The LEWTAS Families

APRIL  2024



Thomas, the youngest son of George and Ellen of Staining married Elizabeth Biggins at Bispham parish church on 11th June 1763. Their daughter Mary was baptised at Bispham on July 17th 1764 and their son George on May 1st 1768.

Thomas at some time moved to Blackpool and opened the Lane Ends Hotel in Blackpool, where the Manchester Mercury carried an advert 23rd October 1787: :

'To be let for a term of years, by private contract, all the large commodious and well-established inn at Blackpool, known as the Lane Ends, with the barn stabling and other out offices and convenience thereto belonging together with any quantity of land from 12 to 30 acres. NB the house as at present filled with 70 beds and all other necessary and proper furniture which may be had on a fair valuation and if more agreeable paid for by instalments Further particulars may be had of Mr Thomas Lewtas on the premises who may be treated with on good terms.'

The property is recorded as the 'Dwelling house called Lane End with barn coach house stables garden and croft at Blackpool lately erected by Thomas Lewtas on certain premises purchased by him of John Bamber.

Henry Banks later wrote "In 1790 a coffee-house was erected at Lane Ends by Mr. Lewtas, and a kitchen soon afterwards, in which dinner was cooked, and thence carried across the road to the public dining-room adjoining the little white cottage, without covers for many a year. Afterwards the dining room was built at the hotel"

In 1796 William Smith had the hotel and advertised afternoon tea 10d, supper with malt liquor 1 6d which prices " he flatters himself will not be considered exhorbitant"

Norman Cunliffe and Alan Stott of Blackpool & Fylde Historical Society have provided a good deal of material on the Lane Ends Hotel and the manufactury in Anchersholme, from which the following information is taken:

(Thomas's daughter Mary married John Duxbury of Blackburn at Bispham parish church on 13th September 1784 aged 20).

"Young Duxbury saw that cotton was the trade of the future and persuaded his father-in-law to partner him in the venture of building a factory for spinning and weaving. They found a site near Anchorsholme where they could convert seven bays of farm buildings into eleven workers' cottages (site near Jem Gate). Lewtas also built himself a house to the south, by the side of Norbreck Road, which still exists, incorporated into the right hand bay of ˜Bispham Court'."

"The next year the partners bought more land south of the road running down to the present junction of Fleetwood Road and Wilson Square: there they built a factory and two cottages. Cottages on both sites survived into memory, by which time the name ˜factory houses' was something of a puzzle. John Duxbury also built a house not far from Lewtas's across the lane which also still exists in a modified form. This dwelling, ˜Bispham House' now has its original 1786 date stone set in low garden walling.

The factory was allegedly a three story affair, but I can find no information about its operations. If it had power, which I doubt, it would be from a horse mill.

One thing seems certain that the full intentions were not realised. When Thomas Lewtas died in 1789 his son George took over, but the brothers-in-law soon spilt up. Duxbury went into the cotton trade in Manchester before 1791, financed it seems by Worswick's bank at Lancaster while George Lewtas went to Blackburn partnered by James Broadbelt, making calico. The Manchester Mercury of 22nd May 1792 carries an advertisement offering a lease on Lewtas's house for the coming season. George Lewtas is listed in the Freeholders' Lists for 1792 Bispham, Layton, Lytham, Great Marton - George Lewtas aged variously 24/25/26/28, Blackburn cotton manufacturer, with estates in the above townships."

Thomas died in 1789 at the early age of 46.

Henry Banks wrote about Blackpool in the early 1800s. (Banks, together with his three brothers, was one of the founding fathers of Blackpoool and the brother-in-law of George Lewtas of Poulton)

The houses were few and scattered; from the church to the sea, the small white cottage previously mentioned stood a solitary dwelling:- from the hovel standing on the site of Bennetts Hotel to Fumblers Hill, eight cottages might be numbered, all of them, with the exception of Forshaw's Hotel, merely huts: and at the lower end of Blackpool eighteen battered buildings, many of which are now washed down and the others dilapidated:- these composed the village. All of them, with the exception of four, which had recently been rendered conspicuous by a roof of slate, were covered with thatch; one, and only one was ornamented by a sash window; and a solitary shed could alone be found to protect from the rain the equipage of the visitor. Nor was cleanliness much regarded; the refuse and filth of the household was discharged at the very threshold of the door; and the duck, with delighted young ones, dabbling in the little ponds of water indented in the clay floor, frequently associated with the pig . Almost every hut was fenced in front by a huge black stack of turf on one side of the door, while on the other the family dunghill, sweetly scented with putrefying offal of fish, ascended in noble emulation.

It is not much more than 60 years ago that there was no shop in Blackpool. We had to go to Layton and Marton for everything that was wanted. When Mr Lewtas kept the Lane Ends Hotel he sent to Poulton every morning for bread, as there was neither butcher nor baker in our village.

When I was at the same hotel nothing came into Blackpool for sale - neither ducks, fowl, butter, eggs, or any kind of vegetable We had to send into the country three or four days a week to get what we wanted. I remember when there was only one sash window in Blackpool. There were only what we called leaded windows and thatched houses. I remember the west side of the beach (now embanked by stones) all grass from top to bottom, and the tide seldom flowed higher than the gravel, which was in high ridges. Ladies when bathing had to dress and undress on the gravel, a housemaid assisting them. Decency was observed for when a bell rang any gentleman appearing on the beach during the undressing of the ladies was fined a bottle of wine'