Thursday 17 November 2011


Here's Jack Stanier's picture of a Lewin Street building which must by now be familiar to all Middlewich Diary readers, whether or not they remember it when it was still in existence. The C of E Infants' School stood where the Salinae Centre now stands. To the right of this huge building can be seen the distinctive 'four pronged' tower of the Wesleyan Methodist  chapel, with the Square One hardware shop between the two.
Also of interest is the tobacconist and newsagent shop on the left, which stood, and still stands, on the curve in the road where Leadsmithy Street gives way to Lewin Street. During my lifetime it was run by Les Gibbins* who, I always thought, was a dead ringer for Professor Eric Laithwaite, inventor of the linear induction motor.
The shop had previously been known as Challinor's and afterwards became Tam's.
The shop always looks very vulnerable, somehow, and ripe for demolition as part of some road-widening scheme, but it has survived to date. It was, in the 1990s, the home to J&M Print, but has been empty for years.
UPDATE: In 2013 this shop was extensively re-modelled in preparation for its new role as premises for
Forshaw's Funeral Services, the business relocating from its shop next to Cynthia's Cake Shop in Wheelock Street in Summer 2014..
* or maybe not. See feedback below from Daniel Preston. Does anyone know when Les Gibbin's took the shop over? -ed

Facebook Feedback:

Daniel Preston In this posting the shop is recalled as 'Gibbins'*, however, in the 'Fifties and 'Sixties it was Challinor's Newsagents and Tobacconists. The shop between the school and the Wesleyan Church, well, I can't remember what that was at the time. I think that Joyce's Toffee Shop was further along the road, but then again it may have been that shop. We used to go there after school for farthing chews, which were then two for a farthing or four for a penny as the farthing had just gone out of circulation.

* The above description has been amended since Daniel made his comment - Ed

Dave Roberts Does anyone else remember this shop as Challinor's? I always think of it as 'Gibbins'' but Les might have been relatively late on the scene. And the name Challinor does ring a bell (but that might be because it was my Auntie Mary's maiden name. Can anyone help us out?

Margaret Williams It was Challinor's before Les Gibbins had it. I used to pass it every day on my way to school. Geraldine Williams will, no doubt, confirm this for you.

Geraldine Williams Yep! I'm not sure whether Challinor's wasn't once divided into two shops - the right hand side one being run as a haberdashery by some old lady. I've mentioned before on the Diary about a couple of us girls being sent down there by Miss Barry, the head teacher, to buy embroidery silks for the needlework class at St Mary's (then in King Street - Ed) and I don't think it was one of the shops to the right of the school.


  1. The wave of nostalgia at a simple thing like a No6 hoarding is incredible!

  2. I remember Joyce's sweet shop being almost opposite the WHITE HORSE I feel sure her surname was Sambrook we always used to go in there on our way to school

  3. Anne, I think Joyce was married to Raymond Sambrook, who I knew from my time at Middlewich UDC. He was the Uncle of Marjory Williams who ran the White Horse opposite.


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