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Ormskirk: A Historic Market Town

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An Ormskirk Tradition: The Sunday School Anniversary Walks

An Ormskirk Tradition: The Sunday School Walks

St Peter and St Paul Sunday School anniversary walk holds so many memories for many people in the town, apart from during the War years when children walked from their own schools in groups, the procession has walked through the town during June.

Several followers of Ormskirk Bygone Times have shared images from over the years with followers of the OBT Social Media page, these are worth sharing with the readers of the Advertiser too.

Many people will remember Miss Leatherbarrow, Miss Potter and Miss Webster from the 1960s, when the Sunday School was held at Greetby Hill School. Prior to that it was held at the Derby Street School for girls and the Aughton Street Boys School.

Sunday School Infants, Miss Leatherbarrow front left, circa 1965

Sunday School Infants, Miss Leatherbarrow front left, circa 1965

circa 1964, Regal Cinema closed

Circa 1964, Regal Cinema closed

sunday school anniversary 1965.

Sunday School juniors, Miss Potter far left, note the cottages behind, now shops, c 1966

Riot At Ormskirk

Riot At Ormskirk

Ormskirk Town Hall, with the Town Crest on the gable.

Ormskirk Town Hall, with the Town Crest on the gable.

The Historical Market Town of Ormskirk was rocked to the core on Wednesday 20th October 1824 when a riot broke out in the town and shots were fired.

The trigger which led to no less that 2000 of the townsfolk taking part in the riot was the appointment to Deputy Constable at the Court Leet by the Jury Foreman, Harvey Wright, of Mr Thomas Howard, instead of the re-elected Deputy-Constable, Mr Derbyshire.  The Earl of Derby, as Lord of the Manor, was the Steward over the Court Leet and seemingly the remainder of the 12 man jury took the dismissal of their elected Deputy very badly. (The High Constable of Ormskirk in 1824 was Robert Barton).

The Jury were dismissed but as is the custom, the name of the new Deputy Constable was announced at the door of the Town Hall and all those who heard the announcement immediately responded with hisses and groans.

The Town Regalia including the Constables Staff, javelins and standard measure

The Town Regalia including the Constables Staff, javelins and standard measure

Jury Foreman Harvey Wright ordered the outgoing Deputy Constable. Mr Derbyshire, to give up his Staff of Office to Mr Howard.  Derbyshire refused to obey the order at which point Wright ordered the newly appointed Deputy Constable, Mr Howard, to take the staff by force.

The court was dismissed and Harvey Wright left for his home on Aughton Street  but he was followed by a huge mob shouting and hissing after him. Wright was being bombarded with rocks and stones and had to take refuge in the store of Mr William Garside down Aughton Street. The only person who was there to help Wright escape the mob was town Surgeon Mr  Henry William Ellis, (later to marry Wright’s second Daughter Mary) who himself was hit and injured by a rock and managed to drag Wright into the Garside shop.

Garsides Druggist and Grocery, Aughton Street.

Garsides Druggist and Grocery, Aughton Street.

The mob remained outside the shop and continued to yell and hurl missiles into the store and at one point a shot was fired which narrowly missed hitting Mr Wright in the chest.

The noise and shattering of plate glass must have woken Mr Garside who was sleeping above his shop,he came down and bravely confronted the mob begging them to consider his home and his family. The mob moved away but only to set fire to a barrel of tar and roll it further down the street to Wright’s house where they placed it against the front door.

The barrel burnt quickly however and caused little damage, but the mob continued to march through the streets with blazing torches with the deposed Deputy Constable Mr Derbyshire raised on the shoulders of a few of them.

Squibs, a type of fire cracker

Squibs, a type of fire cracker

The rioting carried on for a good length of time, with local shopkeepers supplying the rioters with shot, crackers and squibs to keep the uproar going. None of the Jury, nor the town officials nor the newly elected Deputy Constable Howard made any attempt to calm the offenders. (Crackers and squibs were small sticks of explosive or fire crackers, the term ‘damp squib’ meaning one which didn’t work properly due to moisture.)

It was Saturday, 3 days later, when the town Constable and new Deputy finally made between 20 and 30 arrests, including Mr Derbyshire, the ex Deputy Constable. All were bound over to the Quarter Sessions to answer to the charge of rioting.

