Wednesday 21 June 2023


© Phillip Shales 2011     All rights reserved
with acknowledgments to Kerry Kirwan and Dave Thompson 
by Dave Roberts

The crowds gather in the Bull Ring to watch the 1952 Middlewich Carnival procession and the effect this photo from the Phillip Shales collection has is astonishing. You almost feel that you could walk into the picture  and talk to the people in it, so perfectly has the photographer captured their faces.
Unlike the crowds of today most of the people seen here, rather than fighting for car parking spaces and then walking a few yards, will have trekked into the town centre from all over Middlewich; from Kinderton and Newton and Cledford. And it's a safe bet that quite a few of them will have cycled from outlying areas such as Wimboldsley, Stanthorne and Sproston to see all the glamour and spectacle of one of Middlewich's major annual events.
There's a definite air of anticipation about the photograph, as the crowds wait for the procession to arrive. We'll be seeing the Carnival Queen and her retinue for ourselves in later entries in the Middlewich Diary.
The railings in the foreground are part of the enclosure for the War Memorial at the end of the row of buildings separating Lower Street and Hightown at that time. The road still curves around in the same way at the end of the 'amphitheatre', though the space to the left of the picture where most of the crowds are is usually taken up these days by cars jostling for parking spaces outside Tesco Express.
The buildings in the background disappeared at the end of the 1960s in preparation for the building of what was then the Co-operative Superstore and is now Tesco Express and the very popular Super Discount Shop.
If you're wondering where Dierden's Terrace has got to, it's the narrow alleyway between the now vanished Cooper's shop and the next building, which survives as a hairdressers establishment opposite the current Super Discount Shop and Tesco Express.

Note: The current building on the site is huge. In its earliest days it was, as we've said, the Co-operative Superstore. The section to the right , now the Discount Shop, was originally the Co-op Chemists department and optician and  later became the home of Pineland before  re-opening as the Super Discount Shop a couple of years ago.

The upper landing of the Discount Shop (the area devoted mostly to gardening products and large domestic items) was originally the Co-op furniture department, reached by a large staircase from the shop below. Pineland used the area for warehousing.

Editor's note: We originally published this entry under the heading 'Crowds at the 1949 Carnival' but have changed the date as other photos in the series were proved to have been from 1952. If you have any information which will help us confirm the true date of this photo please contact us. Thank you.
5th APRIL 2020
7th MAY 2021

First published 21st December 2011
Revised and republished 21st June 2023

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