Monday 24 January 2022

18 Months of Mystery Image Mondays

Perhaps you are familiar with our regular twitter campaign #MysteryImageMonday? Mystery Image Mondays started life 18 months ago, to crowd-source information about images held at Cheshire Archives and Local Studies puzzling our Local Studies Librarian. Over 200 images later, Mystery Image Mondays are drawing to a close as a regular feature (they’ll still pop up from time to time when we have more images we need help with!), so what better time to review those mysteries you’ve helped us solve, and those which still elude us…? 

The first Mystery Image Monday went live on Monday 29th June 2020. Two images were used: c09050 and c10383. The tweet generated much interest, and both images were successfully identified; The Crewe Arms in Spurstow, and the Verdin Baths at Northwich respectively. 


At the time of writing (4th January 2022), 211 mystery images have now been posted on twitter for all those budding detectives out there. Of these 129 went on to be successfully identified. Many include Cheshire places and buildings not previously covered by the Cheshire Image Bank (CIB) collection and are now available to view online, such as Gibbet Mill at Great Saughall (c13383) and Hale Cemetery (c08809). 


Other resolved images include a salt arch in Northwich (c06765), the Mainwairing Arms in Over Peover (c11936), St. Luke’s Church Winnington (c06534), and Benger’s Foods Limited Head Office in Holmes Chapel (c12939). The art deco frontage of Benger’s Food Ltd. is shown below, located on London Road. Benger's Foods, originally Mottershead and Company of Manchester, occupied the purpose-built premises in Holmes Chapel from 1938, designed by J.H Andrews and Butterworth of Manchester. Benger's manufactured a food supplement that at one time was regarded as essential in the care of young children and expectant mothers. In 1947 Benger's Food was bought out by Fisons Limited, who based their pharmaceutical division in Holmes Chapel, and then later Sanofi Aventis. The building was demolished in August 2015. Also pictured is the Mainwairing Arms, Stocks Lane, Over Peover, c1911, with a sign just visible listing John Street as licensee. He is listed as such in the 1911 census, aged 52. It is now called the Whipping Stocks Inn. At first, we thought “John Street” might be the name of the road, but thanks to the detective work of a twitter follower we now know the true location! 


One of our favourite resolved images has to be an image of the River Dee at Queensferry, taken from the Cheshire side of the river in March 1897 (c13297). Thanks to members of the Anfield Bicycle Club who contacted us, we now know the location of this image, with the telescopic Victoria Bridge pictured, partially retracted, with the Anfield Bicycle Club on the ferry. The Anfield Bicycle Club spent Easter 1897 in Wales, riding there and back via Wirral and Liverpool. 

Recently we were able to identify c13331 as being Grove Road, Hoylake at the turn of the 20th century, thanks to a keen-eyed twitter follower. @RealAleCyclist spotted a small sign on one of the buildings and pointed out “First one R Bird @ Co House and Estate Agents. Old business directories might help with this?” Our Local Studies Librarian used our online trade directories and in the 1902 Kelly's Directory of Cheshire, under Agents - Land, House and Estate, found "Bird, Richard, jun. & Co. 4 Grove Road, Hoylake", which seemed to fit the bill nicely! @RealAleCyclist agreed and included a screenshot from Google Maps showing the right location. Another mystery solved! 

We do however have numerous images which remain a mystery. These include a group photograph outside an office (c06768) and the ruins of a country house or castle (c11948). You can peruse more online at our Flickr album “Mystery Images Unresolved” and on the Mystery Images Popular Collection on the Cheshire Image Bank. If you identify anything then please do let us know via


Lastly, we continue to digitise more of our visual collection, which will no doubt unearth more mystery images. So, follow us @CheshireRO on twitter and @cheshire_archives on Instagram, test your detective skills and knowledge of the Cheshire area, and take part in future #MysteryImageMondays!

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