Friday 27 August 2021

Walk Through History with the Cheshire Image Bank

Have you ever walked down your local high street or through your local park and wondered what the scene looked like 25, 50 or even 100 years ago? Over the last year staff at Cheshire Archives and Local Studies have been doing just that in their home villages and towns, aided by the Cheshire Image Bank. Cheshire Image Bank (CIB) is an online image repository filled with over 30,000 snapshots of life in Cheshire since the 19th century, covering people, places, and events. Staff recreated images from CIB to show what has and hasn’t changed in Cheshire over the decades and centuries. We have posted these on our twitter page @CheshireRO using the hashtag #WalkThroughHistory. Some are included below, plus new views to add to our back catalogue. Take a step back in time with us, and perhaps be inspired to recreate your own Walk Through History.


The Square at Parkgate in the 1960s and 2020s. Parade House can be seen in the centre, with Nicholls Ice Cream Shop and Post Office next door. Parade House was built in the early 18th century as private housing but now contains shops. Nicholls was established in 1937, though our Neston Building Plans Database has a record between W. K. Nicholls (the client) and J. S. Allen (the architect) for works to a residential and retail property dated 1934. Perhaps this is when Mr Nicholls first purchased the building to turn it into the ice cream shop we see today? (Image ref: c01027).


The Bull’s Head on London Road in the 1960s, with Church Street on the left. This pub dates to at least the 18th century when John Royle is listed as licensee. You can find previous pub landlords for an inn or pub near you using our online trade directories. Poole’s Radio and Television shop can also be seen on the left (Image ref: c00931).


Lymm Square and Cross. The cross dates to the early to mid-17th century and was restored in 1897, as a commemoration to Queen Victoria on the occasion of her diamond jubilee. We have a blog about Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Cheshire, if you would like to learn more. Around the square are shops, including “Williamson’s”, “Saville Bros”, a chemist, and a sign for “Henry Milling & Co. Ltd. For quality in groceries & provisions” (Image ref: c00986).


In Sandbach we found ourselves outside Mary Frost’s hat shop located at 34, High Street. Miss Frost is listed as a milliner (a person who makes or sells women's hats) in the 1910 Kelly's Directory of Cheshire, and in the 1906 edition, but not in 1902, which helps us to date the image to the early 20th century (Image ref: c08060).

Sandbach Literary Institute and Parr’s Bank in the early 20th century, with the fountain visible on the left. The institute on Bradwell Road was built between 1857-8 and designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott. Parr’s Bank Limited existed between 1782 and 1919 and was founded in Warrington (Image ref: c05459).


Aldford Parish Church, St John the Baptist, in the 1920s and 2020s. The church was built in 1866 on the site of a previous church and designed by Chester architect John Douglas (c04803). For further information on Douglas, why not check out our blog article about his life and work? We hold the baptism, marriage, and burial registers for Aldford Parish at Cheshire Record Office dating back to the 1600s, see P/91.


Wheelock Street shops and the White Bear Inn photographed in the 1950s. The White Bear was built around 1625 and was one of the main coaching inns for the town (Image ref: c08970). In the record office, we have archives relating to the sale of the White Bear Inn (D/8774/27), or the White Bear Hotel as it was then known, by William Roylance Court to Wilson's Brewery, at the turn of the 20th century. The White Bear was also the location for several prominent auctions of local land, of which we hold the sales catalogues for the Barony of Shipbrooke estate (135786), Croxton Bank (135804), and the Sproston Green Estate (136097).  

Lastly, to finish this Walk Through History, a 1915 postcard of Middlewich, showing the “Bull Ring” area, with the church and shops visible, including “The County Stores” and “W. Kinsey”. We can also see a sign for “The Carbinier Inn” on the left. This is quite clearly the spelling on the sign, but the 1910 Kelly’s Directory of Cheshire has it listed as the “Carabineer’s Inn”, with the licensee given as Arthur Elton. In the 1906 trade directory the licensee was John Simons, and in 1902 it was Thomas Jackson. Further back in 1878 the inn is spelled “Carbineer” and listed as an inn and posting house, under John Woodward (Image ref: c10888).

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