Trouble Brewing: Part 2
One of the most successful businesses in the town in the 1800s was the brewery at Bath Springs, built by Philip Forshaw. The company also operated dozens of Inns and beerhouses across Lancashire, purchased with a mortgage, as well as supplying ale to those houses and many more not part of the Forshaw holding. These Inns were sub-let to tenant landlords at an annual rental, which would be anything from £50 p.a. upwards.
Bath Springs Brewery had been built in the mid-1850s, in 1861, Philip Forshaw petitioned the local Overseers of the Poor for his poor rate assessment being set too high, the appeal was refused because the previous 8 years annual assessment had been made on a business in its infancy.
Forshaw had two daughters, Annie, the youngest, married William Henry Smith, 9th March 1857, William, who had been born in India, was also involved in the Brewery business at the time of his marriage. The older sister, Martha, married on 13 Sept 1859 one William John Chambers Martin, who was the son of the Governor of Preston House of Corrections (Preston Gaol) and also a Superindendent of Police in Southport.
The future of the Brewery business and the future of the Forshaw family seemed secure , however, in September of 1859, Philip became seriously ill and was given a warning by his doctor, Dr. Walsh of 28 Burscough Street, that he may well not last many weeks. On the strength of this, and with great foresight, Philip signed over by a deed all his business interests to his daughters and quite probably this meant both his son-in-laws.
Despite the prophecy of doom from Dr Walsh, Philip made a full recovery and by early 1860 he was well enough to take control of his business empire, however, he was prevented from doing so by the deed assigning control to his family. To take back the business, he had to resort to the courts to have the deed set aside and his family had to relinquish their holding.
It is not surprising therefore that from that time on there was a rift created in the Forshaw family.
In 1861, Annie and her family were living at the same address on London Road, Southport as her sister Martha and family. Annie’s husband William Henry Smith was no longer in the Brewing trade, he had (somehow) become a Bank Manager. Martha and her Police Superintendent husband, William J.C. Martin had just had a son and Annie had 3 young children.
In 1861, Philip was actually in Islington, London, he was accompanied by a young widow named Annie Tallman, who was the daughter of one of Philips tenants from Liverpool. It is probable that Philip was visiting London on legal matters as at this point, he was under considerable pressure over his health and the running of the business, borne out by his failed attempt to sell the Bath Springs Brewery in 1862 and increasing issues at the Brewster Sessions at the new Ormskirk Courts, where his Bulls Head pub on Aughton Street had just been refused a license.
One of the first licenses Philip held some years earlier had been that of the Old Ship Inn, Moor Street. He lived there before moving to his new home in Birkdale. The Old Ship had been a large Inn with extensive out buildings to the rear which included the old Ormskirk Theatre, closed in April 1839, just 8 years before Philip took over the tenancy. There were also several workshops and dwellings. One small family moved into one of these cottages sometime before 1861. The family consisted of single woman Catherine Baldwin, born Up Holland and her two sons, John and Philip Baldwin, both also born Up Holland, John Baptised 9th Feb. 1845 and Philip born 1st October 1848. In 1861, aged 16, John was employed as a brewers clerk whilst Philip was only 12 and attending school.
On February 15th 1865, Philip Forshaw died at his home in Birkdale aged just 52. The Ormskirk Advertiser reported his death in a very brief notice in the obituaries and also in a short simple note in their local news column. Philip was buried at the Parish Church 3 days after his death.
On the 30th May 1865, probate was granted to John Forshaw, solicitor of Preston and a cousin of Philips. The estate was valued at ‘under £25,000’.
It is from this point that the story of the Bath Springs Brewery starts to read like a soap opera.