Trouble Brewing – Part 4

Philip Forshaw of Bath Springs Brewery seems to have been a very hard working and dedicated business man.  He had built a small empire out of his investments in Brewing and distributing Ale to Inns, Public Houses and Beer houses across the County.

Wellfield

Wellfield, residence of Rev James Taylor

Not everything in Philips life followed the same pattern of success, by August 1862 he had been struggling with ill health, (he was partially paralysed after a stroke), he had been involved in several legal battles with clients, employees, tenants and his own family.  No wonder that he tried to sell his Bath Springs Brewery that August.  His plan might have been to retire to his newly built home on Lord Street and take things easier.

The tragic circumstances surrounding the sudden death of his eldest daughter Martha, just weeks after her second child was born, would have been a great blow to Philip. His legal fight to regain control of his business interests from his next of kin had most likely caused considerable animosity between his Family. After Martha’s death, within a week, Philip and his nephew John Forshaw had drawn up Philips last will and testament.

The will goes a long way to help see what kind of a man Philip Forshaw really was.  Within the first few sentences he names his two illegitimate sons, John and Philip Baldwin, as his executors.  These young men had been living with their mother in the cottage at the back of Forshaw’s Ship Inn since they were young boys. Their mother Catherine Baldwin had lived in Up Holland when she gave birth to her sons, John in early 1845 and Philip born 1st October 1848.  A relative had the licence at the Bird ‘ith Hand beer house, Hall Green, Upholland and it is probable that Philip Forshaw had business interests at the Beer House.

It is not possible to say for sure whether when Catherine and her sons relocated to the Ship Inn Cottage in Ormskirk, any of Philip’s family knew Catherine and her sons were the other family in Philip’s life but quite possibly they did not move there until after both his daughters were married.

St Marks, Scarisbrick

St Marks, Scarisbrick

The first bequest Philip makes in his will is one for the sum of £1000.00 to be used for the sole purpose of building a parsonage for the vicar or incumbent of the Parish of St Mark’s Church Scarisbrick.

The second bequest is for the sum of £1000.00 to be invested by the Vicar of Ormskirk for benefit of the poor of the town, whereby £100.00 per year from the annuities should be used for consumables such as coal and bread for the needy however the Vicar sees fit. He also left £100.00 each to the Foreign Missionary Society and the Southport Strangers Charity.

Ormskirk Dispensary

Ormskirk Dispensary

There was a further legacy of £100.00 to be used to fund medical care for the poor of the town at the Dispensary, and the Rev. James Taylor Wareing of Wellfield House, Westhead in Lathom Parish, was charged with seeing to it that the money was used wisely.

There was however, the strangest of provisos added at the end of the first set of charitable donations. It appears that Philip Forshaw had misgivings about one or two members of the town’s legal fraternity.  His words are as follows:

‘I Declare that the legacies or sums of money before given for the benefit of the Incumbent or pastor of the church at Scarisbrick aforesaid; For the poor of Ormskirk; To the Ormskirk dispensary And for the Southport Strangers Charity, shall be null and void in case William Welsby of Ormskirk aforesaid, Solicitor, Charles Hill of Ormskirk aforesaid, Solicitor now or later his clerk or any partner or partners of them or either of them shall be holding any appointment, office or employment, honorary or otherwise or be Trustee Manager Chairman or Clerk or otherwise connected so as to give them or either of them directly or indirectly a voice in the mode or manner of the distribution of such Legacies or any of them or concerned in any way as to the investing of the same or any of them.’

May 1855, Rev James Bush, Vicar of Ormskirk and the Foreign Missionary Society supported with a £100 legacy

May 1855, Rev James Bush, Vicar of Ormskirk and the Foreign Missionary Society supported with a £100 legacy

The above declaration is on page one of Philip’s eight page will, the will was made public within days of his death and the details of the charitable donations made the newspapers in several local towns that same week.  Philip’s solicitor was his nephew John Forshaw of Preston.

Another declaration on page three reads, ‘The sum of £100.00 lent by me to the Reverend Joseph Bush, Vicar of Ormskirk aforesaid on a note of hand I forgive him and release him from the payment thereof and all interest due thereon.’  Rev Bush was the Vicar of Ormskirk from 1853 – 1870 and in 1909, a stained glass window was put in at the church to commemorate the work of Rev Bush and his wife Annabel Theodosia Bush.

