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Jane Halewood: Her Ordinary Life

The Moor Street Cottages c1969

The Moor Street Cottages c1969

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.

The Working Men's Institute taken shortly before it's demolition in the 1960s

The Working Men’s Institute taken shortly before it’s demolition in the 1960s

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.

The Disraeli statue circa 1880s with Jane's house just in view on right.

The Disraeli statue circa 1880s with Jane’s house just in view on right.

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.

Ormskirk Gala

Ormskirk Gala

Gala Day in Ormskirk 1904

Gala Day in Ormskirk 1904

Ormskirk Gala Day was held during August each year for many years. The organising committee made advance preparations throughout the summer months with several committees set up to ensure the smooth running of this very popular event.

Mr J.J. Balmforth, the ironmonger of Aughton Street, presided  over the General committee, an Entertainment Committee  made sure that a circus was booked and all necessary plane were put in place to accommodate  the whole Circus in the Gala Parade and provide the venue on the Victoria Pleasure Grounds.

The Procession and Turnouts Committee set  about organising the order of the parade to include Tradesman’s and Farmer’s Turnouts, that is, a wagon or cart pulled by a team of Heavy or Working Horses, with the wagons and carts decorated to various themes.  These were judged in a series of classes and an entry fee of between 1s and £1 with monetary prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places of between £1 and £5 depending on the class.

Sgt Major James Ikin Nunnerley

Sgt Major James Ikin Nunnerley

Entries were limited to Master Tradesmen living within a 1 mile radius of the Market Cross and all other entries could be from within a 6 mile radius of the Market Cross.  This was to allow entries from tenants from surrounding farms to enter their own turnouts or decorate a cart for the Tableau procession.

Apart from the monetary prizes, special prizes were to be awarded by the following committee members and town businesses:  Mr J.J.  Balmforth, a pair of carvers valued at 21s for the winner of the Tradesman’s Master Class  for Heavy Horse Turnouts;  Mr James Arnold Williams, provision dealer of 31 Burscough Street promised a prize valued at 21s for the winner of the Single Heavy Horse Turnout;  William Gilbert, Draper, of 10 Moor Street also promised a 21s prize to the winner of the most humorous float or tableau.

There was also a fancy dress on a quadruped category for both adults and children and a bicycle fancy dress parade with a baby show held in the Corn Exchange.

This would have been an amazing parade with the whole town and all business premises along the main streets being elaborately decorated for the event.

Thomas Hough, winner of the children's fancy dress competition, with Sgt Major Nunnerley's medals

Thomas Hough, winner of the children’s fancy dress competition, with Sgt Major Nunnerley’s medals

The winner of the children’s fancy dress on a quadruped was a young man named Thomas Hough (1895 – 1985) who is shown in the picture dressed as Charge of The Light Brigade survivor Sgt Major James Ikin Nunnerley, who had a Gents outfitters shop at 27 Moor Street. The photo is taken at the rear of the Queens Head Hotel, Moor Street on the day of the Gala. Thomas is wearing a miniature uniform of the 17th Lancers.  Thomas is also wearing Nunnerley’s medals.  The photos belong to Thomas Hough’s son-in-law Bob Hanley.

Ormskirk On Parade

Ormskirk On Parade

Gala Day in Ormskirk

Gala Day in Ormskirk

The people of Ormskirk have always enjoyed a good parade. Traditional events like the Ormskirk Gala, the District Agricultural Show and the Empire Day parades were highlights in the town. Coupled with the various Coronations, Jubilees and various Anniversary parades, the town has some wonderful celebrations to look back on.

The town Gala was a huge event, spread across various venues in the town and over a couple of days, dressing up was popular and dressing up and riding a bike was even more popular with prizes for the most imaginative turnouts.

<img class="size-medium wp-image-477" src="http://ormskirkbygonetimes.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/lancashire-hussars-2-300×210.jpg" alt="The Lancashire Hussars parade down Moor Street" width="300" height="210" srcset="http://ormskirkbygonetimes.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/lancashire-hussars-2-300×210 le viagra avis.jpg 300w, http://ormskirkbygonetimes.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/lancashire-hussars-2.jpg 597w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” />

The Lancashire Hussars parade down Moor Street

The local Agricultural Show attracted exhibitors from all over the United Kingdom and the standard of entry and judges in the livestock, Poultry and Agricultural produce was apparently extremely high with some very generous prizes for best in show in all categories.

The local venues included the Victoria Athletic Grounds off Southport Road, owned by James Eastham and used not only for the various sporting elements of the Gala but also the judging of the various elaborate floats and tableaux.

The parade on Empire Day, 24th May 1902

The parade on Empire Day, 24th May 1902

The first Empire Day held on 24th May 1902 and we have images of the event  in Ormskirk as the parade passes the King’s Arms, Moor Street.