John Baldwin, son of Catherine, marries Sarah Ann Harrison 15 Mar 1866, he marries in the name of John Baldwin Forshaw, and in the marriage register his father is recorded as, ‘Philip Forshaw, Brewer’. Sarah Ann Harrison was in fact Annie Tallman, the widow that Philip Snr. had been in Islington with in 1861. She had married Henry Tallman in Liverpool in 1858. On the 6th of June 1866, three weeks after his marriage, John Baldwin Forshaw applied to the Liverpool Probate Registry for a second grant of probate for the will of Philip Forshaw.
In 1871, John Baldwin Forshaw and his wife Annie are the tenants of the Railway Hotel, Derby Street vente pharmacie viagra. They have 3 young children including Philip aged 4.
In 1871 the other son of Catherine, Philip Baldwin, was living at Bath Springs with his wife Amy Blanche, who he married in 1869 using the name Philip Baldwin Forshaw.
On the 10th September 1872, Philip Baldwin Forshaw himself applied to the District Probate Registry in Liverpool for a third grant of probate for the will of Philip Forshaw.
John Baldwin Forshaw and Philip Baldwin Forshaw became known as Messrs Forshaw Brothers of Bath Springs, Brewers. Only for a short time though, as John Baldwin Forshaw died in March 1878 aged just 33 and his younger brother Philip had already died in June 1876 aged just 27. In his will, Philip Baldwin Forshaw is referred to as ‘commonly called Philip Baldwin Forshaw’, his will was also the subject of more than one application for a grant of probate and the final grant was in 1891, 15 years after his death with an estate valued at £11,000. John Baldwin Forshaw on his grant of probate was termed, ‘John Baldwin- now commonly called or known by the name of and hereinafter designated John Baldwin Forshaw. John left an estate valued at ‘under £25,000’. This will have been the inheritance from his brother Philip, who left his half of the brewery business to his brother but bequeathed all the, ‘jewels, trinkets and personal ornaments worn by her and myself and all my household furniture, plate, plated articles, Linen, china, glass, pictures, books, prints, musical instruments, wines, liquors and household items’ to his young widow Amy Blanche.
Catherine Baldwin, mother of John and Philip, lived most of her life in Chapel Street, ‘living off her own means’ which needs explaining and hopefully will be in the next chapter of the story.
So what happened to Philip Forshaw’s daughters? Why were the two of them not involved in the business and why did they not apply for probate? Why was one of them visiting with Charles Hill at The Firs, on Ruff Lane, in 1871, he of Dickinson Parker, Hill?
There is still trouble with these brewers, even after death. There is more of this saga to come.
The Brewing business in Ormskirk found the greatest success during the 19th century. For several decades, there were a number of sites around the town where production of Ale was on a huge scale.
To accommodate the new railway line from Liverpool to Preston, in the late 1840s engineers transformed the town by building a tunnel under Moor Street and a bridge over the tunnel was formed, the new Railway Road was put in connecting Moor Street to the new station in the 1850s. All this rapid development impacted on the tradespeople of Moor Street, many of the shops and homes were demolished for around a hundred yards starting from the Golden Lion on the North of the street, and the same thing happened to the buildings opposite on the south side.
Many small shops and businesses had to then look for new premises, this was at a time when the anticipated impact of the railway had already led to speculation that property and land in and around the town would increase in value.
The construction of the tunnel, the building of the bridge and the laying of the track will have disrupted trade for quite a long time, easy access would have been lost to the east end of Moor Street.
Adjacent to the Golden Lion, a saddler was just starting out with his young family, Philip Forshaw, born Burscough 1813, was married with two small daughters in 1841 but by the end of the decade he had gone into partnership with two brothers to take control of several local beerhouses and also to take the tenancy of the Ship Inn, Moor Street in 1847. These investors were Thomas and Edward Greenall of Wilderspool.
When the railway opened in April 1849, Philip Forshaw was ready to move with the times and take advantage of the new business the railway would bring to the town.
Without wasting any opportunity he saw, Philip Forshaw was able to raise funds to construct a purpose built brewery on the site of the defunct public bath house on Derby Street, situated near the Bath Springs.
