Monday, 25 May 2015

North Euston (plus a secret in a shed)

Users of London Euston station might be surprised to hear that there is a North Euston too – 250 miles away.

North Euston is in Fleetwood, Lancashire. A friendly place with an interesting story, Fleetwood was the first Victorian planned town. It was designed by Decimus Burton (so named because he was the 10th child) for Peter Hesketh, an MP and estate owner with big ideas.

Hesketh saw that Fleetwood could make a successful port and a holiday resort for working families, and set about making his vision a reality. At the time, there was no rail link between London and Scotland, so he put his energies into creating a rail link to Fleetwood from Preston, enabling passengers to make the final leg of the journey by sea from Fleetwood. Fleetwood’s first buildings were started in 1836, along with its railway, and the North Euston Hotel, facing the waterfront, was built in 1841.

Queen Victoria used the rail link in 1847. To welcome her, the council lit all the gas lamps, but they ran out of gas before the Queen arrived. Hesketh’s dreams of commercial success were ruined a few years later when the rail link from London to Scotland was built over Shap Fell (an engineering feat that had been considered impossible), making Fleetwood’s role of transport terminus redundant.

The oldest building in town is the Fleetwood Museum, which has also been a custom house, town hall and hotel. With lovely staff, great cake and a secret in a shed (I’m not spoiling it for you – you need to go and discover it for yourself), the museum is worth a visit; follow it up with a gusty walk on Fleetwood’s seafront and remember the pioneering Victorian with the big idea.

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous find, London reaches out a long way it seems...