Sensory artwork- reflecting the history of Lytham St Annes and the connection between river and sea

The first of our artwork projects is almost complete!

The Ribble Rivers Trust, in partnership with Lytham St Anne’s Civic Society, have been working to create an inspiring piece of sensory artwork that reflects the history of the Lytham Mussel Tanks and the beauty of the natural environment that supported the mussel industry at Lytham.

The Lytham St Annes Civic Society were granted permission from Fylde Council to create a seating and artist recreation area after three years of planning and work on the project started in early September.

The stone that will be transformed into our mussel sculpture

The recreation area is designed to tell the story of the shellfish industry through interpretation, artwork, and sculpture. The Ribble Rivers Trust have commissioned a stone sculpture of a mussel for the site which will show the connection between clean, healthy rivers and clean, healthy seas and marine life.

Lytham Sixth Form College have also designed ceramic tiles for the ‘art wall’ and the Friends of the Estuary and the RSPB will be providing interpretation boards which will explain the history of mussel fishing and the flora and fauna in the area.

The settlement of Lytham can be traced back to around 600BC and has always been associated with fishing. During the Industrial Revolution the town continued to expand thanks to both tourism and the relocation of merchants to coastal towns.

The Lytham Mussel beds

The artwork will be sited on one of the three former mussel tanks. These tanks date back to approximately 1934 and were built to enable the fisherman, who travelled from as far as Morecambe Bay, to wash out and hold the mussels they had caught.

Unfortunately, the tanks were closed in the 1940’s, with the site of the sensory art piece transforming into a café, nightclub, and swimming pool. The other two remaining mussel tanks have retained their strong maritime connections, with one housing an RNLI shop and lifeboat and the other housing the Ribble Cruising Club.