Philip was less lucky in his family life, he had married a girl called Ellen Berry in 1835, but lost her soon afterwards, he then married her sister Elizabeth, but after his wife gave birth to a third child in 1842, a son Philip, Elizabeth also died. The baby also died a few weeks later. Philip must have immersed himself in his brewery business because he sent his two young daughters away to school in Litherland at a very young age, and he worked hard to build the business, expanding his chain of pubs, beerhouses and inns all the time, covering a large area of Lancashire, whilst operating two breweries , the Bath Springs site as well as one in Liverpool, which supplied Ale to many more licensed houses.
By the late 1860s his reasonably sized Empire was employing many local people and his reputation in the County was one of a powerful force in the brewing industry.
That would all change in 1859 however, when he himself became seriously ill and his medical team advised him that he may not live out the year. His financial advisors pressed him to hand over the running of the business to his children, daughters Annie and Martha.
He probably had little choice but to agree, he quite probably felt very little unease at this, as Annie had just married the brewery manager and Martha had just married the Superintendant of Police for Southport.
Just a couple of months later, despite the medical diagnosis, Philip made a full recovery and came back to the business realising that he no longer had any access to his own money or business. His son-in-laws were no doubt in control of the business.
Philip had no choice but to instigate a suit to get the deed of settlement set aside, which the Master of the Rolls at the Chancery Court himself decided.
Philip Forshaw regained control of his business and to celebrate he sent out to be shared amongst his many (beer) houses, a considerable sum up money!
This is just the start of the story, what happened next, and what continued to happen for several decades all stemmed from this action. The story continues to unfold in our next article. Trouble was certainly brewing……….
For more on this intriguing story see Trouble Brewing Part 2
Ormskirk Bygone Times is holding a informal meeting in the Civic Hall on Thursday evening, 5th May in the upstairs meeting room. We intend to hold a regular get together for anyone with an interest in any aspect of the history and heritage of Ormskirk and District. All are welcome, a charge of £1 per person is being asked to cover the cost of the room hire, anything above that will be donated to local worthy causes. Refreshments will be available for a small charge.
For more details, visit our social media page at https://www.facebook.com/Ormskirkbygonetimes
Jane Halwood was baptised at Ormskirk Parish Church on 25 January 1829. Her father, Burscough born Shoemaker, Adam Halewood, was already a successful shoemaker with a small shop just below the Snigs Foot in Church Street when his daughter was born. He had been born in Burscough and baptised at Ormskirk in 1803 and had married Elizabeth, (Beth) Morecroft at St John’s Liverpool in July 1826, Adam had finished his apprenticeship as a cordwainer (leatherworker) and was able to set up his own shop and marry.
Adam died aged 50 in 1853, his daughter Jane had been working as a dressmaker for some years and her two younger brothers, George and Adam, had both completed their apprenticeship with their father and by the time of his death, they were both working from home as shoemakers and Jane was carrying on her trade as a dressmaker and milliner.
Sometime after their father died, the family all moved together to No 52 Moor Street, around the corner from Dr Lax, just two doors up in fact . The Working Men’s Institute was newly built directly opposite their new home, it must have been a busy area. Quite a pleasant place to live probably, as the Large Lamp from The Cross was relocated to just up from their front door in 1876 when the clock tower was built, the large double drinking well at the base must have been something to see, animals using the lower troughs and humans the upper fountain.
In 1884, the fountain was moved again to accommodate the statue of Lord Beaconsfield and Jane and her family must have been lucky to live so close to those celebrations, with the Earl of Derby himself performing the ceremony and the grand dignitaries of the county gathering opposite their house for a celebration banquet.
Jane’s mother Elizabeth opened a shop at the house in the 1880s and she also adopted a young boy, John Bimpson Balshaw, who grew up as part of the Halewood family.
The two brothers, Adam and George, married and moved to start their own shoe shops, Adam in Scarisbrick and George in Chorley.
