Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Banks, Lancashire

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Population  3,792 2001 Census
Region  North West
Sovereign state  United Kingdom
Shire county  Lancashire
Dialling code  01704
UK parliament constituency  South Ribble
OS grid reference  SD395212
Country  England
Post town  SOUTHPORT
District  West Lancashire
Civil parish  North Meols
Banks, Lancashire
Weather  4°C, Wind W at 32 km/h, 93% Humidity

Banks /ˈbæŋks/ is a large coastal village in Lancashire, England. It lies south of the Ribble estuary and four miles (6 km) north-east of Southport. The village is administered by West Lancashire Borough Council, and by North Meols parish council for parochial matters. It is in the South Ribble parliamentary constituency. According to the 2001 census, the population of Banks was 3,792.


Banks is the largest of the villages in the parish of North Meols on the West Lancashire coastal plain. Like most of them, it was primarily an agricultural community due to the excellent soil, although there was fishing activity for many years. Production of flowers and vegetables is common on the farms surrounding the village; however the proximity of Southport and Preston have led to Banks' expansion as a dormitory town for commuters.


'Banks' is believed to have been named for the many artificial embankments built in the north of the village to protect it from winter floods from the River Ribble and the tide. The old embankments can be seen when entering Banks at Marsh Road and at the end of George's Lane. However, these embankments became redundant when the River Ribble retreated in the 1900s and larger ones are in place further north creating more farmland. Local people refer to the village as Bonks /ˈbɒŋks/; retained from the Middle English pronunciation.

Early history

The earliest recorded history commences with a deed concerning Far Banks, made in the reign of Henry II in 1154. It relates to a Guide House for travellers who forded the River Ribble from the Fylde to North Meols. At this time the area was on the most northern fringe of the ancient division of West Derby and the local area was called meles, meaning sand dunes.

The area was isolated to the north and west by the Ribble estuary, to the south by a chain of barren sand hills, to the east by a lake called Martin Mere – which at the time was the largest lake in England covering 3,132 acres (12.67 km2).

The biggest coastal disaster in the area was in 1719 when 5,000 acres of the Ribble estuary, from Crossens to Hesketh Bank and Tarleton were flooded, when the sea banks broke. A total of 47 houses were carried away by the tidal flood. Nine people drowned and cattle, sheep and crops were lost.

North Meols

Dating from before the Norman conquest, this area of small farming and fishing villages was originally known as Otegrimeles, from the Norse word melr, meaning sand dunes. Historically, North Meols centred on St. Cuthbert's Church in Churchtown, although there were vicarages in Crossens, Banks and Birkdale. Parts of the parish were almost completely surrounded by water until the drainage of Martin Mere and other marshland was completed. This was done by the irrigation and sluice ditches constructed by Thomas Fleetwood of Bank Hall in 1692 with further attempts in 1780. The drainage was completed in the 19th century with the construction of Crossens pumping station. This left a legacy of fine agricultural soil, which continues to be exploited – the primary industry in the area is farming, especially of flowers and vegetables.

Banks railway station

Banks had a station on the West Lancashire Railway which opened on 19 February 1878, on the line between Southport and Preston railway station to carry passengers and produce to be sold at town markets. The station had a depot and goods yard for coal merchants. The line crossed Hoole Lane, Long Lane and Square House Lane where there were manned level crossings. Low passenger numbers led to the railway's decline and its closure was assured by the Beeching Axe on 7 September 1964. The stone bridge supports that carried the track across the sluice ditches in Banks can still be seen and the station platform still exists. The route is used as a public footpath.


Banks is part of the South Ribble parliamentary constituency and represented by the Conservative MP Lorraine Fullbrook .

Banks is one of the two remaining villages within the historical civil parish of North Meols. At local government level, North Meols is administered by West Lancashire Borough Council. North Meols is currently represented by the Conservative John Baldock, and the Conservative Paul Blane.

Election results for North Meols

These are the election results for the parish council of North Meols. This election was held on 6 May 2010.

