Our Story

Our history, patrons & Studio

Our Story

About Lytham St Annes Art Society

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Discover outdoor & indoor art exhibitions, events & more

Who We Are

Established in 1912 with a handful of members, Lyhtam St Annes Art Society (LSAAS) is thriving and, as a registered charity (Regd. Charity No: 513961), dedicated to spreading and encouraging art in the community.

Each year we hold a Summer Exhibition in our Studio, and an Autumn Exhibition in the town’s Heritage Centre, plus we appear throughout the area with regular outside art and craft exhibitions.

For full details, please visit our What’s On and Workshops pages.

Visit our purpose-built studio

Visit Us

Come into our Gallery to see what we are doing, you will be made very welcome. It is open at various times throughout the week – if the Open sign is in the porch window, come in and view our latest exhibition.

We are a very welcoming group and new members may come in on their own, but they leave with a host of new friends. As one said:

“You have really made me feel at home. Everyone is so happy to help and offer advice. I’m glad I joined.”

If you would like to be part of Lytham’s creative community,

A Brush With History

Lytham St Annes Art Society owes its existence to a chance meeting in Lytham’s Green Drive between Thomas Alfred Clarke and James Terry.

Both men were out sketching and together with Walter Eastwood, a professional artist, held the first committee meeting in his studio in Market Square. It was 1912.

Click the blue boxes below to find out more:

The Lytham St Annes Art Society's first Summer Exhibition

The Lytham St Annes Art Society’s first Summer Exhibition

Our Beginnings

Walter was voted in as the first president and Thomas Clarke took on the secretarial role. Both men (in the photo of the 1926 Committee on this page) were the mainstays of the early society which held its first annual exhibition in the Market Hall, Lytham adjacent to the gardens in March 1913.

From its inception, it ran workshops, lectures and gallery visits – a tradition which continues to this day.

The very first lecture was given by a prestigious art critic from Manchester and was illustrated with lantern slides – a far cry from today’s use of computers. It was held in the Hewitt Lecture Theatre, part of the now defunct library in the high street.

Our Homes Over The Years

Over the years, the society’s base moved around. After the war, an exhibitions was held in the Ansdell Institute where we enjoyed a pop-up exhibition of arts and crafts earlier this year.

The society also used the Woodlands Institute, the St Annes Café & St Annes Technical College before returning to the Market Hall in Lytham after the second world war.

Café society could be said to have been invented by the members. The meetings moved around between St Annes, Ansdell and Lytham using Listers café, Kiosk café, Crescent café, Dickinson’s café, Lantern café, Dalton’s café and after the second world war, Queens Café in Wood Street, St Annes.

After the second world war, numbers had dwindled to fewer than 40, but members voted to carry on and membership gradually rallied and in the 1950s the annual exhibition was held in Dicconson Terrace, a building loaned by the Clifton Estate.

Our Headquarters

There was still no permanent home for members to meet in and by the 1960’s an unusual studio was leased from Booths supermarket in Market Square, with access through a door in Chapel Street and across the roof of the shop.

It was very Bohemian and opened by Arthur Leslie, better known as Jack Walker landlord of the Rovers Return in Coronation Street, who was an amateur painter.

Coronation Street actor Arthur Leslie & his wife, opening the LSA Art Society Studio in the 1960's

Arthur Leslie – Jack Walker from Coronation Street, with his wife at the opening of the studio over Booths old supermarket in Lytham’s Market Square watched by president Kathleen Page and secretary Harry Channon

But the quest for a proper headquarters continued and thanks to many years of dedicated fund raising some 20 years later the society paid £20,000 and moved into the former senior citizens hall in Haven Road over the road from our current Studio. Home at last.

Over the years the timber building was extended and improved – members even acquired a carpet from Skelmersdale Brewery to complete the décor!

Our New Home & Purpose-Built Studio

It was to be a happy place remembered by many with affection. But then there was a knock on the door.

A development company was buying up property in Haven Road where Booths wanted to build a big new store. The committee drove a hard bargain and in August 2007 the society moved across the road into its architect-designed new home, the Studio, which was formerly a printing workshop.

2007: Print shop to art studio - the new studio building site for the LSA Art Society

2007: Print shop to art studio – the printers workshop was knocked down to create the Studio

It has proved to be a huge success and members can enjoy a packed programme of workshops in all disciplines, lectures and demonstrations all in a safe and secure environment. Designed to include a library of art manuals and magazines, a members’ picture framing service, it is disabled friendly and has the bonus of a small car park too.

Going From Strength To Strength
Our first coffee morning -15 Sept 2007 - Lytham St Annes Art Society

Our first coffee morning -15 Sept 2007 – Lytham St Annes Art Society

With close to 300 members now, it’s the people that make it such a warm and welcoming place.

We regard our members as friends and it’s a testament to this that members who move away still pay their subs and catch up with events through our quarterly newsletter.

We are a registered charity with the aim of bringing art to a wider audience on the Fylde.

