Thursday, 9 April 2015

THE ROYAL OAK - THE TRUTH REVEALED!


Photo: Maureen Condra

This Diary entry is a follow up to: THE ROYAL OAK, circa 1900
                                                        LAST REMNANTS OF THE ROYAL OAK circa 2012

UPDATED 9th APRIL 2015 (PLEASE SCROLL DOWN THE PAGE)

The last piece in the jigsaw, as supplied by Malcolm Hough, finally vindicates Trevor Williams in his assertion that the still extant wall behind the site of Niddrie's former bus garage was, indeed, part of the Royal Oak - Ed.

by Dave Roberts

Our convoluted theories about the Royal Oak in Lewin Street (see previous Diary entries - links above) came down, in the end, to a simple truth - that The Royal Oak ended its days not as a public house, but as a private house, sandwiched in between the White Horse and, at first that three storeyed house with the steep steps and, later, Niddries new building.
The red herring, and the thing that threw all our calculations out, was Trevor Williams' assertion that one of the walls of the former pub still existed at the rear of the old Niddries site. There was no way we could make the 'footprint' of the pub fit where it was supposed to if we placed one of the walls of the pub so far back and so far to the left of the site.
In one of our earlier entries mention was made of Maureen Condra, nee Hitchen, who now lives in America and is an avid reader of the Middlewich Diary. 
Maureen sent us the above photograph a couple of years ago, explaining that it showed her former home at 40 Lewin Street.
Obviously Maureen's family home and the erstwhile Royal Oak are one and the same building. It had obviously ceased to be a pub and been converted into a private house many years before.
So that is the reason no one could remember a Lewin Street pub being demolished in the 1950s.

Maureen writes:

We occupied the whole house. The right hand side with the single chimney was where my bedroom was. My brother Jimmy and sister Margaret were born there, as was my daughter Leona, with the assistance of Dr Brown and Nurse Benger*. I remember it as if it was yesterday. And, yes, the new building on the left was being built by Niddries. I left in 1958 and came back for a visit in 1960 and my family were living in George VI Avenue. The photograph was taken while the pavement was being repaired.

* One of the town's well-known and well-respected District Nurses. Geraldine Williams says she remembers Nurse Benger, along with others including Nurse Adamson.

So Malcolm Hough and Trevor Williams were obviously quite right when they said that the building was demolished at the same time as Niddries was built, but it was many years after it had ceased to be a pub.

I wonder if the thorny problem of the remains behind the site of Niddries garage can be solved with a little lateral thinking? Are those remains perhaps part of a retaining wall at the rear of the pub's yard, or maybe the last remnants of an outhouse of some kind? The pub's yard may have extended behind those adjacent buildings.

UPDATE: 9th APRIL 2015

Actually Malcolm Hough and Trevor Williams have the final word on this  Royal Oak enigma, with virtually no lateral thinking needed.

Malcolm writes:



Hi Dave,

 I have only just read your edited article on the Royal Oak. I like it very much. Nice to see other people interested. Trevor Williams may have been right about the remnants of the pub though. Take a look at the attached image. It shows the footprint of the pub on the 1909 O.S. map, it is the reversed [Z] shape [yellow]. The left-hand side does go back a fair way. It looked a large building in those days.
 The White Horse [blue]; looks like there were three buildings there in those days. Maybe that’s how the car-park came about, after the demolition of the first two buildings or part of. 
 Regards
Malc


Photocapture: Malcolm Hough
So we can consider Trevor Williams vindicated!

As for the Royal Oak and the White Horse being immediately adjacent to one another, as we've explained before, this was by no means unusual at one time. Malcolm Hough has kindly sent us a list of pubs and beer houses in the town in 1860 and we can see that the two establishments did indeed flourish side by side.

As time went on, however, it may well have been that there was not enough trade for both pubs, and this could explain why the Royal Oak became a private house, leaving the White Horse to cater for all the local drinkers.

Many thanks to everyone who has enthusiastically joined us in solving another little Middlewich mystery!
  • HOTELS, INNS, TAVERNS & LICENSEES IN MIDDLEWICH 1860
BLACK BEAR: MARY DEAN. PEPPER ST
BRASS HEAD: THOMAS WARBURTON. KINDERTON ST
BULL’S HEAD: SAMUEL BURGESS. KINDERTON ST
CARBINEER: SARAH BAILEY. HIGH TOWN
CHESHIRE CHEESE: JOHN WALTON. NEWTON
GOLDEN LION: SAMUEL PERCIVAL. NEWTON
GRAPES: GILBERT EGERTON. LEWIN ST
HORSE & JOCKEY: JOHN MAULKIN LOWER ST
KING’S ARMS: FRANCIS EARL. HIGH TOWN
NAVIGATION: JAMES OAKS. KINDERTON ST
RED COW: ROBERT MILLS. WHEELOCK ST
RED LION: WILLIAM WOODWARD. NEWTON
ROSE & CROWN: JAMES ELLISON. LEWIN ST
ROYAL OAK: JOHN LUNT. LEWIN ST
SPREAD EAGLE: FRED WHITTAKER. HIGH TOWN
TALBOT: CATHERINE BOLSHAW. KINDERTON ST
WHEAT SHEAF: JOHN LEECH. LOWER ST
WHITE BEAR: THOMAS BARRATT. WHEELOCK ST
WHITE HORSE: JOHN HOLFORD. LEWIN ST
WHITE LION: WILLIAM EGERTON. WHEELOCK ST
BEER HOUSES
NEWTON BREWERY: WILLIAM BRAITHWAITE. WEBB’S LANE
PLOUGH: FRED DALE. LEADSMITHY ST
ROBIN HOOD: JOHN HURST. NEWTON
KINDERTON ARMS: EDWARD LOWE. BOOTH LANE
JUNCTION: WILLIAM SIMON OAKS. BROOKS LANE
KINGS LOCK: WILLIAM OAKS. NEWTON
LORD HOOD: NO RECORD. PEPPER ST


PAUL FRY & RING ‘O’ BELLS WERE CLOSED PREVIOUS TO 1860

First published 19th January 2015
Re-published (with amendments) 9th April 2015)

2 comments:

  1. Geraldine Williams20 January 2015 at 09:04

    QED! Thank you Maureen. Hope all's well with you. I knew you lived in that area of Lewin Street but didn't connect you with the former pub building (my husband now has total recall though. Doh!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have some pics of the wall that was with our house there was 4 small building and one large thar were all inside the wall Helen and I climbed that wall many times I am fine thank you I hope you and your family are the same I realy enjoyed looking back at all of middlewich

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