The iconic fishstones and lamppost at the heart of Kirkham’s Market Square have been temporarily removed to allow the public realm works, being carried out through the Kirkham Futures Programme, to progress and will be returning once the project is near completion.
To facilitate the ongoing public realm works within Market Square, the fishstones and lamppost will be carefully removed and stored securely at the project compound. At a later stage of the project, these treasured landmarks are to be returned to Market Square and relocated slightly, approximately 1.5 metres in a south-westerly direction from their previous position. The current proposals include this relocation, the resetting of the fishstones to their original height, and the provision of lighting beneath the stones. The appearance of the lamppost will be retained, other than a repair to one of the legs and a dark green colouration.
A spokesperson for Fylde Council said: “Residents can rest assured that the fishstones and lamppost will soon be back where they belong. We fully understand how crucial it is that these beloved heritage assets are carefully preserved and returned to their rightful place in Market Square once the project has progressed sufficiently to allow their reinstatement.”
The fishstones, which date back to 1829, are flat slabs of stone set on stone uprights to form two semi-circular counters from which fish was sold on market days. In the centre of these stones stands a cast iron lamppost, originating from 1872, which was subsequently removed before being reinstated in 1982. The lamppost itself has a richly decorated base, with a fluted shaft supporting a lamp.
The town’s location away from city retail centres suggests that the market would have been frequently busy, and its proximity to sea fishing landing places makes a fish seller an obvious fixture. Ice blocks may have been kept between the legs of the fishstones to keep the fish laid on top cool prior to the invention and widespread adoption of electric refrigeration. Today, the fishstones are a clear reminder of the function of the market square, and along with the lamp items, enjoy Grade 2 listed status.
Kirkham Futures is a 4-year programme of work to revitalise the town centre, representing the biggest investment in Kirkham in a generation, funded by the Historic England High Street Heritage Action Zone, the Government’s Future High Street Fund, and contributions from Lancashire County Council, Fylde Council, and Kirkham Town Council.
For more information about the Kirkham Futures Public Realm Improvements, including a list of Frequently Asked Questions, visit the Kirkham Futures website. To keep up to date on the latest developments in Kirkham and across the Fylde, sign up to the Fylde Council newsletter.
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