Esplanade: The Mount

Esplanade: The Mount

The Mount is a small hill on Fleetwood Esplanade. At the top of it is The Mount Pavilion and it’s surrounded by newly restored Mount Gardens.

A pavilion building has stood there since the town of Fleetwood was first built in the early 1800’s. The current Pavilion has watched over Fleetwood for more than 100 years, from it’s high point opposite the Marine Hall.

The unique pavilion perched on top of the hill is Grade II listed. Although it’s stood empty for some time, it’s slowly being brought back into use. You can look inside it during Heritage Open Days in September and during other special events.

New railings and restoration at The Mount, Fleetwood
New railings and restoration at The Mount, Fleetwood

Fly over The Mount

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Have a look at this great bit of aerial film thanks to ‘Blackpool FPV’. It opens with views of The Pavilion, continuing with a flyover of the Esplanade, on a glorious day.

Drone flight over The Mount on the Esplanade Fleetwood, by Blackpool Lee

This aerial drone flight at Fleetwood Esplanade at sunset is by Christopher Verity who filmed it. Thanks to him for allowing us to share it.

Drone flight over The Mount at Sunset by Christopher Verity

Glorious Views from The Mount at Fleetwood

Although The Mount Pavilion isn’t usually open for you to look inside, you can still walk to the top of the slope and look around. It’s highly recommended and you’ll be rewarded with the most glorious views of Fleetwood’s seafront.

The Mount - the highpoint at Fleetwood seafront
The Mount – the highpoint at Fleetwood seafront

To your left as you look across the seafront is The Esplanade, pitch and putt and the boating lakes beyond to the south.

View south from The Mount, looking over the pitch and putt and boating lakes
View south from The Mount, looking over the pitch and putt and boating lakes

Straight ahead you’re looking over the Marine Hall and gardens, to Marine Beach. You’ll see the distant shoreline of Barrow and the hills of the Lakes too.

View of the Marine hall and Gardens from the top of The Mount
View of the Marine hall and Gardens from the top of The Mount

Look to your right over the Wyre Estuary and see across to Morecambe Bay in the north. On a clear sunny day it really is well worth the effort and one of the things you really must do when you visit Fleetwood.

View right from the top of the Mount Gardens, looking north towards Morecambe Bay
View right from the top of the Mount Gardens, looking north towards Morecambe Bay

A Very Generous Gift for The Mount

Fleetwood’s most iconic feature had a facelift in 2016 which restored the railings and shelters to their former glory. The work was carried out thanks to an incredibly generous gift of a £1m donation from the Lofthouse family.

Restored railings around The Mount at Fleetwood
Restored railings around The Mount at Fleetwood

Initial funding of £142,900 was awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to help Wyre Council develop a proposal to transform the landward side of the Grade II registered Mount Gardens. Plans include improvements to the pavilion, rose garden and gate lodge, to the original Victorian landscape.

The Grade II registered garden was designed by eminent architect and landscape designer Decimus Burton in the 1800s.

Find out much more about The Mount Gardens and their restoration, here

History of The Mount

The hill on which the Pavilion stands was one of the largest sandhills in the area, when the port and town of Fleetwood was but a twinkle in the eye. .

In the 1830’s the Rossall estate, owned by Peter Hesketh, was a desolate tract of land. It was home to thousands of rabbits and their extensive warrens, plus plenty of sea birds.

Back then the area was prone to continual flooding, and the port of Fleetwood hadn’t been developed. Skippool was the busy trading port on the River Wyre and Poulton was the local market town.

A perfect spot for a new town

Peter Hesketh, Lord of the Manor, High Sheriff of the County of Lancashire and MP for Preston (later to be knighted and change his name to Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood) believed that what is now Fleetwood could be a busy sea port and popular resort. The river mouth, the natural sheltered harbour, golden sands, sea, air like wine and breathtaking views across Morecambe Bay on clear days were all integral to his plan. All that was missing was a railway from busy Preston. That’s another story, which you can read about here.

In 1836, the renowned architect of the day, Decimus Burton was hired by Peter Hesketh to plan his new town. The area was still nothing more than open farms with an odd dwelling dotted here and there.

The Mount is fundamental to the Growth of Fleetwood

Burton’s plan was to use largest of the sand-dunes (The Mount) on the north-facing shore as the focus of a half-wheel street layout.

Google map of location of The Mount in Fleetwood
Google map of location of The Mount in Fleetwood

This sandhill and rabbit warren rose to a high point at the centre. It was the highest spot where the two men could get a good view over the land. They stood at the top of it and mapped out the radius of streets, which you still see in Fleetwood today.

