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Manchester Goods for Manchester Docks

Manchester docks in Salford plan

Plan of the "Manchester Docks" mainly located on Salford side of river.



On Thursday January 9th 2020, the members and visitors were enthralled by a very well illustrated talk on “Manchester Goods for Manchester Docks” by two volunteers of The Daniel Adamson Preservation Society, Mr. Chris Evans and Mr. Les Green.

They shattered a few ‘myths’ we in the North west, think we know about the Manchester Ship Canal, and replaced these with the real rough politics and manuverings to get the canal built and its rise, prosperity and gradual decline at the upper Manchester end, with today its income source being at the sea end, where its new owner combines it with the Liverpool dock system.

A talk in the art deco saloon of "the Danny", the home and purpose of the The Daniel Adamson Preservation Society,

Talk in art deco saloon as 1936 of The Danny DSC 0137


Myth One.

“Manchester Docks” was actually located in Salford, a different city across the boundary river “The River Mersey”, which has since before Roman times been a linguistic, tribal, economic and political boundary.
Only in recent times has the “Salford Quays” development used its actual location in Salford correctly. It was named “Manchester Docks” due to the financial impetus and board majority of Manchester Council of the Manchester Ship Canal decreeing the “Manchester” name.


ICE Manchester Docks entry actually in Salford Screenshot 2020 01 16 17 49 40

Old name above entrance gate. Below the gate as now 'unnamed' in Salford Quays

 ManchesterHistorynet photoofdockgates2 in Salford

Unnamed blocked entrance.

Photo entrance to The Manchester Docks located in Salford on the North side of the boundary river The Mersey.


Myth two.

The canal was built mainly by hand labour.
While the canal employed many ‘navigators’ to dig, shape and make the canal, the owners had used their capital to buy many steam powered excavators from Germany to do the main ‘ditch digging’. They were using the latest available civil earth moving technology and running these on their own site railway. The hand labour was used to enable its construction while relieving the economic unemployment situation of the day. A political point for publicity and obtaining finance.

Photo digging machine.

Cutting machines photo ex Manchester EveningNewsArtcle JS81394702

Photo navies. "manual labour on canal cutting by 'navigators' "

ICE manual labour MSC


Myth Three "Manchester People's canal" , the financial and political problems.

The history of the ‘idea’ and start of the Manchester Ship Canal to cut the very high costs of freight for Manchester Made Goods to exit the UK via Liverpool, and the high costs of importing the raw material ‘cotton’ to Manchester via Liverpool.
The statistic that 60% of the entire shipping cost of transporting finished ‘Manchester Goods” to India occurred in the short journey to the port of Liverpool together with the high costs and tolls of using the Liverpool docks made the idea of a canal from the Irish Sea direct to Manchester a very real ideal for the firms and merchants of Manchester.

Many attempts were made to translate the idea into reality, pushed on by the idea instigator and main negotiator Mr. Daniel Adamson to ensure co-operation of the towns outside Liverpool on the Mersey to work to set up the finance and organisation to ‘get it dug’.

Documented Elsewhere.

The history of the Manchester Ship Canal is well documented elsewhere and in better style than the writer could condense to record the talk for our members, so we show some images and references to the history.

The canal and its extensive land holdings were eventually incorporated into a land developer’s company as he saw the land use being much more important than the canal, with the building of much larger container vessels being out of gauge for the canal, even though the Manchester Shipping Company (whose vessels were built to the canal gauge) tried small container ships to get direct from abroad into Manchester.


Link to  video on "The Peoples Canal". An old ITV documentary/commentary.

Manchester Ship Canal (The People's Canal)  [40 plus minute video.]

Description. Probably Ray Gosling's finest work. Originally shown on Granada TV in the early 1990's tracing the history of the Manchester Ship Canal. The programme was in two parts with part one giving details of the canal's construction and part two explaining how we, the public were short changed when the land around the docks was sold off to developers to construct Salford Quays.

Granada TV show now on YouTube. Good video on construction and financial history of canal .
NOTE: Due to being twice compressed from original show recording the sound channel is distorted in volume.

Quote: Ken Slater

1. Thanks for sharing. As Cameraman on this two part programme [originally] shot on BetacamSP I can confirm this Trade Films production passed all the stringent ITV engineering scrutiny. [Thus sound did not overwhelm.] On YouTube you are watching/Listening to a VHS copy that has been compressed twice by the time it gets on to Youtube. Great to see it again, Ray Gosling was great to work with, still think about him.


Short History of Manchester Ship Canal is on website


Short Video by institution of Civil Engineers.  Brings things up to date (2018). [Peel Ports]


Umar Saleem, of  Mott Macdonald, talks us through the Manchester Ship Canal that arose out of need when Manchester established itself as a world leader in industry in the 19 century. It was a huge project that cost 15 million pounds (1.5 billion by today's standards) and employed 1600 people to build it.




Daniel Adamson.

Daniel Adamson 

Photo of painting of Daniel Adamson

Short text on Daniel Adamson ex Wikipedia.
Daniel Adamson (30 April 1820 – 13 January 1890) was an English engineer who became a successful manufacturer of boilers and was the driving force behind the inception of the Manchester Ship Canal project during the 1880s.     Adamson was a champion of the Manchester Ship Canal project. He arranged a meeting in Didsbury at his home, The Towers, on 27 June 1882, attended by 68 people including the mayors of Manchester and surrounding towns, leaders of commerce and industry, banker and financiers. Also present at the meeting was the canal's eventual designer Edward Leader Williams. Adamson was elected chairman of the provisional committee promoting the ship canal, and was at the forefront in pushing the scheme through Parliament in the face of intense opposition from railway companies and port interests in Liverpool. The requisite Act of Parliament enabling the canal was finally passed on 6 August 1885, after which Adamson became the first chairman of the board of directors of the Manchester Ship Canal Company – a post he held until February 1887.

As a result of his resignation, the first sod was cut by his successor, Lord Egerton of Tatton, the following November.

Adamson remained a strong supporter of the project but did not live to see its completion in 1894. He died at home in Didsbury on 13 January 1890. Daniel Adamson and Co remained a family business until 1964, when it was sold to Acrow Engineers Ltd.


Illustrated Talk.

The good folk of the The Daniel Adamson Preservation Society had prepared a talk with many photographs and to the great delight of our group and visitors short ‘Videos’ showing old film archives of both the opening of the canal and shipping on the canal including their own boat “The Danny”, which the society has rebuilt, preserved and operates on the lower reaches of the canal.
Hire of The Danny and trips are available at fixed prices. A time table is given on their website



An illustration of a talk being given in the art deco saloon of The Danny is at the top of this article.

The short videos of the boats and ships operating on the canal were most appreciated by our members and guests.

The Railway.

Railway private. Largest private railway in UK  link below is to a German language site on the railway.

Open in Ghoogle Chrome browser with translation set up.


ROUGH ENGLISH TEXT Google Translation

The Manchester Ship Canal Railway (MSC) was a purely industrial railway that only transported goods and was therefore neither affected by grouping in 1923 nor by nationalization in 1948. It remained independent until the end of 2009. The route network was around 320 km long at its greatest extent. 75 locomotives and around 2,700 freight wagons ran on this network .
It was operated by the Manchester Ship Canal Company .

It connected the Manchester docks to the Trafford Park industrial estate. Connections to the London and North Western Railway and the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway were in the north of the canal . South of the docks was a connection to the network of the Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC), a joint company of the Great Central Railway , the Great Northern Railway and the Midland Railway .

Special steam locomotives were built for the tight radii in the docks. On the machines with the 0-6-0T axis sequence , the middle wheels had no wheel flange and the coupling rods had a hinge that allowed several centimeters of side play. From 1959, diesel locomotives were also used.

In addition to some locomotives, an earlier Toad Brake Van has been preserved and is owned by the National Waterways Museum. The MSC bought this brake van in the 1970s from British Railways , which had taken it over from the Great Western Railway in 1948 .

Since the MSC had no passenger traffic, it only had a single passenger car. The so-called Directors Saloon , with which the directors of the MSC drove, has been preserved and is now in the Staffordshire Museum (photos see web links).




References and links.

The 1910 book on the early history of the Manchester  Ship Canal, is available as a PDF without any maps. 

Its many maps are archived by a Manchester academic on a separate website.


Link to book PDFs.


PDF book in two volumes (out of copyright) These can be downloaded.

History of the Manchester Ship Canal, from its inception to its completion, with personal reminiscences

by Leech, Bosdin, Sir, 1836-

Publication date 1907


The maps from the book are on the academic  website given below.


 Internet Archive History o 910 f MSC Screenshot 2020 01 18 18 57 45






 BBC Archived page.


Wikipedia Barton Swing Bridge


Song of the canal.


PEEL PORTS website




The Danny Website Screenshot 2020 01 18 19 39 36t



The members and visitors give our grateful thanks to the work of the The Daniel Adamson Preservation Society, Mr. Chris Evans and Mr. Les Green who by their presentation gave  a delightful evening to us,


Donations to The Daniel Adamson Preservation Society can be made through their  website:

Home page bottom right..

The Danny was rescued by our volunteers so that its heritage would reach present and future generations.

We want to reach all sectors of the community through a range of activities targeted at different ages, abilities and interests.

 In 2020, we will be running a number of family activity days, folk events, and choir performances, offering a programme of workshops
for scouts, guides and cadets and providing engaging days out for families who have a family member with autism or learning differences.

 Where possible, we keep community activities free of charge, and instead ask our public to make a donation if they can afford it.
For workshops and activities where we need to cover costs, we keep costs as low as possible.

The donation button via paypal is at the bottom right of their website home page.


Daniel Adamson made his money from his boiler works.

ex Wikipedia Boiler made at Daniel Adamson 270px Danieladamsonengineinstallsmalexd















20191114 CLHG report Masons. DRAFT

20191114 CLHG report Masons.

“Warrington Freemasons in Culcheth”.

On Thursday 14th November 2019, our members had the pleasure of an interesting talk illustrated by slides presented by a team of four Freemasons in Warrington, lead by Mr Victor Charlesworth, Curator of the Warrington Museum of Freemasonry and ably assisted by Caroline Crook, the Archivist of the Warrington Museum of Freemasonry.


The speaker started by saying what “Freemasonry was not”; as there are many rumours and tales from folk who do not know it origins or purposes in general circulation. Then followed by “What Freemasonry actually is”.

This is best summarized by words from the museum’s own booklet.

What Freemasonry is.

“Freemasonry is a secular, fraternal organisation.
It teaches its members moral lessons and self-knowledge through participation in a progression of allegorical two-part plays. These are learnt by heart and performed within each Lodge, following ancient forms and symbolically using stonemasons’ customs and tools.”

A description of how the rituals were based on ‘methods’ to prove a person was not a ‘branded criminal’ (by the tale of exposing the breast to show there were no brand marks on the body), and that they were fit to do duty by displaying they had no injured limb (raising trousers) gave a historical idea of how some rituals developed in their group.


The word used for the group and its meeting place is assumed to come from the temporary wooden structures ‘lodges’ use by itinerant masons encamped at a building site such as a cathedral, while working there. Compare them to the “Container Cabins” used by people on building sites in today’s construction industry. Although nowadays most workers sleep ‘off site’, the container office/rest room/meeting room is a vital part of today’s construction industry.

Starting of Freemasonry.

The actual start of Freemasonry is lost, but a person inducted to Freemasonry in Warrington in 1646 is the earliest extant written record.

The questions of where, when, how and why Freemasonry originated are still the
subject of speculation.

The general consensus is that Freemasonry descends directly or indirectly from the organisation of working stone masons who built the great cathedrals and castles
of the medieval period. Freemasonry has a long and distinguished history. Many suppose it is much longer than its traceable 300 year plus history. While its origins are lost in the past there are a number of theories of how it began. However there are certainly strong links back to the mediaeval stone masons guilds.


Non-working Gentlemen admitted.

Their organisational unit, the lodge, began to admit men who were not working stonemasons beginning in England, with Sir Robert Moray who became a Freemason in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1642.


In 1646 in Warrington, Elias Ashmole became the first recorded Englishman initiated into an English Lodge.
It is assumed due to that recorded occasion that there had been Lodges throughout the British Isles before 1646 as one of the earliest recorded initiations in England was that of Elias Ashmole, founder of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, into a Lodge meeting at his father–law's house in Warrington Cheshire. In his diary in 1646 he recorded that “This day I was made Freemason”. Therefore, as a possible "speculative Freemason", Freemasonry must have been in operation before that date!
A “speculative Freemason” was a non-craftsman. While actual craftsman were designated ‘operative Freemason’.

Masonic records show his diary entry as:
The entries in Ashmole’s “Diary” which relate to his membership of the craft are three in number, the first in priority being the following:-
“1646, Oct. 16, 4.30. P.M. – I was made a Free
Mason at Warrington in Lancashire, with Coll: Henry Mainwaring of Karincham in
Cheshire. The names of those that were then of the Lodge [were] Mr Rich. Penket
Warden, Mr James Collier, Mr Rich. Sankey, Henry Littler, John Ellam Rich: Ellam
& Hugh Brewer.”
Link to Wikipedia page on Elias Ashmole.

Ashmole after Riley, Picture Note for Elias Ashmole after John Riley (d. 1691) - from english WikiPedia      Public Domain     File:Ashmole-after-Riley.jpg     Created: between 1687 and 1689 date

Ashmole after Riley,       Picture Note for Elias Ashmole after John Riley (d. 1691) - from English WikiPedia Public Domain.


 Formation, split and reunion.

On 24 June 1717 four London lodges met at the Goose and Gridiron tavern in St Paul’s Churchyard, declared themselves a "Grand Lodge" and elected a Grand Master.
This was the first Grand Lodge in the world. It began to hold regular meetings and published the first rule book.

However, as is often usual in voluntary social societies, there were those who differ and a separate set of lodges arose using a different Grand Lodge. Then on 17 July 1751, representatives of a different set of five Lodges gathered at the Turk's Head Tavern, in Greek Street, Soho, London and formed a rival Grand Lodge called The Most Antient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons.

These two organisations operated with their different procedures and the split lasted for sixty two years until both came together in 1717 to the form the Grand Lodge of England since when the development of Freemasonry, and its spread worldwide, has been extremely well documented.


Working masons with skill transfer to apprentices and recognition of skill levels.

It is generally agreed that freemasonry developed from the medieval stonemasons. These were the operative masons who built the cathedrals and castles.
For security they met and lived in buildings or Lodges at their worksites.
To enable the Master in charge to ascertain the range of skills of the travelling stonemasons, (the ‘free masons’ - not tied as serfs or specifically serving a single master). [Think of the modern term for a qualified craftsman as  a 'journeyman'.]  The free masons who came to offer their services, acted as the stonemasons guilds, which like other crafts or guilds, developed basic ceremonies for passing their skills onto new apprentices. Therefore, like all Guilds, when the apprentice stonemason had achieved a certain skill level he was informed of certain recognition signs, tokens and passwords.

