...a helping hand in Cheshire Genealogy Registered Charity No. 515168
Sunday, 05 May 2013 12:55
Mrs L.D. FINNIGAN (WA7 4XY) WESTON POINT RUNCORN
A BRIEF HISTORY AND MEMORIES
Around 1800 Weston Point was very bare, just a few farms and cottages and most of the land was owned by the "Orreds & Alcock Brothers". It is one and half miles away from Runcorn.
Population in 1821 was 294 and in 1831; 532.
Christ Church was erected in 1841 by the Trustees of the River Weaver Navigation Company. It was built for the employees and their families. The Church is of red sandstone, in Gothic style consisting of a chancel, nave, transept, south porch and western tower, with octagonal spire, containing a clock and one bell.
There is a tablet of white marble on the north wall of the nave, erected in memory of 22 men of Weston Point who fell in the Great War.
In 1994 Christ Church was boarded up, despite pleas by locals.
The Trustees also built a school and vicarage and paid the head teachers salary. The school opened in 1856 and the school master was Mr Silas Worth. If your father worked for the Weaver Navigation then it would cost 1d per week. If he didn't, the cost would be 2d per week.
Around 1871 Weston Point started to grow, The chemical industry was starting up and our red sand stone was in great demand, being sent to Liverpool, Chester and New York. It would be quarried, placed in a wagon and carried down a track - the locals called it the "drum road" - when it reached the Weaver Canal, and there it would be loaded onto a ship/barge and on its way.
VIEW OF ICI WITH A PART OF THE "DRUM ROAD"
Some days the school was over crowded and other days not as full, due to the fact that the children would have to go on the boats with their parents when they had a full load, usually down to Stoke on Trent and then 3 weeks later they would appear again for 2 days education and this cycle would continue. The classroom would be left with the salt works children as by now this industry was well established.
One of the main cargoes passing through Weston Point was China Clay. It was brought up from Cornwall on its way to Stoke on Trent. The barge children would attend many schools along the way.
One of the teachers at Weston Point was Miss White. She travelled every day by train from Sefton Park, and then walk from Runcorn Station along Cock and Hen Lane, down Sandy Lane and then West Road to the school. I believe she was a well liked teacher and very dedicated. (I guess she must have to travel so far)
SANDY LANE 1900 WITH WESLEYAN CHAPEL TO THE RIGHT
Many of the pupils were Wesleyans but attended the C of E School. The Wesleyans chapel was built from funds donated by Thomas Hazelhurst in 1872. I have memories of it. It was a lovely chapel, very big, and had a room off it with a stage for events. I attended Girl Guides there, 1st Weston and Weston Point, they would also put shows on, I recall one where my cousin and his friend did a puppet show, and of course they too had a Sunday School.. I went to Christ Church Sunday school and later became a Sunday school teacher myself.
As Weston Point grew the school became over crowded and pupils had to move into the Conservative Hall in Sandy Lane. Houses started to spring up in Sandy Lane, Castner Ave, Roscoe Crescent and Mather Ave. From the air Castner Ave makes an “I”, Roscoe Crescent a “C” and Mather Ave another “I”, (ICI)
SANDY LANE LOOKING DOWN TOWARDS WEST ROAD
More and more shops opened and the village became ever more self sufficient. Locals didn't need to go any where else for their food.
Some of the shops we had were:- 2 fish and chip shops, 2 vegetable shops, a newsagents, 2 butchers, the Co-op, shoe shop, Post Office, Fire Station (which belonged to ICI), sweet shop, Ladies/gents hairdressers, shoe repairer, bakery, general store and 2 banks.
SOUTH PARADE/LYDIATE LANE
ICI TO THE RIGHT
Most of the locals did go to Runcorn on a Saturday to meet up with family and try and find a bargain on the open market in Bridge Street.
