Thursday 24 November 2016


For the 1973 Carnival our town was graced by the presence of Winsford's Carnival Queen in a handsome horse and carriage. It's not clear whether the carriage was provided by Winsford or Middlewich Carnival. Was Middlewich trying to upstage Winsford by providing such an opulent vehicle for their Queen, or was Winsford trying to put one over on Middlewich by sending along their Carnival Queen in a vehicle fit for a real Queen?
The only slightly  jarring note is the rather crude piece of paper with WINSFORD CARNIVAL QUEEN written on it in felt tip pen.
Nowadays something a little bit more sophisticated would be run up on someone's computer and, no doubt, laminated. There would probably also be a commercial sponsorhip message saying CHESHIRE FM or somesuch.*
The Queen is waiting to join the carnival procession outside the Big Lock at the end of Webb's Lane where it is joined by Finney's Lane. The building just in shot on the left is part of the pub  itself, although this particular part was not in use as such at that time. In those days the Big Lock was in  a rather strange condition with only small parts of it actually in use as licensed premises.
Looked at from Webbs Lane, or from the canalside, there were large areas of the building which couldn't be 'accounted for' when one ventured inside.
It was, and is, one of those canal side pubs which the late Brian Curzon referred to as 'stack pubs',  on two levels, with a bar at the top for the use of local residents and another on the lower level, opening onto the lockside for the use of the boating fraternity.
By this time the former shop at canal level, which was also provided for the benefit of people working the boats, had been converted into a function room where, the following year, the late Johnny McAlinden would, like me, be part of the early disco boom in Middlewich.
It was only in the 1990s that the entire pub was opened up to become the pub/restaurant we know today.
Note also the once ubiquitous red GPO telephone box (or 'kiosk' as some would insist). These are now very few and far between and found only in areas thought to be particularly picturesque.
There are none in Middlewich.
*Not any more. Cheshire FM closed down at the end of January 2012.

Facebook feedback:

Geraldine Williams Very impressed that the Winsford Carnival Queen's carriage had to be followed by a Group 4 security van (thought it was Del Boy at first!) so her jewels must have been real........!

First published 24th November 2011
Re-formatted and re-published 24th November 2016

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