Sunday, 9 December 2018

MIDDLEWICH ROCK 'N' ROLL IS HERE TO STAY!

Derek and Julie rippin' it up at the Middlewich FAB Festival!             Photo: Cliff Astles

COMING NEXT...

KEEP AN EYE ON THE MIDDLEWICH DIARY THROUGHOUT 2019 AS WE BRING YOU DETAILS OF ALL MIDDLEWICH ROCK & ROLL EVENTS!



David Tulloch writes:

Hi to everyone! It is with great regret that we have to announce that Derek and Julie are to retire from Middlewich Rock & Roll.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank them both for their hard work and dedication over the last twenty one years. Without them Middlewich Rock & Roll would not be what it is today, and we would not have been able to carry on over the last few years either.

We can assure you we will do our utmost to keep things going at Middlewich Rock & Roll  with everyone's support.

Once again a massive Thank You to them both for all they have done !!!!!



 In 2016 Derek and Julie Millington wrote:

We started Middlewich Rock'n'Roll twenty years ago at the Middlewich Royal British Legion Club and from a small difficult beginning it developed into an accepted venue on the Rock'n'Roll circuit. 

All profits were donated to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

Seven years ago however, due to work commitments out of Middlewich, we had to hand over running of Middlewich Rock 'n' Roll to our then resident disc jockey Jivin' Jim Kiley, who has been running the events ever since.

Jim recently made the decision to move on.

We  therefore decided to take back the running of  Middlewich Rock'n'Roll as from January 2016, with the help of a small team of dedicated volunteers and sponsors and using the same successful format which has served us well over the last twenty years.

We have an excellent  live Rock'n'Roll Band and  great  disco each month and there is also frequently a 1950's gear stall where you can buy everything from 1950s dresses for the ladies to crepes and drapes for the gents. 

Our first gig 'under new (old) management'  was on  Saturday 9th January 2016  and featured Juke Box Jive from Bradford - appropriately, the group we
booked for our first gig twenty years ago. 

JBJ was supported by one of Stoke-on-Trent's best disc jockeys, Cadillac Dave.

We're proud to be continuing the tradition of donating any profits to the Poppy Appeal.






See also: MIDDLEWICH ROCK & ROLL DANCERS AT THE FAB FESTIVAL
(More FAB pictures from CLIFF ASTLES)



RE-PUBLISHED 6th JANUARY 2018
13th JANUARY 2018
14th JANUARY 2018
13th FEBRUARY 2018
4th DECEMBER 2018
8th DECEMBER 2018
9th DECEMBER 2018



Friday, 7 December 2018

DERELICT HOUSE IN NANTWICH ROAD SEPTEMBER 2011

We only caught this one at the very last minute. Less than a week after our photo was taken this derelict house in Nantwich Road was reduced to a pile of rubble. It stood  just a few yards away from the aqueduct, and at the very top of the unadopted road which runs  along the top of the steep embankment above the roadway and provides access to the houses which adjoin the school playing fields. It could also be seen from the top end of Hannah's Walk, near the point where it joins the canal towpath, and from the towpath itself.
It lay derelict for many years, with its garden very overgrown and, as can be seen from the photo, was vandalised and eventually gutted by fire.
I noticed that something was happening  in the middle of September. Workmen were on site clearing the dense vegetation and building bonfires to burn it and some of the remaining timber from the house. I took the above photo and, the next time I was in the area the bulldozers were on site and had knocked the house down, leaving only a pile of rubble.
Passers by who were watching the demolition told me that they'd heard that local builder Andy Clarke had bought the house and land.
No doubt quite soon a new house and garden will occupy this spot*. In the meantime, does anyone know anything of the history of this house? From its location, and from the style of the house, it must have been a luxurious home in its day. The photograph below shows what appears to have been a fishpond, complete with rustic bridge, in what remains of the garden; a testament to happier times and better days.

* More than one, in fact. See Facebook feedback, below

Facebook feedback:

Stephen Koralski
We used to go in there as teenagers and the electricity still worked. It was where I met a lot of friends - shame on who ever burnt it down,it was a nice place!

