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A selection of old postcards and photographs of my old hometown Neston, on the Wirral and surrounding villages. It will be of interest to old and young 'yousers' especially old Nestonians who may have flown the nest to start new lives and families, elsewhwere. I've tried to arrange them into three main tours, with little detours to other local places of interest.

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Neston Cross
In 1865 Christopher Bushell, a Liverpool wine merchant and local benefactor, donated the money to sink a well in the market place in front of the White Horse Inn. Despite opposition by a few residents, who thought that the poor would cause a nuisance when fetching water, the wheel well was sunk.
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Neston Cross - c1890.
The drinking fountain was erected as a memorial to Christopher Bushell in 1882 and built on the site of but not connected to the original well, it was now fed by the public water supply which Christopher Bushell as chairman of the Neston local board in its early days, had done much to promote. The newly erected fountain was gas lit, until some time after 1928 when electricity was supplied to Neston.

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Neston Cross - c1900. It looks as though the same photographer that took the previous 1890 scene, came back 10 years later and set up the camera in exactly the same spot.

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'Jackson's Tower', was built in 1895 by George Jackson, next to his chemist shop for no other reason than for his family to enjoy the views across the Dee estuary to the Welsh hills.
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Photographs taken 1905/6 show that a clock was installed, in Jackson's Tower, at about this time but the chimes had to be disabled after complaints, from the townfolk, that the regular church bells were more than adequate.

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The Cross c1905 with the shop on the left which I remember as 'Bensons' greengrocers. in the 1950s.
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The Cross - c1906

Chester Chronicle - Saturday 12th August. 1893

THE BUSHELL MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN

A letter was read from Mr. Meads King calling attention to the condition of the above fountain on the Neston Cross. There was neither water nor cups but only the texts inscribed on the base to mock the thirst of the would-be water drinker
Mr. Thomson said the fountain in it's present condition was a dishonour to the memory of the gentleman to whom it was erected and a disgrace to the neighbourhood.
The chairman said it was a great nuisance and was, at present, in a dirty and filthy state. It appeared that the water was turned off owing to the mischievous and destructive propenalties of children and others who gathered on the cross and lounged about on the steps of the fountain, the practice being common to stop up the pipes.
In answer to Mr. Pemberton the surveyor said a spring tap might be put in for £1 but it would be broken in a week. Colonel Lacey also agreed that this would be the case. Mr. Clanem however supported the idea of furnishing a spring tap and the surveyor was instructed to have one fixed.

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That odd, little square in the left, foreground is Neston's public weighing machine. I'm sure there were many reasons for a weighing machine back then, but why in this particular location, I wonder? At the top of the High Street, the old corrugated iron chapel can still be seen, this was replaced in 1908 with the present, red-brick, Methodist church.
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The Old Vicarage - On Neston Cross and the corner of Brook Street with the railway bridge clearly visible down Brook Street. Later became Irwin's and finally Tesco.

At the corner of the wall, on the left, is what is known as a 'guard-stone'. These were a common sight throughout Europe during the days of horse-drawn vehicles and Neston had it's fair share of them. The wheels, especially the hubs, of horse-drawn wagons stuck out considerably and could inflict serious structural damage to a building when negotiating a tight turn. The simple 'guard-stone' ensured that passing carts were unable to get too close. They were also irresistible to passing dogs!

I came across the following article on Neston's 'AboutMyArea' regarding the final years of the old vicarage.

