Alderman C F Critchley
Research by Marjorie Gregson
Charles Frederick Critchley JP, CC, was born in Accrington in 1858 to William, a railway porter, and Elizabeth Critchley. He married Martha Walden in 1879. The 1901 census showed him living in Blackburn with his wife and six children and his occupation was given as a cotton manufacturer. One of his sons, Ewart, died in 1903, aged 15.
By 1911 he was living on Clifton Drive, Lytham and was very much involved in serving the community.
Ashton Gardens - report from Memory Lane Specials, Lytham St Annes Express
27 June 2011
'Many people know there was trouble between the ratepayers and the Council about the cost of acquiring the Gardens and that’s why Lord Ashton stepped in. What people might not know, is that letters written to the Express by Charles Frederick Critchley (later Councillor and Alderman Critchley who also became a Freedom of the Borough holder) expressing support for the plan to buy the Gardens appeared in the Express on January 16 and 23, 1914. Critchley was a personal friend of Lord Ashton and was undertaking Lord Ashton’s duties as president of the Old Links Golf Club. Critchley had spoken in favour of buying St George’s Gardens but the Poll of Ratepayers to decide the matter was scheduled for January 28 and it was thought likely that the vote would be 50/50 or perhaps marginally against buying them.
However, in the week before the Poll, James Bowman, the first Editor of the Express, called on Critchley. Bowman suggested to him they should send a copy of the Express to Lord Ashton .... and the rest is history!
So the inspiration for Lord Ashton’s gift of the Gardens actually came from the Express.'
In 1914 Critchley stood for the County Council as an independent candidate and served from 1914 to 1935.
Tragically, his son, Burton “Plum” Critchley, was killed in 1918 whilst serving in the RAF as a Second Lieutenant and was buried at Pernes British Cemetery in France.
The sundial in memory of Burton 'Plum' Critchley outside King Edward School
(now Arnold KEQMS ) where he was a pupil.
Charles Critchley later lived at East Gate, St Annes Road East, Lytham St Annes and stood, unsuccessfully, for Parliament as an Independent.
In 1922 he was the Charter Mayor when Lytham and St Annes on Sea merged to form the Borough of Lytham St Annes. Lord Derby attended the Charter Day celebrations on 1 May. Critchley also served as the third Mayor of Lytham St Annes.
Councillor Critchley on the left and Lord Derby
in the centre of the picture on Charter Day
The moving War Memorial in Ashton Gardens, which was sculpted by Walter Marsden, was unveiled by Alderman Critchley on 12 October 1924.
In his speech he said, “the public memorial would be maintained with loving care and transmitted in all its beauty to our children and our children’s children from generation to generation".
On the 12 February 1926 he was presented with the Honorary Freedom of the Borough.
Charles Frederick Critchley died in May 1935.
In the painting, by an unknown artist, Alderman Critchley is painted in his full regalia. The gold and turquoise chain of office stands out against the rich, warm colours of his robes. His complexion is rather florid and he looks somewhat younger and slimmer than the image on his photographs.
The artist, using this photograph, could possibly have been commissioned to paint the portrait at a later date.