5 August 2010
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Bispham, known until 1910 as Bispham-with-Norbreck, was originally a village in its own right, pre-dating the town of Blackpool by several hundred years. In 1066 Bispham was part of Tostig Godwinson, the Earl of Northumbria’s, Lordship of Amounderness. It is featured in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Biscopham,(meaning Bishop’s estate or Bishop’s house). Many of the settlements and villages on the Fylde were Anglo-Saxon settlements. Some though were 9th and 10th century Viking place names. The Vikings and Anglo-Saxons seem to have co-existed peacefully with some Anglo-Saxon and Viking place names later being joined together—such as Bispham-with-Norbreck. Bispham having the Anglo-Saxon place name ‘ham’ and Norbreck having the Viking place name, ‘breck’. Bispham-with-Norbreck comprised three hamlets — Great (or Greater) Bispham, Little Bispham and Norbreck, with Anchorsholme (then Angersholme) part of Norbreck. Although the three hamlets were originally part of the Lordship of Amounderness, they were later divided with the moiety of Little Bispham and Norbreck being given to Shrewsbury Abbey and Great Bispham to the Lord of Warrington.

Great Bispham was a part of the Lordship of Layton. In 1539, it was bought by John Browne, who sold it to Thomas Fleetwood in 1550.

The moiety of Little Bispham and Norbreck was given to the monks of Shrewsbury Abbey by Roger of Poitou. In the early 12th century Henry I ordered Stephen Count of Mortain to hold the moiety “free and quit of all customs, pleas and suits of the hundred court. A few years after, David I of Scotland confirmed the moiety “to be held as freely as in the time of his predecessors.” In about 1270 the abbot and convent of Shrewsbury granted Little Bispham and Norbreck to the Abbot and convent of Dieulacres Abbey, who held the adjoining Rossall estate. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, it was granted as part of Rossall estate, in 1553 to Thomas Fleetwood. Thus by then all three hamlets were owned by Thomas Fleetwood.

In 1326 the spelling of the village was Byspham. Bispham and Poulton-le-Fylde were the two main populated centres in the Fylde in 1500, though the area was sparsely populated.

It was in Bispham that the first mention of “Blackpool” appeared, found in the Register of Bispham Parish Church in 1602 with the christening record of a child born on 22 September to a couple who lived “on the bank of the Black Pool”. In the 17th century the Fylde coast was divided into three parishes — Bispham, Poulton-le-Fylde and Lytham. The parish of Bispham covered modern day Blackpool and Thornton Cleveleys and comprised the townships of Bispham-with-Norbreck and Layton-cum-Warbreck. In 1877 a detached part of Little Carleton (then known as Horsemans Hill) was placed in Bispham, then in 1883 the area known as Bispham Hawes, which was at the south end of Layton, was detached from Bispham and added to Layton. The population of Bispham-with-Norbreck in 1901 was 985.

Census records show the following populations :-

1831  – 313,   1841 – 432, 1851 – 354,  1861 – 437,  1871 – 556,  1881 – 474,  1891 – 467,  1901 – 985 

Bispham Promenade

A number of timber steps were built in the early part of the last century to allow access to the beach. One set of steps was known as the ‘devil’s staircase’, because of the length and height of the flight down to the beach. The steps in this picture, dated 1906, are probably opposite Red Bank Road. The steps suffered badly during high tide and storms, so were replaced in the 1920’s and 30’s with concrete ramps and steps during the building of the lower promenade and permanent sea wall


The pathway to the steps in the previous picture cut through the footpath along the Bispham clifftops. A wooden bridge was built to re-connect the footpath as seen here in about 1903 looking west.  A very popular place to have photographs taken and then sold to the people in the picture as a souvenir the next day !

Another set of steps down to the beach – c.1906

Always a great place for families to enjoy themselves

A great view from the top of the cliffs.  At some points they rise to over 100 feet !  They are formed in clay containing boulders and sand. The erosion rate was about two yards per year.  So, to save the cliffs a sea wall began to be built, started in 1917 and completed in 1921

View of the Cumbling Cliffs as seen in 1914

View of Gynn area from Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Note the area to the right of Gynn is empty. This card is postmarked 1909 and shows the sea wall construction north of the Gynn.  The basalt blocks required for the sea defence can be seen to the left

In this view dated c.1912, the Queens Gate block to the right of the of the Gynn has been built and the sea wall has been extended to the town boundary near Empress Drive.  The promenade is beginning to look a lot more tidy

A busy scene at the top of the cliffs – 1915

Looking at the promenade from the top of Red Bank Road. The church at the left of centre is Bispham Methodist Church on Beaufort Avenue, then called Alexandra Road. The scene is now changed and hidden by the  large properties on the promenade.  A similar view is shown below

Alexandra Road, Bispham, later renamed Beaufort Avenue, from Red Bank Road

Taken from Red Bank Road area. The lower walk is now extended, but the cliffs still remain. c.1935


Boating Pool and Lift – 1947

Princes Way Promenade, Little Bispham. Near to where the Riverdance ferry was stranded in January 2008.  Below Princes Way is a large underground car park which was opened in 1935. The metal gates can still be seen at the bottom of the slope leading to the vault.  These days it is home to Fylde Boat Angling Club who store boats etc.

Palm Court Methodist Guest House – 1980 – North of the Miner’s Home

Recently demolioshed and an extended apartment block built

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Moving inland down Red Bank Road…..

