"By the 1850s the most desirable seafront plots in Lytham had been built upon so the Clifton Estate levelled an area of dunes to the west, constructed hulking to protect it from the sea and leased the site as building plots for "Marine Villas".
The first house to be built on this new site was a large mansion called "Fairlawn" which was owned by James Eden. He was a friend of Richard Ansdell R.A. who stayed several times at Fairlawn".
On the 1851 Census the “Marine Villas” in Ansdell do not appear, only “Fairlawn” with the afore mentioned James Eden in residence. The first occupant of “West Bank” appears to be George Murton.
GEORGE MURTON: West Bank c1855 - 1868
George was born in Kent in 1815, the son of Nicholas and Eleanor Murton. In 1844 he married Hannah Slater in Bolton. In 1851 they lived in Bolton; they had had six children but four had died as babies. Two children were born in Bolton in 1852 and 1853, they then moved to Lytham where two more children were born in 1856 and 1860, but they lost the eldest child as a baby. In 1861 the family are recorded at West Bank. George is recorded as a Merchant dealing in goods from India. They had five servants; a Governess, Cook, Housemaid, Nurse and Groom/Gardener. George died in June 1868 and his family returned to Bolton. However, his wife died in November that year and one of his daughters the following year. From ten children only four had survived. In 1871 his three daughters are living with the Slater branch of the family in Bolton but his youngest child, George, at ten years old, was boarding in a school at 1 West Beach, Lytham.
PAUL CATTERALL: West Bank c1869 - c1888
The second occupant was Paul Catterall. He was the son of Solicitor Peter Catterall and his wife Jane, who lived at 15 Winckley Square in Preston, along with servants to include a Cook, two Housemaids and a Waiter. Paul followed his father and became a Solicitor. He married widow Mary Ann Gaskell, née Turner, in 1850. Mary Ann was the daughter of William Turner, a Woollen Manufacturer. They had 6 children and lived in Uplands Hall in Broughton. They had many servants, a Governess, a Cook, a Waitress, two Housemaids, a Nurse, a Coachman and a Groom. By 1870 they were living in Lytham. Paul Catterall is recorded on the electoral roll at 5 Sandhills, one of the Marine Villas on Clifton Drive. A grand house but much smaller than Uplands Hall so fewer servants were required; just a Cook, a Waitress, a Housemaid, a Gardener and a Coachman are recorded in 1871. Only two children remained at home, one approaching adulthood, so perhaps they were downsizing.
In 1881 the family are still living at the same house, now recorded with the name “West Bank”. In addition to the servants there is now a “Lady Companion”, named Julia Springford, who has joined the family. She is in fact the Governess that was employed by the family at Uplands Hall in 1861, and she remains close to the family throughout her life. In 1901, Julia, aged 72, is recorded as a Visitor.
NB: In 1871 the villas on Clifton Drive are recorded as “Sandhills” but the numbering doesn’t correspond with the location of the houses, see attached map, or later numbering. The same families are in the properties in 1871 and 1881, and in 1881 the houses are recorded by name.
- 8 Sandhills, Threlfall family; in 1881 “Edenfield”, later 2 Clifton Drive.
- 6 Sandhills, Cunningham family; in 1881 “Elms”, later 4 Clifton Drive.
- 5 Sandhills, Catterall family; in 1881 “West Bank”, later 6 Clifton Drive.
- 7 Sandhills, Harrison family; in 1881 “Riversleigh”, later 8 Clifton Drive.
- 4 Sandhills, Lomas family; in 1881 “Willows”, later 10 Clifton Drive.
Paul Catterall is recorded on the electoral roll at West Bank until 1888 and then in 1889 he's recorded at West Beach, Lytham. The 1891 Census records the couple at 4 West Beach, Lytham. Paul is now a Solicitor of the Supreme Court. The children have all left home so West Bank must have been too large for them. They still have servants though; a Cook, a Waitress and a Housemaid; and Julia the Lady Companion is present. They couple lived at 4 West Beach until they died, Mary Ann in 1899, Paul in 1903.
WALTER PALMER FULLAGER: West Bank c1888- c1898
Walter Palmer Fullager was born in 1843 in Leicester, son of Frank Fullager, a Surgeon from the Isle of Wight. He grew up in Leicester, qualified as a Solicitor and then in 1868 married Catherine Eleanor Swainson in Liverpool, daughter of John Swainson, a Clerk in Holy Orders. In 1871 they lived in Liverpool, only one child at that time but they had three servants, a Nurse, Housemaid and a Cook. By 1881 they had moved to Manchester. In the household there are five children and seven servants; a Governess, Nurse, Waitress, Maid, Cook, Housemaid and Gardener. The family possibly moved to Lytham around 1888, when Paul Catterall left West Bank. They are found at that address in 1891. Only two children are left at home, and there are six servants; a Cook, Waitress, Lady’s Maid, House Maid, Scullery Maid and Gardener. Walter is on the electoral roll at West Bank in 1895.
