Wednesday, 19 August 2015




Recent photo.
Fred and Craig will be appearing on Friday at the Boatyard, along with Dave Thompson (guitar), Stephen Dent (percussion) and special guest DAI THOMAS!

(Fred reminded me recently that I came up with the name Moore & Moore Blues - something I'd forgotten about. It's not a perfect name, as we had to drop the 's' to make it work.  Then again, Moores and Moores Blues doesn't work at all! -ed.)

Courtesy of  Middlewich Narrowboats

Courtesy of Middlewich Music

Another great weekend of Entertainment in Middlewich!

are awarded the trophy by
Middlewich Town Mayor Ken Kingston



Monday, 17 August 2015


First published on Facebook 29th April 2011

by Dave Roberts

Here's one for owners of the  new apartments at the top of Wheelock Street to hang on their walls. 

It shows the old Red Lion on the corner of Wheelock Street and Nantwich Road as it was in 1969.
Note the CHESTERS neon sign and the off-licence, or 'OFF SALES', department.

Many pubs had these before the advent 
There was, for example, one at The Vaults (or Brown's Vaults) at around the same time as this photo was taken.

Note also, to the right, the long-gone Yeowart's grocery shop on the corner of Nantwich Road and Chester Road and the total absence of gardens and dangerous road junctions in front of the pub.

In our drinking glory days we had some epic nights in the old Red Lion, particularly when the legendary Ted Hussey was the landlord.
It was there that I first saw the folk band Cheshire Folk in the early 1970s – twenty years before the Folk & Boat Festival was even a gleam in anyone's eye.
And in 1977 I did a few  Sunday evening discos there after a recommendation from the late lamented Frank Robinson. It was the year Elvis died, and we spent a lot of time crying into our beer and playing his records, along with a truly dire song called I Remember Elvis Presley by Danny Mirror.
But the Red Lion at that time was not really a place for a disco, particularly on a Sunday evening.
Reg Bunn summed it all up perfectly when he asked me, 'what do they do - rattle their dominoes in time with the music?'
By 1979 I had moved to The Vaults and spent three fraught but basically happy years playing disco music to a (usually) more appreciative crowd. But that's a story for another time...

The Red Lion meanwhile moved on through a series of transmogrifications and failed experiments, aimed at finding a new format.
Most of these involved nailing old doors and other bits of rubbish on the ceilings and plastering the walls with 'jokes' and fake notices. These were, as a friend remarked, mostly 'about as funny as a rupture'.

The pub became the Cat's Whiskers, the Tut & Shive, the Tap & Spile and probably a few more before, briefly, reverting back to the Red Lion and then becoming the rather more successful Cats Bar for its final few years.
Now its pub days are gone, along with all the memories and it has become 'Lion House', a rather unlikely apartment building.

The old stable block (seen to the right of the picture) and the bowling green to its rear have also gone to be replaced by town houses.

Thus does poor old Middlewich pass from glory.

At least the building itself survives, albeit shorn of most of its interesting adornments and character.

Originally published 13th July 2011

Revised and re-published 17th August 2015

Facebook Feedback

When this Diary entry was re-published in August 2015 there was a great reaction from many people who remembered what we like to call the pub's 'glory days' - the days when, if you had a Saturday night out at the Red Lion, you knew you'd had a night out...

Anita Jane Keal I grew up on Nantwich Road, not far from the Red Lion, where the flats are now. I have such wonderful memories of this era, and  pictures like this bring a tear to my eye. In one such picture I saw Dad's old car parked outside our house. Now that did make me cry!

Dave Roberts I lived in Nantwich Road myself, at number 53, from 1952 to 1959. My sister lives just a few doors away from there now.