Philip’s only surviving daughter Annie, who was married to bank manager William Henry Smith and lived in Southport, was included in the will along with her two half-brothers John Baldwin and Philip Baldwin and she was left one third of the estate.  There was however another declaration :

and in the case of  the said Annie Smith for her separate use free from the control of any husband and without power of anticipation”

‘Any Husband’? Philip covered all his bases! By 1871, William Henry and Annie Smith had 8 children and lived at 132, Lord Street, Southport.  Philip had died in 1865 and his estate was valued at under £25,000.

Interestingly, William Henry and Annie Smith are not enumerated at their home address in 1871, all eight children are left at home in the care of servants. It took a while to find out where the Smiths had gone, then they turned up, as house guests at ‘The Firs’, Lathom, home of Charles Hill, solicitor of Ormskirk…..

The next episode will cover the property Philip left, the bequests to the ordinary people in the town and the tragedies of the 30 years beyond his passing.

Trouble Brewing – Part 3

Trouble Brewing – Part 3

Philip Forshaw had been trading as a saddler in the Golden Lion yard but at sometime between 1841 and 1844 he took over the lease of the Golden Lion.  When the out buildings at the rear of the Old Ship Inn across the road came up for sale in October 1844, the auction was held at Forshaws’ Golden Lion. Thomas Williams was the highest bidder at the sale with his bid of £162.00.

Aughton Brewery

Aughton Brewery

The Old Ship Inn itself came up for sale in 1846 and Philip Forshaw took out a mortgage and moved into the Inn.  Philip had lost his wife and baby son in 1842 and his two daughters, Martha and Ann went away to boarding school in Litherland after their mother died.  Martha was born 1837 and Ann was born 1839. Whilst his daughters were away at school, Philip carried on adding to his business interests, taking over the Aughton Brewery in 1849. Joseph Richardson, from a well known Rainford brewing family, had built up the Aughton Brewery for some years and it also ran the White Bull and the Swan Inn, Burscough Street.  When he died in July 1848, his executors put the brewery up for sale as separate lots, selling off some of the building land around it, where villas were built quite quickly.

Forshaw took over the brewery but it would seem that he was not happy with the efficiency of the layout or the production.  To really make the success he wanted from brewing, he needed a purpose built modern brewery.  In 1851, he sold on the Aughton Brewery to Joseph Pye (later to partner with his brother-in-law Captain Edward Sudbury) and moved into the newly built Forshaw Brewery at the Bath Springs site.

The White Bull

The White Bull

By the late 1850s Philip Forshaw and his Bath Springs Brewery had become the biggest brewery in the town and not only supplied ale to many many Houses, he also owned and sub-let dozens of Houses across the county from Preston to Wigan and Southport to Liverpool.

By the time his youngest daughter Annie married in March 1857, Philip Forshaw was a wealthy and successful businessman.  Annie married William Henry Smith, who had been one of Philips Brewery Managers, but shortly after the marriage, William became a Bank Manager in Southport.

On 6th September 1859, Philip’s Eldest daughter Martha married Captain William John Chambers Martin of the 6th Royal Lancashire Militia, he had been born in Bengal, India and his father had also been in the Army.

An advert relating to the Aughton Brewery Sale from Gore's General Advertiser

An advert relating to the Aughton Brewery Sale from Gore’s General Advertiser

It was in the summer of 1859 however that Philip Forshaw suffered a stroke, which left him paralysed and incapacitated.  He had recently built some houses in Birkdale and he was unable to run his business or visit the premises around the county which he owned.  His physician was so concerned with the grave state of his patients’ health, that the doctor felt it wise to inform Philip that this may be his last few months on earth.

Being the type of man he appears to have been, this set in motion a plan to oversee the transfer of all the business to the control of his offspring, which at that time were his two married daughters.  Of course that really would have meant that the son-in-laws would be in control.  By early 1861, a couple of changes took place. Philip made an unexpected recovery, although he was still paralysed.  William J.C. Martin became Superintendant of the Police and moved into the Police Superintendant’s house on Derby Street with his wife Martha and their little boy William Arthur born Aug 1860.

