Sheila McLeod I went to the music Hall Cabaret evening last night with the Buttered Muffin Theatre Company. All I can say is what a brilliant evening of entertainment! There was close-up magic at the tables, singing, juggling, comedy and music. Old school stuff, I know, but it was a wonderful nights' entertainment
Suzanne A Johns I totally agree!. The best I've been to in a long time
Sonya Edwards People don't know what they missed. I haven't laughed like that for a long time. A very good evening. When people say that nothing happens in Middlewich, they must be walking around with their eyes shut! Roll on the weekend for more entertainment!
Val Prince Two twelve-year old boys had a great evening too! They loved the magic tricks at the table. A brilliant night!
Cllr Bernice Walmsley I agree - great evening! I find that when friends from other towns visit they are all amazed at how much goes on in our little town, and the variety too.
Paul Greenwood has been out with his camera to capture some aspects of the present day Middlewich scene for posterity, for the very good reason that some parts of it are, by all accounts, due to disappear soon.
We're saying 'by all accounts' because it appears that matters are by no means settled.
This picture shows Chester Road as it was in mid-January 2012, with Boosey's Garden Centre and Middlewich Autos in what should be their last few weeks before demolition to make way for a new Morrison's supermarket.
According to the local press work should begin on this in March, so it should naturally follow that the removal of these buildings is imminent.
However, other sources are saying that Morrison's, despite having obtained planning permission for their new store, are 'not yet committed' to building it (see 'UPDATE', below).
The theory is that uncertainty over plans by Tesco to rebuild, and greatly enlarge, their premises in Southway are causing Morrison's to delay a decision on actually going ahead with their plans.
Can a town of this size support two major supermarkets?
If they're both built, will people travel here from out of town to shop?
What will be the effect of these developments on the shops in Wheelock Street?
Opinion is divided on this. Some say that two large supermarkets (or even one greatly enlarged one) will kill off trade in the main street.
Others, on the other hand, are saying that the increased number of shoppers in the town will give a boost to Wheelock Street trade, as people will stay in town and buy all the things they can't buy in the supermarkets from the Wheelock Street shops.
Whatever happens, this may be a momentous year for Middlewich and large parts of the town may change forever.
Which is why, to return to the real point of this Middlewich Diary entry, Paul has gone out and about to record the 2012 Middlewich scene.
Middlewich Autos has been in business in Chester Road for over thirty years, replacing a firm with the pleasing name of Middlewich Motors (shame they couldn't keep the name).
Boosey's Nurseries, of course, is much older and pre-dates even the arrival of the Boosey family in Middlewich in the mid-nineteenth century.
William Boosey was an Essex gardener who came here in the late 1850s and took over an existing nursery business.
William Boosey and Family
According to Allan Earl in Middlewich 1900-1950 (Cheshire Country Publishing 1994) Boosey leased land in Holmes Chapel Road, Webbs Lane and Pepper Street as well as in Chester Road and Holmes Chapel.
Allan also makes an interesting point which has a bearing on this entry in the Middlewich Diary:
...' The area of woodland along the Wheelock Valley which can be seen from Coal Pit Lane and Chester Road is overgrown nursery stock which was never cleared after the 1914-18 war, partly because of the fall off in trade in the late twenties and thirties, but also because the land falls away quickly to the river and was therefore unsuitable for agricultural machinery.'
So that great profusion of trees along the river, which I had assumed to be a fairly recent phenomenon, is actually much older than I thought, and now we know why it's there.
Right up until the 1950s and 1960s Boosey's nurseries owned a lot of land in the Nantwich Road area, where Glastonbury Drive and associated developments now lie.
The extent of the nurseries even in those days can be appreciated when you consider that the driveway which runs alongside the fine old Victorian house just where Nantwich Road makes a sharp bend to run down towards the aqueduct, once led into the nursery fields.
And if you stand in the car park of the present day Boosey's premises (while you still have the chance) and look in the direction of Glastonbury Drive you can imagine how things used to be, with many acres of land given over to the cultivation of all kinds of flowers, plants, trees and shrubs.
The change of name from Boosey's Nurseries to Boosey's Garden Centre gives an indication of how the business has changed.
UPDATE: September 25th 2014. In actual fact the name didn't change, as we had assumed. Boosey's Nurseries and Boosey's Garden Centre were separate businesses and continued for a time on different parts of the site (see comment below). We're glad to correct this misunderstanding and also to know that the original Boosey's Nurseries business is still thriving in Antrobus. Many thanks to our anonymous contributor for putting us right on this point -Ed
The coffee shop mentioned is run by Helen Ireland and is one of the town's 'hidden gems':
Boosey's Garden Centre would probably never win any architectural awards, but the buildings are attractive enough and it is an amenity which will be greatly missed when, as seems likely, it disappears (sooner or later) from the Middlewich scene.
Our advice is to enjoy it while you can.
Many thanks to Paul Greenwood for the photographs.
Will he be able to return in January 2013 and take more photographs of Boosey's and Middlewich Autos?
Or will a new era for shopping in Middlewich, for better or worse, have begun by then?
