Tuesday, 3 January 2012

LEADSMITHY STREET EARLY 20th CENTURY

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Leadsmithy Street veers off to the left and Lower Street to the right in this pre-1931 photograph of the area in front of St Michael & All Angels Church, before wholesale demolition and road-widening altered the scene for ever. We know it's pre 1931 because that was the year in which the old Middlewich Town Bridge was demolished in order to make way for the present concrete 'Cheshire County Council' one, but the dress of the lady just seen peeping round the corner on the left seems to suggest a date some time in the Edwardian era.
The parapet of the old bridge can be seen on the right, forming part of the 'awkward turn to the Lompon' which we musing over towards the end of last year - it's the same corner that that intrepid motorcyclist and his sidecar passenger were rounding here.
Incidentally, our enquiries into what and  precisely where 'The Lompon' was seem to have stalled, but no doubt the answer will emerge in the course of time.
The motley collection of buildings huddling around the Churchyard is very interesting. Why, for instance, should the cottage in the centre of the picture have that large flat frontage to it? It's a parapet frontage, and there are whole terraces of houses built in this way in Nantwich and other towns.
But why would one solitary house be built in this form in the centre of Middlewich? Was it just built that way because a local builder was following the latest fashion?
To the left of the row of shops and cottages in the centre of the picture can be seen the Leadsmithy Street entrance to the churchyard, which survives to the present day. Note the lovely old Victorian lamp above, on the corner of Leadsmithy Street.
In the right background the old Town Hall can just be glimpsed. The extreme right hand side of this building, along with part of the Churchyard and all of the buildings in the foreground, were demolished in 1931 to make way for the new, widened, Lower Street leading from the new Town Bridge.
This, in its turn, gave way to the southern end of St Michael's Way in the 1970s.
And, as always, giving us our bearings in the background is Middlewich Parish Church.

Note: This is one of two versions of this famous Middlewich postcard.

See: A TALE OF TWO POSTCARDS

Facebook feedback:
Geraldine Williams: That parapet frontage is certainly a mystery. If there had been a row of buildings it would have made more sense as I understand that the idea was to disguise the roofs and make the buildings seem taller and more attractive. Then aesthetics would have kicked in and the church would have been spared the hotchpotch of chimneys which spoil its outline. You can say what you like about the restrictive present-day Planners but they do have a point! But as a stand-alone, that house looks ridiculous as all the side of it is exposed and it doesn't look as though there had even been an adjoining house. There would seem to be a little alleyway between the buildings and the church wall. Wonder what that was called?
Re: The Lompon: previous speculations mentioned the Croco and the Allum.
There is, of course, an Allumbrook drive in Holmes Chapel, and an Allumbrook Farm at Brereton, but maps don't show the brook anywhere - but there again they didn't show the Croco either! just the canal...



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