Once he found that he had recovered enough to take back his empire however, Philip realised that he would have to fight to get control back through the courts.  It is unlikely that his daughters would have stood against him, but they were both married to men who were used to being in charge and this forced Philip to apply to the Chancery Court to reclaim his property and businesses.

This set in motion a sequence of events which changed the business and the family.

Martha gave birth to a baby girl, Emma Charlotte, in the summer of 1862. Her father Philip, still unwell but in control of his business, seems to have been estranged from his family.  In November 1862, his eldest daughter Martha died aged just 25.  She left two small children and a great deal of turmoil.  At the inquest on her death held at the Coroners Court in Ormskirk, adjacent to the police home where she died, the coroner, Mr C. E. Driffield, took the court before a jury, and the evidence from Martha’s Doctor revealed the cause of her untimely death.  Her father was not in court, but his nephew, John Forshaw, who was also the family solicitor, was present.

An article on Martha's death 1862 from the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent Monday November 10th 1862

An article on Martha’s death 1862 from the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent Monday November 10th 1862

Medical evidence put before the court revealed that some weeks prior to her death, Martha had received a blow to the temple by a blunt object and this caused a fracture of the skull.  A further witness, Dr Ashton, who had attended Mrs Martin after the accident, repeated two conversations he had had with Superintendant Martin, Martha’s widower, after the original injury. Martin explained that during the night the little boy, William, had been restless and needed attention.  Martha and her husband had argued over the care of the boy and Martin explained that the argument had escalated to objects being thrown across the bedroom after a brief physical struggle. As Martha was leaving the room she slipped, and hit her head on the door handle.

On her deathbed, Martha, who was struggling to speak and was very weak, was unable to answer questions put to her by two physicians as to the exact cause of the injury to her skull.  Due to any evidence to the contrary, a verdict of accidental death was recorded.

William John Chambers Martin moved to West Derby as the Superintendant of Police there. His son William Arthur grew up and went to medical school, Emma Charlotte married a Scottish businessman.   

Philip Forshaw was left with just one daughter to carry on his business but her family was growing and her life was with her bank manager husband in Southport.

Philip relied on John Baldwin,a young man who was running the brewery and who had been living at the Ship Inn for a number of years with his younger brother Philip Baldwin. Both boys were the illegitimate sons of Catherine Baldwin of Up Holland, who had brought the boys to Ormskirk in the 1850s to live at the Ship Inn.  It would not be until Philips death in 1865 and the acknowledgement in his will of his two illegitimate sons, John and Philip Baldwin,that the real Forshaw wars started.

Part 4 of the Forshaw Saga to follow.

Sixty Years – Part 2

On Saturday night into Sunday morning of May 5th/ 6th  1956, sisters Margaret Jane (69) and Mary Ormesher (67) were viciously killed in their own home, ‘Ivy Dene’, 8 Asmall Lane, Ormskirk.  The house was the former Brickmakers Arms, a ten room house with a court yard behind, which contained several small dwellings, all accessed via a passage way between number 6 and number 8.

Ormesher sisters gravestone

The Ormesher sister’s gravestone at Ormskirk Parish Church

The spinster sisters lived a quiet life with their black spaniel dog ‘Trixie’, being regarded as a reliable alert dog,Trixie was known to greet people noisily.  The dog was in the kitchen of the house where the two ladies were found and Trixie had received a considerably heavy blow to the head, she was in a poor state when the house was entered by a neighbour and followed the neighbour out of the back door.

Minutes later P.C. Mellor arrived, there being police houses at that time just 100 yards up the road.  At the September inquest, P.C. Mellor states that apart from the victims and various items he noticed, a small mongrel dog came out from under the kitchen table as he stood surveying the awful scene. The sisters did only have the one dog, known to be a black spaniel.

At the inquest several people made statements to the court about hearing a variety of noises, groans, breaking glass, bin lids clattering, voices, both male and female.  These noises appeared to have been heard from around 11.15 and 11.30 pm.

The area behind the Brickmaker’s Arms was a small compact yard overlooked by no’s 1 & 2 cottage to one side and No’s 3 to 7 cottage along the back, residents at no 2 and no 3 all heard the noises later reported in depositions, however, on the night they were dismissed as ‘someone having a bit of bother’ or ‘someone drunk’ and everyone went to bed again.   

