Town educational philanthropist honoured

Unveiling of commemorative stone and burying of a time capsule at Oxford Square.  Pictured from Baines Endowed Primary are Lucas Burgess, Joshua Fullman and Tru Cowell.
Unveiling of commemorative stone and burying of a time capsule at Oxford Square. Pictured from Baines Endowed Primary are Lucas Burgess, Joshua Fullman and Tru Cowell.
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A philanthropist who ensured children from the Fylde’s poorest families could receive an education has been honoured 300 years after his death.

James Baines lends his name to three schools along our coast - in Marton, Thornton and Poulton.

Unveiling of commemorative stone and burying of a time capsule at Oxford Square,Blackpool

Unveiling of commemorative stone and burying of a time capsule at Oxford Square,Blackpool

A legacy inspired by the need for schooling for the children of farmers, fishermen and labourers lives on today.

And now thanks to the determination of community historians, a commemorative stone has been unveiled on the traffic island at Oxford Square in Marton.

It celebrates a man who recognised the injustice of education being unaffordable for lower class families.

More than £2,000 was raised towards the stone after a campaign was launched last year by Marton Heritage Group.

Unveiling of commemorative stone and burying of a time capsule at Oxford Square. Pictured are mayoress Joan Goldin, mayor Kath Rowson, trustee Jackie Daniels, chairman of Marton Heritage Group Philp Walsh, trustee and former headteacher Glenis Taylor and trustee Kathleen Montgomery.

Unveiling of commemorative stone and burying of a time capsule at Oxford Square. Pictured are mayoress Joan Goldin, mayor Kath Rowson, trustee Jackie Daniels, chairman of Marton Heritage Group Philp Walsh, trustee and former headteacher Glenis Taylor and trustee Kathleen Montgomery.

The plaque was unveiled on Monday by Glenis Taylor, a trustee of Baines Charity and a retired headteacher of the Marton school.

Blackpool Mayor Coun Kath Rowson also attended the ceremony along with more than 50 people from the local community.

Children from Baines Marton also buried a time capsule filled with artefacts including a school polo shirt, photographs, a current class timetable and a coin specially produced to mark the tricentenary.

Yvonne Fielding, spokeswoman for Marton Heritage Group, said: “The site for the stone was chosen because that is the approximate position of the first Baines School.

“It was a very emotional occasion and you could see people filling up.

“I went to Baines at Marton, and my son and brother also went there, so I have quite an affinity towards the school.

“At the unveiling ceremony, a lady came up to me and said she had been my best friend at Baines.

“We hadn’t seen each other for about 55 years, and she had travelled all the way from Derby to be there.

“So it certainly meant something to people.”

Philip Walsh, chairman of Marton Heritage Group, added: “It was a very historic occasion.

“We felt proud to celebrate the tricentenary of a gentleman who did a lot of good and whose memory lives on in the legacy he gave.

“There are still Baines Charities which raise money for projects at the schools.”

The ceremony was held 300 years to the day after James Baines died on January 9 1717.

He was a Poulton woollen-draper, believed to have been born in Goosnargh, and was also a money-lender.

He saw the need for free schools in the parish of Poulton, of which Marton was then part, and bought land to build three schools.

Today these are still flourishing - Baines School on Higcross Avenue in Poulton, Baines Endowed Primary School on Station Road in Thornton, and Baines Endowed Primary School on Penrose Avenue in Marton.