Sunday, 30 March 2014


by Dave Roberts

Here's another one for our growing collection of photographs of Whiston's Garage, this time from the archives of Mid-Cheshire author and historian Paul Hurley, who writes extensively about all the Mid-Cheshire towns as well as Chester and further afield.
This photo first appeared on Paul's Mid-Cheshire Through Time Facebook group and is reproduced here with his permission.
It's another one of those pictures which joins together Middlewich past and present, though in this case the building which links the two is not, as is usually the case, St Michael's Church (though that building can just be glimpsed trying to get into the act just above the vintage lorry in the picture) but another place of worship which still exists, albeit in a new guise.
We're back once again at Whiston's Garage which once stood at the junction of Chester Road, Wheelock Street and Nantwich Road.
On the extreme right is the Red Lion Hotel, now home to apartments and re-christened 'Lion House'.
Across the road, opposite the spot where Nantwich Road  comes in from the right, is Whiston's, identifiable by its distinctive sign board  in the Whiston house colours of red and white, as seen here.
The various departments of Whiston's with its petrol station, garage, car showrooms and radio, TV and electrical businesses stretched from the cemetery lodge (where Lidl's supermarket now stands) all the way to Red Cow Court, opposite the now closed Mococo cafe.
And right in the middle of it all is Chester Road United Free Methodist Church, as mentioned here when we talked about Whiston's in a previous Diary entry.
The building still survives as 'Church House', the home to Bomford's Office Supplies, a firm which has been established in Cheshire for over sixty years and was once, before technology moved on, the first port of call for anyone looking for a typewriter.
Nowadays though, rather than hiding away among Whiston's rather nondescript collection of shops and showrooms, the building stands out on its own opposite Lion House with the end-on junction between Nantwich Road and St Michael's Way in between the two.
We were quite hopeful of pinpointing the date of this photo to within a few years because of what appears to be a Ford Zephyr - a classic 'Z-car' - right in the middle of the picture.
Looking up the dates of manufacture of these cars, however, tells us that they were produced between 1951 and 1972 (although the styling obviously changed during that period) so the car, although very redolent of the early 60s in its styling, can't really be the 'clincher'.
But on the end wall of the building on the left is a tell-tale sign - an MOT sign in fact. MOT tests were introduced in 1960, so we can date this picture as no earlier than that year.
Between that sign and the Ford car is one of those revolving Castrol signs which seemed to be almost compulsory outside every garage and petrol station in those days, and a close inspection of the lorry (or truck, if you really must) trundling along Chester Road reveals what look very like Castrol trade-marks on the front of the vehicle, so it may well have been bringing further supplies of the life-giving fluid to Whiston's to keep the cars of Middlewich on the road.

Mid-Cheshire Through Time Facebook Group
Paul Hurley's website

Saturday, 29 March 2014


Illustration: The Makers Market


Following on, as the Town Clerk so eloquently put it, 'seamlessly' from the popular Artisan Market, the Makers Market in Middlewich began on the 29th March and continued the tradition.

On the day, The Makers Market wrote:
It's TODAY everyone -  the launch of the Middlewich Makers Market! 
The event will have a Mothers Day twist, with over 50 of the finest food, drink, art and craft stalls, with lots of specials designed to appeal to mothers.
 To keep the little ones entertained we have face painters, portrait artists and a very talented balloon modeller. 
Cheshire folk will be performing and we are thrilled to be also joined by the cotton hot town club our fabulous vintage DJ's providing us with the best swing tunes from the 30's to early 50's,
you do not want to miss it!
Wheelock Street 10-4pm. 

News just in from Makers Market HQ - Final trader numbers confirm that today will be the largest Middlewich Market ever!! We have over 60 stalls! Thats over 60 fabulous creatives and talented cooks, chefs and food growers. How exciting! We are also holding a competition to say thank you to our stall holders. The best dressed stall will win a certificate and a free stall at nexts months market! See you all there! I'll be on the bouncy castle or quietly bopping to the swing tunes of our Vintage DJ's. 10-4 Wheelock Street.

with music provided by

The Makers Market in Middlewich 29th March 2014   Photo: The Makers Market (Middlewich)


The first Makers Market on the 29th March was the biggest market ever held in Middlewich. Geraldine Williams took these excellent photographs showing just some of the stalls and the wide range of goods on offer.

