Fleetwood, Isle of Man

Historical Description

Fleetwood, a market and seaport town, and an ecclesiastical parish in Lancashire. The town stands on the river Wyre, within 2 miles of the open sea, and 18 NW of Preston. Its site, so late as 1836, was a mere rabbit warren, but was observed by its proprietor, Sir P. H. Fleetwood, to be situated so advantageously for inter-communication between the great marts of England and the seaports of the Isle of Man and the North of Ireland, that he determined to make it a seat of commerce. A harbour was planned, a railway was formed, and buildings of all sorts appropriate to a seaport town were begun. The town speedily took form, sprang into activity, and became both a bonding port and a seaside resort. Acreage, 14,553; population, 12,888; of the ecclesiastical parish, 9274. The Preston and Wyre railway, opened in 1840, connects it with the general railway system at Preston: the L. & Y.E. carries on the connection from Preston eastward, and other lines of railway in other directions have since been made. The town is governed by a body of 12 improvement commissioners. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office (R.S.O.), a railway station, good hotels, a new covered market, bazaars and fancy shops, a custom-house, gasworks, public bathing establishments, a cottage hospital, extensive barracks, a savings bank, the Fielden free library and public hall, a church, and Congregational, Wesleyan, Primitive Methodist, and Roman Catholic chapels. There is also a mission church, dedicated under the name of St Margaret. The parish church is a stone edifice in the Early English style, and was enlarged in 1883. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Manchester; net yearly value, £326. A weekly market is held on Friday, various kinds of industry, principally fishing and the trade in salt, suitable to a port are carried on, and three weekly newspapers are published. Rossall Hall, in the vicinity, formerly the seatof Sir P. H. Fleetwood, is now a collegiate school of high character but on moderate terms, in connection with the Church of England, possesses accommodation for over 400 pupils, and has several exhibitions and scholarships; also achapel, a music-room, a lecture-room, and gymnasium, fives courts, &c. The harbour is accessible to vessels of any tonnage. The number of vessels entering the port averages about 1500 yearly. The traffic with Ireland is the most important, and there are now five splendid steamers engaged in it, one of which runs every evening conveying passengers, cattle, and produce. During the summer month first-class steamers ply between this port and the Isle of Man. There is a weekly service of steamers to Londonderry. The docks are extensive, and the quays have several miles of railway, and are well furnished with powerful machinery for shipping and discharging cargoes. A grain elevator, capable of storing 30,000 tons of grain, was built here in 1883 for the L. & Y.R. Company. The number of vessels registered as belonging to the port in 1893 was 117 (11,496 tons). Forcustoms purposes Fleetwood is a sub-port under Liverpool; its limits extend from Blackpool to the mouth of the Wyre river, thence to the river Broadfleet, 4 miles from Sea Dyke, including both sides of the Wyre and the river Broadfleet.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5