Jane remained at home and did not marry. She looked after her mother and the shop, the shop was very popular, and many years after her death, grown men who had used the shop in their boyhood recalled as adults the ‘home made treacle toffee, parched peas and pop’.
Jane outlived all her siblings as well as her mother, dying in June 1900 aged 71 and is buried at the Parish Church. Her adopted brother, John Bimpson Balshaw briefly remained in the family home with his new wife but he died in 1903. His wife Hannah carried on the shop at Number 52 .
Jane’s life seems to have been quite ordinary, some of us can say we recall the Institute, unlikely any of us can recall the original Big Lamp and fountain at the cross, some of us can recall the Disraeli statue being in the old spot on Moor Street. To think that Jane watched all those things come and go and go and become iconic parts of the town is amazing. Such an interesting ordinary life.
Ormskirk Bygone Times will hopefully bring together people to share their memories of the changing town over time. It is the intention to take advantage of the facilities in the newly reopened Civic Hall and organise informal meetings on one evening a month in the upper front room of the hall. Details will be announced via our social media group at https://www.facebook.com/Ormskirkbygonetimes and also here on our website.
Passing Through Westhead
Westhead, along with Newburgh, was a hamlet in the township of Lathom, according to the mid 19th century directories.
In 1851, a new church was built in the hamlet to serve the township of Lathom and the new church was dedicated to St James.
The land was donated by the 1st Baron Skelmersdale, Edward Wilbrahim- Bootle, of Lathom House, the sandstone was provided by Edward Stanley of Cross Hall, who at that time owned the quarry in Ruff Wood. The cost of the build was met in full by Lord Derby, who assigned the architect Sydney Smirke to create a unique church for Lathom. Smirke had designed the circular reading room at the British Library, the Bethlem Royal Hospital (now housing the Imperial War Museum) and Bickerstaffe, Holy Trinity Church.
Westhead was the home of pit workers and agricultural labourers with a scattered population, the hub of the village was the Halton Castle Inn, the landlord from the 1850s being James Culshaw, who had been a servant at Lathom House prior to being granted the license at the Halton Castle, his brother William being the landlord of the Queen’s Head in Ormskirk, both inns being part of the Lathom estate holdings.
The Culshaw family continued to hold the license at the Halton Castle for several generations into the 20th century.
Westhead Halt was a request stop of the Skelmersdale to Rainford line, remaining a favourite amongst rail enthusiasts because of the link to the Skem Jazzer.
If you came along to the re-opening of Ormskirk Civic Hall on Saturday, 9th April you may well have met a direct descendant of James Culshaw of the Halton Castle. Jon Culshaw, TV impressionist and comedian, was there to cut the ribbon and start a new chapter in the history of one of Ormskirk’s most important historic buildings.
Ottawa To Ormskirk
Sir Arthur Stanley (1869 – 1947) was elected MP for Ormskirk Division in 1898 , The constituency, officially designated as South-West Lancashire, Ormskirk Division consisted of the town of Ormskirk and a number of surrounding parishes, namely, Aintree, Aughton, Bickerstaffe, Croxteth Park, Dalton, Downholland, Halsall, Kirkby, Knowsley, Lathom, Litherland, Lunt, Lydiate, Maghull, Melling, Netherton, Ormskirk, Orrell and Ford, Prescot, Scarisbrick, Sefton, Simonswood, Skelmersdale & Upholland.
Sir Arthur held the seat for twenty years, although there was a close challenge in 1910 from William Lever, the Bolton born Industrialist and creator of Port Sunlight and Rivington Park.
