Jack Stanier was out and about recording the passing Middlewich scene at the same time as I was and most of his 35mm slides date from the early 1970s. This particular photo was taken, probably in 1973, from outside the Victoria Building in Lewin Street and shows, in the distance, those buildings we've visited a few times already in this series; the C of E Infant School, the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel and, between the two, 'Square One', the hardware shop.
We're dating this at around 1973 because the old workshops which fronted onto Lewin Street and Wych House Lane seem to have disappeared.
The white double fronted shop to the right of the chapel was, and is, Middlewich D.I.Y. and to the right of that are the shops which, at that time, were owned by the Howes family, of 'Howe's Pies' fame.
The pie shop itself was the one with the small window in the middle of the block, with its door to the left.
There's a picture of the pie shop here, in a posting which tells a little about this Middlewich institution, but, in those days, there was no sign to indicate what the shop was. Presumably it didn't need one as the fame of the celebrated pies had already spread far and wide. They had been made on the premises for at least twenty years before this picture was taken.
To the right of the pie shop is Roland Howe's second hand shop where, as well as used furniture and the like, items such as brand new gas mantles, oil lamps and packets of 'dolly blue' could be bought, reflecting Roland's practice of buying up unsold stocks of such arcane material.
On the extreme right is a former butcher's shop which is now the 'Middlewich Fryer' (but still known to many as 'Giorgio's').
I'm not sure if the shop had started its new life as a chip shop at that time. It's hard to tell from this photograph. If not, it wasn't too long afterwards that fried potatoes and cod took over from prime cuts of beef and lamb.
In its original guise the chip shop retained the tiling from the butchers business, showing idyllic rural scenes of cows grazing in meadows, but these are now long gone.
The road sign, to the left of the picture is of interest, although it's a shame that Jack didn't point his camera just a little more to the left so that we could see the whole thing.
The strange road configuration to the right of the sign shows Leadsmithy Street and its junction with the A54 on the Town Bridge, pointing the way to Winsford to the left and the M6 in the other direction.
The sign, inadvertently, gives the impression that Junction 18 of the M6 lies in a South-Easterly direction and, although Northwich and Chester are given as destinations on the sign, there is no indication that a left turn into King Street is needed to get there. In fact the sign seems to be telling motorists that both Chester and Northwich are also South-East of Middlewich.The road numbers in brackets are the clue to the real situation. The indication for the A54 to Winsford, which is partly visible at the top of the sign, does not apply to the M6 connection as might first be thought, but refers to the left hand route over Hightown which now, of course, runs in the other direction - i.e. from the Bullring to Lewin Street .