This was necessary as there were no trade union cards, nationally recognised examination bodies or certificates of apprenticeship. But, these recognition signs were used to regulate the craft. Communication of these signs, tokens and words enabled the Master Mason in charge of a project to know a man’s ability.
Communication of these signs, tokens and pass words were closely guarded and, to ensure that the young apprentice understood their importance to the craft, there were many blood curdling oaths placed on him should he divulge them. [It was a time when religious matters were every current in peoples lives.] These pass words have no place in today's society but the initiate is informed that these were once traditional to becoming a free mason.


No one knows why, but in the early 1600s, some operative Lodges began to admit non-craft-stonemasons. They were “accepted” or “gentlemen” masons. Gradually they took over and became Lodges of free and accepted or "speculative masons", no longer having any ‘practical’ connection with the stonemason’s craft of working stone.

As, at this time, only ‘learned’ people could read and write most documentation which has survived tended to be ‘official’ documents. Added to this was the fact that all ritual had to be committed to memory and none actually written down. Masonic Ritual was not published in book form until the late 1800’s, so it was no wonder that the first written documentation was in the diary of Elias Ashmole, in 1646. The Antiquary and Founder of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, who records in his diary that he was made a Free Mason at his father-in-law’s house in Warrington. None of those present, had any connection with operative craft masonry. Therefore Freemasonry must have been in operation before that date!

Another theory of the start, which could run alongside that above, is that freemasonry was started because the late 1500s or early 1600s was a period of religious and political turmoil and intolerance. It was difficult to express differences of political and religious opinion. Opposing views often split families and resulted in the English Civil War of 1642 to 1646.

Supporters of this theory state that the originators of Freemasonry were men, who wished to promote tolerance and build a better world, in which men of differing opinions could peacefully co-exist and work together for the betterment of mankind. In the custom of their times they used allegory and symbolism to pass on their ideas.


What is the present purpose of Freemasonry?

Answer by speaker “to make good men better”.

Thus the charitable work of the Freemasons, based on the grouping of like-mined persons who have at least “a belief in a higher being” so it encompasses most religions and religious beliefs.
The Warrington masons include mostly Christians of all denominations and a few Jews and Muslims. However no Buddhists are known to be members.
Freemasonry is open to all who declare a belief in a "higher being" / "superior being". Those of no religious belief are unable to be members. Persons with criminal convictions are excluded and those who are members who incur criminal convictions are removed from membership.

Square and Compass 600x604

Square and Compass, with "G" for Geometry or perhaps "God", a supreme being. One on the main symbols of Fremasonry.


Charity Giving Size.

After the National Lottery, the Freemasons are the biggest givers of money to charitable causes in the United Kingdom.
All moneys being collected from donations by their members.

This charitable work is the main purpose of the Freemasons in the making of ‘good men better’ by the doing of charitable work.

As reported in the 22n January Warington Guardian, Head of Cheshire Freemasons, Stephen Blank at a recent meeeting where one million pounds was donated to charity, said: “Freemasons are not a charity themselves and we do not collect money from the public, but every lodge makes collections from its members for charitable use and this soon adds up.”



Women are not now excluded from Freemasonry in some places, however the history of women in Freemasonry is very complex.
Refer articles on French Freemasons and Wikipedia.


The Order of Women Freemasons is the oldest and largest Masonic organisation for women in this country (UK) and works on the lines of regular male Freemasonry.
The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) have, in a statement issued in 1999, acknowledged the regularity and sincerity of women’s Freemasonry, although they do not officially recognise it and their members cannot take part. Many of our own lodges meet in temples owned by the men’s Order and informal relations are cordial and co-operative. Similarly, there is a reciprocal agreement extended to members of UGLE holding their meetings on our premises.




The Warrington /East Lancs Freemasons have produced a video on Freemasonry that illustrates the talk given in a better way than the present writer could. However it is suggested to play this four minute video with the sound turned down.


Warrington and Culcheth Freemasons.

Due to the extensive documented practices of the Fremasons, they are able to trace most freemasons after the era of documentation started in the 1700s.
The Archivist Caroline Crook gave a vivid illustration of their record keeping and introduced some notable past freemasons of Culcheth and Warrington.
Some are documented at the local Parish Church on the founding stones recording the rebuilding after the fire in 1903 when a great part of the cost was paid for by local freemasons.
Caroline Crook had taken pictures of these inscribed stones to show us, as well as the grave of a local Freemason in Culcheth Parish Church Graveyard.

Members of the Parr family, the Greenhalls, and Stubs, were freemasons.

Lodge of Lights.

An active Lodge was “the Lodge of Light” in Warrington which celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2016.
Lodge of Lights, No. 148, the oldest lodge in the Warrington Group in the West Lancashire Province celebrated its 250th anniversary in March 2016.
The Warrington lodges have met in many different buildings around Warrington and eventually built a dedicated Masonic hall for use by local lodges at Winmarleigh House,

Screenshot 2019 11 17 Warrington Museum of Freemasonry Lodge of Lights 1

Lodge of Lights document from Warrington Museum webpage. (screenshot).
This Lodge was founded in 1765.

 Warrington, Winmarleigh House

 Winmarleigh House, Winmarleigh Street. Warrington, WA1 1NB. The meeting place of Warrington freemasons.


The Warrington Museum of Freemasonry.

This is one of four masonic museums in the country and the only one in the North of England.
The museum is described on their own web page, which also has a leaflet for downloading at Link:

A dscriptive  downloadable leaflet is at the bottom of the page.

WMF Tri Fold Leaflet 205x300

Museum Leaflet.


From its humble beginnings in 2010, with a small cupboard, to now with a room full of impressive and unusual artefacts many with interesting stories to tell. The trustees of Warrington Museum of Freemasonry (WMF) have been working tirelessly to achieve charitable status for the last 2 years, its acceptance for charitable status was a cause for great celebration and the picture above shows Kevin Poynton Assistant Grand Master for West Lancashire presenting the certificate to Curator Vic Charlesworth and Archivist Caroline Crook.

Vic Charlesworth said when talking about charitable status “this is a great step forward in the development of the museum and will help us to access specialist funds for the conservation and display of our wonderful artefacts”.
The Museum was formally opened on the 5th March 2015,

The aim of the Museum is to stimulate a wide public interest in the history and development of Freemasonry and to establish the Museum as an integral part of the Warrington Cultural scene with a special focus on the Warrington Freemasons their history and place in the local community.
The aim of the Museum is to stimulate a wide public interest in the history and development of Freemasonry and to establish the Museum as an integral part of the Warrington Cultural scene with a special focus on the Warrington Freemasons, their history and place in the local community.
The museum now has a wide range of artefacts and exhibits, and continues to collect and preserve records, ephemera and artefacts from Masonic and associated fraternal societies. The Museum includes both, permanent and changing displays. The large collection of books and records are available for research purposes. It provides a varied and high quality heritage experience for both Masons and non Masons.

Contact details:

The Museum is located within the Warrington Masonic Hall:
Winmarleigh House, 15 Winmarleigh Street, Warrington WA1 1NB.
Tel: +44 1925 651468.
Museum Opening Times:
Wednesday 9:30am – 12:00 noon
Other times are available by appointment
Curator: Vic Charlesworth
Tel: +44 1925 655416
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The speaker extended a warm welcome to members to visit the museum.


Link to a webpage with the puported meanings of some basic masonic symbols.



Webmaster’s comment.
After this talk I understood much more about the change in personality of the character Pierre in War and Peace after his entry into Freemasonry. In the book we are introduced to the freemasons when Pierre is empowered by a traveller, and later by Count Willarski, to change his life, stand up for himself, and reaffirm his faith in god. Tolstoy portrays freemasons in "War and Peace" as a possitive influence on the world around them, turning a downtrodden and hopeless man into an optimistic and productive member of society. Pierre changes his life for the better, and renounces all negative influences in his life, after being initiated by the freemasons. He even stands up for himself, a major change in the character.


Our members thanked the speakers for their very enthusiastic talk and their dig into the archives to show us how persons in Culcheth and Warrington greatly aided the area with their charitable objectives and undertakings over many years, as well as their commemoration of their members who died during conflict.




20191012 CLHG Report-Child-Labour-1810-1845

20191012 CLHG Report-Child-Labour-1810-1845

On Thursday 11th October 2019 the members and guests listened attentively to a talk by Anna Alexander on “Child Labour in Warrington in the 19th Century” concentrating on the years 1810 to 1845. This period saw a great change in how the “Poor Laws” were administered and the effect of the early industrialisation, with the vast employment of children in the factories and town trades.

The talk was derived from the extensive research on the period 1810 to 1845 during Anna Alexander’s studies for an M.A. from the Open University following her retirement.

Your webmaster has added a comment at the end about present day child labour.

Outline of Industrial Revolution on Warrington in early 1800s.

Warrington had enlarged to a town of about 10,000 people by 1801 in a very haphazard way based on the trades that could be practised in the town and the ‘new trades’ of the industrial revolution.
It was unsanitary, filthy, with very close packed houses in narrow streets without sewage facilities or running water, and ‘yards’ behind and inside closed closes. By 1861 it was over 26,000.

Brief list of events.

1756 Warrington gains its first newspaper
1760 Warrington is famous for its sacking and sailcloth. There is also a pin making and a file and tool making industry in Warrington. There were also sugar refineries and a glass industry.
1801 Warrington is a flourishing town with a population of over 10,500
1813 Improvement Commissioners are given powers to pave the streets Warrington and to clean and light them (with oil lamps)
1821 Warrington is lit by gas
1831 The railway comes to Warrington
1832 Cholera kills 169 people in Warrington
1846 Warrington gains a piped water supply
1847 Warrington is made a borough
1848 The first public library in Warrington opens
1860 A spire is added to St Elphin's Church

Some of these crafts & trades were very well paying, so for youngsters to enter these trades there was a way to have a reasonable life, while others were in very poor paying jobs (if they could get one) or worked at home in hard conditions to aid mothers or fathers doing ‘outwork’ for others.
Agriculture nearby and coal and cloth (sail) making occupied others and the sail making industry for a time was prosperous.

Warrington though a relatively large town was actually had a small area.

Graphic Map.

1832 map Warrington Screenshot 2019 10 11 12 26 47












Above. 1832 map Warrington Screenshot 2019 10 11 12 26 47



OS Sheet116 North of Mersey 1846 Warrington copy1 



From local government website

Warrington Local government site summarises at link shown as

(After the civil wars ) It wasn't long before the confident and outward-looking character of Warrington re-emerged. The town embraced the industrial revolution. it became the centre of not just one, but a whole myriad of industries, from copper smelting to sail-making and pin manufacture. The navigational properties of the river Mersey were improved, canals were built, and the town grew yet more prosperous and popular.


Speaker's talk synopsis.

Our speaker has kindly given us a synopsis of her talk and a copy of some of her slides which are given below.


Child Labour in Warrington 1810-1845 - by Anna Alexander

The period of 1810-1845 was a time of huge change midst the upheaval caused by the industrial revolution and the Napoleonic wars. Political and social disruption, such as the ‘Luddite’ riots during 1811-1816, the demonstrations which resulted in the so-called ‘Peterloo Massacre’ in Manchester in 1819, and the Chartist movement of the 1830s and 1840s, caused governments to fear revolution. There was a belief that the ‘lower orders’ ‘...aimed somehow at the utter unravelling of society...’, and in the absence of former methods of social control, such as that imposed through deference for the upper classes, ‘...modern bureaucracies of official morality...’ arose including the New Police, who were strongly resented by the working classes. Against this background, the lives of working-class people had been irrevocably changed by a move from self-sufficiency and agricultural labour to employment in factories, and the invention of powered weaving looms meant that certain jobs could be done by unskilled workers, and in particular by children. Child labour and its exploitation has been described as ‘ of the most shameful events in our history’, and much early historical debate on child labour focussed on the appalling working conditions and long hours of child workers. Yet child labour was an accepted part of life in the eighteenth and nineteenth century and childhood was seen very differently then.

A recent drama on Channel 4 told the story of children who were apprenticed at Quarry Bank cotton mill in Styal near Manchester in the nineteenth century. Cotton mills were dangerous places to work, and although the television series undoubtedly portrayed the very worst aspects of life in a cotton mill, the jobs were often sought after. Warrington industries came under the government spotlight in the 1830s and 1840s, when parliamentary commissioners were sent to the town to investigate the working conditions of child workers in the town, and their reports have provided historians with valuable evidence on the lives of these children. Warrington was a town of many industries, and child workers, some as young as six years old, contributed to the profits of their employers who included cotton manufacturers, glass makers, wire and file makers pin makers and soap and candle makers. This talk will examine the roles children played in these industries, and how work affected their daily lives. A wide range of industries will be explored, with special emphasis on pin-making, file making and fustian manufacture. There will also be a focus on the employers and their motives.


Webmaster note. Illustrations  and notes oNf the subjects in  the speaker's talk are enlaged upon below.



 A deadly trade slide PastedGraphic 3 © Anna Alexander  pdf

A deadly trade slide notes on climbing boys illnesses PastedGraphic 3 © Anna Alexander pdf

Apart from the major cholera outbreak due to water borne disease there was always the risk of other diseases due to bad conditions.

Graphic. Well water contamination
This central European graphic vividly illustrates the 'spill' from sewage pits and public sewere into local nearby wells thus spreading any waterborne disease, tyical of Warrington "yards".


sewer offspill to well proxyduckduckgocom

 sewer off-spill to well from


 Warringto yard pictiure c02439

Warrington yard picture c02439, this shows a 'wide clean' yard with drain gullet inset in between stone sets.


The Trades.

Town chimney sweeps

 Among the worst occupation was the ‘very slim small boy requirement’ to climb and clean chimneys. Chimney passages often being only a ‘single brick by two bricks’ in area and the vertical rise being often contorted, with the ‘killing bend’ of a 90 degree turn from horizontal to vertical where a boy could fall onto a soot pile and suffocate.
The reclaimed soot was a valuable commodity as it had a resale value.

Illnesses of sweeping boys were very many, including cancer of scrotum.

Graphics:  Chimney run, Problems, Dangers, Boys,

 Seven flue Stack 1834 copy7, showing on right a new costly non-boy cleaning run.

Cross-section of a seven-flue stack in a four-story house with cellars.

An 1834 illustration from Mechanics' Magazine, designed to show the contrast between mechanical sweeping and children sweeping chimneys.

A. a hearth served by vertical flue, a horizontal flue, and then a vertical rise having two right-angled bends that were difficult for brushes.

B. a long straight flue (14in by 9in) being climbed by a boy using back, elbows, and knees

 C. a short flue from a second floor hearth. The climbing boy has reached the chimney pot, which has a diameter too small for him to exit that way.

E. shows a disaster. The climbing boy is stuck in the flue, his knees jammed against his chin.

G. How a flue could be straightened to make it sweep-able by mechanical means

H. A dead climbing boy, suffocated in a fall of soot that accumulated at the cant of the flue.


Dead boy in bend 6797384 f520




















climbing and stuck boy CCbySA 410px Climbing boys in chimneys.PNG



Left one climbing. Right one stuck, and only way to rescue is  by diging out of wall, as Crookshank drawing below.


