Friday 22 March 2013


Photo courtesy of Bill Eaton/Joan Smith
by Dave Roberts

Today, courtesy of Bill Eaton, we're taking a look at a couple of Frank Smith's pictures of  an area of Lewin Street now occupied by the Salinae Centre. The date would be some time in the mid to late 1970s. We know from this Diary entry that the C of E Infants School was still standing in 1975, so these views of the last building standing in the row will date to around  that time, or perhaps a little later. The boarding used to shield Lewin Street from the demolition of the Infants School is still in place, and you can see that a small portion of the school has been left standing to the left of the Square One shop, presumably to support the shop's end wall. 
What appears to be a strange construction on top of the shop building is, we think, someone recovering roof tiles, the image made a little blurry by the back lighting. 
Are we imagining it, or is that crouching 1970s workman wearing a pair of trendy 1970s flared jeans?
Those roof tiles probably live on to this day, keeping the rain out of someone else's house or shop.
To the right of the shop is the open space left by the demolition of the Central Methodist Church, as seen here, and  Seddon's workshops as seen here, and beyond that the still existing but much refurbished buildings behind Middlewich DIY in Wych House Lane.
Photo courtesy of Bill Eaton/Joan Smith
Frank's second photo was taken some days later, after the demolition of the shop. On the extreme left is the still extant building which was once Challinor's/Gibbin's Newsagents*, as seen here, and on the extreme right is the very last tall building on this side of Lewin Street, the former Co-op Drapery department, at that time occupied by Oates Builders Merchants, whose modern warehouse building can also be seen in the middle left of the picture. The tall building has gone, and the present day Builder's Merchants business, operated by Jewson, is concentrated on that new warehouse and a large yard created by the demolition of the other buildings on the site.
Many thanks, as always, to Bill Eaton, for sending us the pictures.
Bill points out that these shots are another example of Frank Smith's happy knack of being in the right place at the right time.

*this building was later to become the home of J&M Print and then, after a period of dereliction, became the home of Peter Forshaw's Funeral Directors business in the second decade of the 21st century.


  1. Question: The shop shown in the top picture... Was that the place that was Dawson's Music Shop back in 1965? Dawson's not only sold musical instruments but prams and nursery equipment.
    Why? I have no idea but I bought my sons pram from there in 1965.

  2. That's right. They also had a shop in Northwich. In 1960 when I joined the church choir the flat above the shop was lived in by one of the senior choristers, Chris Holdrick.

  3. How very odd, a music shop that sells prams and nursery equipment! Perhaps that was how they made money... Thank you for sharing this history of Middlewich, I find it fascinating :)


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