All photographs © Geraldine Williams 2014

Wednesday, 19 March 2014


The Spring 2014 issue of Go Local is out now and being delivered to 5800 homes and businesses throughout the town.
As well as the usual useful  information and advertisements for local retailers and services, there's a What's On Guide covering April and may as well as features on tackling household dust during your Spring cleaning and making your own hot cross buns. the ever-popular Did You Know? feature is also all present and correct as is the regular feature on Middlewich's Heritage, this time focussing on the subject of village greens. Did Middlewich once have one?

To advertise in Go Local phone (01606) 837303
The copy deadline for the June/July issue is 8th May 2014


Saturday, 15 March 2014



Participants in the 2013 Rose Fete. (Photo: Middlewich Rose Fete/Middlewich Guardian)

The Middlewich Rose Fete 2014 will be held on Saturday 14th June as part of the annual Middlewich FAB Festival, and children and young people who would like to be a part of it are invited to go along to the Community Centre on Saturday 15th March at 2pm to take part in the selection process.

More details from our friends at the

Thursday, 13 March 2014



When it comes to music, Middlewich will always be known for its Folk connections. The fabulous Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival (now the FAB Festival) put the town on the map way back in 1990 and over the years there have been many Folk Sessions, Open Mike Nights, Poetry & Pints Nights and much more. The epicentre of folk music in Middlewich has always been the Boar's Head, birthplace of the original festival, and we're delighted to report that the original Boar's Head Saturday Night Folk Sessions are BACK as from April 12th, in the capable hands of Sean Boyle and Liz Rosenflield, ex-MFAB Director and founder of the highly successful Cheshire Folk, which runs sessions and concerts in Middlewich and further afield all the year round. Just in time for this year's festival, too! - Dave Roberts (editor)
Good times at the Boar's Head. Photo: Cheshire Folk
Liz Rosenfield writes:

Well my lovely music friends!
Who remembers the days of the really good Boars Head Session second Saturday of the month? 

If you do – didn’t we have some great nights? Fiddles, guitars, banjos, shaky eggs, bodrans, melodeons and some great tunes and songs. 
Good beer, good friends! I have some very happy memories of the sessions, staying up really late and into the early hours in fact! Thanks Liz McGuinness for not throwing us out! And we have had some great festival sessio
ns too. Well times change – people come and go and so do organisers!

I am pleased to tell you that The New Boars Head Session is going to start up again at the Boars Head, Middlewich on Saturday April 12th with a new organiser! Well two of us in fact. Sean Boyle is going to joint host with me; The New Boars Head ‘Saturday Folk’ Session. All genres welcome – but where Sean is around there will definitely be a choice of real folk songs ranging from traditional to new folk, and from Americana to sea Shanties and no one around here knows more about folk songs than Sean. Middlewich is a town with a reputation for some excellent folk music and I am keen to keep the Boars Head at the heart of it.

Do come and join us and let's bring ‘folk’ back to Middlewich! The first New Boars Head ‘Saturday Folk’ Session will take place from 8pm on the second Saturday of every month.

Thank you to Liz McGuinness for asking me! In turn I would like to invite you all to join us on April 12th for a music session to get us into the swing of things, and then every second Saturday after that.

May 10th New Boars Head ‘Saturday Folk’ Session.
June 7th ‘Saturday Folk’ and of course over the MFab festival weekend we’ll have sessions and sing-arounds for you to join in and enjoy.

I shall still be hosting my Cheshire Folk Club on first Sunday of the month – which has really developed into the most excellent singer songwriter evenings which we do love, but an alternative ‘folk session’ is definitely required!


Boars Head, Kinderton St, Middlewich, Cheshire CW10 0JE 01606 833191

Sunday, 9 March 2014


Photo courtesy of Joan Smith
From the collection of  the late Frank Smith of Ravenscroft, courtesy of Joan Smith and Bill Eaton, come these photographs of the  aftermath of a dramatic traffic incident in 1984.

Bill has sent us this note to accompany the images:

'Frank's notes for these photographs say:

In a heavy morning mist a heavy goods vehicle ploughed into three cottages on Lewin Street.
A child in the front bedroom of one of the cottages woke early and was taken to a room at the rear of the
building shortly before the crash happened. The damage was so bad that all three cottages later had to be completely demolished.
Frank also drew attention to the decorative brickwork over the windows of the right-hand cottage (below)'

Photo courtesy of Joan Smith

Note, to the centre right of the top photograph,  Dave Costello's Angling Centre which was, at that time, still in use as St Paul's Methodist Chapel.

In a small town like this, so beset with traffic problems and with such relatively narrow streets, the wonder is not that something like this could happen, but that it hasn't happened more often.

The cottages destroyed in this incident were replaced not long afterwards by modern housing.