On 5 May 2011 there was a local election in North Meols.


At 53.683°N 2.917°W / 53.683; -2.917, Banks is situated in North West England. The closest cities are Preston approximately 12 miles (19 km) to the north east and Liverpool approximately 18 miles (29 km) to the south west. The nearest town is Southport, 4 miles (6 km) south west of the village.

Situated on the West Lancashire Coastal Plain, most of the village is only slightly above sea-level and parts can be susceptible to flooding. There are embankments to the north of the village and there are drainage systems across the area, most notably the pumping station on Banks Road, Crossens.

The drainage of Martin Mere in the mid-19th century created a legacy of fine agricultural soil which is exploited to this day - the primary industry in the area is farming, especially of flowers and vegetables.

The area has a maritime climate like most of the UK. The area rarely sees substantial snowfall and temperatures rarely fall below –5 °C so it does not have frequent frosts. Banks generally has moderate precipitation, unlike the rest of western UK.


Banks Village is the central part of Banks and where most of the shops, both the religious sites and the primary schools are situated. It is also where Greaves Hall was situated. Far Banks is the east side of the village from Smithy Corner to the border with Hundred End and Tarleton. Banks Enclosed Marsh is former marshland in the north which has been reclaimed for agriculture. This area is sparsely populated, consisting mostly of farmhouses. Banks Marsh is the far north of the village and is part of the Ribble estuary. There are no houses in this area as it prone to flooding.

There are three other areas in the civil parish of North Meols: Hundred End is a hamlet on Marsh Road between Banks and Hesketh Bank, Churchtown/Crossens Moss is south west of the village and mostly used for agriculture. The villages of Churchtown and Crossens are part of Southport.

Banks Marsh

Banks Marsh forms the largest area of marshland within the Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve. It is one of the most important sites in the United Kingdom for wintering wildfowl. The reserve, established in 1979, occupies over half of the total area of the Ribble Estuary, including extensive areas of mud and sand flats and almost all of the salt marsh habitat - one of the largest such areas in England. Its 4,697 hectares (11,613 acres) contain large areas of intertidal mud and sand flats.

The reserve has been declared a Ramsar site and a Special Protection Area (SPA). In summer the salt marsh supports large numbers of breeding birds including black-headed gull, European herring gull, lesser black-backed gull, common tern and common redshank. Skylark, meadow pipit and linnet nest in significant numbers on the grazing marsh. Management of the site involves grazing the salt marsh with cattle to maintain the short sward on which wintering wildfowl (especially Eurasian wigeon and the pink-footed goose) depend. The main area of salt marsh is grazed by approximately 800 cattle from May to October, forming one of the largest single herds of cattle in the UK. Wildfowling takes place on much of the reserve and improved management has contributed to the increase in the number of birds visiting the site. A group of volunteers led by the local Wildfowlers Association carries out much of the valuable maintenance work on the reserve.

The Ribble Estuary is an important part of the network of wetland sites in Western Europe. It supports over a quarter of a million waders and wildfowl each winter, and is an internationally important site for twenty species of birds. Recreation, fishing, wildfowling and farming all take place within the estuary in balance with the wildlife interest.


During a 2001 census the population of North Meols was 3,793, and 3,730 of those people were white. Only 60 people in the village were from other ethnicity in 2001.


Even though modern Banks is primarily a commuter village for Southport, Liverpool and Preston, there is farming activity which has been the core of the community for hundreds of years. Most of the produce grown on the farms was sold to local markets, but now most is either sold to national supermarkets like Marks and Spencer or other countries in the EU.

Banks once had a thriving shrimping industry but this has dwindled to almost nothing due to cheaper foreign competition. Recently there has been interest on Banks Marsh in the edible seaweed, samphire, (locally known as Sampi). It is found on few coastal areas in Europe. It is picked by local people in the summer months and mostly sold to Booths supermarkets that sell local produce.

