North Road

St. John's Church

St. John's Church

St. John's Chapel was built in 1755 to satisfy a speedily growing population.  It was partly funded by the town Corporation and built on land given by the Corporation.  The tower was added in 1784 by Thomas Harrison.  The upper part of this tower is based on the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates at Athens.  The porch dates from the early 20th century.  It is no longer used as a church but is open on special occasions for concerts, recitals and lectures.

Gillow's Workshops 

Gillows workshops and showroom

The famous furniture firm of Gillows had their original workshops on Castle Hill.  The factory and showroom on North Road opened in 1881 and they merged with Warings in 1897.  Furniture manufacture ceased in 1962, the Waring and Gillow name being used to front a retail outlet store.  The store finally closed in 1996. Nowadays, although there is a pine furniture shop in part of the building, it is mostly occupied by a night club.

The old and the new.  Gillows furniture showroom is now a night club.

Gillows entrance

Continue along North Road to the traffic lights.  Cross Parliament Street and enter the grassy area between the river and the road.

Green Ayre Station

This park was the site of Lancaster Green Ayre Station and coal yards on the "Little North Western" line between Morecambe and Leeds.

Passenger train services between Morecambe and Wennington ceased on 1st January 1966 but coal trains continued to use the line as far as the power station on Caton Road until 1976. After the closure of the power station the site of the station at Green Ayre was cleared and landscaped. A crane from Hornby station was erected to commemorate the former use of the site. 

The crane from Hornby
1890 map

In 1845 the idea was proposed that Lancaster could serve as a port for west Yorkshire and that a railway be built to connect the ports of Hull and Lancaster. At the same time a proposal was made to link the harbour at Morecambe with Lancaster by rail and the North Western Railway Company was formed. Work began in 1846. The line to Wennington opened on 17th November 1849 and the line to Lancaster Castle the following month (19th). Through trains between Morecambe and Leeds began on 1st June 1850.  The North Western was first leased and then purchased outright by the Midland Railway in 1871.  This map of 1890 shows the position of the station and coal yards at Green Ayre.

The Greyhound Bridge.  A wooden bridge crossing the Lune at Green Ayre was completed in 1848.  The timber bridge at Green Ayre was replaced by a steel structure in 1864. This bridge stood until 1912 when a new bridge was built. The girders from the old bridge were used to build a new bridge across the Lune at Halton.  After the closure of the railway in 1966 the bridge was converted to road use.

Greyhound Bridge

Skerton Bridge

From the river bank at Green Ayre look upstream to see Skerton Bridge.

Skerton Bridge

The "New Bridge", now known as Skerton Bridge, was built in 1783-1788 by the County of Lancashire at a cost of 14,000. It was designed by Thomas Harrison and replaced the medieval bridge, downstream, which was demolished in 1802.  It is based on the Roman bridge at Rimini and is one of the earliest flat road bridges in the country.

Leave Green Ayre park at the northern end and cross Parliament Street at the zebra crossing.  The building facing you and to your left is Bridge House.

Bridge House

Bridge House was built in 1786, also to the designs of Harrison, as a toll house to collect revenue from travellers entering Lancaster across the New Bridge.  The Borough Corporation allowed 600 for the building of the toll house and associated stables and outhouses.  The central building was Bridge Inn where the tolls were collected and the houses on either side were cottages which were rented out.  The structure is a classic example of Georgian Palladian symmetrical architecture.  Since these photos were taken, the buildings have been renovated and now form part of a retail complex.

Bridge House

Bridge House

Walk back along Parliament Street, cross Bulk Road and turn left.

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