Monday, 21 September 2015


by Dave Roberts

Today we wave goodbye to our home for the last eighteen years, no 5 Whitley Close, Middlewich.

It's a modern, comfortable detached house in a quiet and attractive part of the town, just down the road from the point where Middlewich becomes Cledford.
Although situated in what might be termed a 'modern' part of the town Whitley Close is, like the rest of Middlewich, not without its historical associations.
In this case, those historical associations are all to do with Middlewich Manor, which lies just a few yards away.
MIDDLEWICH MANOR Photo: Middlewich Guardian
The Manor was built in 1830 for the Court family, and we'll be delving into the history of the building in later Middlewich Diary entries.
It was a descendant of the Court family, a Mr Roylance Court, who indirectly had a hand in the creation of Whitley Close when, in 1978, he sold off part of the historic parkland surrounding the Manor for housing development.
Just how close what is now Whitley Close was to the Manor can be seen from this Google Earth view:

The Manor itself, now a care home, is hidden behind the trees seen in this view from our front garden:

Incidentally, according to the deeds to our house (which we only managed to snatch a brief glimpse of before passing them on to our solicitors), the housing estate which includes Whitley Close was originally intended to be called the Woodlands Estate, a rather obvious and uninspiring choice of name which, dyed-in-the- wool Middlewichians will understand, might have been better applied to Glastonbury Drive and Malmesbury Close and other roads in the more recent Nantwich Road development.

But the name 'Woodlands Estate' never caught on - indeed, the mention of the name in those deeds was the first I ever heard of it.

In the 1980s some people were pleased to refer to the housing developments clustering around Middlewich Manor as 'the Manor Estate' or 'the Manor Park Estate' but these names too rather fell by the wayside over the years.

So too, thankfully, did the ludicrous 1980s practice of calling our ancient town 'the village', a crime for which I once, quite justifiably, proposed the death penalty.

Be that as it may we have had eighteen happy years in this lovely part of town and will miss living here.

Now it's time for us, and the Middlewich Diary, to move on to pastures new.

Our new HQ is situated in a much older part of the town.

Rest assured, our study of the rich and endlessly fascinating history of Middlewich, together with our untiring efforts to promote the very best of what's happening now in the town will continue, as we settle down right in the heart of things.

So, it's a fond farewell to Whitley Close and a big HELLO to...


This was the last Middlewich Diary entry written at 5 Whitley Close

Monday, 7 September 2015


by Dave Roberts

Recently we started the Middlewich Diary Photo Group on Facebook in order to give everyone an easy way to upload photos for possible inclusion in the Middlewich Diary.

This has the added advantage of making the photos instantly accessible to all and also makes it easy for everyone to add additional information for all to see.

Also, when time allows, we can post photos from our own vast collection of  Middlewich pictures along with links to relevant Middlewich Diary entries and other websites and, we hope, stimulate discussion from Middlewichians past and present.

In fact, some interesting discussions have already been started  concerning the photos uploaded and we invite you to take a look and also join the group if you'd like to.
Even if you're only an interested spectator it's a great way to learn more about Middlewich and we guarantee you'll find it fascinating.

On September 7th 2015 Rex Edward Lees uploaded the above photograph to the Group. It's the sort of photo many of us have tucked away in drawers, in shoeboxes in the bottom of wardrobes, and in hundreds of other disregarded and forgotten places.

Inexplicably, some local Facebook Groups which claim to be recording the history of Mid-Cheshire are scornful of school photos, with one group  totally banning them.

This we find hard to comprehend.

Each battered and dog-eared  school photograph you might  find in some forgotten corner of your house is a record of a moment in time.
Such photographs show the people of (in our case) Middlewich as they were with their whole lives before them, long before they became the people they are today. They're part of the history of our town.

We welcome your school photographs, just as much as we welcome photographs of salt works, long-lost buildings, local events and everything else which goes  to make up the history of Middlewich.

Rex's photo shows a class from  Park Road Infants School some time in the 1950s.*

*This was the description Rex used when he originally posted the photo. See update below -Ed.

The teacher (right) is Miss Falkener and Rex has promised to supply the names of at least some of the pupils shown here. Perhaps you can help him out in putting names to faces?

Park Road Infants School, as the name suggests, was at the end of Park Road, off St Ann's Road, and was on part of the site now occupied by the Willowmere Development.
It was quite separate from the adjacent Park Road Primary School which has been rebuilt to form the Park Road School we know today.


After seeing this photo Paul Maddock said,

These pupils look too old for infants. I was at this school from about 1958 before moving up to Secondary School at King Edward Street.
I remember the headmaster was a Mr Mathias. 

The infant school was on Lewin Street. My gran lived on Park Road with my uncle next door in the semi-detached houses before the terraced ones.

I think Paul's right. On looking again these children do look a little old to be described as 'infants'. So this must be Park Road Primary School and not the adjacent Park Road Infants which, we assume, took over from the Lewin Street school when that closed - Ed.