Sunday 29 April 2012


Left hand image courtesy of Diane Parr
by Dave Roberts
Today we're looking at an iconic building  at the top end of Wheelock Street.
The 1987 picture on the left is taken from Carole Hughes' collection of images from twenty-five years ago taken by her friend  Diane Parr, and the one on the right was taken on April 27th 2012.
It's rather reminiscent of the Alhambra, further down the street, with a large building flanked by two smaller ones (although, as we saw here, the Alhambra was built after the buildings on either side and replaced an earlier one).
What is remarkable is how the roofline has changed since 1987
It's now much more elaborate than it used to be, and the section of building on the left (the old Crosville office) appears to have been extended.
On the extreme left in both photos is the old Star Cinema, Middlewich's first picture-house.
Just creeping into shot in the 1987 picture we can  make out half of one of the town's long-lost red telephone boxes (or kiosks, if you prefer).
Let's take a closer look at the 1987 photo:
Photo courtesy of Diane Parr
I'm wondering if the old Star Cinema was a shop at this time, or was still used as a car repair business. Certainly there's a cigarette advert on one end of the building, but the roller-shutter door on the side is still in place.
Any information would, as always, be appreciated.
On the right hand side Gator's bakery shop is back in business, and appears to be selling clothes of some kind.
The central portion of the building, where the Crosville Garage once was, was occupied at this time by T&M Autoparts, the 'Complete Brake Service'.
It appears that T&M also used the old ground-floor Crosville office, but the office space on the second floor was for sale (or was it to let?).
Carole Hughes herself worked here at the time, as did Phil Yearsley among, no doubt, other well-known Middlewich personages.
T&M had a contract to supply re-lined brake shoes to ERF Middlewich at this time and, by coincidence, I was the person who received them at ERF's Goods Inwards department in Brooks Lane, and booked them into  stock.
Here's the same location in 2012:

The very much smartened up 'Cabin' (or 'Triffic Togs') is on the left, and the former Gator's shop,looking a little drab but still just as it always was, even down to the wooden gate (now painted black) in the doorway is on the right.
A discreet wall with railings  now screens it  off from the MoCoCo internet cafe, operated by Middlewich Community Church, which occupies the rest of the building.

Many people will, of course, remember this building (or, at least, the middle part of it) as the Crosville garage.
Certainly I do.
In 1957 I used to go down there, accompanied by William Moreton, to catch the single-decker Crosville bus to Wimboldsley School.
So can anyone tell us:
When this ceased to be the Crosville Garage.
What it was after Crosville left.
When did T&M move in and move out
and what was there before it became the MoCoCo cafe?



  1. Interestingly, my great grandpa & family's address (including my Nana, Mary Jane Palin, as she was then) is given on the 1911 UK census as 75 Wheelock St... Which I THINK is now Triffic Togs. Can someone more local verify that?

  2. 75 Wheelock street is part of MoCoCo not Triffic Togs!

  3. Quite right. Triffic Togs, or 'The Cabin', is actually no 73 and just to make sure everyone knows it, has its number over the door in brass letters about a foot high.

  4. After the closure of the Cinema, I believe it became a bric a brac/ second hand shop, I remember walking around there when I was young, the smell (not unpleasant), it then became Scotts Motorcycle Shop. Opposite was a Electrical shop, the guy who did the repairs there was the Church Organist and choir master for many a year. to the left and towards the new bus stop on the duel carriage way was a car show room, At the Darlington road end was a Jewellers and next to that was Parry's Fish and Chip Shop, Opposite side of the Orchard was the Solicitors then the old doctors surgery. God Bless Dr Graham, he saved me from the grip of my mums womb in the early 50's.

  5. Crosville ceased to use the garage in Middlewich at the end of 1972. Earlier in the year, in March, Crosville had assumed responsibilty for the old North Western Road Car Company's buses in Northwich and they subsequently moved the Middlewich depot operations to Northwich depot at the end of the year. The garage at Middlewich had anyway become too small, as Crosville's activities in the growing new town at Winsford had increased, and I think that they latterly used an overflow parking ground opposite the depot building to enable them to stable a total of seven buses; does anyone have any recollections or maybe photographs of that?


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