Before Arthur Stanley became the Ormskirk MP however, he had been living with his family in Canada from 1888 until 1893, where his father, the Hon Frederick Arthur Stanley, (later to become the 16th Earl of Derby,) was the 6th Governor General of Canada. The whole family became great fans of the sport of Ice Hockey whilst living in the Official Residence in Ottawa and two of the sons and a daughter all played in the amateur Ice Hockey league, the first women’s amateur final was played on March 8th 1889 and one of the players was Isobel Stanley, Arthur’s sister, who was to influence her father more than anyone to create the famous Stanley Cup. In 1892, her father gave Canada the treasured national icon, (the Stanley Cup). He originally donated the trophy as a challenge cup for Canada’s best amateur hockey club, but in 1909, it became contested by professional teams exclusively. Since 1926, only teams of the National Hockey League have competed for the trophy. This now famous cup bears Derby’s name as tribute to his enthusiasm and encouragement for the development of the sport. In 1945, as further recognition of Lord Derby’s work, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the “Honoured Builders” category‘. This was the same Lord Derby who donated the land to build the Coronation Park in Ormskirk for the enjoyment of the town’s young people. After her marriage, Lady Isobel Stanley Gathorne-Hardy’s role as a pioneer of women’s ice hockey in Canada was acknowledged with the Isobel Gathorne-Hardy Award. The award is given to an active player (at any level) whose values, leadership and personal traits are representative of all female athletes.
Arthur and his brother William played at amateur level at the The Rideau Rink, named after the Governors Residence Rideau Hall, which was opened in 1889, playing for the Rideau Rebels, a team made up of Government staff and parliamentarians.
On his return to England Arthur lived at Knowsley Hall with his father and family, working as an MP for Ormskirk Division.
Arthur Stanley was knighted in 1917, he was the Chairman of the British Red Cross Society throughout the years of the Great War, and his last contribution to Parliamentary debate as the Ormskirk Division MP was in 1918, when MPs debated the Lotteries Bill in relation to fundraising for the war effort and the donations made by ‘rich ladies’ of their jewellery for raffle prizes to raise funds, Sir Arthur is recorded as commenting…..’ I take my own Constituency in Lancashire, and I say that at practically every one of these bazaars I have been asked to take part in at least a dozen raffles. Does not every Hon. Member when he goes to bazaars provide himself with a pocket full of silver in order that he may take tickets or raffles when asked? I say this does not introduce the spirit of gambling. Is morality in any way harmed by this very harmless amusement of raffling, and if no harm has been caused when it has been practised in pre-war times, is harm going to be done because it happens to be on a rather bigger scale?’
He went on to add: …… I would point out that many of these ladies are very far from rich. They gave that which to each of them was most precious, and they gave it in order to help what they felt was even more precious. They felt that they were giving these pearls for the relief of suffering, which they themselves would willingly have laid down their lives to avoid. Out of these pearls have been formed a necklace. Some Members have spoken of that necklace as though it had a price, but it has no price. It is a necklace formed of pearls given by women in this great War, and it is something which cannot be priced; it is something above all price. That is not all. When you have an object like that in your possession, an object which was placed in the possession of the Red Cross to be used for a most sacred purpose, how are you to dispose of it in the best way? Is it the best way to sell it to a jeweller or to sell it to a rich man? May it not possibly be the best way to sell it in such a manner that even a man who can only afford to give a shilling may have an opportunity of securing that necklace? I only ask the question. I do not expect hon. Members opposite to agree with me, but I do ask them to put to themselves the question which we have put to ourselves, what, when you have a great trust like this confided to your care, in order to help those who are suffering for their country, is the best way to realise it? I own myself I should think that that necklace had been more properly and more worthily bought by the poor man who managed to pay the shilling than by anyone who could afford to buy it.
Sir Arthur Stanley died on the 4th November 1947 in Eastbourne, having never married nor had issue and his estate valued at £133,000 was administered by his brother Frederick Arthur Stanley.
Arthur’s father Lord Derby, along with the Countess, attended a bazaar held in the Drill Hall in 1904 to raise funds for the rebuilding of St Paul’s Church, Skelmersdale.