UPDATE: At the end of February 2012 it was announced that Morrisons' planned to start work on the site in May, and were still aiming to be open for business at Christmas 2012.
Meanwhile Tesco's original plans were also expected to be passed by Cheshire East's planning department on the 29th February.
Andrew Tomlinson with living in Croxton Lane for many years and being friendly with the Morrises I have many memories of this site. I will have to sit down and thumb through some old photos to see what I can find/remember. I do remember the garage being a petrol; station as well as car sales/repairs - owned and run by Bob Williams? Boosey's Garden Centre finally closed its doors on the 26th April 2012. Click here for our valedictory tour of the premises Originally published 20th January 2012 Re-published 25th September 2014 following the receipt of the comment below telling us that Boosey's Nurseries lives on not too far away in Antrobus.
Originally published 7th September 2012 Updated and re-published 19th September 2014 UPDATE (19th SEPTEMBER 2014): It's two years now since Kath and Barry's dream came true and the Sycamore Community Gardens opened their doors (or should that be gates?) to the public. Recently there has been an upsurge in interest in the idea of community gardens, which are being established in many areas throughout the country. This renewed recognition of the benefits which such amenities can bring to local communities has, in its turn, brought about a re-awakening of interest locally. Kath and Barry Walklate are still looking after the Sycamore Gardens and welcome help from interested members of the Middlewich community. If you'd like to be a part of this great local initiative we can put you in touch with Kath and Barry. Send us your details and we'll pass them on. You can email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org Dave Roberts Editor. Here's our original Diary entry from 2012: A DREAM COME TRUE - THE OPENING OF THE SYCAMORE GARDENS It was an occasion well worth waiting for, as the official opening day for the Sycamore Community Gardens in Warmingham Lane finally came around on September 1st 2012. The opening ceremony was originally scheduled for June but the record-breaking rainfall of the summer of 2012 forced a re-think and the whole thing was put back to the start of what was forecast to be an Indian summer. The weather didn't disappoint, and neither did the turn-out.
People came from far and wide to see the new garden and to enjoy the festivities. The Sycamore Gardens were the brainchild of Kath and Barry Walklate of Warmingham Lane who wanted to create a pleasant and interesting space for their neighbours in the bungalows surrounding what was, until a year ago, a piece of waste ground. With help from former Community Pride Chairman Stephen Dent they obtained a lottery grant and spent many hours creating the beautiful gardens which now stand where once there was nothing.
Deputy Mayor of Middlewich Bernice Walmsley performed the actual opening ceremony and said that the event showed 'how much can be achieved with a little money and a lot of hard work and determination.'
Our picture shows (left to right) Bernice Walmsley (Deputy Mayor), Barry and Kath Walklate and Stephen Dent.
Entertainment was provided by (left to right) Stephen Dent, Craig Moores, Freddie Moores and Dave Thompson. Kath Walklate said, 'The music was fantastic - everyone was tapping their feet.'
The barbecue was manned by chef Tom Browne and his wife Michelle ran the tombola and made the cakes.
Debbie Moran and her children Megan and Reece saw to it that the garden was bedecked with flags and bunting and that leaflets were distributed all over the area making sure people knew about the occasion.
A dream come true. Kath Walklate thanked everyone for attending the event: 'I could have cried because I felt we'd achieved that much. You think what it was like twelve months ago and now it's surrounded by smiling faces. It was well worth it.'
Kath and Barry would also like to thank Lynda Colbridge and Janet Chisholm for all their help in making the Sycamore Community Gardens a reality, and also the Middlewich Diary for help in publicising the occasion.
And this truly was an afternoon enjoyed by people of all ages.
As the Middlewich Guardian reported: 'the youngest attendee was Kath's nine month old grandchild Bayley, and neighbours in their 80s were also enjoying the fun'.
(with acknowledgments to David Morgan at the Middlewich Guardian) SEE ALSO: THE SYCAMORE COMMUNITY GARDENS (ARCHIVED) Facebook Feedback: Ian Hill-Smith: It's stuff like this that makes me proud to be a resident of this town. Dave Roberts: Me too, Ian. Bernice Walmsley: And me! Kath & Barry Walklate: Lovely day with lovely people. It was a perfect day. We only hope now that people feel they can come along and spend a little time with us, as everyone will be made welcome. A really big thank you to all those who helped make this dream come true. Kind regards, Kath & Barry
Once again this year the Mid-Cheshire salt towns are coming together to celebrate their common heritage and this week our close neighbour, Winsford, is in the spotlight with the second annual Winsford Salt Fair. There's plenty going on in the town and on the River Weaver.
For obvious reasons, the focus this year is on the centenary of the Great War. Middlewich comes into its own in this regard on the 27th September with an Edwardian Music Hall at the Town Hall and on the 4th and 5th October with the Great War Weekend itself.
Details of the Middlewich events will be featured here from next week
Meanwhile Nantwich Museum is presenting 'A Celebration Of Salt - the Story of Brine in Nantwich' and invites you to take a tour of this ancient salt town.