Anita Jane Keal It was such a wonderful era when we were kids - so carefree! Mind you, I did escape to play footie one day when I was five and got hit by a car outside our house, number 25. I still have the cars too! Dad worked in the Red Lion as a waiter for Ted. Then, as I got older, I worked there too, from 1986 to 1988

Debbie Fox My Mum still lives in the same house as I grew up in. I have very fond memories of playing on the park with the massive slide. Had a few fab nights in the Red Lion!

Dave Thompson Happy Days! Our first house was number 25.

Christine Ruscoe Yeowarts! I'm glad others remember this shop too!

Dave Prince Not as old as you, Mrs!

Jacqui Cooke I used to go in there for a quick one with my friends on a Friday and Saturday night while waiting for the bus to Mr Smith's Club in Winsford.

Craig Whitney What does the red sign say?

Dave Roberts The one at the top, underneath the attic window, says RED LION; the other one says CHESTERS - by then part of Whitbread.

Craig Whitney Was Chesters a pub chain or brewery?

Paul Stevens It's a brewery:

'Back in 1959 mild accounted for 42% of beer brewed. Twenty years later it was down to 10%, and today it's probably much less than that. Initially this steep decline was largely the result of selective advertising on bitter beers, but until the late 1970s most brewers still produced at least one mild.
Its last strongholds now are the Midlands and the North-West, especially the Manchester area. Its popularity there is perhaps typified by Chesters 'Fighting' Mild as it was endearingly known. Once a delicious dark mild - so dark that the first time you walked into a pub selling it you would be convinced everyone was drinking draught Guinness. The 'fighting' tag seems to be derived from typical scenes inside and out at the average Chesters House! Chesters was, sadly, closed by Whitbread in the 1980s.'

Colin Dutton I was born and bred at number one Nantwich Road, right next door, and I'm sure I was fed Whitbread bitter as a baby! They had a fantastic bowling green, as I remember. Chesters was a beer - bitter or mild.

Bernie O'Neill I remember it well, living there for 18 years and being crossed over the road to got to Yeowart's shop. Good picture! Dave, I must sort through those old films. There are lots of scenes showing trips to the races etc. from the Red Lion in the good old days!

Saturday, 15 August 2015


by Dave Roberts

Having perused the old Police Station and its outbuilding (which may or may not have been a stable)
we turn our attention to its replacement, seen here under construction in late 1974. Bland and boring, and with none of the reassuring solidity of its Victorian predecessor, the new police station  was built during a time in which a 'one size fits all' policy seemed to be in force. The police station in Nantwich, for example, is almost a carbon copy of this building. The station in Sandbach is of a slightly different design, but has one thing in common with the Middlewich station: it's never open (at Sandbach, there is a notice in the window boasting of the fact).
The buildings to be seen in the middle distance to the left of the picture are the Victoria Building and Civic Hall (now the Town Hall and accompanying Victoria Hall).
In 2015 the new Police Station, which never provided very much of a 'hands-on' service to the public, stood with its windows and doors completely obliterated by blue vinyls and notices informing people that it was not 'the Middlewich Police Custody Suite'.
That somewhat unpopular building  is situated  on the edge of town, on the Midpoint 18 estate. Why it was decided that a town with such a dreadful public transport service would be suitable for such a facility remains a mystery.
One beneficial by-product of the replacement of the old station with the new was the  handy little footpath which  runs from Queen Street, past the police station,  to the Civic Hall car park and Market Field.

Originally published 26th June 2011
Updated and re-published 15th August 2015

Saturday, 1 August 2015


'One immensely effective way in which the impact of the Northern Powerhouse could be widely realised would be the reopening of Middlewich railway station to passengers—a campaign that thousands of residents of Middlewich have supported for many years.

That would open up rail access directly from Crewe, right through Cheshire and into Manchester, and relieve pressure on the M6.

It also has the support of many surrounding constituency MPs.

I urge Ministers to look into that and to revert back to me with their considerations.'

Fiona Bruce MP, House Of Commons, 13th July 2015

With thanks to Ian Tresman, Andrew Malloy and


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