Monday 27 March 2023


by Dave Roberts

Here's another one for our growing collection of photographs of Whiston's Garage.
It's one of those pictures which joins together Middlewich past and present, though in this case the building which links the two is not, as is usually the case, St Michael's Church (though that building can just be glimpsed trying to get into the act just above the vintage lorry in the picture) but another place of worship which still exists, albeit in a new guise.
We're back once again at Whiston's Garage which once stood at the junction of Chester Road, Wheelock Street and Nantwich Road.
On the extreme right is the Red Lion Hotel, now home to apartments and re-christened 'Lion House'.
Across the road, opposite the spot where Nantwich Road  comes in from the right, is Whiston's, identifiable by its distinctive sign board  in the Whiston house colours of red and white.
The various departments of Whiston's with its petrol station, garage, car showrooms and radio, TV and electrical businesses stretched from the cemetery lodge (where Lidl's supermarket now stands) all the way to Red Cow Court, opposite  Mococo House.
And right in the middle of it all is Chester Road United Free Methodist Church.
The building still survives as 'Church House', the home to Bomford's Office Supplies, a firm which has been established in Cheshire for over sixty years and was once, before technology moved on, the first port of call for anyone looking for a typewriter.
Nowadays though, rather than hiding away among Whiston's rather nondescript collection of shops and showrooms, the building stands out on its own opposite Lion House with the end-on junction between Nantwich Road and St Michael's Way in between the two.
We were quite hopeful of pinpointing the date of this photo to within a few years because of what appears to be a Ford Zephyr - a classic 'Z-car' - right in the middle of the picture.
Looking up the dates of manufacture of these cars, however, tells us that they were produced between 1951 and 1972 (although the styling obviously changed during that period) so the car, although very redolent of the early 60s in its styling, can't really be the 'clincher'.
But on the end wall of the building on the left is a tell-tale sign - an MOT sign in fact. MOT tests were introduced in 1960, so we can date this picture as no earlier than that year.
Between that sign and the Ford car is one of those revolving Castrol signs which seemed to be almost compulsory outside every garage and petrol station in those days, and a close inspection of the lorry (or truck, if you really must) trundling along Chester Road reveals what look very like Castrol trade-marks on the front of the vehicle, so it may well have been bringing further supplies of the life-giving fluid to Whiston's to keep the cars of Middlewich on the road.

First published 30th March 2014
Revised and re-published 27th March 2023

Wednesday 22 March 2023