Bispham

Bispham area

The area is mostly residential with two main shopping areas. The main road at the hub of the village, Red Bank Road, houses a number of high street stores such as Sainsbury’s supermarket. The main shopping area in Bispham is split into two distinct parts. Firstly, from the top of Red Bank Road at the junction with Queens Promenade, running halfway down Red Bank Road toward Bispham fire station. This area contains a mixture of local and tourist businesses including a relatively large number of restaurants, as well as a number of takeaways and Designer wear shops. The other shopping area is based around what is known locally as “the village” which is the area beyond Devonshire Road roundabout behind Bispham Police Station, where the shops are sited around a large outdoor car park. The village area also contains the handful of original cottages remaining in Bispham. There are also small shopping areas on Ashfield Road, Moor Park Avenue and Bispham Road.

Miners Convalescent Home

Bispham was home to the largest and last of the Miners Convelescent Homes that were located in resorts around the country to provide care and comfort to coal miners suffering the range of illnesses which affect almost all of those who work in that deadly environment. Sadly as most of the miners died and the need for these great buildings was diminished the leader of the NUM (National Union of Mineworkers), Arthur Scargill, had them all closed down and over time transferred to his personal fortune as fully reformed hotels. This last of these huge structures was saved from the same fate by the Freedom Corporation based in nearby Lytham St. Annes who bought the property for conversion into an enterprise development centre creating hundreds of jobs and opportunities for the area. However Mr Scargill used his iposition as chair of the Miners Trust charity to create a mortgage charge over the property and have the sale halted for 3 years as the directors of both Freedom Corporation and the Miners Trust chall;enged Scargill. By the time Scargill lost the case the property had become delapidated and was eventually sold to Persimmon homes for half of the price for development into its current use as residential apartments. The effect of this was that the miners trust lost much of its money and its greatest asset so that no more miners were able to receive care from throughout the terrible illnesses they suffered.

Churches

There are two Church of England Parish churches—Bispham Parish Church, All Hallows Road, and Greenlands St. Anne church, Salmesbury Avenue and one Catholic Parish Church, St. Bernadette’s church, on Devonshire Road. Other churches include Beaufort Avenue Methodist Church, The Gate Community Church, Bispham United Reformed Church, Springfield Greenlands Methodist Church, and Cavendish Road Congregational Church.

Bispham Parish Church has an original Norman doorway and is the Mother church of Blackpool.Greenlands, St Anne has an active healing ministry. Keajra Kadampa Buddhist Centre, a residential Buddhist centre and a member of the New Kadampa Tradition is located on Holmfield Road.

History

A 12,000-year-old animal skeleton (the Carleton Elk) found with barbed arrowheads near Blackpool Sixth Form College in 1970 provided the first evidence of humans living on the Fylde as far back as the Palaeolithic era. The Fylde was also home to a British tribe, the Setantii (the “dwellers in the water”) a sub-tribe of the Brigantes, who from about AD80 were controlled by Romans from their fort at Dowbridge, Kirkham. During the Roman occupation the area was covered by oak forests and bog land.

Bispham, known until 1910 as Bispham-with-Norbreck was originally a village in its own right, pre-dating the town of Blackpool by several hundred years. In 1066 Bispham was part of Tostig Godwinson, the Earl of Northumbria’s, Lordship of Amounderness It is featured in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Biscopham. (meaning Bishop’s estate or Bishop’s house) Many of the settlements and villages on the Fylde were Anglo-Saxon settlements. Some though were 9th and 10th century Viking place names. The Vikings and Anglo-Saxons seem to have co-existed peacefully with some Anglo-Saxon and Viking place names later being joined together—such as Bispham-with-Norbreck Bispham having the Anglo-Saxon place name ham and Norbreck having the Viking place name, breck. Bispham-with-Norbreck comprised three hamlets – Great (or Greater) Bispham, Little Bispham and Norbreck, with Anchorsholme (then Angersholme) part of Norbreck. Although the three hamlets were originally part of the Lordship of Amounderness, they were later divided with the moiety of Little Bispham and Norbreck being given to Shrewsbury Abbey and Great Bispham to the Lord of Warrington

In 1326 the spelling of the village was Byspham. Bispham and Poulton-le-Fylde were the two main populated centres in the Fylde in 1500, though the area was sparsely populated

It was in Bispham that the first mention of “Blackpool” appeared, found in the Register of Bispham Parish Church in 1602 with the christening record of a child born on 22 September to a couple who lived “on the bank of the Black Pool”.

Although the village centre used to be thatched with a number of pre-19th-century houses, it was redesigned in the 1960s; only two of the old houses remain. Much of the housing today is of the design style consistent with that of the 1930s to the 1950s.