Facebook Feedback:

Andy Kendrick I remember that crash in 1984, and the old cottages. Shame they were lost. But it's nice to see the old St Paul's as it was. I used to go to Sunday School there. Happy memories

Rachel Walklate I have shared this link with the lady who I think was 'the girl taken from the front room to the back'.

Geraldine Williams I didn't know about the crash. I assumed that the cottages were just demolished as part of Middlewich's regeneration. My paternal grandfather was born and brought up in one of the cottages in the late 1800s.

Denise Appleton We had just moved out of one of those cottages months before the accident, but Reg Hunt was still living there.

Robert Sheckleston I remember the crash. Reg Hunt and his partner Thelma lived there. Thelma worked on the salt-floor at RHM Foods.

Susan Nugent I seem to think Mollie Wilkinson lived in one of those cottages. I'm sure she had her first daughter then. I'm sure someone will know.

Mark Joyce That was all down to a Ken Elsby's truck. My Auntie and Uncle used to live in one of those cottages

KathAndBarryWalklate This was my sister's house. It was early in the morning when the lorry ran into the house next door and took half my sister's house with it. She had a six month old baby which she had not long taken out of her cot before it was full of bricks from the wrecked wall. She was very lucky. That little baby grew up to be Nicky Wilkinson who had the Turnpike at one time.

  • (498)

Originally published: 8th June 2012
Re-published 9th March 2014

Editor's note: This Diary entry was re-published not because of any additional information or updates, but because of the unfortunate comment added by an obvious internet troll which added nothing but gave local people and those who really know the town a chance to tell us what they think. As is our invariable custom, we immediately deleted the actual comment. Suffice it to say that it described the town as 'soulless and horrible', a description so manifestly unfair that, just before consigning the comment to oblivion, we canvassed opinions from people who really know the town to see if this wind-up merchant's views had any currency. The short answer is a resounding 'no'.
In case you don't know, an internet 'troll' is a sad, lonely, and ultimately irrelevant individual whose sole source of enjoyment is making fatuous comments on websites and blogs in order to 'wind people up'. Which can only work on those with a  feeble intellect similar to that of the 'troll' him/herself. Those who know and love this town would never get drawn into a pointless argument with such a weird individual. Nice try though.
As expected local people and people who have left the town and miss it very much were quick to jump to the defence of Middlewich. We've published some of the feedback from Facebook below (comments pertaining to the original subject matter - i.e. the 1984 lorry crash - have been added to the feedback at the end of the article, above), and it's also well worth taking a look at the comments on the page itself (including the original sad and misguided comment from someone who didn't deign to give us his/her name).
I think it was the use of the word 'soulless' which rankles with most people (although calling somewhere 'horrible' is hardly likely to endear anyone to its inhabitants), because soulless is precisely what this town is not.
 It's suffered terribly in the past from the ravages of industry, bad town planning and maladministration and, despite all that, has managed to pull itself up by its bootstraps and turn itself into a lively and pleasant town to live and work in.
No one denies that there's a long way to go, but people here have the enthusiasm and determination to make sure that what Dr Johnson described as 'a mean old town' is a place to be proud of.

New Facebook Feedback:

Lisa O'Toole I think this is a lovely town, full of history.

Susan Nugent If they don't have anything nice to say, well they shouldn't say anything at all. I love this town.

John Wood  Nothing wrong with Middlewich. Great little town for live entertainment and a great festival I never miss.

Gill Bowker Whoever wrote this clearly doesn't live in a town which pulls together in times of need, which has helpful neighbours and people to stop and chat to wherever you are in the community. Yes, Middlewich may not be to everyone's liking, but it does me and my family just fine, thank you.

Steven Doyle I have lived in Middlewich now for six years and it is anything but 'horrible and soulless'. Like every town Middlewich has its problems and undesirable people but, putting that aside, I cannot fault this place which has become home to me. I came to this town as an outsider and was made very welcome from the start. I think the town has a lot of character and lovely people living in it. Friendly, welcoming and helpful. I have the friendliset neighbours, who are more than I could wish for in terms of being good and helpful. It could never beat my home in Ireland, but it certainly gets second place in my eyes and is my home now. I love it here.

Sharon Barnard My view is that this anonymous person is an arse and that is all!

Richard Emblen As a Londoner who moved here nearly ten years ago all I can say is Middlewich is like heaven on earth. Appreciate it!

Sunday, 2 March 2014


meets at The White Bear, Wheelock Street
(upstairs room)

 on the first Sunday of

EVERY month 

at 8.30pm!

Sessions hosted by



Next Session: