Wednesday 28 December 2011


© Phillip Shales 2011     All rights reserved
with acknowledgments to Kerry Fletcher and Dave Thompson of Middlewich Town Council
by Dave Roberts
The interesting thing about this photograph from the Phillip Shales collection and found in a file marked '1949 Carnival' is its location.
When we were looking at the Queen of what turned out to be the 1952 Carnival in this photo, I wondered if the two girls in the car were the same train bearers from that earlier photo, although even I had a vague feeling that 'the dresses were different'.
Chris Koons soon put me right: 'Different dresses and head dresses, and the girls in the second photo are at least six or seven years younger than the girls in the first photo'.
So that told me.
But it's those houses in the background which intrigued me. They looked familiar, and yet I couldn't work out the location. 
Again Chris Koons came to the rescue: 'My Dad, David Sant, recalls that the field behind his house in St Ann's Avenue used to be used for Carnival events, too. 
Looking at the present-day St Ann's Avenue on Google Earth I would say this matches exactly. It looks to have been taken from approximately where Wardle Mews is now'.
Daniel Preston agreed: 'I would say that the houses in the background are in St Ann's Avenue. We used to call that field Back Field.
(As a digression, Daniel went on to talk about the anomaly which still exists today at both ends of St Ann's Avenue: "The street sign attached to the first house on either side says 'ST ANN'S AVENUE', while the  sign at the bottom of the road says 'ST ANNE'S AVENUE'"
Daniel wonders if this is similar to the Lawrence Gardens/Lawrence Avenue anomaly, but I've always put it down to a simple administrative error by whichever council was responsible and that it's never been put right because of the perceived ' who cares -any old thing will do for Middlewich' attitude.
The correct spelling is ST ANN's without the E, as in St Ann's Road).
Susan Nugent agreed that the houses shown in our photo are in St Ann's Avenue: 'My Nan and Grandad lived at no 1 '.
And Dawn Hunter had good reason to remember living in the area: 'My Mum and Dad and I lived at number 36 from the time I was three years old. When I was five I got knocked down on Kings Lock bridge by a Rolls Royce.'
Robert Sheckleston also confirmed  the location: 'Yes, that's Back Field, at the rear of St Ann's Avenue. When I lived  in Kitfield Avenue I played football on the Back Field many times.'
Margaret Williams, who came up with the correct information and dates for the first photo - of the Queen and her retinue in the Bullring - says, '(the newspaper report) has no reference regarding the two young girls in the car, but if the procession started at Back Field, maybe they were a party from a nearby town and were waiting to join the procession.'
Geraldine Williams added: 'There seems to be a lot of hanging about going on in this latest picture, and it looks as though there's a boys' band of some sort, as well as the attendants in the car. Everyone else is in Middlewich drab (coats and headscarves), as they are in the Bullring photograph, so it mustn't have been a typical July day. The Carnival Queen and her retinue seem to have travelled on a float. I think it's the same event (i.e. the 1952 Carnival - Ed) as the newspaper states that the procession set off from the Avenues but it must have been a circuitous route down St Ann's Road for the procession to come down Wheelock Street and then up to Station Field (aka ICI Field - Ed)'
So in conclusion, this would appear to be a photograph taken on the 26th July 1952 at Back Field, behind St Ann's Avenue, as the Carnival procession was getting ready to  take to the streets of Middlewich, and most probably shows two girls from a neighbouring town.
Incidentally, Wardle Lock Cottage would be somewhere behind the camera, standing in splendid isolation many years before being surrounded by the modern housing of Wardle Mews and Waters Edge Mews
Speaking personally, I'm tickled to death that we now have the actual date of both this and the 'Queen' photograph, because it shows us Middlewich as it was when I was born just two months later in September 1952. 


  1. Well, it sure looks like St. Anne's Ave to me... Let me see if dad can confirm it...

    ANN'S AVENUE. When they did lots of digging I remember were running over the big hole over planks some knock the plank and I fell right to the bottom. I can't remember the lad that got me out of the hole but he live in the last house on St Ann's avenue.


Leave your comments here. Please note that comments are moderated and, if they are particularly relevant, may be incorporated into the original diary entry.