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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.
With Love From Ormskirk
As Valentines Day once more approaches, let’s look back at how the romantics of the town put a lot of effort into marking the day with their own true love.
In the 1830’s, 60,000 valentine cards were sent by the relatively expensive postal service in Great Britain. These cards were not as we find today, mass produced and put out on display for you to browse and select what suits. The cards sent in the 19th century were mainly homemade, elaborate postcards, decorated with silk and lace and ribbons.
People of Ormskirk would have been as skilled as anyone else at crafting a special card for their Valentine with coin spent on a little piece of ribbon or lace from the local milliners in the town, for those who could afford that. Many girls probably sacrificed trimmings from their Sunday Bonnets and possibly various other apparel, to decorate their cards.
We can only wonder at how so many thousands of cards were sent on Valentines Day at a time when many young people would only be able to make their mark ‘X ‘on their marriage lines! Symbolic tokens of love crafted onto a homemade card, along with it being the 14th February must have helped to deliver the message without words!
Young people met through the workplace, Church or Chapel or family occasions, Ormskirk was a town which adored its gatherings and festivities all year round, with Church Bazaars, Town Galas, theatrical and musical performances available at several theatres and venues in the town and many groups for young people to meet and fall in love. It wasn’t all about working a 6 day week with no time to relax, people in the 19th century didn’t travel miles to work, days were long but social events were very well supported, there was little to stay at home for! Entertainment brought people together outside of work.
Once the cards were made and ready to post, the busiest place in the town on the 13th and 14th February in the 19th century would have been the post office, for most of those early years it was at the corner of Aughton Street and Church Street, offering delivery the same day for local post, the foot post from Southport arrived late in the day, by 5.30 if the post man made good time.
The marked difference between 19th Century homemade Valentines Cards and the more modern mass manufactured cards which we know of is the cost and possibly more so the personal touch. The only financial gain then was for the post office.
Troqueer was a small settlement on the East side of Aughton Street that in the mid-1800s housed a huge Irish Immigrant population, all crammed into an area of small courts containing rows of tightly packed, hastily constructed cottages. St Patrick’s Court, situated between the Black Horse Inn and the Victoria Inn (later the Queens) was almost exclusively for the Irish Agricultural labourers who came into the town to find work they were familiar with.
Looking at the 1851 and 1861 census returns for St Patrick’s Court, there are dozens and dozens of children, all under 10 years old, all born Ormskirk and without exception, both parents are recorded as born Ireland. The Irish Agricultural Labourers were welcomed to the town, the Railway had brought them in after having enticed many local agricultural labourers into jobs on the railway and the trade the railway subsequently brought into the town meant that for local workers, other job opportunities other than working in agriculture presented themselves.
Moving northwards beyond St Patrick’s Court, and its accompanying beerhouse , the buildings change to the grand first residence, before he moved to Ormskirk Hall, Burscough Street, of Dr Charles Price Symonds, the Yorkshire born surgeon, who, on moving to Ormskirk to set up his practise in the late 1840s and married a local girl, Martha Stockley, in 1850, before opening his first surgery in a large house with landscaped gardens to the rear and adjoining on its north side the the large double fronted town residence of retired Pwhelli born landed proprietor, Hugh Owen, which as early as 1851 was named on town maps as the Troqueer Buildings. Hugh Owen lived there as far back as 1841, being listed under, ‘Nobility, Gentry and Clergy’ in an 1848 Slater’s Directory. Although 20 years earlier he had a tinplate works in Market Place. Hugh Owen died aged 83 in 1856 and was buried at the Parish Church on 7th July that year.
After Owen’s death, his son Richard Owen inherited Troqueer and moved in there with his family. Richard Owen was an ironmonger with an ironmongers and small foundry on Moor Street next to the King’s Arms, which later, when Richard Owen retired to Scarborough after 1871, became Wainwright’s Ironmongers and then the Corn Exchange.
Troqueer saw changes during the 1870s and was split into a smaller residence for Henry Hydes, the wine and spirit merchant, with some of the rear of the property being made into a court for separate small dwellings, when Hydes moved across the road to 32 Aughton Street to open a wine merchants shop, Troqueer was bought by George James Cammack, the Mineral Water Manufacturer who ran the business with great success for several decades from those premises. The Water Manufacturing business was huge at that time as bottled mineral water was a safe and healthy option to pump water. Remains of the factory we believe still exist to the rear of Aughton Street across to Bridge Avenue.
George James Cammack only moved from Troqueer between 1916 and 1919. The next information we have is that the building became the Labour Party Headquarters in the town and was used as the campaign HQ for the Ormskirk candidate 28 year old Harold Wilson in 1945. Wilson served as the Town’s MP from 1945 until 1950.
The descriptions of the grand interior court of Troqueer mention large black marble columns and huge black painted doors. The building was demolished in the 1970s and remains as the telephone exchange car park. If anyone can add anything, or indeed correct any of this research, please do get in touch.