a penny-farthing bicycle.

Outside the door to No.2 a sailing ship at sea is inlaid within a tapering frame that widens towards the kerb and is topped by a semi-circular feature at its narrowest point immediately below the doorstep. This composition also reflects Lytham's maritime heritage.

Outside the door to No.4 a tapering frame contains a circle within which is depicted a windmill of similar design to the Grade II listed windmill built in about 1805 and located on Lytham's East Beach approximately 250m to the east. Above the depiction of the windmill and in front of the front doorstep there is a geometric design of diamonds and a triangle.

Outside the door to No.6 a tapering frame contains a seven-pointed star overlain by a circle. Immediately below the doorstep there is a semicircle containing a flower.

Outside the door to No.8 a tapering frame contains an eight-pointed star with a circle at its centre above a band connecting two sides of the frame. There are traces of two crescent moon shapes between the connecting band and the kerb.

Outside the door to No.10 a tapering frame that uses the kerb as one edge contains a geometric arrangement of diamonds and triangles below a heart-shaped design within a semicircle.

History

At the beginning of the C19 as Lytham developed from a fishing village into a sea bathing resort beach pebbles were used as the standard material for making paths for the new houses, and permission was required from the Lords of the Manor, the Clifton family, in order to remove pebbles from the beach. The craftsmen who built these pavements developed their own techniques and frequently created geometric patterns and pictures from the multi-coloured pebbles using predominantly dark grey, pink, white and blue. They were traditionally laid on sand in order to be porous and packed tightly together with their thin side uppermost.

This tradition of using pebbles and cobbles as building material in Lytham appears to date to an even earlier period and the Lytham Times of 4th December 1872 reports that prior to the construction of Lytham Parish Church in 1834 a cobble pavement or pathway associated with ‘a small edifice with a low tower’ built in 1770 on the site of the later church, was discovered.

Evidence that pebble pavements abounded in Lytham during the C19 comes from the St Annes Express 28 February 1919 which quotes the Lytham Times of January 1855 who published ‘The Reminiscences of Lytham by Crofton’: ‘The main street was little frequented by us, for there was enough traffic for an order to be made that if we went there we must keep on the footwalks, which were paved with sharp thin pebbles which did not suit bare feet, or those who, in wet weather, wore iron pattens to keep themselves dry-shod. The pebbles were worked into patterns, mostly geometrical; there were also arches, ships and other devices, and a most ambitious effort showed a Mongolfien (sic) balloon with a flag at each end of the car’.

In later years modern surfaces have either covered or replaced the pebble pavements and today only a fraction remain in situ, including those on the west and east sides of Bath Street between Central Beach and South Clifton Street.

The pebble pavement on the east side of Bath Street was listed at Grade II* in January 1971 and titled 'Cobble pavings in front of Nos 2 to 10 Bath Street'. In May 1988 the listing was amended and re-titled 'Pebble pavement extending from South Clifton Street to Central Beach, Bath Street'. The pavement was then delisted in February 1993 as it was considered that it did not come within the listing criteria at that time.

Reasons for Listing

The C19 pebble pavements in Bath Street are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Date: the pavement on the east side of the street is of pre-1840 date while the one on the west side of the street is of mid-C19 date;
* Architectural interest: the pavements clearly display innovation in terms of the use of local materials and their design and artistic merit;
* Local distinctiveness: the devices depicted include an anchor and other references to Lytham's character and history;
* Intactness: despite minor alteration and improvements to the pavement they survive in very good condition;
* Rarity: pebble pavements are relatively rare nationally;
* Group value: the pavements in Bath Street appear contemporary with numerous adjacent listed buildings.

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