Mary Ormesher had arrived home from her shop alone between 10-10 and 10.25 pm, she was carrying the brown attaché case she always used for the shop takings in her right hand and something else in her left hand, but the neighbour who saw Mary from the window did not see what else Mary was carrying.

At around 10.18pm, another neighbour who had been out and was returning to his cottage in Brickmakers Yard, saw a man he did not recognise across the road from the Yard.  Sometime later, another neighbour left his house by the front door to take some golf clubs across the road to a neighbour, returning at 11.20 but he did not mention seeing or hearing anyone in the area.

Despite a witness coming forward in the days that followed the murders saying they also saw a man with a similar description in the same area, that man does not seem to have been identified in the days/weeks following.

The police searched the house and found that the brown attaché case was on the kitchen table and contained a small amount of silver but the two khaki cloth money bags which Mary used for the takings were missing.  After a thorough search of the house, small quantities of money, wrapped in paper, were recovered from various rooms.  Despite local rumour that said the sisters were hoarding cash, only a modest amount was recovered and the house had not been ransacked at the time of the murders.  Mary had not left a will but the letters of administration granted on June 12th declared an estate of £1722.14s.4d.  Margaret had not left a will either and in the letters of administration granted on June 20th her estate was £249.13s .4d.

Stan Draper CBE tending the sister's grave

Stan Draper CBE tending the sister’s grave

The town came to a standstill for the joint funeral of Margaret and Mary, it was a poor day and rained constantly but hundreds of people lined the streets to pay their respects as the funeral cortege passed through the town from the hospital to the Parish Church. The sisters were laid to rest together in the Parish Church and for many years their grave was tended by Stanley Draper C.B. E. Church Sexton.

Five weeks after the murders, and after searches using police dogs at Ruff Wood, Edge Hill College and the Burscough Brick Works, the investigation was not progressing and although 1000 fingerprints had been taken and eliminated, the decision was made at a special court on June 14th to begin to fingerprint every male in the district aged over 16 who was living in the district on the weekend of the murders. This was to be done by plain clothed detectives visiting people in their own homes and it was expected to take up to a month to complete the exercise.

The person or persons who committed these murders has never been officially named and identified, rumours would emerge over the years as to the identity and fate of the killer. The case will never be closed.

Memories recently shared by a cousin of the family, paint a picture of a hard working woman in Mary and a gentle caring person in Margaret Jane.

“Maggie and Polly were such gentle souls – there wasn’t an ounce of animosity in them.  Mother and I visited quite a lot and were always made very welcome. Polly was the bread winner and Maggie the homemaker who also looked after their mother Emma – she died aged 84 in 1951.  Auntie Maggie always ‘read our tealeaves’. Polly opened the shop every day –including Sundays- she was so very well known in the town, she always had a roaring fire burning, like everyone else they had evacuees during the war, there was a young boy and later a mother and son.

Their murder was a dreadful shock for everyone, not least the family – it was unbelievable.

If only the one witness- Trixie their little dog, could have talked.

Although the house was quite big they only seemed to use the one room-it always felt very homely, Maggie made delicious pies!”

ormesher shop demolition

Shortly after their deaths, although it had already been decided beforehand, the sister’s shop was demolished

The shop in Church Street had been the subject of a demolition order due to the condition of the old building since the early 1950s and following the deaths, the order was carried out and the shop demolished and re-built.

Ormskirk Bygone Times has copies of the reports of the events following the murders and the details on the coroner’s enquiry.

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Sixty Years On: Part 1

Sixty Years On: Part 1

Ivydene on Asmall Lane, with detectives and police at the scene

Ivydene on Asmall Lane, with detectives and police at the scene

On May 6th this year, it will be 60 years since the town was rocked with the tragic news of the brutal double murder of the Misses Margaret Jane and Mary Ormesher.

The sisters were the daughters of the late Edward and Emma Ormesher, who had brought their family up on Asmall Lane, close to “Ivydene”, the house which  was to become the scene of their deaths.

There were five daughters born to Edward and Emma, of which Margaret was the eldest, Mary the second child and then three more daughters, Emily, Ellen, who sadly died aged just 2 years old in 1897, and May. When May was born in 1900, Margaret was 12 years old.

