Wednesday, 21 December 2011

CROWDS AT THE 1952 CARNIVAL

© Phillip Shales 2011     All rights reserved
with acknowledgments to Kerry Fletcher and Dave Thompson of Middlewich Town Council
The crowds gather in the Bull Ring to watch the 1952 Middlewich Carnival procession and the effect this photo from the Phillip Shales collection has is astonishing. You almost feel that you could walk into the picture  and talk to the people in it, so perfectly has the photographer captured their faces.
Unlike the crowds of today most of the people seen here, rather than fighting for car parking spaces and then walking a few yards, will have trekked into the town centre from all over Middlewich; from Kinderton and Newton and Cledford. And it's a safe bet that quite a few of them will have cycled from outlying areas such as Wimboldsley, Stanthorne and Sproston to see all the glamour and spectacle of one of Middlewich's major annual events.
There's a definite air of anticipation about the photograph, as the crowds wait for the procession to arrive. We'll be seeing the Carnival Queen and her retinue for ourselves in later entries in 'A Middlewich Diary'.
The railings in the foreground are part of the enclosure for the War Memorial at the end of the row of buildings separating Lower Street and Hightown at that time. The road still curves around in the same way at the end of the 'amphitheatre', though the space to the left of the picture where most of the crowds are is usually taken up these days by cars jostling for parking spaces outside Tesco Express.The buildings in the background disappeared at the end of the 1960s in preparation for the building of what was then the Co-operative Superstore and later became Tesco Express and the now defunct Pineland.
If you're wondering where Dierden's Terrace has got to, it's the narrow alleyway between the now-vanished Cooper's shop and the next building, which survives as a hairdressers establishment opposite the current Tesco building.

Editor's note: We originally published this entry under the heading 'Crowds at the 1949 Carnival' but have changed the date as other photos in the series were proved to have been from 1952. If you have any information which will help us confirm the true date of this photo please contact us. Thank you.

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