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2019-04-11 The Life of William Beamont.

On Thursday April 11th, 2029, the members and visitors were treated to a very well researched and enthralling account of William Beamont who did much good work in Warrington and became its first major after the borough was formed in its modern format.

The talk was given by local historian and author H Wells. (Harry Wells) from the accumulation of many years of research into the private diaries and  information held by the archives from the donation of Beamont's papers to the Warrington Library and archives. He was a major instigator in forming the library  which was the first in England supported out of the town rates.


William Beamont 17971889 First Mayor of Warrington 18471848 wiki commons JPG


Painter notes: Beaumont painting attributed to Thomas Francis Dicksee
Description: British painter Date of birth/death 13 December 1819 6 November 1895; Location of birth/death London London


William Beamont was apprenticed as a lawyer and studied with firms in Cheshire and London before opening his own  offices in central Warrington.

He gained a considerable reputation and was moderately wealthy, however his background and his internal thoughts reconciling the 'bad use of the law' by others and his ethics  from his early enforced religious upbringing made him into a very powerful honest lawyer and he put his talents to use to benefit the people of Warrington. Like many men of his time he kept copious notes in his pocket books and journals which with other artefacts left to the Library and Archives allows us to get a more rounded picture of the man than any of his contemporaries.
His output as an author of historical affairs was very considerable and some are still on sale as 'e-books'.

During his life he had many doubts about his abilities and his capability to do good by his ethics and these thoughts are recorded in his journals. Mr Wells's talk have some slides with various quotations of Beamont's statements originally written only for Beamont's own eyes.

Additional material edited 20190426 Mr Harry Wells' talk.

We have been very kindly given a copy of the text of the talk given by Mr Wells, [Copyright of Mr H Wells], along with some of his slides.
The talk is reproduced below. The webmaster thanks Mr Wells greatly for the honour to reproduce the talk.


William Beamont.
William Beamont’s name is well known in Warrington because of the schools which are named after him. He is also known as the first mayor of the borough of Warrington which was established in 1847, but he was also a prolific local history writer, traveller, and philanthropist.

Beamont’s funeral took place at Christ Church, Padgate, on Saturday 8 June 1889, attended by the Rector of Warrington, vicars and other clergy from most of the Warrington churches, the Principal of the Training College, the head teachers of numerous schools, representatives of the Conservative Party and those of other political persuasions, as well as the mayor, aldermen and burgesses of Warrington, magistrates, judges, solicitors, army officers, etc.

The epitaph on his gravestone reads: ‘Thro’ all this tract of years wearing the white flower of a blameless life. Blessed are the pure in heart. Blessed is he that soweth beside all waters’. The quotations are from the New Testament and from Tennyson’s ‘Idylls of the King’ and the words obviously parallel Letittia’s own feelings about her late husband and the qualities he showed, expressed in the language of the time.

At the funeral we see represented all the strands of Beamont’s life: his career in the law, his civic roles, local politics, the Church of England, and education. He would have considered his most important achievements to have been in the field of education. He built or took a leading role in the building of numerous schools, Orford chapel-school, St Ann’s schools, Heathside girls’ school, the Ladies school, Hamilton Street schools, and Woolston school. But probably what impresses us most from the funeral is that he was greatly respected across all sections of Warrington society.

But you and I have an advantage over his contemporaries: we can read his diaries and correspondence. We can see Beamont as he saw himself. The traditional image appears very different from the troubled character of the young man we come face to face with in his early diaries and correspondence.

 William Beamont photo (c) Warrington Museum Art Gallery Culture Warrington DSC 0210

By courtesy of Culture Warrington:
William Beamont photo (c) WarringtoWilliam Beamont photoWn Museum Art Gallery Culture Warrington DSC 0210

A Bridge Street boy.
Beamont’s parents William and Jane, were drapers, who lived at their shop in Bridge Street, Warrington.
The second of four children, he was born in 1797. The shop stood at the top of Bridge Street close to Market Gate but was demolished when the present Market Gate circus was created.

From about the age of 7 he was sent to a boarding school in Chester run by a Mr Sigismund Stolterfoht, where he obtained the foundations of his knowledge of the classics. He then at the age of 14 was sent to Knutsford to begin his training in the law profession. At Knutsford he lived in Mrs Alcock’s lodging house in Silk Mill Street.