Stephen Dent
Outline planning permission was granted in 2009 to build 6 new detached houses on this land which was formerly 123 Nantwich Road. Go to http://www.doc.macclesfield.gov.uk/AnitePublicDocs/07046239.pdf to see the detail

UPDATE: As can be seen from the above FB Feedback, Andy Clarke sold the land on and a planning application was made in 2018 for the six houses on the site.
This was refused because of problems over access (proposals were made to cut an access road into the bank below the houses on Nantwich Road, which would have been practically impossible to build and to use.

The site was put up for auction in December 2018.

DEVELOPMENT SITE UP FOR AUCTION (Winsford & Middlewich Guardian link)

Originally published 13th October 2011

Re-formatted and re-published 13th October 2017
Updated and re-published 7th December 2018

Saturday, 1 December 2018

THE FOUNTAIN FIELDS PADDLING POOL, EARLY 1970s.


 by Dave Roberts

Photographs of the paddling pool which once lay behind Fountain Fields are very rare indeed.
In fact it's very often forgotten that the  facility ever existed. 
Chris Koons, who now lives in America with her family, but was in a former life Christine Sant, daughter of David and Miriam Sant of King Street,  has kindly sent these precious snapshots showing the pool in around 1973 or 1974. That's Christine in blue on the left, with her sister Karen. The spot where they were playing all those years ago is now the private access road which runs alongside Fountain Fields to Wallcroft Gardens and ultimately to Wheelock Street.
The pool was behind the still existing 'bowls hut' (or 'putting hut') on Fountain Fields, now used as a base for Cheshire East's maintenance workers but at one time the place where you would go to hire bowls, golf balls and putters to enable you to  use the Fountain Fields amenities.
In my first job, with the Middlewich U.D.C. (1969-72) one of my duties was to visit the hut and collect the pennies and half-pennies which locals had paid during the week, and take them back to the office.
You can see the roof of the building on the top left of the photo. There were at one time public toilets behind the brick wall, and the pool, together with a children's slide, were in a sort of 'annexe' to Fountain Fields, reached by a gate alongside the bowls hut. To try to get our modern-day bearings, we can point out that the building on the extreme right is the present-day High School Drama Studio (originally the school gymnasium). And now we come to one of those little mysteries which infuriate and delight us all. To the right of the brick wall should be what were at the time the tennis courts on Fountain Fields*, and the uprights for the wire netting seem to be present and correct. But why are those cars parked there? The access road to the car park and supermarket is not in place yet (and neither are the car park and supermarket, come to that). Beyond the tennis courts, certainly until the late sixties, was the  putting green which, along with bowls and tennis, was the sum total of  Fountain Fields' attractions until more recent times. So where do those cars fit in? All information, as always, gratefully received.


*one of the tennis courts survives in modified form as a  five-a-side football/basketball court.


And here are Christine and Karen again having a paddle with their Grandma, who was visiting from Manchester. Behind them is the original spiked fencing, which was first modified to avoid injuring would-be trespassers and then replaced completely about twenty years ago. Beyond the fence is the bowling green, which has just been replaced by all that lovely children's playground equipment, and beyond that can be seen the Congregational Church (the 'Congs') in Queen Street, now known, of course, as the United Reformed Church. The building looks very much the same today,except that the Victorian ventilators on the roof have disappeared. Two doors away the top of the original Middlewich Police Station can be glimpsed.
If you look directly behind Grandma, you can just make out a wooden building. This was the original France-Hayhurst clubhouse later replaced, following a fire, by the modern brick building next to the 'bowls hut'.

Many thanks to Chris for giving us the chance to show you these photos of a long-vanished Middlewich attraction. If you have any photos of this, or any other, Middlewich scene from the past, or can add to the information in this Diary entry, please don't hesitate to get in touch. For example, was the slide the only facility on the site, apart from the pool, or were there also swings there? Can you remember?



- and here's the proof that there were indeed swings and a slide on the site in those days. The paddling pool was beyond the slide seen here.
 Photo added 1st December 2018.

