Friday 28 July 2017


Here's another of Carole Hughes' collection of old bills and everyday documents. It dates back, as can be seen, fifty-eight years to 1954 and gives us cause to revisit a couple of photographs we've seen before..
Gater's was a rather high-class pastrycook and confectioner situated next door to what was then the Crosville Bus Garage in Wheelock Street, more recently home to the Mococo Cafe and soon to become 'starter' flats for young people.
Gater's shop can be seen in the photograph below to the right of the cafe.

Despite being empty for many years, the appearance of the shop remains very much the same as it always was, with its distinctive 'gate' across the entrance (although the gate itself looks to be  a replacement for an earlier, slightly higher, one, as seen in the third photo (below) from 1987 when T&M. Autoparts occupied most of the premises. 

Gater's shop was, evidently, in use at the time but it's very difficult to see what was being sold. Can anybody shed any light on this?

UPDATE (23rd July 2016): By 2016 all had changed again with the closure of the Mococo Cafe and its replacement by flats (still, though, under the auspices of the Middlewich Community Church).

 Gater's former shop was included in the conversion and the shop front with its plate glass window and gated entrance finally disappeared, to be replaced by ordinary windows. Interestingly, the black fascia board seen in the above photo was retained, presumably because of the difficulty removing it would have caused, and so at least one clue to the building's former use remains.

Here's the scene on the 28th July 2017, a wet and dreary Summer day in Middlewich. The cafe's gone and the flats have been created. Gater's shop window has been replaced by the three plastic windows, but that tell-tale black fascia is still there betraying its origins as a shop. No doubt this will eventually disappear during some future refurbishment, and the very last trace of Gater's will have gone.

The bill itself, for 30 teas at 3s 6d each, adding up to a grand total of £5. 5s 0d (or, to put it another way, five guineas) has something of an air of melancholy about it.
The teas were actually funeral teas and were sold to local undertaker Len Dean to be consumed by those attending a funeral in the Sant family.
But the slight  air of glamour which hung around Gater's is reflected in the  unusual and rather sophisticated  typeface used on its paperwork.

First published 23rd July 2012

Updated and re-published 23rd July 2013,
23rd July 2016 and 28th July 2017


  1. Back in the 60's my mum sent my younger sister to this shop to get some synthetic cream, On arrival at the shop, my sister asked foe sympathetic cream.
    It is an amusing story handed down through our generations. It Gator's still had the shop in the early 1960's, they sold synthetic cream... lol.

  2. Now I'm wondering who died... At 1st I though it was my great-grandfather Herbert Sant but he died in March 1954, not Nov. I'll let you know if I find out!

  3. hi dave i worked for dewhursts butchers in 1954 and we supplied reg gaters
    with there meat reg and doug crebb worked the bakery mrs gater ran the shop
    and the daughter ran the cafe upstairs over the shop that will be where the bill would have from

  4. robert reg gator was married to elsie yoxall ,my grans niece he was a high class confectioner back in the day. Yoxall were related to Deans , so probably family. 30 teas is alot lol . Tracy Kay Spruce


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