The Growth Of Aughton Street
Aughton Street has provided the town with a vast range of businesses and shops over the years, the street accommodated the market, with stalls stretching as far down as Park Road and beyond. Large employers operated along the street, the Gas Company was based there from the mid 19th Century and built houses for its workers close by. The Post Office moved from the top of the street and settled into the new premises during the early 1900s. The Boys School occupied a prime position on the street for many years and it was also home to the town Library for a number of years.
Small shops provided a vast range of goods and supplies, saddlers, grocers, poultry, dressmakers, tailors, china dealers, bakers, marine stores, furniture makers, watchmakers. Small enterprises which provided locally sourced and locally manufactured goods.
Around a dozen public houses enjoyed good and bad fortunes along both sides of the street, The Fleece, The White Bull, The Black Horse, The Queens on one side and the George & Dragon, Talbot, Black Bull, Forrester’s Arms, Bull’s Head, Star Beer House and Greyhound on the other side.
Yet behind the thriving shops and businesses there were on both sides many small courtyards and alleyways where people lived. The use of the spaces behind street fronted buildings for dwellings increased massively during the mid 1800s when migrating agricultural workers came into the town, many of them Irish Immigrants.
Two amazing Great War Memorials are forever linked to Aughton Street, the Boys School Memorial, currently safe in a private collection, and the Memorial in the main Post Office.
To the west the buildings at the start of the street near the clock have remained the same for over 100 years, whereas across the road, the original Mawdesleys Gingerbread shop, the Fleece Inn and downwards there were rebuilds and new builds over many years.
The street continued to attract national retailers, during a time when the town had everything a shopper needed.
Ormskirk Bygone Times has collected detailed history on the courts of Aughton Street and the families that lived in them, on the school and the businesses, visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Ormskirkbygonetimes for more information.
The Brick Stiles Becomes Stanley Street
During the mid 19th Century, Ormskirk saw rapid growth with new buildings of every size being erected for housing, business, social care, education and recreation. All this building required building materials and predominantly Brick. Like many towns Ormskirk was able to locally source bricks from its own Brick Field, situated conveniently close to the town in the area between Wigan Road and Derby Street.
Stanley Street was originally named The Brick Stiles and the brick fields were adjacent. The area of the field was set up with good drainage and the drying ground was opposite Mill Street. The Windmill Pub was at one time the Brick Makers home and is most likely built of local brick from across the road.
By the 1861 census the Brick Stiles had been renamed Stanley Street, honouring the local Stanley Family with connections to Cross Hall and also the Earls of Derby. There was just a Blacksmiths shop along the street at first but the development had begun. By 1871 numbers 1 – 9 had been built and housed police officers, school teachers and retired farmers,
Houses were built along the street to provide homes for purchase as opposed to tenancy and therefore they were larger than the older cottage style terraces found in other parts of the town and also had a more practical and modern layout. They also had the same bay windowed garden front which had been the style in the Victorian era to emulate the grander houses. By adding classic architectural features like elaborate stone around doorways and windows and decorative features on porches this gave an impression of status to the new owners.
By 1881, the street was complete and housed architects, manufacturers, teachers, auctioneers, insurance agents and many of the houses had live in servants. It was probably seen as a stepping stone towards the new houses on Knowsley Road and then even a future in Ruff Lane of the new developments in St Helens Road. Stanley Street was a purpose built model street and a very up and coming part of town in the 1880s and 90s.
Ormskirk Bygone Times has researched almost every resident of the street from the late 1800s with many interesting links to the town and the businesses in the town.
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The Court Is In Session
The new Law Court and Police Station opened in Derby Street in the 1850s to great anticipation. It was hoped that the growth of the town and the business community in the town would benefit from the new asset and service.
The Police Court, the Monthly Sessions, the Brewster Sessions as well as the Magistrates Courts, brought all kinds of cases and people to the town. The Coroners Court was also held there and for many many years the South West Lancs Coroner was Sir Samuel Brighouse, a man raised in the town who knew the area and the people well. Born at Lathom August 1st 1849, he went to the Grammar School and then law school and became a solicitor, founding the law firm of Brighouse, Brighouse and Jones in 1871. Winning the election to county coroner in 1884, he held the post for 56 years , reputedly carrying out around 25,000 inquests, he was also a steward for Lord Derby viagra vente canada.
