Victorian Fleetwood 

Victorian FleetwoodFleetwood was a relatively new town in Victorian times when William Swarbrick moved his family from Stalmine to an address of 75 Custom House Lane, Fleetwood, before the time in September 1847 when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the port in the royal steam yacht Victoria and Albert.


As the royal yacht was expected to arrive from Scotland the newspapers reported that on the Monday morning the wind was blowing stormy from the north-west, and the sky looked wild and cloudy.  About three o' clock in the afternoon, some smoke was clearly distinguished on the horizon from five distinct vessels.  Soon after the masts and funnels of the vessels of the royal squadron were perceived, and the signal gun was heard to spread the joyful intelligence through the town.



Wyre Light and TugThe Fleetwood channel into the River Wyre from Morecambe Bay is lit by three lighthouses that were constructed around 1840; about the same time that the semi-circular North Euston hotel that is distinctive on the sky-line of the port was built.  The 93 foot Pharos 'Upper' lighthouse is built from sandstone and along with the Lower 'Beach' lighthouse form leading lights into the port.

Wyre light is located some two miles offshore from Fleetwood as a turning mark on the entrance to the Fleetwood channel, from Lune Deeps in Morecambe Bay.

Construction of the Wyre Dock in Fleetwood was not completed until 1877.


Royal Steam Yacht Victoria and AlbertAround 6.00 p.m. the squadron was rapidly approaching and wending its way majestically up the channel.  During its passage, however, one of those singular casualties which sometime occur almost proved a serious impediment to their royal progress.  The unprecedented illumination of the hotel and pier, which was at this instant lighted up, took away the supply of gas from the lower lighthouse, and with a lesser experienced pilot  than Capt. Beechey on board this may have brought the fleet to an anchor.  Even by him every well-known buoy had to be picked out by his night glass.  Such an occurrence has never before been known during the last ten years the light has been kept burning.  The shades of evening had closed in as the royal yacht turned gracefully round the steep breast in front of the North Euston hotel, about a quarter past seven o' clock.  The royal squadron took up their several  stations in the harbour with the most perfect regularity and precision.  The royal yacht first approaching the side of the wharf, nearly opposite the triumphal arch, then dropping her anchor, and gracefully swinging round into her appointed berth, with bow to sea, for the admiration of all who understood the nature of the manoeuvre, which under the eye of Lord Adolphus Fitzclarence, the crew of the royal yacht so scientifically performed.

Reportage from The Fleetwood Chronicle and General Advertiser September 24th, 1847.

                                                                                 Copyright Stephen Musgrave 2015/2016  -  All Rights Reserved


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