By 1901 the couple and one daughter had moved to 16 North Promenade in St. Annes. There were 4 servants; a Cook, Waitress, Housemaid, and Kitchen Maid. Walter’s wife died in 1903 and in 1911 he is found boarding at “Claughton”, a boarding house on South Promenade in St. Annes. Walter died in 1926.
CHRISTOPHER JOSEPH WHITTAKER: West Bank c1898 - c1907
Christopher Walker was born in 1859 in Accrington, son of Thomas and Mary Ann Whittaker. His mother died when he was just seven years old and his father, a Civil Engineer, married a further two times as his second wife also died. Christopher, now a Mechanical Draughtsman, married Catherine Haworth in 1883. They lived in Accrington and had several children but only 2 survived. The youngest child was born in Accrington in 1896. By 1900 the family had moved to Lytham. Christopher is recorded on the electoral roll at West Bank in 1900. In 1901 he is recorded as a Sewage Engineer. His wife Catherine died in 1905 and later that year he married Polly Mitchell. They sailed to America for their honeymoon, see postcard below. Initially they lived at West Bank but by 1908 had moved to “Winthrop”, 19 Ansdell Road South. In 1911 Christopher is recorded as the Director of a Chemical Engineering Company and the couple had had 2 children. Christopher died in 1918, aged 58. His wife Polly initially stayed in the area. She is found in 1939 at 96 Woodlands Road, Ansdell, in what appears to be a Nursing Home, but died in 1960 in London.
WILLIAM ECCLES: West Bank c1907 - 1914
The next occupants were William Eccles, his wife Emily and their four daughters. William was born in Accrington, Emily was born in Preston, and they married in 1897 in Windermere. Their eldest two children were born in Longton. They are found on the 1901 Census in Colne and the youngest two children, twins, were born in Colne in 1903. William was a Cotton Manufacturer, son of a Cotton Manufacturer, Joseph Eccles, who lived in Ashton. William and Emily are found at West Bank in 1911. They had seven servants living with them at Westbank; a Cook, two Housemaids, a Maid, a Kitchenmaid, a Footman and a Butler. William Eccles is last found on the electoral roll at West Bank in 1914.
ROBERT HENRY KAY: West Bank 1914 - 1927
In 1915 Robert Henry Kay is found on the electoral roll at West Bank. Robert was born in Ramsbottom, the son of John Kay, a Boot, Shoe and Clog Maker. At age 13 he was a Warehouse Boy for a Cotton Manufacturer. At age 23 he was a Weaving Manager in a Cotton Mill, living in Tottington. He married Elizabeth Eastwood in 1891 and they had four children. By 1901, aged 33, Robert was a Cotton Mill Manager and Salesman, living in Haslingden. By 1911 Robert is a Cloth Merchant and the family are now living in Fairhaven at 9 St Paul’s Avenue; no servants present; where they lived until 1914. The house was possibly called “Somerville”. In 1914 Robert is listed at both 9 St. Paul’s Avenue and West Bank, but by 1915 solely at West Bank. Robert certainly did well for himself rising from a Warehouse Boy, but sadly died at West Bank aged just 58yrs, in May 1926.
EDWIN HENRY BOOTH: West Bank c1928 - 1951
The next occupants were Edwin Henry Booth and his wife Cicely. Edwin was the son of John Booth and Ada Kenyon. John was the son of Edwin Henry Booth (1828 – 1899), the founder of E H Booths Supermarkets.
In June 1847 tea dealer Edwin Henry Booth, aged just 19 years, secured a loan of £80 to open his first shop, The China House in Blackpool. Mr Edwin’s flair for business and advertising allowed him to repay the debt just three months later, making a profit of £50. He continued to capitalise on this earlier success by opening a second, larger shop in 1855 in the market town of Chorley. By 1863, Edwin had developed a keen application and admiration for the quality of his goods. And, thanks to the changes in UK licensing laws, Booths added wine and liquor to their range. Three more locations were added to the estate in the following years, Preston in 1867, Lytham in 1878 and Blackburn in 1884. In 1899, Edwin’s eldest son John Booth took over the responsibility of running the family business. In 1896, Booths was incorporated as a private limited company and shortly afterwards a colleague bonus scheme was proposed based on company profits. By 1902, Mr John had enlarged the stores and added cafés in line with the rapidly-developing café society of the upper to middle classes, partaking in morning and afternoon tea.
