In 1897, The Dick, Kerr and Company factory on Strand Road, Preston opened, building trams. In 1917, they began to build three Felixstowe N4 flying boats that were flight-tested on the Ribble estuary at Lytham.
English Electric took over the company in 1917, and between then and 1926, they erected hangars, where they built flying boats – including the Kingston, Felixstowe, Atalanta, Wren, and Ayr – at the east end of Lytham Green, opposite the hospital – it had its own Control Tower, and a slipway was also created. The Atalanta (N119) was the first to fly, but not until 1923. Six Kingstons were launched in 1924.
In 1920, the western hangar (aka flight shed) became a film studio operated by the Parkstone Film Company, a venture set up by two Manchester men. The studios were run by Walter Buckstone, and could accommodate up to 12 film sets simultaneously, all of which were fully lit by massive electric lights powered by a cable from the nearby tramway. The complex had its own, small cinema for running previews prior to release. Before too long, parts of the hangar were converted into badminton courts for a new local club, and another area was used by Bridges Transport to garage their 3 lorries.
The flight sheds were closed in 1926.
Next, in October 1928, a company called Lancashire Screen Productions was set up by Sir Lindsay Parkinson and others, and they bought more of the vacant land at Lytham with the intention of setting up their own studios. The plan soon changed, as the company decided instead to set up at Little Carleton. That plan also came to naught and LFP was wound up in 1930.
In 1930, the western hanger was converted to become E Cookson and Sons Ltd’s brand-new Exhibition Bakery on Preston Road. They had been relocated to Lytham from Preston, where they had been formed in 1886.
The eastern hangar was demolished in 1932, to make way for an extension to the new bakery.
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