Lytham St Annes Civic Society see their long-running plans to improve the Mussel Tank on Lytham Green come to fruition
Where is the Mussel Tank site?
The base on which these buildings stand was two of the three sections of the former Mussel Tanks.
The mussel tanks fell into disuse in the 1940’s and the industry ended in the 1950’s. Two of the three sections of mussel tanks were put to new use.
The RNLI shop and inshore lifeboat uses one of the areas, and the Ribble Cruising Club uses another. For some time the remaining section became an informal swimming pool!
Fylde Council own the site and it has had several commercial uses over the years – all of which have met with an unsatisfactory ending.
Improvements to the Mussel Tank site
Lytham St Annes Civic Society have been working on proposals for the improvement of the site since 2010.
They have been successful with their plans and funding applications for the £130,000 project.
A new low-key design has been implemented. It retains the ambience of Lytham Green, improves the area and makes it usable by everyone when the weather is good. It includes information and photos about the tanks in use and various artworks.
Opening of the Mussel Tank
The Mussel Tank site was officially opened in May 2019, in a ceremony performed by David Cam, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire.
Views, History and Wildlife
The improved area will be a lovely place to sit and admire the amazing views over the Ribble estuary.
The design also tells the story of the shellfish industry through interpretation, artwork and sculpture. There will be an ‘art wall’ with ceramic tiles portraying local features produced by Students at Lytham Sixth Form College as part of their coursework. Plus a large-scale mussel carved in stone by Sculptor Martyn Bednarczuk (sponsored by the Ribble Rivers Trust).
More about the Mussel Tank
The Mussel Tanks were originally built in 1934 to enable fishermen to clean their catch of shellfish. Mussels were brought here from all over this coastline, some from as far away as Morecambe Bay. A spell of purification in clean water enabled them to be sold and eaten. Taking uncleaned mussels from the River Ribble was prohibited.
By 1946 up to 12,000 bags of mussels were cleaned here annually. But by the mid 1950’s the beds had been closed down, mainly because of changes in the Ribble channel which made restocking the beds impossible.
Delivering the Project
The Lytham St Annes Civic Society have sponsored the improvement project. They gratefully acknowledge the support of the Tom Blasson Foundation, the Lytham Schools Foundation, and Fylde Council.
The design has been carried out by BCA Landscape (Chartered Landscape Architects). The contract was awarded to Landscape Engineering Ltd of Padiham.
The Friends of the Estuary and the RSPB have also assisted with the production of Interpretation boards to explain the history of mussel fishing as well as the flora and fauna of the area.
Find out More about the Mussel Tank Project on LSA Civic Society website
Find out More
Have a look at the Visit Lytham website homepage for more of the latest updates.
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