Chimney boy being resussicated 679 Death of chimney boys showing Crookshanks drawing 679 Death of chimney boys 7386_f1024

Chimney boy deaths ex Dr George Phillips book showing Crookshanks drawing 679 "Death of chimney boys 7386_f1024".
One boy was trapped , the second was sent up to rescue the first by tying a rope onto his legs to pull him down, however both died.


boy chimney sweeps ex castlechimneysweepscouk website cache 2001313

 ex dirty english childsweep2














 Stereoscope view for entertainment purposes.                     On right.  ex dirty english childsweep2, Raw image of forcing a small child (5years?) down chimney



The End of Climbing Boys (in UK).


The end of climbing boys slide PastedGraphic 4pdf  © Anna Alexander  pdf

 Slide The end of climbing boys slide PastedGraphic 4pdf © Anna Alexander pdf


Link to drawing in Welcome collection of a boy with cancer of scrotum.

Drawing of chimney boys cancer of scrotum in Welcome collection


Link to Wikipedia page. This cancer among chimney sweeping boys was the first reported industrial cancer in 1775.

Chimney sweep's cancer, also called soot wart, is a squamous cell carcinoma of the skin of the scrotum. It has the distinction of being the first reported form of occupational cancer, and was initially identified by Percivall Pott in 1775.[1] It was initially noticed as being prevalent amongst chimney sweeps.'_carcinoma

British Disease.

This was a peculiarly Briitish disease as British chimney climbing boy sweeps worked in normal loose fitting clothes or naked, while German chimney sweeps worked in a tight fiting garment, like a modern lycra body suit. Refer to the pages shown as PDF notes in
A Brief Histroy of Scrotal Cancer


US National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health
Extracts from "British Journal of Industrial Medicine" now published as "Occupational & Environmental Medice"


 Coal mines.

Coal mines.
Children both girls and boys were used in coal mines for many duties and their small stature allowed them to crawl bend all day through passages, while some were at as stationary post at a passage doorway all day in darkness.


coal hauling by children UK National Archives industrial4b

Trapper ex spartacus educational 00childLab2










                                               Trapper ex spartacus educational 00childLab2




Coal hauling by children UK National Archives industrial4b         On right: All day standing in one place in dark, light on waggon. Trapper ex spartacus educational 00childLab2


ex spartacus educational Woman lowering children to mine shaft 00coalEX2


 Ex spartacus educational Woman lowering children to mine shaft 00coalEX2

It is presumed this drawing is of a the mother lowering her children into a pit shaft money
to earn money for the family.















All of these children worked very long hours for small wages, while some apprentices to high paid skills such as file making were on twenty or more multiples of the lower paid.


File making. A major well paid skilled trade in Warrington.

Diagram. File making 25FIL 5 1 amended hand strike blow cutting copy3
Graphic .Hand stiking groves in file blank before case  hardening.

file making 25FIL 5 1 amended hand strike blow cutting copy3


Peter Stubs Ltd of Warrington, file, hand tool and steel manufacturers.

Peter Stubs (1756-1806) was in business manufacturing files on a small scale by 1777. By 1788 he had acquired the White Bear Inn in Bridge Street, Warrington, and was combining file manufacture there with his business as an innkeeper, brewer and malt maker. He gave up the White Bear concerns in 1803.

[CLHG Writer’s note. The beer waste was used to harden the steel when quenched as both beer and urine have hardening properties on quenching steel.]

1802 the file business moved to a larger site at Scotland Road, in the Cockhedge area of Warrington, where a works including file cutting shops and forging shops had been built.

1806 After Peter Stubs’ death in 1806 the business was developed by his sons, John, William and Joseph Stubs.

The firm sold files made from steel - principally saw-files, watch and clock files and, from 1815, larger machinery (engineers’) files. It also sold a wide variety of other tools, clock engines, small machines and wire, including pinion wire, for making toothed wheels for watches and clocks, and steel wire. The Stubs workshop produced files, carrying out the basic processes of forging, cutting and hardening, and all the attendant subsidiary processes.

1826 Stubs began producing steel themselves, at a newly acquired works in The Holmes, Rotherham, in Yorkshire. The Warrington Works in Rotherham supplied the file works in Warrington with steel and produced other types of steel for sale in England and Europe.

1842 The steel works was expanded at a cost of £20,000. Steel for re-melting was imported from Sweden.

By 1841 the file works had a work force of 200. To cope with demand, some file cutting was done by out-workers. All the other Stubs products were made by cottage industry out-workers and small firms, mainly in South-West Lancashire. Stubs products were sold throughout the U.K. and were also exported. Significant overseas markets included Russia, America, France and what is now Germany.

The company later expanded into steel production at Warrington and became a major world manufacturer of Silver Steel. The modern firm produces Silver Steel, steel wire, key steel and a wide variety of other specialist steel products.


Graphic. Link to Video on file making.


Antikythera Fragment #3 - Ancient Tool Technology - Hand Cut Precision Files

At about 5 minutes into this video it shows exactly the same method, used in metal on anvil, rotated and cut by chisel. The same method was use in Warrington by treadle rope benches for file making some 1800 years later after the Antikythera instrument was made in Greece.


File making by chisel blow on blank Screenshot 2019 10 12 12 16 09

File making by chisel blow on blank Screenshot 2019 10 12 12 16 09


Other trades

Fustian loft ex cheshire image bank approx 1840 Warrington Manchester Road Screenshot 2019 10 11 13 17 12

Fustian loft ex cheshire image bank approx 1840 Warrington Manchester Road Screenshot 2019 10 11 13 17 12. Such lofts gave many women a long day stamding/walking perhaps 20 miles walking in a day to and fro in the loft, slowly and carefully cutting the 'loops' in cloth to make 'fustian' type cloth.

Link to Lymm site with image of fustian cutting, mostly by girls and ladies, but also in second link, by men acording to the second link at a family blog..


Lymm, village website image with fustian cutter in action.



Samuel St Ledger (1821-1882) was a fustian cutter all his life, and so were his sons Ralph, Samuel, William and David. In her younger days his wife, Alice Dodd, was also a fustian cutter. But what did a fustian cutter do?


Link to Portrait of a Fustian Cutter in Warrington Museum and Library.

Warrington Museum Portrait of a Fustian Cutter


 Mills with children.

 Lewis Hine Spinners in a cotton mill 1911


 Later than the1840s of the talk in 1911.   Photo of mill working children, still at this stage children were in a cotton mill. Lewis Hine Spinners in a cotton mill 1911


Later, workhouses would try to get some childen into apprenticeships to ease the burden on the parish costs, or employ them inside the workhouse at a weaving business.

Records of Lymm and Pauper apprenticeships were shown to us, with children bound to masters for long terms by both workhouse and sometimes their own parents to try to save costs and give opportunity at end of a low paid child (say 5 or7 years old to 16 years old) employment period.


Beating and bullying.

Always the 'children' were at very low wages and usually without any protection from harm or bullying or beating by superiors in the workplace.



Education depended on 'Sunday Schools', the school in the workhouse, and an effort in the establishment of "the National Schools".

Ex Wikipedia notes:
A National school was a school founded in 19th century England and Wales by the National Society for Promoting Religious Education. These schools provided elementary education, in accordance with the teaching of the Church of England, to the children of the poor. Together with the less numerous British schools of the British and Foreign School Society, they provided the first near-universal system of elementary education in England and Wales.

(Webmaster's note. Scotland had a completely separate system and had some form of parish schools from The Scottish Education act of 1496 with a plan for the establishment of a school in every parish from 1560 and many acts to enforce schools to be established over the next century.)

Warrington benefited from a Natioal School

National School in Warrington jpg



National School Plaque jpg









     National School  jpg    ex Anna Alexander   (Boys and Girls entrance notice over front lower wndows)                    National School Plaque jpg

Also refer photo on 

A brief historyof the National Schools is on website

PDF-CofE-National Schools History

History notes in above pdf are on website:


Law changes in employment of children.

Major changes were made to the old rules from the 1500s, to try to improve conditions but the law was not rigidly enforced or obeyed, while some improvement was made, it was mainly by Non-Conformist employers in the Warrington area.

Wikipedia comment

Child labour

While the endeavour to enforce labour apart from a contract died out in the latter end of the eighteenth century, sentiment for some time had strongly grown in favour of developing early industrial training of children. It appears to have been a special object of charitable and philanthropic endeavour in the seventeenth century, as well as the eighteenth, to found houses of industry, in which little children, even under five years of age, might be trained for apprenticeship with employers. Connected as this development was with poor relief, one of its chief aims was to prevent future unemployment and vagrancy by training in habits and knowledge of industry, but not unavowed was another. motive: " from children thus trained up to constant labour we may venture to hope the lowering of its price." The evils and excesses which lay enfolded within such a movement gave the first impulse to the new ventures in labour legislation which are specially the work of the nineteenth century. Evident as it is " that before the Industrial Revolution very young children were largely employed both in their own homes and as apprentices under the Poor Law," and that "long before Peel's time there were misgivings about the apprenticeship system," still it needed the concentration and prominence of suffering and injury to child life in the factory system to lead to parliamentary intervention.


From Parliament UK records. Key dates


Legislation Key Dates

Elizabethan Poor Law: parishes to be responsible for their poor

Jonas Hanway, merchant and philanthropist, campaigns to improve working conditions for chimney sweeps' apprentices

Poor Law costing £1.25 million annually; in 1802, £4.25 million, and in 1832, £7 million

1788 - 'Act for the Better Regulation of Chimney Sweepers and their Apprentices'
Sets eight as minimum age for apprenticeship

20,000 apprentices employed in cotton mills

1802 - Health and Morals of Apprentices Act
The first piece of factory legislation

1819 - Cotton Mills Act
No child to be employed under the age of nine in cotton mills

1831 - Factory Act
Limits working day to 12 hours for those under 18

1833 - Factory Act
No children under nine to be employed in factories; most important provision was the appointment of factory inspectors

1834 - Poor Law Amendment Act
Reorganises poor relief under central control

1834 - Chimney Sweeps Act
Raises minimum age of apprenticeship to 10

1840, 1864 and 1875
Further Acts passed to limit the employment of children by chimney sweeps; only the last has any effect

1842 - Mines and Collieries Act
Women and young children under 10 forbidden to work in mines

1844 - Factories Act
Introduces safety regulation in factories

1847 - Factories Act ('Ten Hours Act')
Establishes the ten hour day for women and young people aged 13-18

1850 - Coal Mines Inspection Act
Appoints inspectors of coal mines

Census reveals more than 24,000 boys under 15 working in coal mining

Cotton industry employing 255,000 men, 272,000 women; woollen industry employing 171,000 men, 113,000 women

1860 - Coal Mines Regulation Act
Raises age limit for boys from 10 to 12

1867 - Factory Acts (Extension) Act
Brings all factories employing more than 50 people within the terms of all existing factory legislation; forbids the employment of children, young people and women on Sundays

1872 - Coal Mines Regulation Act
Pit managers to have training

1881 - Mines Regulation Act
Home Secretary empowered to appoint official inquiries into mine accidents

1891 - Factory and Workshop (Consolidating) Act
Raises minimum age of employment in factories to 11; consolidates all previous safety and sanitary regulations


Long hours and little joy.

Vivid descriptions of child labour and the partial relief by some Gentlefolk and Non-Conformist persons throughout these years was illustrated during the talk.



The members and visitors gave their enthusiastic thanks to the speaker for such an enlightening talk.


Extra to talk.
Your webmasters personal comment on this still ongoing problem.

Unfortunately today.
We dress in fashion, and drink tea / coffee mostly based on child labour.

Child labour still gives low cost to  UK persons, but we shift the child labour to other countries far out of sight.
Tea / Coffee pickers in Brazil to give cheap tea / coffee 
Child labour in the fashion supply chain.
Where, why and what can be done, Guardian article

The ILO [International Labour Organisation] estimates that 170 million are engaged in child labour, with many making textiles and garments to satisfy the demand of consumers in Europe, the US, and beyond.

Today Child labour grayTriangle


Children work at all stages of the supply chain in the fashion industry: from the production of cotton seeds in Benin, harvesting in Uzbekistan, yarn spinning in India, right through to the different phases of putting garments together in factories across Bangladesh.

What companies use child labour today?
Fashion Brands that are said to use Child Labour:

H&M: Well, this company has been caught in scandals many times, and they have always been involved in major humanitarian issues over many years. ...
Forever 21: ...
GAP: ...
Nike: ...
Zara: ...
Urban Outfitters: ...
7 Aldo: ...
8 Primark:


In South and Central America including Mexico.



For current information on our ongoing work on the living wage, women's labour rights, freedom of association, corporate accountability and Bangladesh fire and safety, please visit our new website, launched in October, 2015:

Why do some companies employ children?
Many of us remember media exposes of young children sewing Nike soccer balls in Pakistani sweatshops for six cents an hour. The national and international media coverage of Nike's use of child labour focused world attention on sweatshop abuses in the garment and sports wear industries.
Less well-known are the stories of teenage girls, often times single mothers themselves, sewing clothes in maquiladora factories in Central America and Mexico for major North American retailers.

It's true that some of these teenagers -- 12 and 13 year olds -- are working illegally. But others -- 15 or 16 year olds -- are often legal employees, pressured to work excessively long and illegal hours that prevent them from finishing high school.

Whether underage workers or legal employees, these young people suffer the same treatment at the hands of their employers: 12 to 18 hour work days, often without overtime pay; verbal, physical, and sometimes sexual abuse; low wages and unhealthy working conditions.

Garment manufacturers in Central America's free trade zones, Mexico's maquiladora factories and Asia's export processing zones, claim they prefer to hire young girls and women because they have nimble fingers. Workers suspect that children and young people are hired because they are less likely to complain about illegal and unjust conditions. And more importantly, they are less likely to organize unions.

In fact, child labour is often directly linked to the low wages paid to adult workers, restrictions on the right to organize, and the lack of affordable child care.

In Bangladesh, many child labourers in the garment industry are the children of women working in the same factories.

If women workers received a living wage and/or their employer provided daycare, their children would not have to work.






2019-10-11 Boundary Stone

 Culcheth-Kenyon Boundary Stone in Brosely Lane.


20191011 CLHG Boundary stone Grade II listed Culcheth-Kenyon ODT.|HLE_A3L_Grade.pdf

A member Culcheth Local History Group has successfully obtained a Grade II listing for the Culcheth-Kenyon Boundary stone marker on Brosely Lane on left hand side of road going from Culcheth to Kenyon, just after junction with Brosely Avenue.

