A new branch of Wetherspoons opened in Poulton on December 17th 2013. The Evening
Gazette asked for suggestions for a name. Originally a pub called The Wheatsheaf
had stood on the site and this was a popular suggestion, but finally ‘The Poulton
Elk’ was chosen.
Nothing remains of the Wheatsheaf apart from a description of the property written
in the 1930s. The inn was run by Richard Parkinson, a malster, during the early
19th century. When Richard, his wife and eldest son died in the 1850s the inn became
a private home - Lindum House. Its grounds included stables, gardens and a vinery.
Lindum Terrace was built in 1896 on part of this land. The old pub later became the
telephone exchange, then the Comrades Club.
becomes The Poulton Elk
One Friday afternoon in August 1970 Mr Scholey, who lived on Blackpool Road, opposite
what is now the Sixth Form College, decided to look in the hole being dug with a
JCB in the piece of land next to his house. What happened next went down in history
and is of international significance.
Mr Scholey went back to his house and told his wife he had found some bones..............
An article appeared in the Guardian newspaper about the find and work began by professional
archaeologists to carry out an excavation.
Left - The empty land on Blackpool Road Carleton where a house was to be built in
1970. Two houses now stand on the site.
As the bones were revealed they were laid out in the Scholey’s garden.
Eventually when most of the skeleton had been retrieved the neighbours were invited
in to see them. Later Mrs Scholey was amazed to see one of the neighbours walking
off down the road with a bone under his arm - it was soon retrieved.
Where should the elk - now named Horace by Mrs Scholey - be displayed. As a major
find the obvious place would be the British Museum, but Mrs Scholey was adamant
that it should remain in the area - the nearest museum was the Harris in Preston,
which is where it has been ever since.
In 2012 Horace was displayed in the new Discover Preston room opened by Amanda Vickery.
The fact that barbs were found near by and some leg bones appear to have marks possibly
caused by these suggest the animal was hunted for food, but escaped onto slightly
higher ground. Several field names around the site have ‘mere’ and ‘marsh’ in them
indicating that the land would have been very boggy.
The bones have recently been re-assessed and they are now thought to date from 13500
years ago and the conclusion that the elk has been hunted is remarkable evidence
pf people living this far north at a time when what we now know as Europe was one
large land mass. The find even pre-dates evidence at Star Carr in Yorkshire.
The Poulton le Fylde Historical & Civic Society was delighted to be asked by LCT
INTERIOR SOLUTIONS Ltd to provide a series of photographs of old Poulton and text
to go with them. These can now be seen on the walls of Wetherspoons, together with
various paintings and art installations.