The Mount (marked by the red star in the Google map above) became the hub of Burton’s half-wheel design. The main residential streets acted as the spokes, and the main commerce area of Dock Street was the rim of the wheel.

The sand hill itself was landscaped, and became known as The Mount. It was originally called Starr Hill.

How The Mount Evolved

A pagoda style summer house was first built on top of the Mount, also designed by Decimus Burton. Esau Carter Monk, who was one of the first town commissioners, served refreshments from it.

The original building on top of The Mount
The original building on top of The Mount

The original building on top of The Mount

The Mount Pavilion

The Mount Pavilion which we see today replaced the original structure more than 100 years ago. It was built around 1902/04. It’s one of 43 Grade II Listed Buildings in Fleetwood. With many of its original features still intact, it’s built from brick and tile, with a copper roofed octagonal dome.

The Mount Pavilion, Fleetwood
The Mount Pavilion, Fleetwood

Inside, it’s a beautiful building, still with pretty much of its original detailing.

Staircase inside The Mount Pavilion, Fleetwood
Staircase inside The Mount Pavilion, Fleetwood

The Mount Clock

Isaac Spencer was a wealthy port businessman. It was he who donated the clock which you still see today, mounted in the clock tower and telling the time for Fleetwood. It was donated in memory of those who did not return from World War 1. The clock is actually a First World War registered War Memorial.

The Mount Pavilion Clock
The Mount Pavilion Clock

It’s worked from a mechanism inside the building. Inside the glass display case you can see the workings and watch the minutes tick by…

The mechanism of the Mount Pavilion Clock
The mechanism of the Mount Pavilion Clock

Inside the case you can see the seconds tick by –

Mechanism of the Mount Pavilion clock
Mechanism of the Mount Pavilion clock

This is the plaque which you can see inside the building –

Plaque on The Mount Pavilion Clock, a registered World War One Memorial
Plaque on The Mount Pavilion Clock, a registered World War One Memorial

The inscription reads:

The Great War 1914-18
Fleetwood Memorial Clock
This clock is in recognition of the magnificent response made by the men of Fleetwood to the nation’s call.
Their devotion to duty, their noble and courageous deeds on sea and land, and in so many cases their supreme sacrifice in the defence of freedom; also in sympathy with the maimed, the widows, and the fatherless.

The Role of Fleetwood Civic Society

Fleetwood Civic Society has played a key part in looking after the building which we enjoy today. For many years there was no mains water and sewage connection to the Pavilion. After it was vacated by the last commercial occupant in the 1990’s, the Pavilion stood empty for a long time, save for the odd open day and special event.

A period of neglect followed, where the building deteriorated. Then Fleetwood Civic Society stepped in, to enable preservation of the building for future generations.

Margaret Daniels and Yvonne Johnstone from Fleetwood Civic Society
Margaret Daniels and Yvonne Johnstone from Fleetwood Civic Society

Fleetwood Festive Lights light up The Mount Pavilion at Christmas.

Fleetwood Heritage Open Days

The Mount is one of the buildings opened each September by the Civic Society for the annual Fleetwood Heritage Open Days.

You can go inside and take a look at the building. See the workings of the clock, go out onto the balcony and take in the splendid views.

The Mount Crest

The Crest is a relatively new thing, installed on the slope to the seaward side of the Mount.

The Mount Crest in The Mount Gardens, Fleetwood. Completed in 2015
The Mount Crest in The Mount Gardens, Fleetwood. Completed in 2015

It’s a lasting, year round design that replaces the need for costly and labour intensive seasonal planting (below).

The Mount at Fleetwood showing the Crest planted up
The Mount at Fleetwood showing the Crest planted up

Over at the Fylde and Wyre Antiquarian website, there’s a fascinating article which delves into the past of The Mount. Including tales of mediaeval sheep enclosures, a Roman well and local riots!

Would you like your own Mount Pavilion?

We’re The Rabbit Patch Ltd and we independently publish Visit Fleetwood. We’re a design and creatives company right here on the Fylde Coast and we have an online shop where we sell our own original art.

This is one of two watercolour paintings – available framed or as a plain print. Follow the link and have a look around at both local scenes and traditional seaside views.

The Mount Fleetwood, watercolour painting from the Seaside Emporium
The Mount Fleetwood, watercolour painting from the Seaside Emporium

While you’re here…

Have a look at the Visit Fleetwood website homepage for more of the latest updates.

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