 OS Reference on Historic England Boundary stone Culcheth Keynon listed Grade II PNG

Historic England  

 OpenStreetMap has been edited to include this feature,

OpenStreet Map edited for boundary stone by EM Screenshot 2019 10 11 16 54 23



 Copy of Official Listing


Parish Boundary Stone, Broseley Lane



Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
On the west side of Broseley Lane (B5207), Culcheth, Warrington, approximately 42.5m north-west of the junction with Broseley Avenue.
Statutory Address:
Broseley Lane, Culcheth, Warrington, WA3 4BG



© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale.
For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1464173 .pdf (opens in a new window)

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 11-Oct-2019 at 16:21:42.


Statutory Address:
Broseley Lane, Culcheth, Warrington, WA3 4BG

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
On the west side of Broseley Lane (B5207), Culcheth, Warrington, approximately 42.5m north-west of the junction with Broseley Avenue.
Warrington (Unitary Authority)
Culcheth and Glazebury
National Grid Reference:


Boundary Stone, early C19 or earlier.

Reasons for Designation

The Parish Boundary Stone, Broseley Lane, Culcheth, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural Interest: * it dates to the early C19 or earlier and there is a general presumption that all surviving pre-1850 parish boundary stones should be listed;

* it survives intact in its original position, with a legible inscription, and includes a non-vertical bench mark that adds to its special interest.

Historic Interest: * the stone is a tangible reminder of the delineation of the limits of parochial jurisdiction during the early C19.


The boundary stone is considered to be at least early C19 in date, and to mark the parish boundary between Kenyon and Culcheth, which followed the course of the now culverted Jibcroft Brook. It is depicted on the first edition 1:10,560 Ordnance Survey map, surveyed between 1845 and 1847, and continues to be shown on later editions in the same position as today. The parish boundary was originally marked along its length by a number of boundary stones and posts, of which at least one other is known to survive, situated in a wall adjacent to Boundary Cottages, Wigshaw Lane. The boundary stone was also used as an Ordnance Survey bench mark and is depicted as such on the 1893 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey map. The stone has suffered some minor damage from mowing machines.


Boundary Stone, early C19 or earlier.

MATERIALS: sandstone, painted.

DESCRIPTION: the boundary stone is set on the west verge of Broseley Lane. It has a similar appearance to a small milestone, standing approximately 0.35m high, with a triangular section and a flat top. The latter is inscribed with a non-vertical bench mark symbol. The rear panel is plain, the southern panel is inscribed: BOUN/ CULCHETH and the northern panel is inscribed DARY/ KENYON; the inscription BOUN and DARY forming the word: BOUNDARY. The stone is painted white and all lettering is black.


Geograph - SJ6494: Cut Mark Boundary Stone Wigshaw Lane, accessed 18 April 2019 from


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing








2019-09-15 Mersey & Irwell Navigation

On Thursday September 12th, 2019 Mike Kenwright gave the members and guests a well illustrated talk on "The Mersey and Irwell Navigation" many slides from his private collection of the public and private maps and views in paintings and photographs accumulated by him over many years.

His enthusiasm and knowledge passed to the audience and we learned new things some of considerable interest and astonishment.

Working horses can live to 62 years of age.
A big cheque was issued at company take over.
The development of Mersey Flats as a type of shallow draft sailing boat.

We strongly recommend visiting website
as a summary of subject maitters included in the talk, but by different authors.

Copyright and source of all images are acknowledged. Advise if you require amendment.

JPG ex Pitt Dixon map mi nav JPG



[image map ex ]

The old horse “Old Billy”.

The best painting of the horse is the “Old-Billy-Portrait” in our local Warrington Museum and it would be appropriate for horse lovers or others to visit and see it.
This portrait also shows a Mersey flat in the river background.
Another painting shows him with his carer in pension-hood Mr Harrison who had known the horse for 55 years. Billy was the subject of paintings by several 19th century artists, the best-known being Charles Towne (in Warrington Museum) and William Bradley. Bradley painted Old Billy in his retirement in 1821, the year before Old Billy’s death.

Link to Warrington Museum and opening hours.

[image when approved for issue.]


The Shallow Draft Boats. Mersey Flats


The shallow draft under sail local boats, developed for the Mersey and Irwell canal, later with tow paths being horse drawn by horses like Old Billy when winds were unfavourable

A painting of a Mersey Flat from The National Waterways Museum is given on website:

 Archive print E Chambr Hardman Archive Mersey Flat out of copyright B001573

Archive print E Chambr Hardman Archive Mersey Flat [out of copyright] B001573


The Big Takeover Cheque.

A Big Cheque. GBP £1,710,000.00 in1887
(About GBP £211,000,000.00 in 2018 pounds, but this may be an underestimate.)

Mike told about the The first big cheque issued in UK to settle a long running takeover when the existing canals “The Mersey and Irwell” and its competitor “The Duke of Bridgwater's Canal” were taken into ownership of the Manchester Ship Canal (MSC), to allow the MSC to be started.
Business was slow and ruthless and needed help in Parliament to get the rights to develop as well as raising the money to be put at risk in the adventure in trade to improve transport links

Facsimile of the 1710000 Cheque Paid for the Bridgewater Canal T2022



Quotation of history of Mersey and Irwell Navigation which summarises the talk.



The idea that the Rivers Mersey and Irwell should be made navigable from the Mersey Estuary in the west to Manchester in the east was first proposed in 1660, and revived in 1712 by Thomas Steers. In 1720 the necessary bills were tabled. The Act of Parliament for the navigation was received in 1721. The construction work was undertaken by the Mersey & Irwell Navigation Company.[1] Work began in 1724, and by 1734 boats "of moderate size" could make the journey from quays in Water Street, Manchester, Coordinates: 53°28′46″N 2°15′23″W to the Irish Sea.[5] The navigation was suitable only for small ships, and during periods of drought, or when strong easterly winds held back the tide in the estuary, there was not always sufficient draft for a fully laden boat.

Eight weirs were constructed along the length of the route, and some short cuts were made around shallower parts of the river, with locks, to enable the passage of boats. Some difficult turns along the river were also removed.

The navigation was modified and improved on a number of occasions. A canal section known as the Runcorn and Latchford Canal was added in 1804, to bypass part of the lower reaches. In 1740 the company built quays and warehouses along Water Street in Manchester.

In 1779 a group of businessmen from Manchester and Liverpool purchased the navigation, and began making improvements. A difficult section below Howley lock was cut out by the building of the Runcorn to Latchford Canal, and at Runcorn a basin was built for boats to wait for the tide.

An aqueduct was built from Woolston Cut, to replace water lost from the locks that were used to raise boats into the new canal section.

The completion of the Bridgewater Canal in 1776, followed in 1830 by the opening of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, meant increasing competition for the carriage of goods, and in 1844 the navigation was purchased on behalf of the Bridgewater Canal Company, for £550,800. In 1846 ownership was transferred to the Canal Company.

The company in charge of the navigation was known by several names. These include "The Old Navigation", "Old Quay Company", and "Old Quay Canal".


In 1872, the navigation was sold to the newly formed Bridgewater Navigation Company for £1,112,000, but it had by then fallen into disrepair. In 1882 it was described as being "hopelessly choked with silt and filth", and was open to 50-ton boats for only 47 out of 311 working days.

Economic conditions deteriorated during the mid-1870s, in what has been called the Long Depression. The dues charged by the Port of Liverpool, and the railway charges from there to Manchester, were perceived to be excessive; it was often cheaper to import goods via Hull, on the other side of England, than it was to use Liverpool, about 35 miles (56 km) away. A ship canal was proposed as a way to reverse Manchester's economic decline by giving the city direct access to the sea for its imports and exports of manufactured goods.


The construction of the Manchester Ship Canal obliterated large parts of the earlier navigation, including almost the whole of the Irwell part of the course (except for a short length upstream of Pomona Docks, which is the only surviving part of the navigation today).

A short way downstream of the confluence with the Mersey, the ship canal followed a more southerly course than the old navigation, which remained in use as late as 1950 from Rixton Junction downstream.

The lower reaches of the ship canal from Eastham to Latchford obliterated a large section of the Runcorn to Latchford Canal, leaving just a short stub joining the navigation to the Canal near Stockton Heath. The Woolston New Cut, excavated in 1821, is still visible although completely dry. Woolston Old Cut, built in 1755, still exists although the lock is gone.


Design and construction

There were originally eight locks along the navigation. Each lock chamber was 13 feet wide by 65 feet long.

Throstles Nest Lock was the highest on the navigation. It was followed by Mode Wheel lock. Lock 3 was at Barton-upon-Irwell, next to James Brindley's original Barton Aqueduct. The remains of the lock island appear to be situated in the same location as the island presently used for the swing aqueduct. Stickins Lock followed, in a 600-yard (550 m) cut. There were further locks named Holmes Bridge, Calamanco, Holmes Bridge and finally Howley Tidal.

Further locks were added throughout the route's history. These include a new Stickins Lock, Sandywarps Lock in a cut located close to the confluence of the Irwell and Mersey, Butchersfield Locks (located on a short cut known as the Butchersfield Canal), Woolston New (located at the upper end of Woolston New Cut), Paddington Lock (lower end of Woolston New Cut), Woolston Old Lock, Latchford, and Old Quay Sea Locks.

[Image from Wikipedia of canal as lock map]

 2 Paddington Locks painting before 50 480 x 347 300x217

Paddington lock painting by young member of lockkeeper's family.


Model of a Mersey and Irwell FlatT2602odel


Model of a Mersey Flat.[Model of a Mersey and Irwell FlatT2602]



 Mersey Flat ex wwwnewcuttrailcom wp content uploads 2016 01 Mersey Flat pic 1754 x 1275 50 877 x 638 50 e1454694713793jpgpic 1754 x 1275 50 877 x 638 50 e1454694713793

 Ex NewCutTrail article.
The Flat in the photo appears to be a sloop rigged craft (i.e. single triangular main sail with a smaller foresail). This was the most common type of Flat. What is slightly unusual is the number of men working her, most craft were crewed by two men and a boy.


Things to do:

Cycling on the New Cut trail


New Cut Trail website mapmap high res 5 JPG



See old maps on

Visit Warrington Museum

View on YouTube
A talk from 2018 by Mike Kenwright on “Rambles around Woolston”



The members and guests thank Mike Kenwright for his dedicated hours of study and accumulation of illustrations which gave us a simple history of a most complex undertaking by the adventures of the canal era.



Illustrations source and all copyrights acknowledged.

2019-05-09 Thomas Penketh

On Thursday evening the 9th of May 2019, the thirty six members and visitors were  enthralled by a very professional and well researched talk on Thomas Penketh,  a local Warringtonian, who became an Augustinian Friar and  who had an eventful life as an international renowned scholar  and head of his order in England, before suffering many years after his death a reputational 're-write' to suit the incoming propaganda of the Tudors  by Thomas Moore. He is even mentioned as a 'bad guy' in Shakespeare.


Thomas Penketh

Thomas Pencketh ex Libreria del convento di S Barnaba a Brescia Thomas Penketh proxyduckduckgocom


Portrait of Thomas Penketh from Augustinian Order resources.

Synopsis of his talk by Bill Cooke.

 Words below by Bill Cooke

Thomas Penketh,  A great Warringtonian

The problem: 

William Beamont, the great nineteenth century historian of Warrington was worried by Thomas Penketh (1437-87). So much so he felt the need to apologise for his actions.
What had Penketh done to deserve a posthumous apology?

The Warrington Museum.

This is what Warrington Museum has to say about Penketh:
‘A local scholar, Thomas Penketh became head of all the Austin friars in England by 1480. Mentioned in Shakespeare’s play Richard III,
Friar Penketh’s ill-advised support for the king led to his disgrace and downfall.’


Bill Cooke's opinion on the Warrington Museum description.

 Unfortunately, most of this is incorrect.

Firstly, Penketh was not merely a ‘local scholar’. He was a scholar of international repute.

The Wikisource quotes Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 44 Penketh, Thomas by Alice Margaret Cooke, which makes the same error of assuming the Friar  was 'degraded' during his lifetime! This may be source of the Warrington Museum entry error.,_Thomas_(DNB00)

He became a worldwide authority on the philosophy of John Duns Scotus. After studying at the university at Padua, Penketh was asked to stay on as professor of metaphysics until 1475, before being offered an even more prestigious position at the university at Pavia.
Unfortunately, he could not take up this position as he returned to England, where he became the Provincial of the Austin order in England for the second time.
He served first from 1469, taking office shortly after graduating with a doctorate in theology from Cambridge university in 1468.
Penketh supported Richard III in a sermon at Easter 1484, validating Richard’s rule in terms of canon law and citing the alleged bastardy of the princes in the tower as reasons for their ineligibility to rule.
This was why William Beamont felt the need to apologise for Penketh.
It is not correct, though, to say that Penketh suffered ‘disgrace and downfall’ as a result of his support for Richard III. His actions were entirely consistent with his beliefs and shortly after giving his Easter sermon, Penketh was re-elected to his third term as Provincial of the Austin order in England.
Penketh died peacefully while holding this office in 1487.

We don’t have to agree with Friar Penketh to recognise him as an outstanding Warringtonian.


Dr Bil Cooke's current teaching and studies:

Dr Bill Cooke teaches philosophy and religious studies at Priestley College in Warrington.
He is writing a book on the intellectual history of Warrington.
Synopsis of talk given to the Culcheth Local History Society, 9 May 2109; by Bill Cooke.

End of Bill Cooke's synopsis.


 What Bill Cooke brought out and vividly illustrated, was that the 'blackening' of the real history and work of Frier Penketh  was in fact  'propoganda' many years after the Friar death against Frier Penketh to suit the change in Monarchy and was carried out by the master of propaganda Thomas Moore to suit the politics of his age and his master Henry VIII.

Refer: British Library reference:


Thomas More's History of King Richard III


Thomas More – a public servant who from 1518 served on Henry VIII’s Privy Council and later became Lord Chancellor – wrote his History of King Richard III between around 1513 and 1518.

More’s account – which dramatised conflicts, provided descriptions of both body and mind, and looked for causes as well as recording facts – was popular and was incorporated into the work of other chroniclers, including Holinshed and Stow, as well as influencing dramatists such as Shakespeare.

The work survives in English and Latin versions, both unfinished, with some variation in detail between the two. More borrows freely from other Tudor accounts of Richard’s reign, such as those by John Rous and Polydore Vergil, and adds original detail from direct testimony.
The portrayal of Richard III

Richard III’s Tudor successors from Henry VII onwards had a vested interest in portraying him as a bad, and indeed unlawful, king to increase their own legitimacy as the line who deposed him. More’s account, written under Henry VIII, follows the Tudor propagandist line and paints Richard as a usurper, accusing him of killing the princes in the tower (it is likely but not proven that Richard arranged their deaths).

