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Coulton’s Bakery, Windmill Avenue

Coulton’s Bakery, Windmill Avenue

Coulton's Bakery, which still stands today on Windmill Avenue

Coulton’s Bakery, which still stands today on Windmill Avenue

In 1901, Thomas Coulton (1870 – 1936) had a small grocery shop at 22 Wigan Road with a bakery at the rear owned by William Fryer.  Thomas had served his apprenticeship with Ainsdale baker Robert T. Duerden but had been born in Halsall/Rufford.

The bakery was taken over by Thomas Coulton and the new factory was built in 1903 on Windmill Avenue. By 1911, Coulton, the Managing Director of the bakery, had moved his family into the large family home Blairgowrie, Ruff Lane, later to become the Nurses Home.

Blairgowrie, the house on Ruff Lane that was owned by Thomas Coulton and would later become the nurses home

Blairgowrie, the house on Ruff Lane that was owned by Thomas Coulton and would later become the nurses home

Thomas travelled to the United States in the early 1920s to look at the mechanical processes used there in bakeries and his son Wilfred also travelled to North America in the 1920s as the Bakery Manager visiting factories in the Chicago area. Wilfred is recorded as travelling to the USA quite a few times in the early 1920s. On one journey he appears to have travelled with a Mr Warburton.

Machinery from Coulton's factory on Windmill Avenue

Machinery from Coulton’s factory on Windmill Avenue

Bakery factories in Canada were visited by Wilfred in 1921, the Harrison Wholesale Bread Baker factory in Montreal, and the Ideal Bread Company in Toronto, Ontario.

The Ormskirk Bakery business thrived and modern methods of production were brought into the factory. Local deliveries, domestic and commercial, meant that the Coulton Vans became familiar sights around the area, with the business expanding to a factory in the Southport area, where Thomas Coulton lived in the later years of his life.

A Coulton's delivery van based at the Southport factory

A Coulton’s delivery van based at the Southport factory

Thomas Coulton took a keen interest in local civic matters and he sat on several committees at the Workhouse in Wigan Road during the 1920s.

If you have any of your own stories relating to Coulton’s Bakery or any of the other businesses in the town we would love to hear them, so get in touch with us here.

An advert for Coulton's Purity Bread

An advert for Coulton’s Purity Bread

The Iron Horse

The Iron Horse

Ormskirk Railway Station

Ormskirk Railway Station

The Railway reached Ormskirk in the 1840s and with its arrival a whole new world of opportunity opened up for ordinary people of the town.  Everyday travel to work at all destinations to Liverpool and Preston meant that people were motivated to learn new trades and skills and this meant a change in income.

The type of housing being built in the town to accommodate the professional working class and the growing number of successful tradesmen led to the building of the towns own areas of superior quality housing.  Many of these large detached houses are still standing today in the St Helens Road, Ruff Lane and later Knowsley Road, areas.  Southport Road was also a part of the town which saw rapid development from a road containing old cottages and a busy rope factory to a well planned modern street offering larger homes to the business people living and working in the town.

New housing on Ruff Lane. Built as a result of expansion after the introduction of the railway to Ormskirk

New housing on Ruff Lane. Built as a result of expansion after the introduction of the railway to Ormskirk

The Railway also created a demand for hotel and Inn accommodation which in turn led to the renovation and extension of several town centre hostelries. The Commercial Hotel on Railway Road became a thriving concern for travellers and there was also carriage service there for travellers wishing to visit the area on business or pleasure.

Market Days were destination points for travellers from all over the County and indeed beyond and this swelled the towns population each Thursday and Saturday, bringing revenue to the town regularly and allowing many local businesses to expand and diversify.  With the emergence of the retail concept in the latter half of the 19th century, shops in Ormskirk became bigger and better appointed with a wide range of stock on offer to visitors and locals, the range of market stalls began to change from farm produce and agricultural supplies to more domestic needs, like materials, clothing, footwear and even souvenirs for the visitors to take away with them.

a souvenir seller on Ormskirk Market

a souvenir seller on Ormskirk Market

Ormskirk thrived with the new Railway connection and continued to expand and grow , whilst its local agricultural production increased with the new markets the farmers could reach using the goods trains into Preston and Liverpool.

If you have any of your own stories about the railway in Ormskirk we would love to hear them, you can get in touch with us here.

Mobile Phone?

Mobile Phone?

Phone box relocated next to the clock tower

Taken this week by OBT follower James, this photo shows the relocated phone box adjacent to the clock tower.

Anyone strolling through Ormskirk this week would have been rather startled and taken aback by the sudden appearance of a red telephone kiosk adjacent to the Clock Tower. Heads swivelled as people passed the bright red obelisk daring to compete with the towering iconic stature of the town centre Clock.

It’s apparently not a permanent fixture and has shuffled across the street from outside the HSBC, where it had languished since the late 70s/early 80s. Quite where it had been before that has not been ascertained.