Every Whit Sunday both Churches would get together and walk round the village. It was a time for both faiths to come together and for the locals to show off their new clothes. They would take alternate years to finish the procession in one or other of the Church/chapel for a Thanksgiving service.
WHITSUNDAY 1964 CHRIST CHURCH SCHOLARS PASSING THROUGH ROSCOE CRESCENT
Whit Monday would then leave Weston/Weston Point villagers free to go and stand along Moughland Lane and wait for all the Churches/Chapels and Roman Catholic Church of Runcorn to do their walk, which would finish up at the Park, with amusements, ice cream and candy floss.
Whit Tuesday the folk of Weston Point and some of Weston village would line up at the dock ready to go off to New Brighton for the day.
Weston Point was also big on Carnivals in the 50’s they were held on the field at the end of Castner Avenue, and in the 60’s at the ICI Recreation Club. These were fabulous times bringing the whole village together and visitors too.
CARNIVAL AT THE END OF CASTNER AVENUE APPROX 1950'S
CARNIVAL AT THE ICI REC
By the 1960's talk of building a new school was being whispered around the "point" in April 1963 the School was closed and on the 29th April 1963 a new school off Castner Ave, opened its doors to 240 pupils. I was one of these pupils I could not wait for the Easter Holidays to be over so that I could run up Roscoe Crescent where I lived, along Castner Avenue and up to our brand new school, which was only 2 minutes from my home.
I had spent months watching this school being built from the foundations to a regal castle and now the day had arrived to enter through its doors. I was 9 years old in my 2nd Juniors Mrs Marsh’s class, our room was palatial, airy, spelt fresh, shiny floors, gleaming walls, we were all eager to explore the school, and at first being so big we would get lost. Weston Point celebrates its 50th birthday this year (2013). My how time flies!!!!!!
NEWSPAPER CLIPPING OF THE OPENING
OF THE SCHOOL IN 1963
As a child I attended Sunday school, firstly in the Conservative Hall, which was next door to a cobblers. Later my maternal Uncle bought the shop and it became a wall paper and decorating shop.
Shortly after, with money left by Miss N E Sandbach, a Church Hall was built further up Sandy Lane. This was used for the Sunday school, Mothers Union, Young Wives, Men's Club etc.
I would walk with my friend, or sometimes alone to Church every Sunday morning from my home in Roscoe Crescent, I always walked down West Road. I guess one becomes a creature of habit, as I took that pathway to school every day, cut across the front of the school, pass Weaver Cottages, where my Great Grandfather once lived, duck and dive the cranes as they swung above my head loading their cargo onto the ships (we’d never heard of Health and Safety then) into church. I remember one day arriving and someone had broken into our church and thrown all the hymn books into the lock. It was a very quaint little church, very small inside, but at the same time beautiful and very welcoming. I was also a member of the church choir.
THE DOCKS WESTON POINT
Weston Point is not the same now. Like most towns/villages it has changed. All the shops have gone. All the people I once knew have moved or passed away. Its a new generation, My parents are still there and Mum is probably the oldest Weston Pointer left.
The last photo I took of the Church was in 1999. Mum and I went for a walk down on the docks and tried to get along to Stoney Wall, a spot we used to go every summer holidays as kids. The whole family went, including my grandmother, aunt and cousins. We went most days if the weather was good, looking back it was always sunny in the 60’s. To us it was like being on holiday. We couldn't wait for a liner to go past and draw the water out and then we would have to run quick up the wall before the tidal wave came in.
Unfortunately it was so over run with bramble bushes we could not get along.
STONEY WALL 1959
STONEY WALL 1964 MANCHESTER LINER IN THE BACKGROUND
Last year I went down to take photos to keep my "then and now" up to date. The new owners of the land would not let me on. I tried to explain why this meant so much to me, but due to the “curse” of Health and Safely I was refused admission.
After reading this if anyone has any old photos of Weston Point and Weston and would share them with me I would appreciate it. Thank you.
Linda nee Wilding (mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org)