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Neston Cross Comments Page Exit Tours

Willaston Route
Neston, Wirral
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We set off down High Street and past St. Mary and St. Helen, the church where many of us were christened and married.
Neston
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This shop had a unique smell of it's own but dominated, I think, by paraffin. Paraffin was essential during the winter months when the portable stove would be moved around the house as required, kitchen during the day, the landing at night or during bath times and you could also place bread on the top and end up with fancy patterned, paraffin flavoured toast. This was also the place to buy your dolly-tubs, dolly pegs and Reckitts Dolly-Blues.

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I had to include this particular photograph because Stella Ashton, who owned the little shop on the left, was a lifelong friend of my mother and thanks to Susan Chambers, at Neston Past, I found that Stella's mother, Bertha, ran the shop, before her daughter. Once motor vehicles began to dominate the highways, Stella's shop became a bottle-neck for the advancing hoards of new drivers.
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The junction of Chester Road, Bridge Street and High Street with it's bottleneck caused by Stella Ashton's little shop, I think it came down about 1959/60. The building on the opposite corner to Stella's was Moreton's, one of our favourite sweet shops.
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Chester Road - c1910.
The white-washed cottages on the left were demolished, in 1921, to make way for the 'New Cinema' which, after a good run, closed in 1960. (I'm sure I remember it as the 'Plaza' at some point!) It was reopened, in November 1961, as the 'Royal Cinema' but a year later it became, like so many other cinemas at this time, a bingo hall. This, too, was only a short-lived venture and in 1984, Ken Dodd opened the 'Royal Shopping Arcade'.
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The Coronation - 1953.
I'd have been four or five years of age at this time and can remember going to the town hall with mum and being given two Coronation mugs, they were in the house for years and years. I included this photo, after seeing it on 'Neston & Parkate Memories' Facebook page, because I probably knew most of those people, by sight at least!
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Liberal Club
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The Liberal Club - 1908.
Built in 1902 at a cost of £3,000 to accommodate 900 people and offered billiards, smoking and reading rooms, baths and lavatories, two tennis courts and a bowling green.

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In 1908 the Liberal Club was renamed the 'Neston Institute' and during the 1914-18 war was used as a Red Cross hospital forcing the 'Neston Picturedrome Company', that showed films there, to move to the Town Hall.

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C1905 - The Shrewsbury Arms at Hinderton.

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Judging from the bench, outside the pub, this will date to about the same date as the previous image.

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C1905. These are the cottages just opposite the Shrewsbury Arms on Chester High Road.
I recently came across another, postally used, copy of this card, dated 1907, on which the sender was asking the recipient if she recognised the lady in the photograph as 80 year old 'Mary Delamore', a mutual friend. I did a quick search and found a Mary Delamore, born in Willaston in 1852. That would make the subject around 50 years old so I'm guessing that this is her mother or other relative. The cart belongs to 'The Colliery Farm'.

Willaston
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Mill Lane, Willaston. - As a sixteen year old apprentice electrician, in the mid-sixties, I remember helping to introduce electricity to a cottage in Mill Lane. The couple had lived fifty years, in the property, with only oil lamps for lighting, yet... the same decade, we landed men on the moon. (allegedly!)
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Willaston Windmill - 1930s
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Willaston
Looking back towards Neston with Willaston Post Office on the left.
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The accompanying text describes this photograph as 'Willaston Post Office - 1900'. I could be wrong but I think it looks more like the 30s or 40s or even the 50s.
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c1905 - The children of Willaston school, or maybe the Sunday school, are gathered together for a group photograph.
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This 1880 photograph shows the 'Nag's Head Inn' on Neston Road. In 1822 it was known as the 'White Horse' but by 1850 it had been renamed.
The house plate, between the upper right-hand windows, reads 'RV 1733' and probably refers to Richard Vernon, an early occupant. The plate eventually ended up, after several renovations, above the door.
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The Nags Head Inn, Willaston - c1910.
A very similar viewpoint but note the buildings that have appeared.
Around 1980, the brewery attempted to change the name of this village pub to 'The Song Bird' but, due to local pressure, had to revert back to the Nags Head..
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Judging from the way that the curtains are hanging, I'd say that this photograph was taken on the same day as the previous, 'Nags Head', picture. Compare the two.
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And again c1950.
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The Red Lion Hotel - c1916.
The date plate on the building reads 1691 with the initials 'JB - MB' and almost certainly refers to John Bennett and his wife, Marie. It became an ale-house in about 1850, when John Maylor was the blacksmith and victualler.

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The Old Red Lion, at Willaston, was described as 'the most attractive hostelry in Wirral'. It was probably built in the late sixteenth-century as a private dwelling. In the eighteenth-century it became two cottages, and in the early nineteenth-century it became the alehouse.
After the business closed in 1928, the landlord's widow continued to occupy the building until the 1960s. In 1972 the property was bought privately, after an unsuccessful attempt by the old Birkenhead Brewery Company to gain planning permission for a modern 'pub'. Restoration work was carried out during which the timber framed building was systematically dismantled and totally rebuilt.

Hooton Hotel
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The Hooton Hotel was built to take advantage of the new railway that opened in 1840 that carried passengers to Birkenhead and onto Liverpool via the ferries. The hotel once boasted a large bowling green and above the small stables-block, to the right, the local pigeon fanciers would meet.

Neston Cross Comments Page Exit Tours

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