This particular kiosk is not as historically valuable as the grade 11 listed kiosk near to the TSB in Derby Street. The grade 11 listing was awarded because the Derby Street box is a ‘Jubilee Box’, so named as it was designed to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of George V and Queen Mary, our present Queen’s grandparents, in 1936. A gold Tudor Crown appears on all four sides of the kiosk close to the roof, although the gold painting of the crowns was a modern idea to accentuate the heritage value of these boxes, the crown was originally red.

The previous location of the phone box outside HSBC

The previous location of the phone box outside HSBC

In 1953 Queen Elizabeth had all crowns changed to the St Edward’s Crown, the Coronation crown and the kiosk on Moor Street has this crown, dating it to around 1953.

Ormskirk’s growing modern population living on the new estates around the outskirts of the town relied on these kiosks as their main form of emergency contact. Home phones were not a common service in many homes in the 1930s, 40’s, 50’s and even 60’s. The town was well served for kiosks though, with town centre ones at the (old) Bus Station on Knowsley Road, on Moor Street outside what is now Middleton’s cycles, three outside the main Post Office and further out there were boxes on Tower Hill, near Hallsworth’s, Thompson Avenue, outside Pigott’s and Dyers Lane as well as on County Road near the Fire Station and Scott Estate.

The Grade II listed kiosk on Derby Street can be seen in the background of this photo taken c. 1950

The Grade II listed kiosk on Derby Street can be seen in the background of this photo taken c. 1950

The essential service they provided meant that people have clear memories of the occasions when these kiosks played an important part in their lives whether it was ringing the midwife in the middle of the night, contacting the police in an emergency or just using it to ring school friends / sweethearts who were waiting outside their local box for a pre-arranged call.

Next time you pass your local kiosk take a moment to appreciate its iconic status and the role it has played in our developing world of technology.

Ormskirk Bygone Times have a mobile display available for any local group or event, the display covers a vast array of stories and histories of the townspeople and buildings

Before The Railway Came To Town

Before The Railway Came To Town

The Railway line was built in 1849 from Liverpool to Preston, passing through Ormskirk and from then on opening up a whole world of opportunity for local people to leave, or for strangers to arrive.

Before the railway came, people of the town had the choice of coach travel on various routes and the coaching inns ran a strict timetable.

The original King's Arms

The original King’s Arms

In the early 1820s, the King’s Arms on Moor Street was the staging post for four very important coaching routes.  Daily journeys aboard the ‘Invincible  left Ormskirk at 6am for Carlisle, Glasgow and Edinburgh and then at 6pm for Liverpool. A coach to Leeds left the King’s Arms daily at 6am calling at Blackburn, Burnley, Colne and Keighley. The Royal Liverpool  left at Noon daily for Lancaster  where a passenger could change to the Lord Exmouth and travel on to Newcastle. The Liverpool coach left at 3 in the afternoon. The Royal Pilot ran to Manchester in Summer on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11am.

The George and Dragon public house at the corner of Church Street and Aughton Street was also a busy staging post, with five established routes,  The Mail coaches to Liverpool  and Carlisle left at 8.30pm each day.  The Telegraph Mail service ran to Kendal at 10am and to Liverpool at 6pm. The New Times ran to Carlisle at 6am and to Liverpool  at 7pm.  The Umpire left for Liverpool at 12noon and for Newcastle at 5pm.  The Eclipse ran to Liverpool  at 9.30am and to Southport at 5pm.

The Wheatsheaf in Burscough Street  had a coaching route with The Amity leaving for Liverpool every Wednesday and Saturday at 7am returning at 7am the next day and a Sunday excursion to Southport  during the summer at 8am returning at 8pm.

Aughton Street with the Talbot in on the left

Aughton Street with the Talbot in on the left

By the late 1820s, a London Royal Mail coach was stopping off in Ormskirk at the George and Dragon every evening at 6pm,  the established routes above carried on into the 1830s with the Talbot Inn introducing the Fair Trader calling from Liverpool  daily at 1.30pm on the way to Kendal and the Royal Irish Mail from Lancaster calling every day at 4pm.

These established routes were starting to dwindle into the 1840s, the Ship Inn on Moor Street played host to the Southport to St Helens noon coach with The Victoria covering the Wigan to Southport route daily calling at the King’s Arms at 9.45am and returning at 5.30.

By 1855, there is just one route still in operation, a coach from the Railway Station, calling at the King’s Arms at 11.15 on it’s way to Southport and returning at 4.30pm.

A busy clock tower with a coach outside the King's Arms

A busy clock tower with a coach outside the King’s Arms

By 1869 all the routes have ended. The Railway took the trade.  Faster, cleaner, probably more reliable, though this is hard to say.

Ormskirk Bygone Times have a database of all the towns pubs if anyone has an interest in the history of trade in the town.

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