MANY are rightly bemoaning the recent theft of statues from Stanley Park.
But it is now seven years since callous thieves disappeared into the night with what were regarded as Blackpool’s oldest architectural features, dating from a time when the resort was just a cluster of coastal farmsteads within Layton.
They were the Tudor stone pineapple tops, which had graced the park’s southern gateposts, and originally came from Layton Hall, which was at the junction of what is now Collingwood Avenue and Hollywood Avenue.
The original hall was built around 1600, by Edward Rigby of Birch Hall, Chorley, and remained in the Rigby family – who gave their name to Rigby Road – until 1717, when Sir Alexander Rigby, born in 1636, was forced to sell the hall and estate to pay off his gambling debts.
Sir Alexander died in 1717.
The estate was later owned by the Cliftons of Lytham and, after a number of occupants and tenants, the Tudor hall was demolished around 1770, and a three-storey double-fronted farmhouse built on the site.
But the ancient gateposts remained until the farmhouse, also known as Layton Hall, was demolished in 1927 for building.
Local historian Ted Lightbown, who lives near the site of the hall, says: “After the gateposts were donated to Stanley Park, by local builder H Vickers in September 1927, they were at first re-erected to the south of the tennis courts. In the 1960s, the posts were removed to the southern end of the park to allow changing rooms to be built for the tennis courts.
“The posts were taken down again in the 1980s during extensive drainage work. Unfortunately, they were rebuilt in a most unsympathetic way, and now bear little resemblance to the originals.
“Should the pineapples ever be recovered, they might be better placed in a museum.”