There are two business areas made up of small businesses that provide local services. One is on the A565 (Southport New Road) and the other is in the former grounds of Greaves Hall. Banks Post Office(Now closed as of November 2011) and a pharmacy are on Church Road.The is a local chain of the co-op,A hair dressers and a newsagents of the corner of church road and Bonds Lane. It does also have doctors surgery and old peoples home. The village attracts walkers to its many public footpaths, and Banks Marsh attracts bird watchers. In addition many cyclists pass though the village and in recent years The Tour of Britain has passed though Banks on the A565.

The village has a community centre on Hoole Lane and a care home and North Meols Medical Centre on Church Road.

A new care home was finished building in August 2014,(Just off Guinea Hall Lane On Greaves Hall Lane)shortly afterwards a learning and head injury home was built adjacent to the care home.

Greaves Hall

Thomas Talbot Leyland Scarisbrick was born in 1874. He grew up in Southport and was educated in Lancashire. In 1900 he built Greaves Hall on a 124-acre (0.50 km2) site. It had a porter's lodge by the main entrance, a gardener's lodge, engineer's workshop, laundry and general workshop, all built close to the hall in a mock Tudor style. The mansion was surrounded by lawns and gardens filled with ornamental trees and flowering shrubs. The hall had approximately 55 rooms, open areas situated on the ground, first, second and attic floors and a vast basement.

The Scarisbrick family lived at Greaves Hall until after the First World War when they moved to Scarisbrick Hall and sold the estate to a consortium of Banks farmers. The mansion stood empty while the land was cultivated by the consortium. The mansion and grounds were occupied by Sherbrook School for Girls. The school was closed when the Health Authority took over the hall as a TB hospital and subsequently for patients with mental health and learning disabilities from Liverpool during and after the Second World War. Greaves Hall Hospital had wards built in the grounds and the mansion house was used for administration. In the early 1990s the facility was moved to Southport.

Given Grade II listed status in 1997, Greaves Hall suffered many fires and vandalism. Its owners have claimed it is beyond repair and two planning applications to demolish it were refused.

On 4 August 2009 a small section of the roof collapsed and within days it was cleared and demolition started on 13 August.

Water tower

The water tower off Aveling Drive has dominated the skyline since the 1960s. It can be seen from miles around and from Winter Hill, 20 miles (32 km) east from the village.

It was built for Greaves Hall Hospital and decommissioned when the hospital closed.

There is a difference of opinion as to whether the tower should be demolished as some people consider it ugly but others think it is now a symbol of Banks. For many local people it is an instantly recognisable symbol of homecoming.


The village has regular bus services linking it with Southport, Formby, Crosby, Bootle, Liverpool, and Preston as well as irregular bus services to Chorley and Leyland.

There is no number 47,347 or 110 that run through Banks due to lack of usage as of 2014.So the above is now extinct.Only a 2 or x2 run through the village.

Since the closure of Banks railway station in 1964, the nearest railway station is Southport, 4 miles (6 km) south west of the village, with trains to Liverpool, Wigan, Bolton and Manchester. The bus service 47/47a no longer travels along Guinea Hall Lane(also used to travel along Gravel Lane) to Riverside Holiday Park.It was stopped in March 2014.


The village has two primary schools, Banks Methodist Primary School on Chapel Lane and Banks, St Stephens Primary School on Greaves Hall Avenue (moved from Hoole Lane in July 1998). There is a children's nursery on Station Road.

There are no secondary schools in Banks and most children aged 11–16 attend Tarleton High School or secondary schools in Southport. In 1973 the education office announced that there may be the possibiltity of a new secondary school being built on Station Road in Banks. But on 29 January 1974 the government said that the necessary funding was not available and so the plan was cancelled.

Religious sites

The village has two places of worship: Banks Methodist Chapel situated on Chapel Lane and St Stephens Church in the centre of the village on Church Road.


Banks Leisure Centre on Greaves Hall Avenue was known as North Meols Leisure Centre. It has two 7-a-side all weather football pitches, a sports hall and a fitness suite.