Update: See the Facebook Feedback below. It's obvious that the 'annexe' to Fountain Fields was a fully-fledged children's playground in its own right, complete with paddling pool and separate from the Fountain Fields main site. It was only in later years that the playground equipment began to encroach on the main site (necessitated, no doubt by the sale of the land where the paddling pool and other playground equipment once stood). I myself was a young man in my twenties in the early seventies, and not interested in children's playgrounds, which explains why I can't remember how things were. Many thanks to everyone for their memories.

Dave Roberts

Editor.


The same area in October 2018. The access road to Wallcroft Gardens now runs through the site of the playground. The brick building in the centre of the picture identifies the site. 
Photo added 1st December 2018

Facebook feedback:

Chris Koons I’m pretty sure there were swings there, too, and another access gate to the annexed area via a gate from the alleyway close to Nana Dean’s.
Also, the putting green was still in operation in the mid-late 70s because I remember playing on it when I was seven or eight, and I was born in 1969. 

Gaynor Smallwood There were two big swings at the top, together with two baby swings, then the big slide. The paddling pool was at the bottom. On the grass was the roundabout and a big red horse that rocked. I spent every day in the summers of 1975 and 1976 on the park. The boys (Steve Smallwood, Alan Bowker and John Price) would get us girls at the top and run us down into the pool! We would need to change into dry clothes three or four times a day! Happy, hot days, with no worries.

Anita Hough I remember the paddling pool too. It was the mid eighties, as that's when we moved to Middlewich. It wasn't filled that much then which was a shame. I remember the swings, MASSIVE slide and the dreaded roundabout that we used to make ourselves dizzy and almost sick on. The access gate is still there near Nana Dean's. The bowling green was still used in the mid eighties as well, as I remember sitting watching them play and being fascinated by it.

Sylvia Burrows I used to take both my children there when they were little. They really enjoyed it!

Jayne Latham There were two swings and a baby swing. Then a rocking horse that would head butt you if you went too fast and had about 6 seats on it. Then that steep slide that used to get greased with bread paper so you would slide quicker and if you were unlucky you would end up in the pool.
I am sure the other end of the very slippery pool had a two-tier concrete fountain on it. This was removed as the kids would climb onto it, so it wasn't safe. Then you would run through the gate behind it and run right through the gardens to the toilets either side of the putting hut, as we called it. The best person to tell you all about this is Alan Sant, who lived across the road from the school on King Edward Street. His Mum, Joyce, who was the school cleaner, said he played in that pool in any weather in all his clothes! I'm going back over fifty years, now. Thinking back, the original toilet was in the hut. The other toilets were added years later. There was a big greenhouse looking at the right hand side of the hut. Also there was a sunken garden to honour someone or something - sorry, not sure who or what* Good memories.

*This would be the France-Hayhurst family. The sunken garden is still there, but rather neglected. Ed.


Lynda Lever I moved to Middlewich in 1988 and had my kids in 1992 and 1994. I vaguely recall there being a small playground area and pool, though I'm not sure if the pool actually had water in it. I don't recall my son actually going in it, but perhaps he was too small.

Jacky Connell Cottam I remember it very well. I used to go there often, but sorry - no pics!

Susan Johnson I remember it well. I used to spend weekends and school holidays there all the time in good weather.  |Many families took picnics and spent all day there. The park was always packed. The putting green and tennis courts too. Also the bowling green and the hut they used. There used to be an attendant in the building next to the toilet block.. You could hire putting clubs, tennis rackets etc. Happy days and happy memories.

Lynne Towers Happy days; long, hot summers! I remember Mrs Dean's ice-cream van and that massive slide!

Tim Morton I remember slipping over and hitting my head on the floor of this pool.

Pete Berry I've still got the scar on my chin! It had a bit of a divot in it. Turned the pool red! My parents still have photos of the pool. I remember seeing them a few years ago. I'll ask them if they can try to find them.


Barbara Cooper I remember this pool. My Mum and Auntie Freda used to take our daughters Louise and Angela  there. Happy days!

JULIE CORT has pointed out that there was a similar paddling pool in one of the childrens' playgrounds in Cledford. Does anyone have any photos of this pool?

First published 1st September 2018
Revised and re-published 1st December 2018.