Elk’s bare bones of a pub name

The front page of the Poulton le Fylde News on July 31, 1970 breaking the news about the find of what became known as the Poulton Elk and (below) two young college fashion hopefuls pose for a shot beside The Poulton Elk in the Harris Museum, Preston, in May 1984

The front page of the Poulton le Fylde News on July 31, 1970 breaking the news about the find of what became known as the Poulton Elk and (below) two young college fashion hopefuls pose for a shot beside The Poulton Elk in the Harris Museum, Preston, in May 1984

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The Fylde coast’s newest pub, The Poulton Elk, has opened this week, but how many readers know why it was given that name?

The Wetherspoon’s free house in Hardhorn Road takes its title from the discovery of bones in the summer of 1970 when a bungalow in Blackpool Old Road, just over the Blackpool border in what is now Wyre borough, was being demolished.

Two young college fashion hopefuls pose for a shot beside The Poulton Elk in the Harris Museum in May 1984

Two young college fashion hopefuls pose for a shot beside The Poulton Elk in the Harris Museum in May 1984

The property was roughly opposite the land where Blackpool Sixth Form College now stands and over the years the skeleton of the creature excavated has been referred to as the Poulton Elk and the Carleton Elk.

In fact a nearby housing development, off Westfield Avenue, includes a street called Elkfield Drive.

The bones themselves can be seen in the Harris Museum, Market Square, Preston.

Reader Kenneth Jackson, of Harewood Close, Carleton, says that his close friend Andrew Lowley “a big Wetherspoon fan” has sent him a potted history of the elk which he feels would fit well on Memory Lane.

The Poulton Elk

The Poulton Elk

Andrew says he was intrigued by the new pub’s name and “after quite a bit of work on the internet” he has come up with information about “Horace the Poulton Elk”.

Many of the details gleaned by Andrew can certainly be ratified in yellowing cuttings here in The Gazette archives, starting with the front page of the weekly sister paper, the Poulton-le-Fylde News, of Friday, July 31, 1970.

Poulton le Fylde Historical Society was delighted to help when Wetherspoons asked for photographs and information about the history of the elk.

In fact, many of the pictures and text now adorning the pub’s walls are from the society’s collection. Anyone interested in finding out about the history of the elk needs look no further than the Historical Society’s website www.poulton-le-fylde-hcs.co.uk.

Meanwhile, here are just a few of the many bullet points sent by Andrew to Kenneth:

* The name Horace was given to the elk by neighbour Tony Scholey and his family who assisted with the lifting of the bones

* Horace was approximately three years old and eight about 650 lbs when he perished 13,500 years ago during the late paleolithic period

* Marks on the skeleton and some spear barbs indicate he was hunted for some time before he perished - the first archaeological evidence that humans lived in the Poulton area, which would have been covered by lakes, bogs and marshland

* There is no evidence that Horace was captured and butchered by his hunters and it is possible he drowned and sank in a lake before they could retrieve him

* A booklet Horace The Elk was published by Lancashire Archaeology Society

* Horace is of international significance

* The Ordnance Survey reference of where the skeleton was found is SD3312 3867 and post code is FY3 7LR