Early in his career he oversaw the inquest into the death of James Maybrick, at one time the main suspect in the Jack the Ripper case. His determination to see the work of not just coroners, but mortuaries and police surgeons held in the highest esteem by everyone is what seems to have driven his career, not caring for the tutting and head shakes of the elected authorities. Knighted in 1934 he died 15th January 1940. If he felt strongly about a subject, no matter how mundane, he felt it worth fighting for.
These are his own words, sent in a letter to the Advertiser on 29th May 1922:.
Dear old Derby Street, if it could only speak. Its utterances would surely be a new edition of the ‘Book of Lamentations’. Paved with setts, the old-fashioned carts of the farmer ground out cries from it that worried the scholars in the United Charity Schools, the lawyers in their offices, the justices on their judicial bench, and the police. And ultimately the setts were removed, and a span new macadam Derby Street was made and was duly christened on the day it was opened by a heavy unwieldly tractor engine, which left sore places that never seemed to heal. Aspirants for the Local Board came along, and swore by all their Gods that they alone could save the town, and incidentally Derby Street, from ruin and disgrace.
They were elected, and Derby Street wept at their apostasy.
Latterly in the moonlight Derby Street has looked like No Man’s Land in the Great War – all holes and craters.
Quite recently – it only seems a few days ago – the Urban District Council, with monies squeezed out of the long-suffering ratepayers of this long-suffering town, or with monies secured from the County Council of Lancashire – I care not which – gave Derby Street a new coat of something, and the inhabitants on each side thereof slept in peace. And now with the last week, after patching the poor dear in places, they have poured tar on it and scattered chippings on it, and they have left it for the traffic to do the rest. Every good housewife in Derby Street has just finished her spring cleaning and now her good man walks over her spring cleaned carpet and leaves tar and chippings behind.
Was there ever such a subject for mirth as Derby Street?
Overwhelmed with official and domestic cares, I seek no solace other than a glance at my dear street. A retrospective thought of all it had undergone convinces me that no human being could undergo what it has gone through and survive.
Poor dear Derby Street! I recollect you a street of green fields, where boys played with pipe stumps instead of marbles, and motor cars were unknown.
And if you could only speak, poor thing? What would you say about those who have pulled you to pieces, clothed you in new garments, put patches on you, overhauled you, mauled you, messed you about and have left you, as you now are, an object of scorn and derision, and an example of what a street should NOT be.
S . Brighouse.
Ormskirk Bygone Times has several records and documents relating to Sir Samuel’s early years as a boy in the town and they have been added to our mobile display. If any school, group or organisation would like us to put on an exhibition for them, please contact us through our social media group at https://www.facebook.com/Ormskirkbygonetimes or through our website here.
The Power of Derby Street
Prior to the 1890s Derby Street was known for a short time as Lydiate Lane. There had not been much need for access towards Lathom in the early 1800s from that part of Ormskirk as the main route would have been either through Westhead via Hall Lane or along Tinker’s Hill (Tower Hill) and into Dark Lane. Once the railway arrived, the area close to the railway station began to grow in importance, a through route from Southport to connect the station merged in with Greetby Hill Lane through to Dark Lane. The Lydiate family of Waggoners from Lathom may well have been the reason for the original name, although centuries earlier there must have been a well trodden footpath between Burscough Priory and the Parish Church.
The Model School, later the United Charity School and the original Savings Bank next door were the first public buildings erected along the street in the 1840s although a couple of large town houses had been built to provide residences for the gentry of the town away from the crowded bustle of the town centre.