The Riverside Holiday Home Park on Southport New Road had a swimming pool and a fitness suite, but the owners closed them in 2007. The company still operates on the site under the name Harrison Leisure who have a large caravan showroom complex which now dominates the site. There is a small cafe in the building previously used as the gym, the pool building remains, but only used by guests. The fish and chip shop remains closed, the former nightclub is set to be demolished in 2017 to make way for a retail development.


Ralph's Wife's Lane is the main road connecting Banks with Crossens to the south. Its name has two origins: one that Ralph was a fisherman lost at sea or Ralph was a smuggler, again lost at sea. His wife's ghost is supposed to be looking for him. It has been reported that people have seen the ghost on dark winter nights walking from by St Stephens Church to Fiddler's Ferry holding a lamp waiting for her loved one to return home. The story states that she lit a lamp in her window every night and sat by it so he knew that she was waiting for him to return home. The site of the house is occupied by two bungalows.

Sugar Stubbs Lane is situated in Far Banks down the A565 road towards Mere Brow. The road was once a track across the marsh. In the 1980s the road was extended across the Banks Moss towards Hundred End and Tarleton. Its history is that it was the route taken by monks from Lancaster who travelled by boat across the marsh to Liverpool, and marked their way across the marsh and estuary by dropping the stubbs from the sugar canes along the way so they could find their way back giving the name to Sugar Stubbs Lane and Sugar Stubbs Farm where a small farm shop is run from the house.

There are four properties on the lane, one, the former Mock Tudor gatehouse to Greaves Hall at the junction of the A565 road and Sugar Stubbs Lane. The driveway to Greaves Hall was restored in 2005 and is a public footpath.


The village has a brass band. Banks Brass Band was formed in 1875. The band members are from the area .They play at various functions and takes part in the annual village street parade.

Once a year (usually in late October) Banks Methodist Primary School holds a scarecrow competition to celebrate Halloween. It was started in 2007 and it involves people (mainly children) making scarecrows in their gardens for a week before the judging begins at the school.

The W.I. holds meetings in the small hall on Meols Court. The hall is used for other recreational purposes, such as bingo for the senior citizens.

Outdoor life

Banks is well known for the marshland which lies on the coast of the Ribble estuary which is highly regarded for bird watching and attracts many visitors. It is a site for special scientific interest.

There are footpaths across the village including the old railway line from Southport New Road to Rydings Lane in Far Banks. It is owned by the Environmental Agency and is open to the public, dog walkers and horse riders. Hoole Lane is the starting point of a 10-mile cycle route that extends down the coast through Southport to Ainsdale.

The Sluice, sometimes called the River Crossens and the Back Drain flow through Banks and are popular with anglers.

There are two recreational grounds in Banks, one which is mostly used for cricket, the other was once part of the Greaves Hall grounds and is now used by the football team. There are three children's play areas.


Most residents get two weekly free newspapers, the Southport Midweek Visiter and the independent Southport Champion. The village shops sells the Southport Visiter on Fridays. The Ormskirk and West Lancashire Advertiser is sold in the area.

Banks receives the local radio station called Dune FM closed down in 2012, which is based in Southport. Other radio stations based elsewhere in the region are popular such as Rock FM based in Preston. Because the village is on the border of Merseyside and in Lancashire, the village picks up signals from both BBC Radio Merseyside and BBC Radio Lancashire.


Banks has significantly increased its size and population. More housing and facilities have been constructed, particularly the housing estate on the former grounds of Greaves Hall. Since it was demolished in August 2009 there are plans to use the site for further residential development. There are two new developments underway as of Jan 2014, One being on Guinnea Hall Lane (New homes by the Redrow group) and the other on Greaves Hall Lane(Care home and brain injury and Learning Facility department)Work has begun on a small development of new housing on Hoole Lane in 2016

The area floods during long, heavy spells of rain, due to extra surface water from poor drainage. The local council has addressed this problem and works closely with developmers.

According to a 2001 census, the population of Banks was 3,792 and it is predicted that when the new census is conducted in 2011 the population will rise to over 5,000.


Banks, Lancashire Wikipedia

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