The Foundation Stone Project, led by Community Rail Lancashire, will see a replica of the existing town foundation stone, currently embedded in the basement wall of the Town House pub, relocated to the green space outside of St Anne’s Train Station, so it can be seen by everyone.
The Town House, directly across the rad from the station, was formerly for many years the St Annes Hotel, the very first building to be constructed in what is now St Annes town centre, following the town’s foundation by East Lancashire millowners in 1875. .
It is named after the town’s Parish Church, initially known as the church of St Anne at Heyhouses, which was built in 1873.
The foundation stone, laid by Lytham Squire John Talbot Clifton to launch the new town, is an important part of St Annes’ history and links to the town’s Neighbourhood plan, enhancing an important gateway into the town, while recognising the historical, social and architectural developments of St Annes.
The project is being funded by St Annes Town Council, Fylde Council Community Projects Fund, Lytham Heritage Group, Community Rail Lancashire and a number of personal donations.
Liam Galvin, local builder and stonemason, will be sculpting the replica foundation stone and carrying out the works necessary to install it in its new home outside the station.
St Annes town mayor Coun Karen Harrison and Tony Ford, chairman of the South Fylde Line and Vice Chairman of Community Rail Lancashire, ceremonially broke ground to signal the start of the project.
The building work is expected to take approximately a week and then work will begin on accompanying interpretation boards.
Coun Harrison said: “I was honoured to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the new foundation stone for St Annes. Replicating the stone and situating it in front of the train station allows it to be visible to all the visitors and residents. I can’t wait to see it unveiled.”
Mr Ford added: “I am really pleased that work is starting on this project. What seemed like a simple task became complicated by having to secure planning permission, then Covid struck and different builders have come and gone.”