Southport rose to eminence in the 19th century, benefiting from it’s proximity to the Leeds and Liverpool canal. By 1820 it welcomed over 20,000 visitors a year, who enjoyed the sea air and the elegance of the main shopping street - Lord Street.
In 1860 the Pier opened with a grand procession. It had cost some £8700, and was one of the first pleasure piers to be built of iron, and the second longest in the country. Visitors had to pay a 6d toll which ensured that only the most affluent could afford it.
With the growth of the railway system, visitors from Liverpool, Manchester and the mill towns now had easy access to other nearby resorts. However Southport had established itself as a somewhat genteel resort, and rather more refined than neighbouring Blackpool. 

The town has always been heavily dependent on tourism, and went into decline in the 1960’s, suffering from the growth of foreign package holidays. ​However Southport has survived, working hard to attract weekend holidaymakers, and building up a reputation for hosting conferences and events.
What struck me on my all too short visit, was the dedication of the people of Southport to keeping their town special - and the fondness felt by the visitors I spoke to. 

Sean and Colin clean up after the weekend visitors

Southport town​​​ ​centre

Lord Street is the main shopping street in Southport. A mile long, it is justly proud of it's beautiful Victorian glazed canopies and ornate shopping arcades.​

Rob owns a jewellery business on Lord Street. He has just had all the ironwork refurbished and it looks fantastic. 

"It's really important to keep the street looking at its best - it's what attracts people to come here. Look up there - the architecture is amazing" he enthuses.
As Southport rose in popularity as a seaside resort, streets of imposing detached houses grew up around the town as residences for the prosperous industrialists from Liverpool and Manchester .
Many are now converted to flats, but they still radiate elegance.
October 2017