Mary Ormesher

Mary Ormesher

Edward worked as a carter for a Mineral Water Company, he had moved the family to Chapel Street for a short time in the early 1900s where they ran a small beerhouse known as the John Bull at the corner of Chapel Street and St Helens Road, but they moved back to Asmall Lane where Edward took the licence for the Brickmakers Arms.  Margaret Jane left home to become a live in domestic servant for a newly married couple Albert Kelsall and Hilda Clarice his wife, at ‘Highfield’, 31,Greetby Hill.

Younger sister Emily was married in 1917 to a soldier who was serving in the war, her younger sister May was a witness, the husband John William Allen was from Halsall Lane, Emily’s father Edward (Ned) Ormesher set up his own business after the Brickmakers Arms licence was made redundant selling small hardware like brushes and oil lamps from a horse and cart, he travelled around the district and was well known in the area.  He had a brother Robert from Westhead and 2 married sisters, Mrs Lydia Light and Mrs Annie Lownsbrough, there were therefore  several cousins of the sisters in the Ormskirk, Westhead, Lathom and Skelmersdale areas.

The shop on Church Street run by the sisters

The shop on Church Street run by the sisters

Mary Ormesher took a lease on a small shop at 24 Church Street and ran a sweet and tobacco business for a number of years.  She became well known in the town and very well liked and respected as was her sister Margaret.

Whether it was because of local rumours that suggested the sisters were money lenders and were hoarding large sums of money, (rumours proved false by the C.I.D. team after the murders) or whether it was an opportunist robbery gone badly and devastatingly wrong, one or more people committed the murder at the Asmall Lane Cottage overnight from the 5th to the 6th May 1956. There had been intelligence sources relayed to the local police 18 months before the murders suggesting that the shop was going to be a target for a robbery and the sisters were advised to be vigilant.

The sisters apparently put up a desperate fight to fend off their attacker, police statements at the time were clear that whoever did enter the cottage, will have left with some serious wounds which would need medical attention.

Specific items of jewellery were taken, of which there were very precise descriptions, an 18ct gold patterned ring, similar to a man’s signet ring but with a large blue sapphire and two smaller sapphire stones on it. A lady’s oblong faced platinum bracelet watch made by Russell, with diamond chipping surround and sapphires at each corner, quite distinctive. Bought in 1942 for £95.00, which is almost £45.000.00 in today’s money, although the piece sounds so unusual it could well be worth more because of its quality.

Margaret Jane Ormesher

Margaret Jane Ormesher

The beloved family dog, a black spaniel called ‘Trixie’ was also killed on that night, which explains the lack of barking which might have alerted the neighbours more than they already had been that night, when breaking glass and ‘groaning’ and a man’s voice were discounted as anything serious.

The Ormskirk Advertiser immediately posted a reward of £50 to anyone providing information which would lead to the culprit.

There are so many aspects of the case which in modern times would most likely lead to an almost immediate arrest of a suspect, unfortunately it happened at a time when crime scene investigation was not supported by the technology and science available now.

Ormskirk Bygone Times have a large collection of information surrounding the sad loss of these two well known and well liked residents of Ormskirk.  Part 2 of this article will follow soon

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Trouble Brewing – Part 2

Trouble Brewing: Part 2

A Forshaw's Brewer Stopper. A very rare item indeed.

A Forshaw’s Brewer Stopper. A very rare item indeed.

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 Railway on Derby Street

The Railway on Derby Street

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.

The Bull's Head on Aughton Street

The Bull’s Head on Aughton Street

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.

Trouble Brewing: Part 1

Trouble Brewing

Bath Springs Brewery on Derby Street

Bath Springs Brewery on Derby Street

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.

Forshaw's Brewery Bottle

Forshaw’s Brewery Bottle

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.

The Ship Inn (first building on the left) on Moor Street in 1902

The Ship Inn (first building on the left) on Moor Street in 1902

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.

The sign above the Ship Inn which is still in existence today

The sign above the Ship Inn which is still in existence today

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

Passing Through Westhead

Passing Through Westhead

The Skem Jazzer at Westhead Halt in 1951

The Skem Jazzer at Westhead Halt in 1951

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.

The Halton Castle in Westhead

The Halton Castle in Westhead, which was operated by the Culshaw family for over 50 years

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.

The Quarry in Ruff Wood

The Quarry in Ruff Wood

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.

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