Half way down the first column on page 37 is More’s now famous description of Richard:
‘little of stature, ill featured of limes, croke backed, his left shoulder much higher than his right, hard favoured of visage … he was malicious, wrathfull, envious, and from afore his birth, ever frowarde.’
He also describes Richard’s difficult birth, used to portray him as monstrous and unnatural, reporting that it was said he was born feet first and ‘not untothed’ (i.e. born with teeth). More considers the possibility that these reports go beyond truth out of hatred for Richard, but also ‘that nature chaunged her course in hys beginning, whiche in the course of his lyfe many thinges unnaturallye committed.’ In the second column, More also describes Richard as ‘close and secrete, a deepe dissimuler’ and ‘not letting to kisse whome hee thought to kyll’, a line that seems to anticipate Shakespeare in Richard’s line ‘why, I can smile, and murther whiles I smile’ (3 Henry VI, 3.2.182).
Shakespeare’s Richard III and More’s History

More’s History is the main source for Shakespeare’s play Richard III, although there is no evidence that Shakespeare knew the 1557 version in addition to the 1548, which he had definitely read. More’s witty and ironic presentation of Richard and his villainy seem to have been particularly influential, as were the parallels he drew between theatre and politics: ‘And so they said that these matters bee kynges games, as it were stage playes, and for the more part plaied upon scaffolds’ (p. 66).


 ex augnet Richard III AN4360 U12243 500u 250x368

 ex augnet Richard III AN4360 U12243 500u 250x368


Foreign Painting of Penketh as a worthy person.

 International reputation during Friar Penketh's lifetime is shown by the painting in Italy.

Thomas Penketh proxyduckduckgocom

 Refer: Italian fresco of Friar Penketh ,   Descriptionis in Italian in this reference.

Thomas Pencketh, Libreria del convento di S. Barnaba a Brescia. The illustration of the illustrius scholar and teacher.

The Friar's main studies were on the writings of 'Jihn Duns Scotus' a major study for senior churchment of his day.


ex augnet Penketh writing in Latin printed 1481 AN4360 AC985 310u

The printed works of Friar Penketh are illustrated above.
From ex-augnet_Penketh-writing-in-Latin_printed -1481_AN4360_AC985_310u


Duns Scotus.  


JohnDunsScotus full1

Duns Scotus painting from

Juan Duns Escoto, por Justus van Gent, Roma, Palacio Barberini; Justus van Gent (fl. 1460–1480) (Public Domain)

Refer for works of Duns Scotus:


Present memorials of Penketh.

The memories of Friar Penketh about us, are in his name in use in London places and the pub in Warrington

The church where Friar Penketh was located in London may be as this illustration:

 ex augnet original Augustinian church in London29899853564 699db942a4 b

ex augnet original Augustinian church in London29899853564 699db942a4 b 

Friar Penketh Pub 150

Friar Penketh Pub (ex Whitbreads) in Warrington.


Articles on the Augustinian Order.




Writings of Friar Penketh.

Copies of the books are held by libraries listed in

 list of books whose authors include Thomas Penketh available from libraries:


Statue of a Friar in London.  "Austin Friars"

ex augnet statue 30414099192 69df3e6298 b




The talk was a magnificent visitation into how propaganda after a person's death can truely destroy a reputation gained during life.


The members and visitors give theri heartfelt thanks to Bill Cooke for his talk and presentation.




2019-04-11 The Life of William Beamont.

On Thursday April 11th, 2029, the members and visitors were treated to a very well researched and enthralling account of William Beamont who did much good work in Warrington and became its first major after the borough was formed in its modern format.

The talk was given by local historian and author H Wells. (Harry Wells) from the accumulation of many years of research into the private diaries and  information held by the archives from the donation of Beamont's papers to the Warrington Library and archives. He was a major instigator in forming the library  which was the first in England supported out of the town rates.


William Beamont 17971889 First Mayor of Warrington 18471848 wiki commons JPG


Painter notes: Beaumont painting attributed to Thomas Francis Dicksee
Description: British painter Date of birth/death 13 December 1819 6 November 1895; Location of birth/death London London


William Beamont was apprenticed as a lawyer and studied with firms in Cheshire and London before opening his own  offices in central Warrington.

He gained a considerable reputation and was moderately wealthy, however his background and his internal thoughts reconciling the 'bad use of the law' by others and his ethics  from his early enforced religious upbringing made him into a very powerful honest lawyer and he put his talents to use to benefit the people of Warrington. Like many men of his time he kept copious notes in his pocket books and journals which with other artefacts left to the Library and Archives allows us to get a more rounded picture of the man than any of his contemporaries.
His output as an author of historical affairs was very considerable and some are still on sale as 'e-books'.

During his life he had many doubts about his abilities and his capability to do good by his ethics and these thoughts are recorded in his journals. Mr Wells's talk have some slides with various quotations of Beamont's statements originally written only for Beamont's own eyes.

Additional material edited 20190426 Mr Harry Wells' talk.

We have been very kindly given a copy of the text of the talk given by Mr Wells, [Copyright of Mr H Wells], along with some of his slides.
The talk is reproduced below. The webmaster thanks Mr Wells greatly for the honour to reproduce the talk.


William Beamont.
William Beamont’s name is well known in Warrington because of the schools which are named after him. He is also known as the first mayor of the borough of Warrington which was established in 1847, but he was also a prolific local history writer, traveller, and philanthropist.

Beamont’s funeral took place at Christ Church, Padgate, on Saturday 8 June 1889, attended by the Rector of Warrington, vicars and other clergy from most of the Warrington churches, the Principal of the Training College, the head teachers of numerous schools, representatives of the Conservative Party and those of other political persuasions, as well as the mayor, aldermen and burgesses of Warrington, magistrates, judges, solicitors, army officers, etc.

The epitaph on his gravestone reads: ‘Thro’ all this tract of years wearing the white flower of a blameless life. Blessed are the pure in heart. Blessed is he that soweth beside all waters’. The quotations are from the New Testament and from Tennyson’s ‘Idylls of the King’ and the words obviously parallel Letittia’s own feelings about her late husband and the qualities he showed, expressed in the language of the time.

At the funeral we see represented all the strands of Beamont’s life: his career in the law, his civic roles, local politics, the Church of England, and education. He would have considered his most important achievements to have been in the field of education. He built or took a leading role in the building of numerous schools, Orford chapel-school, St Ann’s schools, Heathside girls’ school, the Ladies school, Hamilton Street schools, and Woolston school. But probably what impresses us most from the funeral is that he was greatly respected across all sections of Warrington society.

But you and I have an advantage over his contemporaries: we can read his diaries and correspondence. We can see Beamont as he saw himself. The traditional image appears very different from the troubled character of the young man we come face to face with in his early diaries and correspondence.

 William Beamont photo (c) Warrington Museum Art Gallery Culture Warrington DSC 0210

By courtesy of Culture Warrington:
William Beamont photo (c) WarringtoWilliam Beamont photoWn Museum Art Gallery Culture Warrington DSC 0210

A Bridge Street boy.
Beamont’s parents William and Jane, were drapers, who lived at their shop in Bridge Street, Warrington.
The second of four children, he was born in 1797. The shop stood at the top of Bridge Street close to Market Gate but was demolished when the present Market Gate circus was created.

From about the age of 7 he was sent to a boarding school in Chester run by a Mr Sigismund Stolterfoht, where he obtained the foundations of his knowledge of the classics. He then at the age of 14 was sent to Knutsford to begin his training in the law profession. At Knutsford he lived in Mrs Alcock’s lodging house in Silk Mill Street.

In 1818 Beamont went to live in London to complete his training at the office of Wright and Cole in Serjeant’s Inn. In London he kept a detailed diary in the pages of which we meet a serious young man torn by conflict between on the one side what he perceives as the corrupt inclinations of his nature and the almost uncontrollable sensual appetites of the body, and on the other the diametrically opposed and unbending dictates of the Christian life.

His main failing, he identified as a natural disposition to indolence. His idleness then becomes a breeding ground for gluttony and the slavery of habit, and he identifies within his soul a whole catalogue of other related vices: anger, lack of charity, envy, hate, pride, vanity and sadism.

A social conscience,
But not all is negative introspection. In the London diaries we find the beginnings of Beamont’s social conscience. When he arrived in London, Beamont was confronted with the desperate poverty of the urban poor. For women in poverty there was the possibility of prostitution, and Beamont observed that they were not only on the streets: but the theatres were packed with them, as he was surprised to discover on a visit to Covent Garden, when he found the saloon adjoining the boxes ‘swarming with girls of the town and could not help wondering that such a use should be made of what was intended for other purposes’. The practice, he discovered, was for theatre managers to regularly distribute free tickets to the more attractive of the girls as their presence was thought an advantage to the theatre.

The law.
The young Beamont believed that the law should be the means of righting some of the wrongs of society. However, the absence of morality and justice in the law shocked him and caused him to examine his own intentions. He came close to abandoning his career, but in April 1819 resolved to continue and personally never to be involved in an unjust case, but to be an honest lawyer and ‘dare to be good’. Beamont returned to Warrington in March 1820 and set up as an attorney in a large old house by the Barley Mow in Warrington market place, where he continued to practise as a solicitor for nearly 50 years.

Beamont's offices now Rhode Island Coffee copyright H wells AP12C11Su250312

Beamont's offices now Rhode Island Coffee copyright H Wells AP12C11Su250312

The Beamont plaque c H Wells SE96A30Su110896

The Beamont plaque (c) H Wells SE96A30Su110896 on wallo fhis former office.

Beamont was married at Warrington Parish Church, on 27 December 1825 to Ann Gaskell, the daughter of. John and Agnes Gaskell. Ann and William lived for virtually all of their married life in Bewsey Street, initially at what was then No. 2, at the Winwick Street end of the street. Just over two years after their marriage, at the age of 38, Ann gave birth to her first child, William John. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge and became the incumbent of St Michael’s church Cambridge. He published a grammar of the Arabic language and made trips to the Middle East where he preached to the people in Arabic and Hebrew. He died in 1868, aged 40. The Beamonts’ second child, John Gaskell, named after Ann’s father, died in 1831 at the age of nine months, probably from whooping cough.

It was probably in 1837, soon after his mother Jane’s death, that William and Ann removed to the old Beamont family home, No. 50, which was a spacious house, with a garden. The house now bears a plaque to a former inhabitant, Gilbert Wakefield, who was a tutor at the Warrington Academy

Behind the house there was a yard and a large garden, with apple and pear trees, dominated by an old malt kiln. Beamont sold the house in September 1843 as a vicarage for the local church. The Beamonts then moved into a larger house two doors away. There was a large garden, coach house and stables. Ann held a weekly reading and sewing class at the house. The clothes made there were then distributed to needy children in the class and also to those at Orford school.

The walled garden was Ann’s special province, where she could enjoy the peace and tranquillity she needed. She kept rabbits and hens there, and cultivated her plants in a greenhouse which was the envy of the neighbourhood. Friends would give her plants or cuttings which thrived under her care. Holidays provided a further opportunity to collect specimens.

As High Constable, Beamont had been involved in the administration of the Warrington township from 1829 until 1844, and had seen the flaws and evils of the old system. So it was that in 1846 he became one of the leading proponents of political reform, in a campaign which culminated in the town’s application to become a municipal borough. Beamont, in recognition of his leadership and the respect, in 1847 became the town’s first mayor.

Beamonts house at No 65 formerly 50 Bewsey Street (c) H Wells SAU9815 


 Beamont's house at No 65 formerly 50 Bewsey Street (c) H Wells SAU9815


Museum and Library.

During Beamont’s term as mayor a resolution was passed on 3 June 1848 to establish the first free museum and library ‘in the manufacturing districts’. Later, Beamont, as chairman of the Museum and Library Committee, proposed that a spacious new museum and library be erected which would be freely open to the public. In recognition of his role, Beamont himself was given the honour of laying the foundation stone. A long procession which included local dignitaries, religious leaders and schools wound through the town from the Market Place to Bold Street, where the mayor, Henry White, handed the ceremonial trowel to Beamont to the accompaniment of a resounding cheer.

Beamont was a member of the board of Union guardians, so when large new workhouse was planned in 1849 he found himself appointed to the building committee. The old premises in Church Street and at Newton were found inadequate by an inspector who commented that the Warrington Workhouse was surrounded by ditches of stagnant water, breeding disease. Now a much larger, modern building erected on land near Whitecross was opened in 1851. Subsequently a workhouse infirmary was built, which eventually became the Borough General Hospital.

Rock Villas.
In 1859, the Beamonts left Bewsey Street to more rural surroundings, in the hope of achieving some improvement in Ann’s deteriorating health. Peter Rylands occupied their former house which had once been his family home. The Rylands family at that time, like other local industrialists, supporters of the Liberal party and, when Peter eventually left the house it became the Warrington Liberal Club. The front was reconstructed as a much grander club building which bears the date 1913. However, the rear portion of Beamont’s old house was retained and, remarkably, still survives. The large garden at the side became the club’s bowling green and it too may still be seen.

Ann was about to turn 70, but she had outlived nine of her siblings, with just her younger unmarried sister Mary left and must have felt she was approaching the final phase of her life. On Thursday 24 November, Ann may have sensed the end was approaching. Driven by her passion to save children from sin, probably connected with old feelings of personal guilt, she went to town in her phaeton to buy some religious tracts. As soon as she returned she began to distribute them to children in the neighbourhood. Ann finally came home to the house at Common Lane about seven o’ clock that evening, sat down, leant her head back and died without uttering a sound.

The funeral was held at Grappenhall where Ann was buried. There is no monument, not even a gravestone at Grappenhall, but in November 1860 a memorial east window was installed by public subscription in St Paul’s church, Bewsey Road, only a stone’s throw from their old house. The subject, the charity of Dorcas, chosen to mark Ann’s lifelong involvement with charity in the poorest districts of town and the figure of Dorcas was particularly appropriate in that she had for many years held a girls’ sewing class on Saturdays in their Bewsey Street home. The church was demolished in 1984.

Without Ann
Ann was an exceptional person who made a deep impression on all who met her. She was so influential in Beamont’s life that we may fairly divide it into three parts, before Ann, with Ann and after Ann. Marriage in 1825 had transformed the troubled young man we meet in his early diaries and Ann’s death would have an even greater effect, when the recognition of her faith and example transformed him into the great philanthropist and builder of church schools and churches which he then became.

Orford School.
Beamont’s first project was to rebuild the school at Orford. The work was undertaken in memory of his beloved wife Ann, who had recently died and who had been so committed to the school. A large memorial stone to that effect with the date 1860 was placed high in the south gable. He was surely right in believing a new school at Orford was what she would have most wanted and that would be the most fitting memorial to her. The building was demolished in 1987.

St Ann’s Church.
It was largely due to Beamont’s efforts that a new parish of St Ann’s was formed in 1864. Beamont gave the land for new church schools to be built, which were opened in the same year. He endowed the vicar in memory of his first wife. Indeed the church dedication itself, originally to have been to St Mark, was chosen in memory of Ann. William doubtless remembered that he himself once wrote to her
‘if I ever feel inclined to worship a saint I believe I shall choose St Ann’. The church is now a climbing centre.

