Flexing our ‘Mussels’ on former Mussel Tank, Lytham Beach Front with our latest project!

The Mussel Tank, Lytham, was originally built in 1934 to enable fishermen to clean their catch of shellfish. It was actually a series of tanks where mussels were brought here from all over this coastline, some from as far away as Morecambe Bay. http://lsacivicsociety.org.uk/project/mussel-tank/

Why is ‘The Mussel Tank, Lytham’ so special ?

  • Its open aspect, with views over to the Pennines, Southport, the Great Orme, the Welsh mountains, and indeed out to the open sea
  • It’s a large grassy open space
  • Its closeness to Lytham centre
  • Its accessibility
  • Historic buildings such as Lytham windmill (there were once moves to demolish it as it was seen as an industrial building), the old traditionally built lifeboat house from whence the first ocean going lifeboats set out
  • The mussel tanks are important too. In about 1934 this large structure was built on the foreshore to enable polluted mussels to be washed, brought by the fishermen from as far as Morecambe Bay
  • Maritime connections. After the mussel tanks fell into disuse in the 1940s uses were found for two of the three sections. One section houses the inshore lifeboat and RNLI shop, and one the Ribble Cruising Club. The third section was for some years used as an informal swimming pool

Partnership working

The Lytham St Annes Civic Society have sponsored the improvement project, and gratefully acknowledge the support of the Tom Blasson Foundation, the Lytham Schools Foundation, and Fylde Council. http://www.fylde.gov.uk/

The design was created by BCA Landscape (Chartered Landscape Architects) https://bcalandscape.co.uk/ , and the contract awarded to Landscape Engineering Ltd  of Padiham. https://www.landscapeengineering.co.uk/

The Friends of the Estuary and the RSPB have also assisted with the production of Interpretation boards to explain the history of mussel fishing as well as the flora and fauna of the area.   https://www.visitlytham.info/about/seafront/mussel-tank

History provides Design Inspiration

Historic use of this site brings modern innovation in the use of paving. Provided by Hardscape ( http://www.hardscape.co.uk/ ), a paving and hard landscaping company based in Bolton. The paving layout was produced using CAD and water jet cutting technology to provide the central square with 3D features giving the impression of the former ‘Mussel Tank’.

The design will incorporate planting, to be carried out by the local community, and a series of artwork panels set into an in situ cast concrete wall. Hardwood seating and pre-cast concrete walls adorn the perimeter and provide a space to soak up the history of times past whilst looking towards the horizon of the Fylde Estuary.

It is envisaged that the space will be used for events and performance whilst ensuring its past is not lost, the Mussel Tank is literally ‘set in stone’ for many years to come.

Mussel Tank, Lytham - Sunlight showing the range of textures achieved using Hardscape paving and how well the pattern is revealed in evening sunlight

Sunlight showing the range of textures achieved using Hardscape paving and how well the pattern is revealed in evening sunlight

Mussel Tank, Lytham - Hardscape paving layout detail view

Hardscape paving layout

Mussel Tank, Lytham - Close up of 3D layout of paving

3D design optical illusion

Mussel Tank, Lytham - Hardscape paving layout to BCA Landscape design

A bold paving layout with exciting 3D visual effect created by coloured paving

Mussel Tank, Lytham - A before photograph of the site

Underused, lack of function and no record of the sites former history

Posted by Nick Riley on 20th Feb, 2018