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Thomas Herbert Stretch – 28th Jan 1851 -25 Dec 1929
Thomas Herbert Stretch was born in January 1851 in Booth Kirkdale. His father, Thomas Stretch Snr, was a cotton broker who had served an apprenticeship as a clerk before marrying and starting a family.
By 1865, Thomas Snr. had moved his family to Burscough Street in Ormskirk and lived at Vine Cottage, the very last property before the Burscough Boundary.
From the first years of the Family living in the town they were very much involved with the local community and from as early as 1865 Thomas Snr was a director of the annual show for the Ormskirk & Southport Agricultural Society. He was also a winner of several prizes for his poultry entries, including ducks, bantams and his very successful Cochin China Buff chickens.
Whilst Thomas Stretch carved a successful business career in the town and proved an expert poultry breeder and exhibitor, his sons became local sporting heroes and excelled at athletics and cricket.
In later years Thomas Herbert Stretch took over the poultry breeding and exhibiting and also entered the world of pedigree dog breeding, specialising in the Rough Collie breed, with which he found local, national and international success.
The Rough Collies bred from the Burscough Street kennels were of the highest standard for the breed and competed at Cruffs and at shows all around the UK. Thomas became the foremost collie dog expert in the World and his animals were supreme Champions. The dogs were almost always given names with the prefix Ormskirk.
The first Collie dog in the World to sell for £1000.00 was Stretch’s Ormskirk Christopher, which was sold to an American kennel and for several decades his champion dogs were exported to breeders all over the World.
As a show judge he had an unrivalled expertise and commanded respect for his knowledge and understanding of the Collie breed. He travelled to Scotland and Ireland to judge at shows such as the Perthshire Canine Society, the Forfar Poultry Show, Belfast Dog, Poultry & Pig Society show and the County Antrim Agricultural Association Show. That is besides the dozens of English County Shows he attended, both as a judge in Poultry and Collie dogs and as an exhibitor.
One of his early successes as a breeder of Rough Collies was in April 1887 at the Warwickshire Dog Show, where his dog Sir Latham was awarded 3rd prize. In July of 1887 at the Chester Show, Sir Latham won first prize and a special silver cup award. In Belfast in 1891, his pair of Rough Collies, Ormskirk Paradox and Ormskirk Stella both won first place in the Dog and Bitch classes respectively, then in 1892, his Ormskirk Ormonde and Ormskirk Hilda took first prize in both their classes. In Dublin in 1893, Ormskirk Hermit and Ormskirk Memoir again won their class.
The Stretch family of Vine Cottage were a family with very close connections to many of the town’s noted families, for more information on the family please visit our group at https://www.facebook.com/Ormskirkbygonetimes
Coulton’s Bakery, Windmill Avenue
In 1901, Thomas Coulton (1870 – 1936) had a small grocery shop at 22 Wigan Road with a bakery at the rear owned by William Fryer. Thomas had served his apprenticeship with Ainsdale baker Robert T. Duerden but had been born in Halsall/Rufford.
The bakery was taken over by Thomas Coulton and the new factory was built in 1903 on Windmill Avenue. By 1911, Coulton, the Managing Director of the bakery, had moved his family into the large family home Blairgowrie, Ruff Lane, later to become the Nurses Home.
Thomas travelled to the United States in the early 1920s to look at the mechanical processes used there in bakeries and his son Wilfred also travelled to North America in the 1920s as the Bakery Manager visiting factories in the Chicago area. Wilfred is recorded as travelling to the USA quite a few times in the early 1920s. On one journey he appears to have travelled with a Mr Warburton.
Bakery factories in Canada were visited by Wilfred in 1921, the Harrison Wholesale Bread Baker factory in Montreal, and the Ideal Bread Company in Toronto, Ontario.
The Ormskirk Bakery business thrived and modern methods of production were brought into the factory. Local deliveries, domestic and commercial, meant that the Coulton Vans became familiar sights around the area, with the business expanding to a factory in the Southport area, where Thomas Coulton lived in the later years of his life.
Thomas Coulton took a keen interest in local civic matters and he sat on several committees at the Workhouse in Wigan Road during the 1920s.
If you have any of your own stories relating to Coulton’s Bakery or any of the other businesses in the town we would love to hear them, so get in touch with us here.
Time In A Bottle
Ormskirk’s history is being preserved and displayed by Ormskirk Bygone Times and many of our friends, through a myriad of media and artefacts. One relatively inexpensive, and quite simple way that this is being done is by the collection of discarded bottles, storage jars and other empty vessels, long since emptied of their contents.
The first image is of a group of rescued glass and earthenware bottles and vessels that covers a vast array of manufacturers across the decades, all with links to the town. From left to right:
Richard Taylor, Brewer of the Wheatsheaf Hotel, Burscough Street. Bottles like this were sold through the off license hatch to the side of the old pub way back into the early 1900s.
The Sterling Manufacturing Company of the old factory on Bridge Street produced a range of household cleaning products in the 1940s and 50s, including bleach, distemper and oils.
The partnership of Ellis, Warde & Webster based at Bath Springs brewery on Derby Street, originally built by Philip Forshaw mid 19th C., supplied many pubs across Lancashire and were a huge business in the town.
Woods Dispensing Chemist, 9, Church Street. William Beaconsfield Woods had been an apprentice to his Pharmacist father who was probably working at the dispensary in Burscough Street in the late 1800s.
Ellis Warde & Co Ltd. Originally brewed their ales at the Snigs Foot before merging with Daniel Websters Brewery from the Malt House Southport Rd and moving to Derby Street
Hyde’s wine and spirit dealers had a couple of premises along Aughton Street late 1800s into the early 1900s but along with the licensing restrictions on pubs at the start of WW1, retailers of beers and wines were also hit and the Hyde family moved to Liverpool.
Two bottles recently dug up locally, these came from the Knowles Brewery, operating from behind the Snigs Foot, Church Street. Richard Knowles announced his venture into brewing on the front page of the Advertiser in September 1904, when Ellis & Warde moved their operation to Bath Springs.
Mineral Water was big business in the town in the late 19th early 20th century. It was clean, safe drinking water and these two examples are from the firm of Charles Mason of Skelmersdale and George Cammack of Ormskirk & St Helens.
This type of throw away clay inkwell surfaces regularly in the fields around the town. Thrown into middens in Liverpool City in the 19th century and transported out of the city on canal barges buried in the rich natural fertiliser West Lancs built it’s agricultural industry on. Clay pipes have been ploughed up in the fields around Ormskirk for decades and sometimes they are still lit……
Ormskirk Bygone Times would like to say a special thanks to David Pye, our local bottle expert, who regularly attends our displays and spends a lot of time identifying all manner of vessels relating to local businesses.