Market Cross or Horology Square?
In the years before the Ormskirk Clock Tower was erected in 1876, there had been nothing to identify the spot but the name Market Cross. No structure or marker has been in situ for generations. The name may even derive from the road system and there may never have been an actual cross there at all. Certainly when tenders were invited for the design and build of the tower, one local whit wrote to the Advertiser suggesting, ‘ Surely the archives of our semi-fossilised Court Leet would throw some light on the architectural form of this ancient Cross, and if no member of that venerable body is of an antiquarian turn of mind, they might mortify the flesh by denying themselves the periodical dinners, and divert the proceeds to employ a gentleman with a taste for routing amongst what Carlyle called their “dry-as-dust “ accumulations……’
Market Place was used as the address for the businesses on each corner. In the 1820s, Bookseller Wm Leak’s printers and circulating library was at the corner of Aughton Street and Moor Street, with the George & Dragon on the corner of Church Street and Aughton Street , the Eagle & Child at the corner of Church Street and Burscough Street and Owen’s Ironmongers on the corner of Burscough Street and Moor Street.
The width of Moor Street merging with the narrowness of Church Street isn’t really an issue in modern times, but for those who remember the through traffic, especially on Market Days or coupled with Southport Flower Show, will truly know the meaning of traffic congestion. Add that to the traffic lights at the clock and buses or Westbrook Lorries turning into and up from Aughton Street, it was a risky place to cross at any time.
Some of the businesses used the Market Cross address into the 1900s, Mawdsleys famous gingerbread bakers just used ‘The Cross’ as their address.
The George & Dragon became the National Westminster bank, The Eagle & Child became Stoners, then Kirk’s, then briefly Lawrence’s butchers and was for many years Johnson’s the cleaners when the business moved from Moor Street.
Owen’s Ironmongers became Pennington’s Tailors in the early 1900s, it was HP Radio for a good while, Collingwood Jewellers in the 80s and then H. Samuels.
Martin’s Bank held it’s position for many years and the building has remained a bastian of financial service to the town.
Images before the Clock Tower are pretty rare but one day something may turn up.