The Town Misssion
Building new churches and schools were not Beamont’s only religious enterprise. There was something else which Ann would have supported just as strongly. She had spent her life bringing comfort, charity and religious teaching to the young and the poor. On the very day of her death she was distributing tracts to the children of the neighbourhood. Now, Beamont with the support of others set about promoting a Town Mission for Warrington. An important principle of the Mission was that it should be entirely non-denominational. Four mission agents were taken on, each with a portion of the town to cover. They would visit people at their own houses and read the Bible to them.

A Second Marriage.
Needed the companionship, care and day to day support of a wife, so, after an interval of three and a half years, he remarried, to a middle-aged acquaintance, Letitia Naegeli. Three years after the wedding, an opportunity presented itself which Beamont had probably half dreamt of since his youth: Orford Hall, the old seat of the Blackburnes, became vacant.

On 1 August 1866, Beamont took a seven-year lease of the hall from John Ireland Blackburne at an annual rent of £100. Included in the lease of the house were the garden, lanes and pleasure grounds and a coach house, stables, granary and other outbuildings. Beamont enjoyed a long and very productive retirement at Orford. His travelling exploits abroad were now over, but retirement simply meant a greater opportunity for commitment to public service as well as more time for research and writing. Sundays of course were wholly taken up with participation in church services and William’s Sunday School teaching. Weekdays were filled with a dizzying activity. Regular meetings connected with the many responsibilities Beamont had assumed took up much of his diary. There could easily be several meetings on the same day, all of which he would attend. Nor was he content to sit and listen; he always took a leading part in proceedings to ensure progress was made and was a willing volunteer to chair committees or serve on sub-committees.

The Beamonts’ social life can only be described as hectic, with frequent visits to stay with friends in London, Wales and elsewhere, and an unceasing round of social engagements and other local events. When they were at home, much of the day was taken up with callers.

Considering Beamont’s social and public commitments, the extent of his personal antiquarian and literary activities is truly astonishing. He now, in his so-called retirement at Orford, became a regular weekly correspondent of the Warrington Guardian and from 1868 to 1884 made a significant contribution to the newspaper, virtually none of it under his own name. This was the period of his life which saw the prolific output of local history works, the greatest of his literary achievements being his monumental 3 volume Annals of the Lords of Warrington and Bewsey.

The last years.
In 1881 he remarked that up to then he had only suffered a few days’ illness from his childhood. However by 1884 things were becoming difficult. In January 1885 he realizes old age is upon him and complains ‘alas I begin to find my powers of body failing. My hearing is bad and my sight … worse. I am almost blind but I thank heaven whose mercy has spared me my faculties so long’.
By the beginning of 1888 his strength was rapidly diminishing and his commitments ceased one by one. The end occurred at Orford Hall at ten past twelve in the early morning of Thursday 6 June, 1889. It was said that he had caught a chill on a visit to the Guardian Office in Sankey Street which gave rise to a short illness of about six weeks.

H Wells, 16 April 2019



His Life as recorded in the National Archives.

Extract from National Archive and Livewire Warrington Library and Archive Service
This text contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

Mayor and Antiquarian.

William Beamont (1797-1889) was, in his day, undoubtedly the most notable figure in the town of Warrington. A solicitor by profession, he was the first Mayor of the town, and actively involved in public affairs all his life. He was a great benefactor, sponsoring and endowing many local institutions and charities. He was also a keen antiquarian and historian.

He was born in Warrington, his father being an established linen draper in the town. His early education was at a dame school kept by a “Mrs Birch” (His nickname for the actual lady, our speaker named the lady), then at a boarding school in Chester conducted by a Mr Stolterforth. His chosen profession was the law: he was articled to a Mr Strethill Wright in Knutsford, completed his training in London, then came back to practise in the Market Place in Warrington, in premises subsequently occupied by Messrs Robert Davies & co.

He devoted a large part of his time to public affairs. He was instrumental in bringing about the incorporation of the town. In "Some remarks as to the Necessity for a Corporation, in a Letter addressed to the Inhabitants of Warrington" (1846) he set out arguments in support of this. A petition for a charter of incorporation went before the Privy Council and was granted in 1847. He was elected Mayor at the council's inaugural meeting. He sat on several committees, and in days when private money found its way into public concerns he spent a large sum of his own money to complete and connect sewers in the town. He was chairman of the Savings Bank, attended meetings of the Gas Board, worked hard for the Infirmary, to mention but a few other of his concerns. He also held the offices of High Constable and clerk to the magistrates.

Museum and Library.

He was the first chairman of the Museum and Library Committee in 1848. A circulating Library had been established in the town in 1760, maintained largely by private subscription. It became fully rate supported in 1848 - the first of its kind in the country - uniting with the museum of the local Natural History Society, which had been founded in 1835. This had been achieved through his efforts together with the first Town Clerk, John Fitchett Marsh. It was at first housed in rented premises in Friars Green. He laid the foundation stone of the present building in Museum Street in 1855. This was enlarged in 1876 by the addition of the Art Gallery. Although he resigned as an alderman in 1854, he remained (co-opted) as Chairman of the Museum and Library Committee until his death.

A devout Church of England churchman, he was renowned for his charitable deeds and unstinting financial generosity. His name is, in this context, linked with various educational establishments, including the Mechanics Institute, the School of Art, the Grammar School, Heathside Schools, St Ann's School and Orford Schools. He built and endowed St Ann's church, and endowed the parish of Orford. Here at Orford, in the combined school and church (used Monday to Saturday as a school and Sundays as a church and Sunday School) he attended services, read lessons and taught at the Sunday School until he was 90 years old. He campaigned to build a hospital to replace the Warrington Dispensary (opened in 1810) which had become inadequate for the needs of the town, setting up a fund and initiating a group to work to this end. The Infirmary was opened in 1872, with "Beamont Ward" a monument to his interest in the project.

Warrington Library and Museum geographorguk 1304989

Eirian Evans / Warrington Library & Museum / CC BY-SA


Education: "College of Art" under his auspices.

Warrington Collegiate Institute building College of Art geographorguk 1304995


Warrington College of Art, by Eirian Evans, CC BY-SA 2.0, Warrington Collegiate Institute building - - 1304995.jpg


Historical research and publishing historical books and notes on his foreign trips.

He held a lifelong interest in antiquarian and historical research, especially after retirement from his professional work c1865. He had many works published, numbering some sixty or more books and pamphlets. These include histories of Warrington and the surrounding parishes and townships, books based on his foreign tours, and transcripts or abstracts of historical documents. His own copies of several of these, with notes, additions and pasted in news-cuttings etc., are preserved in the Library Reference Section. He left a large quantity of unpublished material, which forms the basis of the Beamont Collection. He was also a member and officer of various Lancashire and Cheshire learned societies, and a voluminous contributor to newspapers, especially the "Warrington Guardian".


His first wife was Ann Gaskell, the daughter of John Gaskell, a Warrington merchant. The authoress, Mrs Gaskell, was a distant relative. Ann Beamont was so active in charitable and church work herself that he claimed that in some parts of the town he was known as Mrs Beaumont's husband. She died in 1859. They had lived in the town in Bewsey Street, but after her death he moved to Rock Villas, Latchford.


His second wife was Laetitia Naegeli, who was of Swiss parentage. She too distinguished herself in the community by charitable deeds, and continued to do so after his death. She herself died in 1902, and the residue of her estate went to the "Beamont Charity" for "well conducted persons who have known better days". They had lived for most of their married life at Orford Hall, which they rented from the Ireland-Blackburne family.



Two children were born of the first marriage. One son, John, died in infancy in 1829. The other son, William John (1828-1868), was a clergyman and author. He was educated at the Warrington Grammar School, Eton, and Trinity College, Cambridge. He toured Egypt and Palestine as a young man, was ordained in 1854 and spent some time in Jerusalem where he was engaged in educating intending missionaries to Abyssinia, Sunday School work and in preaching both in English and Arabic. He was a chaplain to the camp hospitals of the British army before Sebastopol. He returned to England in 1855, became curate of St John's, Broad Street, Drury Lane, London, then in 1858 accepted the vicarage of St Michael's, Cambridge. He died, aged 40, in 1868, his death hastened by a fever caught in the east. He had many works published, was the founder of the Cambridge School of Art (1858) and Church Defence Association (1859). He was also the originator of the Church Congress (1861).

William John Beamont has a much bigger 'profile' in the reference books and websites than his father William Beamont.

Pioneer of Local History.

William Beamont has been criticised, in his lifetime and after his death, over certain inaccuracies and shortcomings, but it needs to be remembered that as a local historian of his time he was in many ways a pioneer. No-one can doubt his industry and application. It has been questioned how a man who was so actively engaged in his own profession and in public life found time to write so many books. Albeit by then retired from the law, he once partly disclosed the secret when he said "I spend several hours before breakfast every morning on the work". He was then 80 years of age.


 Thanks to speaker Mr H Wells.

Mr Wells's website and publications;

HWells photo ex his website N 044b sum06


The members and visitors thank Mr Wells for his many years of research which gave us an interesting insite into our town's early formation.

His publications are available from his website or by contact to Mr Wells,



History of Victorian Costume and Social Change.

Thursday 14th March 2019 by Barbera Joyce on "100 Years of Costume Drama.How clothes reflect social change in the 19th century".

On Thursday evening the 14th of March 2019 members and one visitor enjoyed a vivid description of the change in costume of men and women during the Victorian era. The talk was illustrated by images of clothes from the various decades of the Victorian period.

source unknown ex wikipedia commons public domain Victoriah Fashions JPG

source unknown ex Wikipedia commons public domain Victorian Fashions.

800px Frith A Private View detail


Ex Wikipedia: [Picture is currently in a private collection] A Private View at the Royal Academy, 1881 is a painting by the English artist William Powell Frith exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 1883. It depicts a group of distinguished Victorians visiting the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1881, just after the death of the Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, whose portrait by John Everett Millais was included on a screen at the special request of Queen Victoria (visible in the archway at the back of the room). The room is Gallery III, the largest and most imposing room at Burlington House.

Frith worked on the painting through much of 1881 and 1882. He later said in My Autobiography and Reminiscences, published in 1887, that "Beyond the desire of recording for posterity the aesthetic craze as regards dress, I wished to hit the folly of listening to self-elected critics in matters of taste, whether in dress or art. I therefore planned a group, consisting of a well-known apostle of the beautiful, with a herd of eager worshippers surrounding him."

The subject of the painting is the contrast between lasting historical achievements and ephemeral fads. The portrait of Disraeli represents the former, and the influence of the Aesthetic movement in dress represents the latter. Aesthetic dress is exemplified by the principal female figures, to the left, in green, pink and orange clothing. Oscar Wilde, one of the main proponents of Aestheticism, is depicted at the right behind the boy in the green suit, with signature lily buttonhole, surrounded by female admirers.


Social Status.

The speaker noted how the illustrations and recorded descriptions of people’s clothes were very much indicators of social status. The wealthy could afford to have clothes made for ordinary use and for display and could preserve them or hand them down to others. Therefore surviving clothing is mainly from the wealthy whose clothes were not subject to rough work or wear.

Society was stratified and the clothes of the wealthy group changed with fashion and influenced the other classes trying to emulate them in dress. As display symbols of wealth some types of clothing needed extreme care and maintenance to ‘keep their looks’.

The subject of clothing in that era has considerable documentation and many available studies and websites devoted to it, and so the speaker talked mainly about the wealthier class.

1837 Dress





An 1837 dress showing the tight waste and corsetting.        









1844 fashion plate depicting fashionable clothing for men and women including illustrations of a glove and bonnets Magasin fr konst nyheter och moder 1844 illustration nr 8

1844 fashion plate depicting fashionable clothing for men and women. 


Fasiona plate girls 1870

Fasion plate girls 1870 French Magazine


victorian mens costumes 1


1861 Victorian mens costumes plate 1   



victorian mens costumes 2

 Victorian mens costumes plate 2. Top Hats were an expensive item and required hours of maintenance.   


Change in cost and method.

At the start of the Victorian era most clothes were hand made and hand cut and sewn. As the period developed the fruits of the industrial revolution and the availability of cotton made great changes. The sewing machine altered both household ability to make clothes and in industrial factories led to mass market cheaper clothing.
Cotton thread and the sewing machine revolutionised clothing manufacture.

Clothes were changed many times per day by the wealthy and the up and coming middle classes who could afford to emulate them. Morning dress, day dress and evening dress developed with subsets of evening dress for ladies depending on the event to which people were going.


Late Evening 2nd Bustle Era 1880s Dress



1880s Evening Dress. Dresses Cut low for some events but high for others. Do not make a mistake about the rules!


Punch Masculine beauty retouched1 PNG

 A comment on dress which shows both the pose, and the middle class children's holiday dress. 


Second hand market and business. A very large industry.

As wealth and leisure dictated the higher fashions, after use or when unfashionable these clothes were disposed of to the second hand market or distributed to servants who wore or changed the clothes to suit their purposes. The business of making new clothes ran alongside a much larger trade in altering and selling second hand, or third hand or fourth or fifth hand clothing.
As long as it was still wearable there was a market for it. Such large usually unlicensed or irregular markets also gave cover for more dubious or criminal activity in some parts, with some dealers handling both legitimate clothing and other illegal business. The ‘Petticoat Lane’ market in London existed from its ‘Hog Lane’ Tudor name to ‘Petticoat Lane’ in early Victorian times but changed its name to ‘Middlesex Street’ in the 1830s and only became a licensed formal market place in 1930.


Social change.

As the wealthy displayed, and changed fashion it was then as now, important for some people to ‘keep up with your peers’ in display matters, and changes occurred and worked down though the emerging middle class and by the second hand market route was seen later on the poor, although altered to suit their daily use.
The increasing cash available to the middle and working classes changed the range and availability of clothes and footwear from the beginning of the Victorian era to its end, and industry developed mass market clothes to sell to them.

PublicDomain Overcoat left and topcoat right from The Gazette of Fashion 1872 5 187 Mens Coats 1872 Fashion Plate

PublicDomain Overcoat left and topcoat right from The Gazette of Fashion 1872 5 187 Mens Coats 1872 Fashion Plate



Crinoline and mass manufacture.

LACountyMuseumOdArt Womans Cage Crinoline LACMA M2007211380

From USA, LA County Museum Of Art Woman's Cage Crinoline LACMA M2007211380


With the replacement of many layers of petticoats by a ‘crinoline’ support frame, ladies were able to walk unhampered by the heavy weight of many cloth or horse hair stiffened petticoats but sitting down could lead to lower body display unless the crinoline was correctly folded for modesty. Thus arose the undergarment knickers industry for ladies who previously had not worn such undergarments.
This became a large manufacturing industry in many materials with steel forms being easy to manufacture, fold and ship to market.

Image: Woman's Cage Crinoline Image

Description: English:
England, circa 1865
Costumes; underwear (lower body)
Cotton-braid-covered steel, cotton twill and plain-weave double-cloth tape, cane, and metal
Center back length: 36 1/2 in. (92.71 cm); Diameter: 38 1/2 in. (97.79 cm)
Purchased with funds provided by Suzanne A. Saperstein and Michael and Ellen Michelson, with additional funding from the Costume Council, the Edgerton Foundation, Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer, Maureen H. Shapiro, Grace Tsao, and Lenore and Richard Wayne (M.2007.211.380)
Costume and Textiles
Date circa 1865
Collection Los Angeles County Museum of Art




The advent of chemical dyes during the mid-Victorian period and ability to ‘print’ on cotton made a change in the range and colour of clothes used by people.