It wasn’t until the new police station and court building was built to replace the Burscough Road station that the street started to really take on its own purpose and identity and grow into the business centre for the town. A new public House opened adjacent to the railway bridge in the early 1850s, The Railway Inn, run by Henry Twist, he had run a beer house on the site for a few years and with the Commercial Hotel opening before 1861 being run by former potatoe trader from Lydiate Lane, James Baker, the business brought into the town by the railway brought trade to the two businesses.
By the mid 1850s the street had seen its name changed to Derby Street, in recognition of the Earl of Derby’s generosity in donating the land for the new police station and court. The court building was built to house the Magistrates Court and petty sessions plus the County Court. William Welsby was the first assistant Clerk to the Court, Thomas Brandreth was one of the first Magistrates, along with James Culshaw of Trenchfield, Aughton; the Rev. John Kershaw of Burscough Street; John Rosson of Moor Hall, Aughton; Sir Thomas George Hesketh of Rufford New Hall; Edgar Musgrove of West Tower, Aughton; John Prescott of Dalton Grange, Dalton; William Roberts of Firgrove, Lydiate; Dr Charles Symonds of Ormskirk Hall, Burscough Street; and Capt. Charles Webb, of Brooklands, Scarisbrick.
The first Attorneys to set up in Derby Street, close to the court, were Welsby and Hill, the above mentioned William Welsby and his partner, Charles Hill.
Ormskirk Bygone Times will be looking closely at the growth of the importance of Derby Street, the Court Building and the surrounding businesses during the latter half of the 19th Century and the massive impact the street had on the life and prosperity of the town.
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An Important Little Street
The unimaginatively but logically named street, Derby Street West, was built to ease congestion in the town around the late 1890s. Most likely it did start off as a two- way street, especially as the Fire Station was situated on the south side behind what is now Walter Brown House.
Built parallel to Church Alley, the street initially consisted of neat garden fronted 3 up 2 down terraced houses, mostly on the North side and the council yard and fire station on the south side, with the Council Yard foreman living at No 1. A row of quasi semis was built on the South Side several decades later.
For a small street it was a busy part of the town, not only housing the fire station, but also several shops and businesses. The first motor vehicle dealer in the town was Herefordshire born William Biggs, he opened his business at 32 Derby Street West, along with his brother Harry. The business was mainly bicycles in the early 1900s with the motor vehicle business growing in the town within a decade.
Another successful business in the street was that of hairdresser John Crompton Gouge of 2 Derby Street West. John Crompton Gouge was the grandson of Aughton Street hairdresser John Crompton, a well known business in the town dating to the early 19th Century. Initially running a business from his father-in-laws home in Burscough Street, Gouge and his wife, Margaret nee Fyles, ran the shop there up until his death in 1927 and then his son John, a barber, inherited the business.
The drama in the street was well provided by the fire station, the engine, known affectionately by locals as ‘The Orme’ was pulled by six horses belonging to Alf Brown from the Commercial Hotel, they had another high profile roll, pulling the hearse belonging to Mr Brown, whose other occupation apart from landlord was as an undertaker. A firsthand account of a call out for the fire engine from 1910 recalls how, having only travelled 100 yards from the station to just near the Drill Hall, a wheel came off the engine because the horses took the bend around into Southport Road so fast.
Another business which thrived for many years in the street was that of Frederick Brooker Rudd, he had two premises there, No 16 and No 28. He was a piano and organ tuner & repairer by trade and moved to Ormskirk from Everton before 1920. He married the daughter of Scottish born Tailor, William Gardiner, who lived around the corner at 47 Burscough Street, next door to Knowles House, William Gardiner worked for the Poor Law Guardians and was the tailor to the Union Workhouse. Frederick Rudds business developed into selling recorded music and gramophones from No 28, he died in 1961.
In 1971, No 28 became another music store, Soundgood Records was opened there in October 1971 by Liverpool and England football legend Tommy Smith.
If anyone has any memories of the businesses and families who occupied Derby Street West please think about sharing them with the group at https://www.facebook.com/Ormskirkbygonetimes