Historically a part of Lancashire, the town in its present form was founded in 1792 when William Sutton, of Churchtown, built a bathing house at what now is the south end of Lord Street, the town's main thoroughfare. At that time the area, known as South Hawes, was sparsely populated and was dominated by sand dunes. At the turn of the 19th century the area became popular with tourists due to the easy access from the nearby Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the town quickly grew. The rapid growth of Southport largely coincided with the Industrial Revolution and the Victorian era. Town attractions include Southport Pier with its Southport Pier Tramway, the second longest seaside pleasure pier in the British Isles and Lord Street, an elegant tree-lined shopping street, once home of Napoleon III of France.