As Victorians had a defined ritual for mourning with many subsets of periods and type of dress, a major proportion of the business of dyers was the dying of existing formal clothes black for those who could not afford ‘new mourning clothes.

 Public Domain Princess Beatrice mourning

Public Domain Princess Beatrice mourning



From Durham university website for schools.

What did the poor wear?

Poor families owned a very few everyday outfits and, if they were lucky, some smarter clothes to wear to church or on special occasions. Many outfits were bought second-hand and were passed down through the family. Clothes would have been mended and patched for as long as possible.

Clothes had to be practical. You had to be able to work in them and they had to last a long time. They were often made from wool or cotton in dark colours as this was cheaper and the dirt didn't show as much. Shoes also had to last a long time. Some people wore heavy boots with thick hob-nailed soles. Women wore caps and bonnets not just to be respectable but to keep hair from getting caught in machines and to fend off dirt and head lice.

Children wore clothes handed down from older family members. Not all families could afford shoes for their children so some had to go barefoot.

 Child workers dress main qimg e4e37ced571a198b0ed1e0b57e6a0796 c

Child workers dress main qimg e4e37ced571a198b0ed1e0b57e6a0796 c

Children in corner Katherine Bailey PhD Victorian Era Media Studies main qimg 8afec442d44416c74e876e1844b9adf7 c

Children in corner Katherine Bailey PhD Victorian Era Media Studies main qimg 8afec4

 poorer class dress main qimg cbe4847b8a1dcdae9bf83f9d1505cee6 c

 poorer class dress main qimg cbe4847b8a1dcdae9bf83f9d1505cee6 c

 Three street children Katherine Bailey PhD Victorian Era Media Studies main qimg 37c43fdabd3e917b651e7c76c4a7817b c

Three street children Katherine Bailey PhD Victorian Era Media Studies main qimg 37c43fdabd3e917b651e7c76c4a7817b c

 Photograph showing a Victorian family at work making trousers Image courtesy of wwweridingnet poorclothessml

Photograph showing a Victorian family at work making trousers Image courtesy of poorclothessml



The members and their visitors thank the speaker for her most interesting talk, which took us through a very rapid time of social change reflected in the clothes of people

and changing methods of manufacture.


 Some Links for Further Study.

A video on hand stiching of clothes before mass manufacture.

Victorian Hand-Sewing: The Sew and Fell Stitch.












































Poor clothes exQuora main qimg 8afec442d44416c74e876e1844b9adf7 c

2019-02-14 Impromptu

Impromptu Talk replaced scheduled talk.

Our meeting on February 14th, 2019, a talk by Philip Jeffs on “A Basic History of Warrington through Maps” was abandoned due to technical difficulties with the projector-computer combination. The group hopes to enjoy Philip's talk at a later time.

Impromptu Talk.

Marlene Nolan with much professionalism of ‘the show must go on’ type stepped up to the front and gave a much enjoyed impromptu talk on Culcheth’s past.

Marlene showed some slides from her own personal research notes into Culcheth’s past and talked of the persons, places, and change to the area though records she has researched, and answered questions from the audience.

Marlene’s ‘off the cuff’ talk was much appreciated by our members and visitors.

Old Maps

Below by courtesy of the of the National Library of Scotland, and reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland are a couple of early Ordnance Survey maps circa 1900 from the Lancashire Sheet areas of the Ordnance Survey.

These do not show the older Culcheth, but at a time ‘after the railway development’ era, and one should note that our nearby Kenyon Junction is the oldest junction stop, and has entered crime novels due to its fame. The “Culcheth” name itself is not on one of the maps but “Newchurch” is the name given at both east and west of the present village centre, while on the other map “Newchurch” is the village place name with a “Culcheth Hall” nearby also named.


Culcheth 1900 OS map Screenshot 2019 02 28 18 50 46


Lancs 1900 OS Map Screenshot 2019 02 28 19 04 54


The group thanks Philip Jeffs for his help during an eventful evening and Marlen Nolan for her succesful impromptu talk.


The Raven Inn

Planning Application Warrington Borough Council
Application Number:  Planning Application 2019/34186
You may comment by searching for this number on link:

Revision Note: as at 2019-02-28  the "Culcheth Life", monthly issue 192 March 2019, indicates that plans will be revised. 

Link below:
Campaigners want community use

Their website on 28th February 2019 notes
Campaigners would like to see historic Raven Inn become community hub
CAMPAIGNERS battling to save the historic 16th Century Raven Inn at Glazebury, Warrington, say they would like to see it transformed into a community hub for future generations to enjoy

The Warrington Guardian has also writen about this

The WireFM has reported on iT.

 Warrington Worldwide has also reported on this.


Zoe Chaddock photo The Raven Inn circa 2013 small IMG 2099

 The Raven Inn circa 2013. Image by Zoe Chaddock, copyright Zoe Chaddock.


 Our members have given a brief detail of its history.
History of The Raven copyright Zoe Chaddock.


The Raven Inn: said to date from 1562.
The two photographs depict the Raven in the early 20th century.
Photo 1 taken when John Clough was landlord (1902 to at least 1911). Photo 2 is circa 1926.
It is one of Culcheth's oldest surviving buildings.

1825 Baines Directory and Gazetteer
Thos. Partington

1841 census
Raven between Bury Lane and Wards End
Thomas Partington 60 Publican
Mary 60
Joseph 20
Thomas 20
Mary Daniels 25 FS

1851 census
Bury Lane
Thomas Partington 72 Victualler/Farmer of 6 acres
Mary 71
Joseph 35
Thomas 33
+2 others

1854 Mannex & Co Lancashire Directory
George Daniels, Raven

1858 Post Office Directory
Raven Inn, Bury Lane
George Daniels

1861 census
Raven Bridge
George Daniels 45 Inn Keeper
Ann 28
Amelia 4mo

1864 directory
Raven inn, Bury Lane
George Daniels

1865 Slaters Directory of Lancashire Pt1
George Daniels, Raven & Sword, Bury Lane, Culcheth

1869 Slaters Trade Directory of Lancashire Pt2
George Daniels, Raven & Sword, Bury Lane, Culcheth

1871 census
The Raven
George Daniels 56 Publican
Ann 38
Amelia 10
Mary 8
William G 4
Monica 2
Denis 3mo

Leigh Div – List of licensed victuallers (Culcheth)
John Rigby / Raven / Culcheth / 30th Nov 1872 / Rat value £27

1876 Warrington, Wigan & St. Helens Directory (Inns & Pubs)
Raven, John Rigby, Bury Lane

6 December 1880 Manchester Evening News Publican attacked at Raven Inn.

1881 census
Raven Inn
John Rigby 53 Licensed victualler
Alice 51
Sarah 19
James 12
Alice 8

1885 Postal Directory Bedford-Leigh
John Rigby, licensed victualler, Raven Inn, Glazebury

1891 census
Raven Inn , Warrington Road
John Rigby wid 65 Publican
James son 22
Alice dau 18 Bar maid

 End of Zoe Chaddock's history of The Raven Inn

pub circa 1910 IMG 2089 copy2

 Raven Circa 1910 from photo inside pub taken some years ago by CLHG member.


Location map. Courtesy of and by permission of The Ordinane Survey.


20190129 OS Screenshot 2019 01 29 11 44 40

The Raven Inn, marked by + on OS map SJ67350 96068.By permissionof Ordinance Survey.


A brief outline has been published by Philip Jeffs
Brief story.

 The Raven Inn, Glazebury

Local tradition places the date of the Raven’s construction to 1562, when it is said to have been built as part of the Holcroft family’s estate in the area. The raven, after which the pub is named, is taken from the coat of arms of the Holcroft family. The Holcroft’s lands centred around their two seats, Holcroft Hall and Hurst Hall, between which the Raven Inn can be found.

During the Edwardian era Interest in the history of the site saw the building given a mock-timber cladding to “better reflect its antiquity”. The inn’s sign was repainted by the Reverend Whittenbury Kaye of Newchurch to show a truer reflection of the raven on the Holcroft coat of arms. This made the inn somewhat of a national oddity in having a sign painted by the local vicar.

Kaye’s complaint against the older sign was that it showed a raven holding a dagger standing on the body of a dead soldier. Local myth was that during a skirmish between Scottish troops and Parliamentarians towards the end of the Civil War a raven had carried a sword from the body of a soldier into the inn. This was said to be some omen the meaning of which is now long forgotten. The original sign was said to represent that mystical raven. Kaye pointed out that the raven holding a dagger was actually an ancient emblem of the Holcroft family and predated the Civil War. As such he repainted the sign to remove the dead soldier.

Whilst the raven part of the story may not have survived into modern times, stories of the battle have. Generations of locals have passed on the story of Scottish soldiers fleeing the Battle of Worcester and finding Warrington Bridge held by their opponents. The Scots were then forced to cross the Mersey by the ferry at Hollins Green, skirting around the unpassable Chatt Moss via Glazebrook and Glazebury. A skirmish, we are told, broke out as they passed the Raven.

The Reverend Kaye in his book on Colonel Blood records that ‘As late as 1879 relics of the skirmish were found. On widening the road leading from Culcheth to Leigh near the Raven Inn, a mound in an adjoining field was removed, in which were found bones and rusted weapons’. The burying of troops where they fell was a common practice during the civil war.

The noted historian George Ormerod confirms in his ‘Civil War Tracts’, written in 1844, that the Scottish troops did cross at Hollins Green when fleeing north in 1651.

The Holcroft family, for whom the pub is named, achieved notoriety for their involvement in the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII, their support for Cromwell’s forces during the Civil War, and the marriage of Maria Holcroft to Colonel Blood at Newchurch, Culcheth in 1638. Colonel Blood is, of course, best remembered for his attempt to steal the crown jewels, but that is another story for another day.

The Raven Inn has lent its name to the nearby Raven Bridge and to an early school in the village, shown on the tithe map of 1838, named appropriately the Raven School.

According to Warrington’s Local Plan of 2014, the Raven is a locally listed building, but is not yet nationally listed.

Pevsner in his “Buildings of England” states that directly beneath the mock-timbers of the pub are double pile brick walls dating from the early 1700s. Traces of the building’s earlier phases may be found within those brick walls or within the beams and roof timbers.

Surveys would have to be carried out to confirm the age of the building, and archaeological digs to confirm the presence of any battle remains. So where the boundaries lie between truth and folklore with the Raven Inn may never be fully discovered, but what is undeniable is that the building remains a symbol of the area’s history and a reminder of a time when tradition was passed down through generations of locals by the art of story-telling.

 End of Philip Jeff's brief notes.

 The Raven Inn Glazebury 1926 IMG 2093 copy1

Raven Inn circa 1926 from photo inside pub

Airships to 1918

"Triumph & Tragedy, the airship story to 1918"

A most interesting evening was had by members and visitors at a talk by David Bushby on his interest in airships and "The Triumph and Tragedy, the airship story to 1018"
in the development and use of airships with notes on the early balloonists and airship builders.

David Bushby brought an interesting collection of items about airships, toys from long ago,even a blow up model airship, and many postcards and our members were allowed to browse though his postcard album. Only a small number of pioneers and incidents are given below from a very well researched talk with both his illustrations and his display of postcards. His introduction to early British pioneers was informative as most members did not know their names.


The start of lighter than air vehicles. Paper Balloons.

Toy balloons were used hundreds of years ago for amusement in China and were called sky lanterns or Kongming Lantern. According to historical records, the inventor of hot-air balloon was Zhuge Liang (181-234), a noted politician and strategist of the Three Kingdoms Period. (Zhuge Liang was also known as Zhuge Kongming).

In the Yuan Dynasty, the hot-air balloon became popular throughout the country, and during festivals such balloons were launched, which attracted huge crowds of viewers. Joseph Needham noted that the invention of paper in China was several centuries earlier than its use in other countries; with paper people made lanterns, and some lanterns with very small hole in the upper part would rise and even float in the air due to the strong light and heat.

This Chinese industry of hot air lanterns exists to today, and these imported lanterns could be bought in UK but are now deemed a fire hazard.


Early ballooning.

There is a dispute between France and Brazil over the first hot air balloon.

1709, August 8 : Brazilian-Portuguese priest Bartolomeu de Gusmão made a presentation of a hot air balloon in Lisbon, in front of King John V and the Portuguese court. It was a small paper balloon made of paper that flew some 4 meters in the air.

In 1783, the Montgolfier brothers built a balloon using the same hot air principle, which flew 2,000 metres high, on the 4th of June of the same year. With the discovery of the hydrogen gas, Jacques Charles filled a balloon with it and flew on 23 August 1783. Although dangerous, it had the advantage of allowing a longer flight to be performed.

Medal Montgofier CC licence from Science Museum large 1946 0114 0001

The Montgolfier Brothers on a medal. Above heads, below the balloon in the clouds


reverse Mongolfier medal CC science museum download

Reverse of medal. Held in the Science Museum.

The Mongolfiers thought it was the ‘coals’ “embers” or smoke that generated the lift. This was not corrected until Englishman James Sadler demonstrated it was the ‘hot air’ that was lighter than cold air and thus gave lift to the balloon.

 reverse Mongolfier medal CC science museum download

 First Public demonstration of Balloon.  4th June 1783.

US LC cards including  First public demonstration in Annonay 4 June 1783 02562r

USLC cards including First public demonstration in Annonay 4 June 1783 02562r

Cards of balloons.



Here our speaker brought to our attention the activities of an Englishman James Sadler, who deduced the Montgolfier brothers were wrong in their understanding of the principle of lift as ‘the smoke’ but in reality the less dense hot air as hot air was ‘lighter’ than cold or ambient air. This was to the audience a most interesting unknown person and fact.

James Sadler.

Text from Wikipedia

ex james sadler balloonist 42756bd1 7377 407e a7e7 d57fd75f5a2 resize 750

James Sadler balloonist

Sadler worked as a pastry chef in the family business, The Lemon Hall Refreshment House, a small shop in Oxford.
Sadler was the second person to make a balloon ascent in England, very soon after the Tuscan Vincent Lunardi's flight on 15 September 1784 in the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company at Moorfields.
However, James Sadler was the first English Aeronaut having made his ascent during the month after on 4 October 1784 from Christ Church Meadow, Oxford. The balloon rose to about 3,600 feet and landed near Woodeaton, around six miles away. His second ascent on 12 November, this time in a hydrogen-filled balloon, reached Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire after a twenty-minute flight. In May of the following year he took off near Moulsey Hurst, Surrey, accompanied by W. Wyndham MP, hoping to reach France, but in fact descending in the Thames Estuary, and thus failing to repeat the earlier exploit of Jean-Pierre Blanchard and his passenger. Sadler made two further ascents in May 1785, the first of which was from a field behind a gentleman's garden on the site of what is now Balloon Street in Manchester. On this flight he was accompanied by a cat and landed in Radcliffe. On his second ascent he travelled alone and having risen to 13,000 ft. travelled 50 miles before landing near Pontefract, West Yorkshire. On this occasion, he sustained bad injuries after being dragged for around 2 miles by the balloon, which eventually threw him clear before taking off again empty.