The Parish Church held a Sunday School Anniversary, or Walking Day, in July each year when the children walked from Greetby Fields, along Stanley Street, Moor Street and then up Church Street for a special service in the Church.

Military parades in the town were held on many occasions and Ormskirk Bygone Times holds a number of images from across the years, if anyone would like to share photos and stories of the town’s social events please visit our page at facebook.com/Ormskirkbygonetimes

An Ormskirk Christmas

An Ormskirk Christmas

The Nativity Scene outside Ormskirk Parish Chrurch

The Nativity Scene outside Ormskirk Parish Chrurch

Ormskirk Bygone Times has been collecting the memories of our page followers over the last couple of years and it seems that amongst our 5000+ followers, many people share the same memories of the Ormskirk Christmas experience.

For many children the season was about visiting Father Christmas in his grotto at Burgesses on Church Street.  Or to those a bit younger, Parker Franks on the same site.

The traditional junior school Nativity plays bring back memories of red shiny paper used for a fire and silver tinsel wrapped around coat hangers for Angel halos.  Boys dressing gowns for Shepherds coats and singing Away In A Manger to our beaming parents sitting quietly watching, not a digital appliance in site, just the brain to record the memories and a photo for the local paper.

Our very own Dot as an angel in her school Nativity play

Our very own Dot as an angel in her school Nativity play

School Christmas dinners were exciting and at the end of the meal Father Christmas dropped in, oddly enough he never looked like the one in Burgesses.

Mahoods on Beaconsfield corner had a Christmas Toy department upstairs with train sets laid out and running.  Taylors on Moor Street was full of seasonal gifts and toys.

The Nativity Scene at the Parish Church has changed little over the years, a plastic screen on the front to protect the contents from theft or damage being the main change.

Shops in the town offered seasonal fayre of the highest quality.  Butchers provided local fresh Pork,Turkey  and Goose with home delivery.

Moor Street in the late 1960s

Moor Street in the late 1960s

Car Parks were unheard of until the late 1960s, before then parking was wherever you needed to be and for however long you chose, although most people walked into town and carried their shopping home themselves.

The town had everything people needed for a comfortable family Christmas and it was all done without excess or t’internet with most workers having just a couple of days off.

Many people will remember the winter of 1962/63 when snow drifts 6ft to 8 ft high almost caused a problem.  It was nothing a few men with  spades couldn’t put right.

A selection of adverts relating to Christmas in Ormskirk

An advert for Stokers Toys

Swarbrick's Pork Butchers Advert

Skaife Advert

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show – Sept 1904

“Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World” Travelling Show – September 1904

'Buffalo Bill Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World' paraded along Moor Street with the Deadwood Stage. Note the original clucas Shop in the background.

During the 1904 tour of the “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World” travelling show, the touring company passed through Ormskirk on the way to Southport from the previous venue in Wigan.

Cody with the Cowboys and 'US Cavalry' taken in Scotland in 1904

Cody with the Cowboys and ‘US Cavalry’

September 30th 1904 the main body of the show travelled by several dedicated trains from Wigan through to Southport but the stagecoach and several dozen of the show riders paraded through the town, no doubt to create some publicity.

The show travelled from New York to Liverpool in Spring 1904 and then used 4 special trains to travel to the first venue, Stoke on Trent.

Buffalo Bill with the Oglala Lakota

Buffalo Bill with the Oglala Lakota

The 1904 UK tour began in Stoke on 25th April and after performances in England, Scotland and Wales and 132 towns the tour ended in Hanley, Staffordshire on October 21st. A total of 4114 miles of train travel took the performers around the country and the shows were hugely well attended.

There had been an earlier tour during 1902/03 but the nearest it came to Ormskirk was Liverpool and local people had waited for the return of the show and lined the streets to watch the different riders parade past.

A tour poster from the 1904 tour

A tour poster from the 1904 tour. Click for a larger view

There weren’t just ‘Cowboys and  Indians’ in the show, as it had been previously, this time there were Cossack horsemen from Georgia, Mexican Vaqueros, Turks, Argentine Gauchos, Arab Spahis (Horse Soldiers) , and Mongolian riders. The parade must have been colourful and spectacular.

Oglala Lakota Sioux were a huge part of the show and performed throughout the history of the Buffalo Bill shows giving some thrilling performances that must have had crowds mesmerised and enthralled, especially the young children watching the show.  Although Sitting Bull had left the show a decade or more earlier, his son, Young Sitting Bull did apparently appear in this tour.

After leaving Southport the tour went on to Leigh and newspaper accounts of the event still survive.

Ormskirk Bygone Times has created a small display and booklet on the tour and the show which will be available to view at our exhibition in Skelmersdale Library on Saturday 28th November 2015. Please call in for a chat and to see our growing mobile exhibition.

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