Ashton Gardens is an attractive, 10 acre park, full of lovely planting and modern amenities. It’s right at the heart of St Annes. Find it at 5 St Georges Road, St Annes, FY8 2AE
The gardens welcomes visitors and residents to enjoy the landscaping, plants, trees and flowers. It’s a lovely town centre park, not far from the seafront too. A place for play, solitude, events and community life for locals and visitors.
- Did you know? It’s also a grade II listed garden on English Heritage’s Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest.
It’s a beautifully restored and well maintained garden. When you are next at St Annes it’s well worth a walk through its magnificent gates to have a look around.
Features in Ashton Gardens
St Annes War Memorial, the Pavilion Tea Room and Restaurant, and a whole host of other public facilities can be found in the gardens.
Facilities include the popular Pavilion tea rooms. It’s a lovely place to stop for refreshment, especially on a sunny day.
There’s something for people of all ages in the gardens. There are bowlings greens, play areas and a skate park. Plus of course public toilets. Young and old can enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and free things to do, all year round.
Events in Ashton Gardens
There are often things happening in the gardens, all through the year. It’s also the hub for St Annes Carnival each year.
Ashton Gardens in Autumn
Thanks to Shirley Donovan for sending in these photos of Ashton Gardens in autumn. Taken at the end of September 2019. As Shirley says “so peaceful and pretty”.
Restoration Work at Ashton Gardens
In recent years the Gardens have enjoyed quite a lot of restoration work.
A £2m Heritage Lottery Fund was secured in 2010. The funds enabled improvements to be made to the infrastructure of the park. The entrance lodge buildings were restored along with the perimeter gates and railings. Refurbishment of the War Memorial itself and resurfacing of the footpaths was also carried out.
The Supporters of Ashton Gardens also secured a grant in 2012 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Those funds covered the cost of the full refurbishment of the Lord Ashton Monument in the rose garden (below).
The work also included a new water fountain and replenishment of the rose beds. Funding also covered improvement of the War Memorial, with provision to light it up.
History of Ashton Gardens
This well loved, popular local park has an interesting history and heritage if you’d like to delve further.
The gardens were first laid out by the Land and Building Company in 1874 – and originally called St. George’s Gardens. A number of setbacks and problems were encountered in those early years. Some of the problems included the still familiar discussion about plans for houses to be built on the open space instead!
Lord Ashton eventually bought the park for the inhabitants of St Annes in 1914, and the gardens are named after him.
The current incarnation of the gardens
After Lord Ashton secured the future of the land, the local council ran a design competition to improve the gardens. Mr F Harrison, a local man, won and went on to lay out the shapes and spaces which can still be seen today. Prior to this redesign large areas of dune grasses still remained, many of which were replaced by ornamental planting.
Ashton Gardens were formally open on the 1st July 1916.
- Read the full story of the History of Ashton Gardens, on the Supporters of Ashton Gardens website.
Ashton Gardens War Memorial
In recognition of its special significance, Ashton Gardens War Memorial was upgraded from Grade II to II* Listed.
Historic England (formerly English Heritage) re-examined the War Memorial in Ashton Gardens as part of their review of War Memorials across the country.
In a prominent position that can be seen from Clifton Drive, it commemorates sacrifice and bravery of local people involved in war. Including the First and Second World Wars and later conflicts. The Memorial is at the centre of local Remembrance services each November.
Lord Ashton also paid for the War Memorial, designed by architect Thomas Smith Tait. He was a prominent Scottish architect, known nationally and internationally for designing modernist architectural styles, including art deco.
Tait won a number of commissions after World War One to design war memorials. They were often installed along with well-known sculptures. The bronze sculptures in St Annes were designed by Walter Marsden from Lancaster. Marsden had also been awarded the Military Cross.
The Memorial is a modernist style in ashlar stone, unveiled on 12th October 1924 by Alderman CF Critchley JP.
Enhanced Listing for St Annes War Memorial
St Annes War Memorial was first listed on 15th February 1993. In August 2017 it was given an Enhanced Listing, for the following reasons.
- Sculptural interest. For high quality and poignant depictions in the round of a shell-shocked soldier and a grieving widow. Together with detailed chronological reliefs, by notable sculptor Walter Marsden;
- Rarity. For extremely rare depictions of a shell-shocked soldier, a grieving widow, wounded and gassed soldiers. And women both on active service and on the Home Front;
- Architectural interest. A bold white granite pylon by Thomas Smith Tait, with high quality bronze sculpture by Walter Marsden;
- Design interest. For an unusual chronological series of panels in relief around the base of the monument;
- Historic interest. As an eloquent and poignant witness to the tragic impact of world events on the local community. And the sacrifice it made in the conflicts of the C20;
- Group value. With the Grade II registered Ashton Gardens.
While you’re here…
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