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Marton Mere drainage
Marton, Blackpool, Lancashire
Marton Mere drainage
associated engineer
Not known
date  1731 - circa 1850
era  Georgian  |  category  Drainage System  |  reference  SD340350
ICE reference number  HEW 1350
photo  Paul Dunkerley / ICE R&D Fund
Now part of a bird sanctuary, the glacial lake known as Marton Mere was drained in 1731-81 to provide high quality agricultural land. Further drainage works were carried out in about 1850. The lake was increased in size again in the 1970s, which is how we see it today.
Before man intervened in a big way, Marton Mere was nearly five kilometers long and about 1.6 kilometers wide. Saxton’s map of 1577 and Speed's map of 1611 both show it draining westwards into the sea via a broad sluggish watercourse running from Marton Moss and joining Spen Dyke. This discharged into the Irish Sea at the “Black Pool” from which the town of Blackpool derived its name.
The original mere was bounded roughly by modern Staining, Mythop, Marton and Stanley Park. Its water level must have been some 15m higher than it is now in order for it to drain naturally into the sea. The remains of its former banks are up to 6m high in some places. A watermill stood on the north side at Staining and another at Marton to the south.
The first phase of the drainage works consisted of the clearing of the watercourse. An agreement for this was drawn up in 1731. The Jolly family undertook the task of widening and deepening the waterway between 1731 and 1781.
In the second phase, Main Dyke was cut. It runs east from Marton Moss, then turns north to meet the River Wyre at Skippool Creek some six and a half kilometers away. This work was carried out by E. Jolly in around 1850. It left the mere only 3.6m deep and covering only 5.6 hectares.
During the 1970s, the mere was trebled in size to 17.8 hectares. The modern inlet to Marton Mere drains low-lying land in Layton, Blackpool, passing under the ornamental lake in Stanley Park in a 1m diameter pipe and then on to the mere. Spen Dyke is now fully culverted and empties into the sea at Manchester Square Pumping Station on Blackpool Promenade.
Research: PHEW
b I b l I o g r a p h y
"Seven Golden Miles" by Kathleen Eyre
Weaver & Youles (Printer) Ltd, St Annes, 1961
"Bygone Blackpool" by Kathleen Eyre
"Amounderness: being The Report of The Regional Planning Committee for The Area of The Fylde" by Thomas H. Mawson & Son
B.T. Batsford Ltd, London, 1937
"A Historical and Descriptive Account of Blackpool
and its Neighbourhood" by Rev. W. Thornber, 1837
"The Story of Blackpool" by Allan Clarke
Palatine Books Company, Blackpool, 1923
"Historical Notes on The Fylde" by Rev. W.T. Bulpit
Spring Bros., St Annes, 1913
reference sources   ICE / INCH

Marton Mere drainage