Edwin grew up at Plumtree Bank in Broughton and was educated at Giggleswick. By 1911 the family were living at Barton Hall, his father John is recorded as a Grocer. In 1919 Edwin married Cicely Vivian Porter in Conway, Wales, a very grand affair by all accounts; See newspaper clipping below
In 1921 Edwin, a Grocer and Provision Merchant, employer at 4 Fishergate, Preston; and his wife Cicely, are living at 30 Victoria Road, St. Annes. No children present but there are two servants, a Cook and a Butler. They are at 30 Victoria Road until 1927. In 1928 they are listed at West Bank and in 1939 they are still living there, along with a Housemaid and a Parlourmaid. In West Bank Cottages there is a Gardener, and his wife is in Domestic Service. There is also John Gillett, a Painter and Decorator and his wife Elizabeth. Edwin and his wife don’t appear to have had any children. When Edwin died in 1951 he left his estate to his brother, John Kenyon Booth. The house was then sold to James Sadler by 1952.
JAMES SADLER: West Bank 1952 - 1975 (Norma until 1977)
James Sadler, known as Jim, was born in 1901 in Salford, the son of George Sadler, a Millwright born in Scotland; and his wife Sarah, born in Preston. At age 10yrs Jim was living with his mother’s sister in 1911 in Preston. He married Norma Buik Anderson in 1937 in Bucklow, Cheshire. Norma was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Harry Anderson, a Scottish immigrant and Mechanical Engineer, and his wife Caroline Davis who was born in England. By 1911 the family had left America and were living in Rawdon, Yorkshire.
In 1935 at age 34yrs, Jim registered as a Mechanical Engineer. In 1939 he is recorded as the Managing Director of an Electrical Engineering Company, no doubt Sadler Engineering. Along with his wife Norma, Jim is living at 61 Headroomgate Road in St. Annes where they live until 1952. In the 1952 phone book James Sadler is listed at 61 Headroomgate Road, St Annes, and also at 6 Clifton Drive, Lytham. James Sadler Engineering Ltd. is listed at Dock Road, Lytham.
Jim and Norma didn’t have any children and lived at West Bank until Jim died in 1975. I know they had some staff as Norma’s maid, Lily Appleton, who lived in West Bank Cottages, used to babysit for me when I lived next door at Elms Cottage, 1979-1983.
After Jim died in 1975 , Norma built a house in the grounds of West Bank, that became 6A Clifton Drive. It adjoined the staff cottages where her maid Lily continued to live and look after her. Norma lived at West Bank until 1977 and at 6A Clifton Drive from 1978. In the interim period she sold West Bank to Tony and Gail Beck. Mrs. Sadler died in 1985.
TONY BECK: West Bank 1978 - 1992
Tony Beck was born in 1944 in Kendal to Walter (Wally) and Marjorie Beck. Wally and Marjorie came to the area in the 1950s and had a Grocer's shop in Freckleton followed by the Nelsonia Hotel on the Promenade in St Annes. In the late 1950s they bought the already existing St. Ives Hotel; it cost them just over £16,000. Over the next decade they expanded the hotel. Their son Tony married Canadian born Gail Chapman in 1964 and they had two children. Tony and Gail, along with his sister Elaine and her husband Tony, all worked in the hotel alongside Wally and Marjorie. During the following two decades they built a successful family business. In 1985 the hotel was sold to the Webb family of the neighbouring Dalmeny Hotel.
Tony and Gail Beck purchased West Bank around 1978, moving from their apartment at the St. Ives. Gail and Norma Sadler bonded over a Canadian connection, Gail was Canadian, and Norma was determined to sell the house to Gail. Gail remembered a conversation with Norma where she mentioned DeSoto Car manufacturing. The DeSoto make was founded by Walter Chrysler in 1928 to compete with other automobile brands, for instance Buick. Buick is the company that established General Motors in 1908. The founder, William C Durant had served as Buick’s General Manager & Investor. Norma was christened Norma Buik Anderson.
Does anyone know of the connection and why Norma was given the middle name Buik?
Tony and Gail made West Bank their home and a few years later Tony built recording studios in the large basement, “Boilerhouse Studios”. Initially it was for school friend Roy Harper to record an album but the Pet Shop Boys and Jethro Tull also practised and recorded there. In 1984 Roy Harper, and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, recorded the album “Whatever happened to Jugula? at the Boilerhouse.
During that year the two friends held a secret gig at the St. Ives Hotel. Video: https://youtu.be/Ai1y-3BmAHc?si=KtF6iExJsDllDNCN
Very sadly, Tony died unexpectedly in January 1992. West Bank was too large for Gail so she moved to St. Annes. Gail wanted to convert the house to apartments, keeping the penthouse for herself. However, planning permission was refused so she sold it and later moved to London where she lived until she died in 2020.
WEST BANK c1855 - 1993
Despite planning permission being previously refused the house was demolished in about 1993 as planning permission had been granted for several houses to be built on the plot. The site is now called “The Grange”.
Over a period of around 138 years, nine families lived at West Bank, and one occupant, William Eccles, lived in a house named “The Grange” in Colne in 1901, before he lived at West Bank. Coincidence or by design?
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