Monday 5 February 2018


Looked at thirty-six years after it was taken, this picture by Jack Stanier comes as something of a shock as we realise just how extensive were the alterations to Kinderton Street at that time. If you followed our pontifications earlier this year about Kinderton Street, you'll know that we have gradually revised our assumed dates for this transformation from around 1972 (when St Michael's Way was built) to a couple of  years later, which is why we've dated this slide at 1975.
In those days panoramic views of Middlewich could be
obtained by paying 5p for a trip up the Church tower
Jack was taking advantage of one of the occasional Church Tower open days which happened in those days on a regular basis. This one was in September (according to the inscription on the slide). We have already published my shot of the same view  before demolition began in earnest and a direct comparison of the two shots is very interesting. 
Kinderton Street before demolition began in earnest.
The two photos, for comparison

When you look at Kinderton Street today, it's hard to imagine that it was ever any different, but Jack's picture shows just how narrow the original road was, particularly at the top end. Quite a large proportion of that huge swathe of cleared ground in the middle of the picture is now given over not to traffic, but to a wide footpath and landscaping, and the actual usable carriageway seems only to have been widened sufficiently to bring it in line with the width of the road at Town Bridge and Station Bridge at either end.
The' black stripe' running along the left hand edge of that huge area is the temporary and rather precarious footpath which was placed high on the top of the bank to  maintain pedestrian access to King Street. Just how precarious this path was can be seen here.

The precarious pavement. A joy to negotiate on a pitch black winter evening.
Note in the background the huge bulk of (left to right) The Wesleyan Chapel, the CofE Infants School (now the site of Salinae) in Lewin Street and The Congregational Church in Queen Street

Ashleys, the contractors building the new carriageway, have established a base on part of the Seabank car park.
And on the extreme right of the picture, you can see that the cottages on the right hand side of Seabank are yet to be demolished.
Some of the features seen before in our in-depth examinations of Kinderton Street are present and correct.
On the right, the jumble of offices and houses which now make up the Kinderton Hotel can be seen, below the Boar's Head, and close by is another of those old GPO red phone boxes.
At  the top of all that cleared ground, Moreton's old farmhouse has disappeared and its modern and boring replacement can be seen just to the left.
Way out on the horizon, that white dot is the Jodrell Bank radio telescope near Chelford and, closer to home, we can just see the little wooden boat, peeping into shot bottom right, which became almost a part of the Town Wharf as she was moored there for many years. Her name was, I think, Tilley, and she was owned by Tommy Williams who worked all his life on the canals, eventually settling down to live in a cottage in Canal Terrace close to Middlewich Narrowboats.

Facebook Feedback (2016)

This diary entry's second outing on Facebook, in February 2016, brought this interesting crop of comments:

Peter Wakefield I was about nine years old and going to St Mary's RC Primary School in King Street, just around the corner, when this photograph was taken in 1975. On the town bridge there always used to be a crossing patrol managed by a local policeman. Outside the school in King Street there was a 'lollipop' crossing. The location of Middlewich Railway Station was just below the 'J' and to the left. That red telephone box used to take 2p and 10p pieces. Then Harold Wilson put the 2p price up to 5p. 'Don't forget to dial 100 and tell the operator to get off the line - there's a train coming!' or 'Can we ask the fire brigade if we can put some coal on the fire until they get there?' The white disc in the background is the parabolic dish of the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank, which is owned by the University of Manchester. To the right are the Pennine Hills, Mow Cop, The Cloud, Macclesfield and Congleton. Further right still lies Derbyshire...

Paul Williams I remember that copper all too well. He kicked me up the arse for crossing town bridge when there was a car coming!

Geraldine Williams 1975? It took a long time for the re-development to take place then! Our home was on the right hand side of Kinderton Street - just opposite the digger on the photographe - and we had to vacate 1n 1967 when our house chimney collapsed. By that time, most of the adjacent properties were already empty.

Kevin Birchall Hard to believe how big the bend in the road was!

Facebook Feedback (2017)

Kevin Birchall I'm sure there used to be another phone box outside Chris Earl's at some point.

Geraldine Williams Yes, there was.

Helen Stanley What were those big brick archways that stood on the land where the factory shop now is? I used to think they were air raid shelter, but was told they were bread ovens. Anyone remember?

Geraldine Williams We lived for at while at 18 Kinderton Street in the 1960s and, to our left, was a deserted shop which I understood was formerly a bakery (Clewes?)
EDITOR'S NOTE, DECEMBER 2011: When we first published this photo we dated it as 1974 and argued that it was probably a couple of years later than its companion shot, also taken from the church tower which we estimated as being taken around 1972. Close examination of both pictures, however, seems to indicate that they were both taken in the same year, as so much in each shot is the same. And comparison with other pictures of the area show that the date of both is more likely to be 1975.  We have therefore revised the date of both slides to that year. This is the later, September, shot.

First published 3rd December 2011
Re-published with additional (2016) Feedback 6th February 2017
Revised and re-published  5th February 2018

1 comment:

  1. On the land where the factory shop now is. What we're those massive brick archways that stood there, least they seemed big to me as a child. I used to think they were air raid shelters, but was told they were bread ovens. Anyone know?


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