a number of good books available in Nantwich about the town and district
containing old photographs. Among them is "Lost Houses in Nantwich" by two local
men, Andrew Lamberton and the late Robin Gray. (See below).
As is obvious from the title, it
features the houses and buildings in Nantwich that no longer exist and are lost
under newer buildings.
And it is not just the photographs that
the duo unearthed that make it a good read. The book is packed with information about the houses,
using local knowledge or quoting from previously published books.
I am pleased to say that one of my
photographs has been used. I took a modern view of Pillory Street (below) - featuring
what is now Christians, the home furnishings and rooms shop, but which many people may know as P.H.Chesters the
grocers. It was taken for an exhibition staged by the two authors for Nantwich
Museum, featuring Nantwich pubs. My picture contrasted the modern-day view with
a drawing by Herbert St John Jones, the Nantwich artist, of the street - then
much narrower at the junction - when it
was the location of several public houses.
The picture shows the view towards Nantwich Square.
I thought I knew Nantwich well, but
there are a number of buildings mentioned in the book which I cannot recall, even though they were
still in existence when I was walking the town as a local reporter. I must have
gone round with my eyes shut!
On the other hand, I am pleased to have been
able to help Andrew Lamberton and his team with information that will no doubt come in handy for
the first reprint! Referring to Cooper's Entry, between 44 and 46 Hospital
Street, they surmise that "several cottage in a yard" might have been Albion
Place, listed as having eight cottages in 1913.
Not so. Albion Place stood nearly half
a mile away in London Road, behind the Wright Almshouses and The Bull's Head pub and not far from
Churche's Mansion. I know because as a young lad, I was a regular visitor to one
of the six houses there, the home of my paternal grandparents. I remember this as a
two-up-and-two-down terrace house with a kitchen added on to the back and a pail
closet in the small yard behind. Despite the small number of rooms, the first
one you came to through the front door was the parlour, kept for best and unused
apart from special occasions, as far as I know. Dried leaves of the honesty
plant were on display in this room, as I recall.
I particularly remember the open space
in front of the row of houses which were set back from London Road on an angle.
From my reading of local books, I am guessing that this area was once part of a tannery. It
was not big enough for any further houses and if Albion Place had been any
nearer to London Road the terrace would not have been as wide. The houses were demolished
in the early 1960s and a garage was built on the site.
"Lost Houses" also refers to Johnson's
Court in Mill Street with the comment: "It is difficult to identify the houses
here in the 1792 Rates Book and the 1851 Town Map indicates there may have been
four cottages here." It also quotes Harry Johnson, local printer, and
publisher of the very useful Johnson's Almanack and Directory - now sadly no longer published.
He says: "25 yards down on the right was an entry to an open yard, paved with
cobblestones in front of two decrepit cottages . . ."
I think I worked there - much later, of
course. Not in the yard, but in what was then an office. I believe this entry would have been the site of the corridor which
led to the Nantwich Guardian office at 4 Mill Street. The corridor was lined
with glass cases in which were displayed the photographs that had been used in
the newspaper. At the end of the corridor, a glass door opened on to the
reception section of the offices and behind that was a separate office for the
Nantwich head of the paper (Geoff Nulty) with a further office where I and
This part of the offices was located
behind the shop next door, No 4a. I recall that the back door led out to a
which we shared with the shop and outside - in what must once have been the
cobbled open yard - were outbuildings. The area outside wasn't big enough for
two, let alone four cottages, so the area must have been divided up into the
backs of several buildings. The 1908 map of Nantwich
(available from the Museum) shows a large area here, rather than a shop and
offices. It has to be the former Johnson's Court.
The corridor is now closed with a metal shutter. I am sure that was the location
of the entry, rather than the large black doors just next to it towards High
Street, as has been suggested as a possibility.
I can also recall the row of cottages
in Beam Street - opposite the Shakespeare Hotel - where a row of shops now stands. The
terraced cottages probably occupied no more than the present forecourt of the
shops. The home of my maternal grandparents was one of the row. Again, the
cottages were two-up-and-two-down but this time the kitchen was in the back
room, part of the main structure. Outside was a shared yard (with toilets, not shared), and beyond that,
the Baptist Chapel, were gardens. Next door but one to the family home, the
cottage had a rear extension. I can recall a large, ivy-clad
wall of a house to the right of the backyard. I read that it was a motorcycle and
cycle shop although I cannot for the life of me visualise the frontage.
I am getting to sound like the local
residents that, as a young reporter, I used to
quote in newspaper articles as
they remembered Nantwich past . . .
in Nantwich", which cost £16.99, sadly appears to be out of print,
which is a pity. Neither the publisher's (Landmark) website or that of
Nantwich Book Shop feature "Lost Houses" and Nantwich Museum
doesn't have a copy.
But the book in similar vein
covering the areas outside Nantwich, called "Lost Buildings Around Nantwich"
at £14.99 (top of page) is still listed.
A third book, "Lost Houses of Cheshire",
will not now be published. (See this page).
l A BOOK
featuring Nantwich Museum pictures of Nantwich - "Britain in old Photographs
: Nantwich" (The History Press,
£12.99), by Andrew Lamberton and Anne Wheeler, is on sale from the second week
in November, from Nantwich Museum and Nantwich Book Shop.
l Robin Gray died just
before Easter 2006, a few months after the first book was published. But, on a positive note, Andrew Lamberton and one or two others
are continuing the work of publishing the books.
this page for some of the lost properties - and what
is on the sites now.