Supporters of Ashton Gardens

SOAG exists to protect, preserve and enhance Ashton Gardens

The Ashton Institute before its removal


Have Your Say

More snips

Carl Jones

Melbourne, Australia

"Hi, I'd just like to send you a quick note to support you in your fight to save the Ashton Pavilion. I now live in Australia, but was born and bred in St. Annes and I was totally outraged by this proposal.


St Annes

"One good idea and people-power can do almost anything. While there is the slightest chance we should go for it and make it happen. It worked last time and now we have better communications and the experience. Take care and be aware of the invisible army beside you."

A Preston

Clifton Drive South - St Annes

 "Please don't sell any part of Ashton Gardens, our heritage is not for sale. Our land is valuable, they are not making it any more. When Ashton Theatre burned down what did the Council do with the money? Spend it on numerous plans until we couldn't afford to rebuild. The Council does not need the money. We the people do need Ashton Gardens"

Alastair Scott 


"My family and myself have taken spring, summer and autumn holidays in St Annes for the last 10 years; my eldest daughter was just a toddler on her first visit, and the younger one (8 years old) regards it as her second home! Having just returned from St Annes last night after a short break, I thought I would send this note in support of the campaign. The first place we make for after our arrival are the Gardens, particularly the playpark area. I know lots of other visitors will be shocked to hear of any proposals for closure. Keep the campaign going!!"

Richard J King

Boston - USA

 "I travel frequently to St. Annes. Walking in the gardens or watching a spirited game on the bowling green is always a joy. The pavilion is a jewel not to be lost.

Having once lived in Boston I know the regret that comes from destroying the irreplaceable. The Opera House was demolished 30 years ago and Bostonians have lamented it ever since. Boston still does not have an opera house. Save the gardens! 
An American Preservationist"

Margaret Farquhar

South Africa

 "Although I now live in South Africa I have many pleasant memories of walks through beautiful Ashton Gardens and remember the quaint old Pavilion building. I cannot understand why developers would wish to disturb the peace and tranquillity of the gardens and demolish this unusual building.

I fully support the campaign to stop the building of flats inside Ashton Gardens. Residents and visitors need a haven, to escape the pressures of modern living, and future generations will be able to stop and smell the roses!"


Overlooking Ashton Gardens

Hi Margeret: Nice to see your letter in the St Annes Express. I spent most of my mispent youth in the Ashton Institute playing snooker along with about fifty other young people keeping us off the streets along with the older people who played snooker and cards. Making money wasn't an issue.

With the Institute now closed it's costing more in damage to St Annes square with all the youngsters hanging about.

I am now 46 and hate to see all the unique buildings in St Annes demolished to make way for flats. I was a yob once but with the Institute there I was a yob that kept out of trouble I now have a house overlooking Ashton Gardens I would not like it to change Sorry about the moan, keep up the good work. I hope the weather is better than here freezing and windy. Bye for now Dave


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Bob Whiteside 

West Yorkshire (born St. Annes but brought up in Yorkshire) 

"I fully support your campaign to save Ashton gardens.

I remember when I was a child in the fifties going to see my grandfather Billy Whiteside play bowls there and walk through Ashton gardens.

He would turn in his grave to see what they wanting to do.

W B Hodgson

Isle of Man

I was deeply shocked to read on the internet that there have been plans to sell part of Ashton Gardens for development. I cannot believe that a responsible body could even consider spoiling such a potentially valuable asset for what must be a relatively small financial gain.

We first visited St Annes some 48 years ago when my wife was 17 and I was 19. It was our first holiday together and we stayed (in separate rooms I might add) at a B & B behind the railway. We have many happy memories of St Annes and many photographs that were taken in Ashton Gardens.

After we were married, one of our favourite destinations for days out from Merseyside with our children was St Annes, and they also grew to love and enjoy exploring the Gardens. We still frequently view the colour slides of the flower beds in all their colorful beauty. 25 years ago we moved to the Isle of Man, but three years ago we came with our extended family - children and grandchildren - numbering 20, to holiday up at Bispham. Needless to say we just had to visit St Annes and Ashton Gardens.

Now the younger generations of our family have fallen in love with St Annes and the Gardens resulting in us just having spent 2 weeks in the town, and my youngest daughter and her family are coming at half term in October. The whole family is seriously considering booking accommodation for 2003, as they all appreciate the slower pace and restful atmosphere of St. Annes.

It would be a tragedy to spoil Ashton Gardens in any way. You should take note of the reversal of policy in the likes of Liverpool and Manchester, where public parks and open spaces were neglected and allowed to fall into decay for a long time. Now Calderstones Park and Sefton Park including the newly renovated Palm House have been transformed as the council realise the importance of such public areas. St Annes should open their eyes and learn by the mistakes made by these authorities and should make every effort to preserve and indeed restore Ashton Gardens to their former glory.

I walked through the gardens many times during my stay and did read in the local press of residents' concern over the gardens. Now I wonder if the indifferent attitude of the local authority is deliberately designed to run down the condition of the gardens in order to make out a case to dispose of it for redevelopment. Certainly I saw youngsters in the park at dusk. Some riding mountain bikes around the grounds and even over the aluminium seating. Others playing in and gathering in the play area using the equipment which was certainly not designed for their use.

Once I saw a Police car drive down past the War Memorial and everything was quiet. Two minutes after it had pulled out on to Clifton Road North all the activities started again. Not very effective policing, but I suppose it can be claimed the gardens were being patrolled. Early morning one could see the devastation caused the night before. Beer cans scattered around. Seats moved and tipped over. Bottles smashed on the paths and on the grass areas. Not very good for a visitor and responsible dog owner to have an early morning stroll.

David C Worsley
New Zealand 

"Here is support from New Zealand for your campaign to preserve the Pavilion. St. Annes is my birthplace --- and Ashton Gardens is (or was) a beautiful garden area.--

As a child I was present at the dedication of the War Memorial, and in my youth I was introduced to Billiards and Snooker in the Ashton Institute Pavilion; I believe it has been considerably upgraded since then.

Although I left town 50 years ago, every time I visit Britain I go to the Gardens. I support most strongly the retention of the Pavilion, and any plans for restoring the Gardens to their former glory---they looked decidedly neglected the last time I visited. I wish you success to your most worthy campaign."



Supporters of Ashton Gardens 

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