He was appointed Chemist in 1796 in the newly created Naval Works Department under Sir Samuel Bentham. Although the post was only abolished in 1807, he had major disagreements with Bentham and carried out few works. His most important invention was that of the table steam engine. He was responsible for improvements to cannon design, from the barrel to the shot used, to improve accuracy; for which he was praised by Admiral Lord Nelson.

He resumed his ballooning activities although he was devastated by the death of his younger son, Windham Windham Sadler, in a ballooning accident in 1824.
He is buried at the church of St Peter-in-the-East in Oxford, now part of the college St Edmund Hall.


Although a celebrity in his own time, Sadler is largely unknown today. This has been partly attributed to his lack of writing any works and partly to class prejudice: he was only a pastry chef and not formally educated. Despite being a resident of Oxford and an accomplished scientist, the university mostly ignored him and academics looked down on him. While obituaries for Sadler were written elsewhere on his death, the university's own newspaper wrote simply, "Mr James Sadler, elder brother of Mr Sadler of Rose Hill, Oxford, has died."

Manchester connection.

A public square in Manchester was named after Sadler on 8 September 2015 by NOMA, which is a neighbourhood being developed in partnership by The Co-operative Group and Hermes Investment Management. The square is named Sadler's Yard and is near to Balloon Street.

Link to BBC articles.


Montgolfier Brothers.

The well known balloon ascent and the many articles about this and the images and engravings has instilled in the public mind the Montgolfier brothers as the main characters in hot air ballooning.



British first “airship pilot”

Ernest Willows,

Called the Father of British Airships who was issued Airship Pilots Certificate No. 1.

Ernest Thompson Willows was born 11 July 1886, Cardiff, Wales, and died 3 August 1926.

Ernest Thompson Willows (1886–1926) was a pioneer Welsh aviator and airship builder. He became the first person in the United Kingdom to hold a pilots certificate for an airship when the Royal Aero Club awarded him Airship Pilots Certificate No. 1.


 Willows Public domain 1905.Willows.No.1 tn

Willows No. 1

Built in 1905, Willows' first airship at age 19, offered some very unique features amongst airships of the day. Most notable is that it flew and was navigable! In addition to a 10 foot diameter, pusher propeller, the engine drove a pair of propellers in the front. These tractor propellers could be swivelled to direct their thrust and thus the ship could turn, ascend or descend without the use of rudders or elevators. The gas envelope of the No. 1 was 72 feet long, 18 feet in diameter, made of varnished silk (common among the early, small airships of the era), carrying a 30 foot long, triangular, steel-tube frame gondola.

He built his first airship, the Willows No. 1, in 1905 when he was 19. It was first flown from East Moors, Cardiff on 5 August 1905, the flight lasting 85 minutes. This was soon followed by an improved Willows No. 2, in which he landed outside Cardiff City Hall on 4 June 1910. No. 2 was re-built as No. 3 which he named the City of Cardiff before he flew it from London to Paris in 1910. This was the first airship crossing of the English Channel at night and the first from England to France. The journey was not without incident, including dropping the maps over the side during the night, and problems with the envelope caused the airship to land at Corbehem near Douai at two o'clock in the morning. With the help of the local French aviator Louis Breguet the airship was repaired and arrived at Paris on 28 December 1910. He celebrated New Year's Eve with a flight around the Eiffel Tower.
Willows moved to Birmingham to build his next airship, the Willows No. 4. First flown in 1912, it was sold to the Admiralty for £1,050 and it became His Majesty's Naval Airship No. 2.

 His Majestys Naval Airship No. 2 on the ground Ernest Willows airship.Willows 2a Public Domain

 His Majesty's Naval Airship No. 2 on the ground Ernest Willows airship.

 His picture is on website.


Charles Green.

Charles green was noted for using coal gas to replace hydrogen. A much less costly gas and quicker to fill a balloon.
Link and extract.

Charles Green (31 January 1785 – 26 March 1870) was the United Kingdom's most famous balloonist of the 19th century. He experimented with coal gas as a cheaper and more readily available alternative to hydrogen for lifting power. His first ascent was in a coal gas balloon on 19 July 1821. He became a professional balloonist and had made 200 ascents by 1835. In 1836, he set a major long distance record in the balloon Royal Vauxhall, flying overnight from Vauxhall Gardens in London to Weilburg, Duchy of Nassau (Germany) a distance of 480 miles (770 km). By the time he retired in 1852, he had flown in a balloon more than 500 times.

 Charles Green Balloonist 20px

Henri Giffard.

He was notable for using a steam engine in his balloon.  A steam power steering balloon. Steam was never used again.
Steerable flight. (“Dirigible”)

 A good photo of an early collectable card as an advertisement is on this site with Henri Giffard’s balloon.
A German collectible card, a so-called “Liebigbild”, added to product packaging of a meat extract
around 1900, showing Giffard on his flight.

Jules Henri Giffard, a French engineer and inventor. He built the first full-size airship — a cigar-shaped, non-rigid bag that was 143 feet (44 meters) long and had a capacity of 113,000 cubic feet (3,200 cubic meters). He also built a small 3-horsepower (2.2-kilowatt) steam engine to power a three-bladed propeller. The engine weighed 250 pounds (113 kilograms) and needed a 100-pound (45.4 kilograms) boiler to fire it.

The first flight of Giffard's steam-powered airship took place Sept. 24, 1852 — 51 years before the Wright Brothers’ first flight. Travelling at about 6 miles per hour (10 kilometres/hour), Giffard travelled almost 17 miles (27 kilometres) from the Paris racecourse to Elancourt, near Trappes. The small engine could not overcome the prevailing winds, and Giffard could only manage to turn the airship in slow circles. He did, however, prove that in calm conditions controlled flight was possible.


Santos-Dumont. A Brazilian in France.

France was the established place for airship technology and others came there to be involved at the centre of the developing industry.

Santos Dumont.

Alberto Santos-Dumont (20 July 1873 – 23 July 1932) was a Brazilian inventor and aviation pioneer, one of the very few people to have contributed significantly to the development of both lighter-than-air and heavier-than-air aircraft.

Santos Dumont WikipediaCommons photo "14 bis".

The heir of a wealthy family of coffee producers, Santos-Dumont dedicated himself to aeronautical study and experimentation in Paris, where he spent most of his adult life. In his early career he designed, built, and flew hot air balloons and early dirigibles, culminating in his winning the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize on 19 October 1901 for a flight that rounded the Eiffel Tower.

Good article in link:

He was involved in both 'lighter-than-air' machines and 'heavier-than-air' machines.

Santos Dumont was also the first to fly a “Heavier-Than-Air Machine” in Europe in 1906.

 Santos Dumont WikipediaCommons photo Voo do 14 bis. Santos Dumonts flight over Bagatelle in its 14 Bis

Photo of his “14 bis” engine powered flight.



Stanley Spencer

Stanley Edward Spencer (1868–1906) was an early English aeronaut, famous for ballooning and parachuting in several countries, and later for building and flying an airship over London in 1902

 Foto von Luftschiffer Stnley Spencer mit Familie der Zeitschrift Die Woche Nr. 40 vom 4. Oktober 1902.512px Stanley Spencer Aeronaut

 Photograph in the German boulevard magazine Die Woche showing "Luftschiffer Stanley Spencer mit Familie" (Aeronaut Stanley Spencer with family).


 Spencer designed "MellinsAirship" advertising airship


Spencer designed "Mellins Airship" advertising airship.


British airships.

Aviation in Britain Before the First World War RAE O755.By Royal Engineers official photographer This is photograph RAE O 755 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums. Public Domain 24267699

Aviation in Britain Before the First World War RAE O755.By Royal Engineers

Five British Army Airships the Nulli Secundus Dirigible No 2 the Beta the Baby and the Gamma RAE O104

Five British Army Airships the Nulli Secundus Dirigible No 2 the Beta the Baby and the Gamma RAE O104


The German developments.

Prior to the first world war, the German forces had developed on the previous ideas and built airships.
As did other forces as spotter platforms for observation and fire control.
Britain had discounted Airship Raids as ‘they flew during the day’ They were large and could be seen’ and thus easy targets.

The Germans proved the British wrong. Zeppelins flew at night, and were very difficult to shoot down as they flew at heights which took a fighter plane about 40 minutes or more to get to that height and the ammunition did not set the Zeppelins on fire, and as they had many ‘gas bags’ the lost of one or more was a mere inconvenience.
Eventually a crisis developed in the UK as ‘air raids’ became an actual event.

Here London was saved much damage as The Kaiser kept back the Germans from bombing UK for a couple of years or so. Specifically London where there were his cousins and fellow monarch, a later example of how the British at Waterloo did not shell Napoleon because Wellington said “we do not shell generals”, when asked for permission to fire on Napoleon.

Guided Airships.

Zeppelin’s developments were due to his research on the topic of "Lenkbare Luftschiffe" or "guidable airships", with rigid structural shape to with stand the forces during flight.
See link:
Article on Zeppelin.

 German 75px Bundesarchiv Bild 146 2005 0095 Graf von Zeppelin

Graf von Zeppelin


Article: on warfare.

With a comic style illustrations and story. History rendered into internet art.

Zeppelin, Count Ferdinand Graf Von Zeppelin

"On the night of January 19, 1915 two German navy Zeppelins carried out the first successful bombing run against British soil. One of the ships was the L-3. Both craft bombed from an altitude of 3,000 feet and both returned safely. On May 31, 1915, ten months into the war, the first Zeppelins showed up over London. In August 1916 two-million cubic feet mid-level ships operating at 13,000 feet went on line. It wasn't until September 2, 1916 that the British pulled the first airship out of the sky over England in direct air-to-air combat"



Zeppelin. Brief story of his life.

Extract from:

 Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin (1838-1917) was born in Konstanz, Baden on 8 April 1838 and was the first large-scale builder of the rigid dirigibles which eventually became synonymous with his name.

USA service of Count Zeppelin.

German USA War students of two continents by Alexander Gardner 1863

German USA War students of two continents by Alexander Gardner 1863 (with von Zeppelin).

Count von Zeppelin's military career was somewhat varied. During a leave of absence from the Prussian army in 1863 he served with the Union army during the U.S. Civil War. More conventionally he served with the Prussian army in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, during which he was commended for bravery.

He married, in 1869, to Isaballa Freiin von Wolff from Livonia; they had a daughter, Hella, born in Ulm in 1879.

His own fortune was put behind his ideas as he funded the research from his own money.
Zeppelin first conducted balloon trials whilst in the U.S. as a military observer during the 1860s. He subsequently founded an airship factory at Friedrichshafen using his own funds, retiring from the army in 1891 with the position of lieutenant-general. Zeppelin proceeded to devote the remainder of his life to the design and construction of engine-powered dirigibles.

The first successful trial of one of his airships took place on 2 July 1900. Eight years later Zeppelins were making routine commercial mail and passenger flights over Germany, with a remarkable safety record despite the risks in using highly flammable hydrogen gas to inflate the airships.

Zeppelin successfully persuaded the German military of the potential of using airships during wartime. Consequently Zeppelin's LZ-3 model was accepted into German army service in March 1909 as the Zeppelin Luftschiff 1. In the event, during the First World War, the German military deployed 115 Zeppelins for a variety of missions including reconnaissance and bombing, despite their vulnerability to attack and bad weather.

Zeppelin aircraft were effectively removed from front line service at Verdun in 1916, as improved Allied aircraft succeeded in achieving a higher destruction rate. Even so, newer models were introduced that could fly higher and higher, although this impacted their bombing accuracy. Their use was more or less discontinued in 1917 as Allied bombers demonstrated a consistent ability to destroy the airships.

Ferdinand von Zeppelin died on 8 March 1917 in Berlin.

German Dirigible Flying Over the British Fleet

German Dirigible Flying Over the British Fleet.



German Bull George Hotel Ramsgate Kent England German Zeppelin raid damage 1915

German Bull George Hotel Ramsgate Kent England German Zeppelin raid damage 1915.


British Airships.


Extract summary.

Airship development in the United Kingdom lagged behind that of Germany and France. The first British designed and built airship was constructed by Stanley Spencer, and on 22 September 1902 was flown 30 miles (48 km) from Crystal Palace, London to Ruislip, carrying an advertisement for baby food. A series of more practical airships was constructed by Ernest Willows, the "Willows Number 1" making its first flight near Cardiff on 5 August 1905. The Royal Navy realised that airships similar to Ferdinand von Zeppelin's designs could be of great use and in 1909 ordered construction of a rigid airship. This was completed in 1911 but was wrecked while leaving the hangar before it had flown. Meanwhile, the British Army's School of Ballooning, later the Air Battalion Royal Engineers, acquired a small fleet of semi-rigid and non-rigid airships for observation purposes; they were taken over by the Royal Navy on the creation of the Royal Naval Air Service in 1914. A large number of rigid and non-rigid airships were mainly used to counter the U-Boat campaign in World War I. Interest in military airships declined at the end of the war, but some success in the commercial field inspired the Imperial Airship Scheme; however, the disastrous crash of the R101 in 1930 ended serious government and commercial interest in airships.
Since the 1970s, there have been persistent efforts to revive a British airship industry, using new designs, materials and technologies.

Page with notes on raids on Britain and counter offences.



First Zeppelin casualty over UK.

Lieutenant Leefe Robinson, of No 39 Squadron, proved this theory wrong when on 2 September 1916 he took off from Suttons Farm, near Hornchurch and shot down with incendiary and explosive ammunition SL11, a Schütte-Lanz airship (principally of wooden structure, unlike the metal framed Zeppelins). SL11 crashed at Cuffley in Hertfordshire and Robinson was awarded the Victoria Cross.

By 1917 the strength of the Home Defence (HD) units stood at twelve squadrons, mostly operating from airfields with at least some night flying facilities. After a three month gap, a 5 airship raid on London was launched on the night of 16/17 March 1917. The attack proved ineffective due to bad weather. The same was true for three further raids during the summer of 1917.
The final Zeppelin bombing attack on England took place on the night of 5/6 August 1918 with 5 airships taking part. Once again bad weather was a factor in the effectiveness of the raid. None crossed the English coast and L70, Germany’s newest Zeppelin, was shot down by a DH 4 off Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk.

Such was the end of the Zeppelin raids.

Accidents and casualties.

There were many lives lost during the period of early development, and accidents in flight.
As in the development of most transport systems, there were many early casualties through accident or mismanagement.
The future of development of travel depends on pioneers taking acceptable risks.


The members and visitors thank Dave Bushby for a most enjoyable talk, which has shown us facts and events we did not have in our general knowledge.