Red Bank Road showing a block of shops, corner of Beaufort Avenue. House on the corner formerly ‘Wave crest’ now ‘Beaufort Lodge’. Shops left to right are T.Murgatroyd, the bootmaker, E & A Dawson, drapers and Red Bank Road Post Office and cafe, subpostmaster J. Carter, who opened his first business in Bispham during 1896 as a confectioner’s and tobacconist.  His brother opened Bispham’s first chemist shop. Reading the newspaper flysheet, terrorism in Belfast was making the headlines, even in c.1912

A later view of Red Bank Road from nearer the sea

Red Bank Road from the corner of York Road

Looking at the building on the near right being built, later the Natwest Bank, and further along, is a Co-operative Society store, then the Bispham Conservative Club. On the left is now a taxi office on the corner of England Avenue


A block of 4 houses on the south side of Red Bank Road. Now converted into shops and cafes.  Dated to about 1907. Later on the two houses on the right had the lower bayed extented upwards and became Sea View Apartments !

Even in this view the upper bays have not been added to the two houses on the end right, but two more houses have been built on the left. Further down the road to the left became the site for Sainsbury’s


Westgate, part of Red Bank Road. The terrace on the right is was called ‘Westgate’, but some say that it could be the old name for the road from the village !


Red Bank Road – Bispham – 1918

Shows the view towards Bispham village along a much narrower and quieter road. On the left, Aspen’s or Uptown Farm hides Bamber’s Farm from view. The trees in the distance surrounded the Bethel Chapel and school. The houses on the right still survive today, the terrace known as Westgate

Westgate looking west towards the sea. On the right are Aspen’s or Uptown Farm and Bamber’s Farm

The large building at the centre is still there today.

Church Road, corner of Red Bank Road – Showing Post Office, a Victorian brick building

To the right are a row of three cottages which were demolished in June 1961. They stood lower than the road level and were often flooded.

Church Road (now All Hallows Road), looking North towards Daisy Dank


Daisy Bank, Church Road, Bispham

Ivy Cottage. Post Office as in previous picture, at far right

The cottage was demolished in about 1958. Many thousands of visitors will remember the tearooms. It was built in 1686, supposedly by the Tinckler family. The date panel removed from the cottage is preserved at Grundy House

Parish Church, now on All Hallows Road

Ivy Cottage – Tea Gardens

Although the village centre used to be thatched with a number of pre-19th century houses, it was redesigned in the 1960’s; only two of the old houses remain. Much of the housing today is of the design style consistent with that of the 1930’s to the 1950’s

Church Road – Bank on left

Church Road

Bispham Crossing – 1918

Before ‘Crossley’s’ bridge was built in 1930, the main road to Bispham from Layton ran north from Hoo Hill through this level crossing at Bispam, now Layton Station

Sod Cutting – For Congregational School Church – July 10 1911

Congregational Church – Pastor G.W. Booth

Bispham Gala 1913

St. Stephens-on-the-Cliffs dating from the 1930’s. Church Hall is on the right, church on the left

The parade would seem to the May Queen celebrations

In 1917, Bispham was incorporated as a new ward of Blackpool

Bispham with Norbreck Gala Programme 1964

Bispham Branch Library

Bispham Street Scenes


Hesketh Place, Bispham

“It was nice to finally find a photograph of my house when the road was Hesketh Place (now Warbreck Drive) opposite Hesketh Avenue. My house is the 3 storey house on the photo. It was built in 1901/2 and owned by Amelia and George Knight(Bricklayer and building company owner). Behind the houses were the Bispham Tram Depot, electricity station and chimney (now Sainsbury’s). On the 1905 ordanance survey map of Bispham my house was the last one on Hesketh Place next to feilds that joined onto lanes near the church (Reformed Church, Cavendish Rd)”


Hesketh Avenue, Bispham – 1919

Cliff Place – Red Bank Road

Now a block of shops opposite the Bispham Conservative Club Bowling Green

12 Hesketh Avenue, Bispham

Apartments run by Mrs Ernest Broadhurst

Hesketh Avenue, Bispham –  from the promenade 1907


Frederick Street, Bispham – 1909

Later renamed Edenvale Avenue from 1st February 1929, by an ordered dated 6th March 1928.


Arundel Avenue, Bispham – 1916


Cavendish Road – Bispham, from the corner of Queen’s Promenade

Looks like this today


Kelvin Road, Bispham – 1938

“Beulah”, 262 Queen’s Drive, corner of Arundel Ave, Bispham, Blackpool

Looks much the same today, but now has a rear extention, the chimney has gone and the front now has a small conservatory

Horseman’s Hill, Bispham. This view is taken from the corner of Bispham Gala field. The road to the left is Fleetwod Road, and to the right where the wooden fence stands, is now North Drive. The view of the properties look very much the same today. The cobble stone wall is still there. Postmarked 1912

Nearly 100 years later !  The hedge is now fully grown and hides from view of the two cottages, Willow and Rose. Most of the chimney pots are still there, with the chimney stack on the large house at the end missing

Horseman’s Hill was officially transferred from Carleton to Bispham council ownership in 1877

North Drive now runs to the right of the two cottages where there was a fence in the 1912 view

Opening of the Miners’ Home, Bispham –  By HRH The Prince of Wales –  June 28th 1927

Later known as the Lancashire & Cheshire Mineworkers’ Convalescent Home

HRH The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII who abdicated

Prince Edward at the door

Unlocking the door of the Miner’s Home

Official opening of the home

A large spoon used in the Miners’ Home

Lancashire & Cheshire Miners’ Convalescent Home Blackpool

The Miners’ Home is a Grade 2 Listed Building

Souvenir postcard for the opening of the Miners’ Home

Ariel view of the Miners’ Convalescent Home

The Entrance Hall to the Miners’ Convalescent Home