This is reflected in our spread of outdoor exhibition throughout the region. But our major two events continue the tradition of the founding fathers, the Summer Exhibition, when cups are awarded, and the Autumn Exhibition in the Heritage Centre.

Only two World Wars and now Covid have halted these eagerly-awaited events so this summer was our 100th! Quite an achievement. Read more about this in our News section.

Summer Exhibition 2022 - Deputy Mayor Alan Clayton & LSA Art Society Members

Summer Exhibition 2022 – Deputy Mayor Alan Clayton & LSA Art Society Members

Arts & Craft Fair Committee 1926 at the Ansdell Institute

The committee in 1926 front row, left to right: Walter Woodhead, the Mayor of the Fylde, Helen Cunliffe, president, Levi Lumb, vice-president, JA Terry, secretary; back row Walter Eastwood, Miss Dobinson, T. Battersby, Mrs H. Hughes, Thomas Clarke, Miss MG Davies, Mr H. Partington

Our Founders

Thomas Alfred Clarke

Thomas moved to St Annes as a toddler and ran a small art shop in Lytham with his sister which gave him the opportunity to sketch local landmarks like Old Tom – a tree outside the County Hotel now replaced by Young Tom – Lytham Hall and of course the windmill.

He and his family gave lectures with musical accompaniment which entertained troops while they were waiting to be shipped to France. He wrote a book on artist Richard Ansdell and an illustrated guide to Lytham.

Walter Eastwood

Born in Rochdale, Walter moved to Lytham after he married and as well as landscapes and portraits he quickly became a distinguished photographer.

He is represented in many art galleries and St Annes Town Hall holds five outstanding works. He contributed greatly to the social life of the town and is buried in St Cuthbert’s Church.

Art studio paint brushes & wall art

Our Famous Patrons

Pierre Adolphe Valette

A French Impressionist who is most famous for urban landscapes of Manchester but is now chiefly remembered as LS Lowry’s tutor. He stayed on the Fylde coast for a number of years, exhibiting in the Lytham St Annes summer exhibitions.

Sir William Russell Flint

Edinburgh-born, he became a patron in 1920. He was a Royal Academician and President of the Royal Society of Watercolourists and was knighted in 1962

Walter Marsden

The son of a blacksmith born in Church near Accrington, he worked on the St Annes war memorial in Ashton Gardens which is noted for his flame of peace and relief work round the base. He also worked on the Bolton war memorial and carved the names of World War victims on the pulpit of the White Church in Fairhaven.

Phyllis Irene Hibbert

Lived all her life in Lytham, studying at both Preston and Liverpool Schools of Art. A renowned flower painter she had a painting accepted by the Royal Academy, and one hangs in the society’s studio in Haven Road.

Our Centenary Year

Celebrating 100 Years of Lytham St Annes Art Society Summer Exhibitions

Centenary Banner 2022 - 100 Years of Summer Exhibitions at the Lytham St Annes Art Society

Centenary Banner 2022 – 100 Years of Summer Exhibitions at the Lytham St Annes Art Society

100@100

This tableau has been a long time in the making. The call for 100 small pictures from the artists who attend our Studio to celebrate our 100th Summer Exhibition went out and met with an enthusiastic response.

Then the world changed and new words like Covid and Lockdown entered our vocabulary.

Two years on the society can now celebrate the event.

The society has only halted this pivotal exhibition through two World Wars and now Covid, so it has been eagerly anticipated.

These small pictures represent work by our artists in most of the 12 workshops we run every week, and serve as a small tribute to some of our stalwart members who sadly are no longer with us.

Many of the pictures have been reduced from bigger ones, and this theme of upcycling has been carried through to the making of the banner background using cut-down curtains and even hessian shopping bags and hung using old-fashioned picture hooks.

After the exhibition is over, the banner will make regular appearances in the Studio, and a plastic banner made from the original will be used at our outside events in St Annes, Ansdell and at our exhibitions in Lytham.

Discover

Attend a workshop in our beautiful, purpose built studio

Workshops

Learn something new. Attend a workshop in our purpose-built studio

Discover what's on, from social events to exhibitions & more

What's On

Enjoy social events, exhibitions & interesting talks throughout the year

Hire our purpose-built studio for your next event, workshop or exhibition

The Studio

Take a look at our purpose-built studio. It has all the amenities you'll need

Inspirational

“Very inspiring, I will take up my brushes again”

Edna, Co Tyrone

The Best Exhibition

“Absolutely outstanding, the best exhibition I’ve ever seen”

Bonnie, Yorkshire

Very Enjoyable

“Very enjoyable exhibition”

Soraya, Trinidad

Exceptional

“Exceptional – a joy to see”

Madelaine, Clitheroe

"Highly recommended"

Lloyd, Brisbane

"Walls full of talent"

Evelyn, Liverpool

Excellent Works

“So many excellent works”

Sheila, Alabama

Envious of Artwork

“Envious of the art produced by these artists”

Helen, Cockermouth

"So beautiful"

Gustavo, Las Palmas

"You have some very talented artists"

Beverley, Stockport

Wonderful

“Wonderful work enjoyed by all”

Ann, Halifax