"Miss Walsh died in 1925 and is buried in Neston churchyard. She employed other staff, Miss Williams, Miss Douglas and Miss Dodd and 46 children attended the school. It was a mixed school. The playground and the toilets were at the back of the school where the Tesco car park is now. There was a brass plate with the name Neston Vicarage School on it. A dentist Mr Underwood had a surgery upstairs. A French teacher came each Thursday afternoon.
Pupils came from Heswall , West Kirby, Puddington and Thornton Hough. Pony and traps came from Thornton Hough and the ponies were left in a yard behind what is now Alistairs the opticians. The yard belonged to Hancocks the butchers.
The fees were 2s 6d a week and that was just for the teaching. Pupils took food with them and the school cooked it. The children did knitting for soldiers at the time of the First World War and there was an emphasis on handicrafts and music."
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c1905 - This is a rare shot of the buildings to the right of the old vicarage. The shop with the covered window, I recall, sold wallpaper etc., although most of our decorating material was purchased at Appletons, a little further down the street. The building in the centre of the photograph was demolished and the site left empty for several years until they built 'John Evans' shoe shop.
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c1914 - Hancock, the butcher, on the left.
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c1905 - Neston Cross, like most town and village crosses, is so-called because it's a crossroads.
Does anybody else think that the fourth guy from the right, sitting, looks a lot like a young Mickey Morris from 1950s Romney Close.
Interestingly, at first glance there appears to be a couple of young girls in the group but closer inspection shows a third, blurred, girl stepping down during the long exposure.

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Neston Cross - c1929.
The young girl on the right has been identified as a Willaston lass born in 1914 which is how we arrived at the approximate date. Notice, in this shot, that the clock-face is still showing in Jackson's Tower.

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The Cross c1930, looking in a very, sorry state. It appears, from early newspaper articles, that water only ever flowed from the fountain for a period of months after first being installed, due to abuse and vandalism.

From the Cheshire Observer, 29 April 1893.

Sir, as we are at present having, and according to the scientific prophesies are likely to have, 'unusually hot weather' and as the facilities for bona fide potations have been considerably lessened, I think I am not inopportune in asking if the aqua pura will ever again flow from that excrescence at the Neston Cross.
The Neston public, some few years ago, in endeavouring to emulate the worthy recognition shewn to the memory of that philanthropic educationist, the late Mr. Bushell, erected a granite fountain adorned with a lamp and so calculated to give light and life to the villagers and passers-by.
For a brief few months it's waters sparkled radiantly, as they gushed through the copper taps, to the delight of all the village urchins, while a great majority of that water-drinking community partook of the nectar divine. But, anon, people got tired of this somewhat thin draught and reverted to their usual habit of getting in something less clear.
Eventually the waters ceased to flow and the cessation has now lasted for for a very lengthy period and what was erected as a tribute to the memory of a generous benefactor is now a rubbing-post for the ever-increasing loungers at the Neston Cross.
May I suggest that it's waters may again be made to flow and thus give the cause of temperence a chance? Also that an iron trough be placed at it's base to assuage the thirst of our canine friends? Subscriptions would sure to be forthcoming from many, including yours truly,

VERITAS.

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c1928 - My mother was born in 1920 and I recall her talking about Rostances's on many occasions, it must have been a popular, family shop to the residents of Neston.
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c1910 - This photograph always strikes me as slightly sinister... did you ever see 'Village of the Damned'? The shop on the extreme left is 'Hancock's' the butcher.
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Neston Cross - 1940s.
The shop in the background, to the left, is 'Benson's' green grocers. Mrs Benson and my mother were childhood friends and would talk for hours each time they met, I seem to have spent an awful lot of time in that shop during the first four years of my life.
Ashfield Dairies, next door, moved to Brook Street.
There is now a bus-stop between 'Cameron's' bicycle shop and 'The White Horse'. You can also see that the clock-face has now been removed from Jackson's Tower!
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And this is, more or less, how I left Neston in the 1960s, with Benson's, Cameron's, Rigby's, the White Horse and of course the bus-stop. It was from this bus-stop that, as teenagers, we caught the Crosville F17 - F18 or F15, on Saturday afternoon, to the Birkenhead ferries and across to Liverpool where we'd visit the new Wimpy Bar and Frank Hessy's and then onto the Cavern Club, in the evening. We missed 'The Beatles', by about two years, but managed to catch many of the other 60s bands plus the legendary 'Chuck Berry'.
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1921, a year after my mother was born. Neston would have been surrounded by farmland with no Ringway, no Mellock Estate, no Bendee Avenue... not even an Earle Drive, yet.

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