In 1818 Beamont went to live in London to complete his training at the office of Wright and Cole in Serjeant’s Inn. In London he kept a detailed diary in the pages of which we meet a serious young man torn by conflict between on the one side what he perceives as the corrupt inclinations of his nature and the almost uncontrollable sensual appetites of the body, and on the other the diametrically opposed and unbending dictates of the Christian life.

His main failing, he identified as a natural disposition to indolence. His idleness then becomes a breeding ground for gluttony and the slavery of habit, and he identifies within his soul a whole catalogue of other related vices: anger, lack of charity, envy, hate, pride, vanity and sadism.

A social conscience,
But not all is negative introspection. In the London diaries we find the beginnings of Beamont’s social conscience. When he arrived in London, Beamont was confronted with the desperate poverty of the urban poor. For women in poverty there was the possibility of prostitution, and Beamont observed that they were not only on the streets: but the theatres were packed with them, as he was surprised to discover on a visit to Covent Garden, when he found the saloon adjoining the boxes ‘swarming with girls of the town and could not help wondering that such a use should be made of what was intended for other purposes’. The practice, he discovered, was for theatre managers to regularly distribute free tickets to the more attractive of the girls as their presence was thought an advantage to the theatre.

The law.
The young Beamont believed that the law should be the means of righting some of the wrongs of society. However, the absence of morality and justice in the law shocked him and caused him to examine his own intentions. He came close to abandoning his career, but in April 1819 resolved to continue and personally never to be involved in an unjust case, but to be an honest lawyer and ‘dare to be good’. Beamont returned to Warrington in March 1820 and set up as an attorney in a large old house by the Barley Mow in Warrington market place, where he continued to practise as a solicitor for nearly 50 years.

Beamont's offices now Rhode Island Coffee copyright H wells AP12C11Su250312

Beamont's offices now Rhode Island Coffee copyright H Wells AP12C11Su250312

The Beamont plaque c H Wells SE96A30Su110896

The Beamont plaque (c) H Wells SE96A30Su110896 on wallo fhis former office.

Beamont was married at Warrington Parish Church, on 27 December 1825 to Ann Gaskell, the daughter of. John and Agnes Gaskell. Ann and William lived for virtually all of their married life in Bewsey Street, initially at what was then No. 2, at the Winwick Street end of the street. Just over two years after their marriage, at the age of 38, Ann gave birth to her first child, William John. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge and became the incumbent of St Michael’s church Cambridge. He published a grammar of the Arabic language and made trips to the Middle East where he preached to the people in Arabic and Hebrew. He died in 1868, aged 40. The Beamonts’ second child, John Gaskell, named after Ann’s father, died in 1831 at the age of nine months, probably from whooping cough.

It was probably in 1837, soon after his mother Jane’s death, that William and Ann removed to the old Beamont family home, No. 50, which was a spacious house, with a garden. The house now bears a plaque to a former inhabitant, Gilbert Wakefield, who was a tutor at the Warrington Academy

Behind the house there was a yard and a large garden, with apple and pear trees, dominated by an old malt kiln. Beamont sold the house in September 1843 as a vicarage for the local church. The Beamonts then moved into a larger house two doors away. There was a large garden, coach house and stables. Ann held a weekly reading and sewing class at the house. The clothes made there were then distributed to needy children in the class and also to those at Orford school.

The walled garden was Ann’s special province, where she could enjoy the peace and tranquillity she needed. She kept rabbits and hens there, and cultivated her plants in a greenhouse which was the envy of the neighbourhood. Friends would give her plants or cuttings which thrived under her care. Holidays provided a further opportunity to collect specimens.

As High Constable, Beamont had been involved in the administration of the Warrington township from 1829 until 1844, and had seen the flaws and evils of the old system. So it was that in 1846 he became one of the leading proponents of political reform, in a campaign which culminated in the town’s application to become a municipal borough. Beamont, in recognition of his leadership and the respect, in 1847 became the town’s first mayor.

Beamonts house at No 65 formerly 50 Bewsey Street (c) H Wells SAU9815 


 Beamont's house at No 65 formerly 50 Bewsey Street (c) H Wells SAU9815


Museum and Library.

During Beamont’s term as mayor a resolution was passed on 3 June 1848 to establish the first free museum and library ‘in the manufacturing districts’. Later, Beamont, as chairman of the Museum and Library Committee, proposed that a spacious new museum and library be erected which would be freely open to the public. In recognition of his role, Beamont himself was given the honour of laying the foundation stone. A long procession which included local dignitaries, religious leaders and schools wound through the town from the Market Place to Bold Street, where the mayor, Henry White, handed the ceremonial trowel to Beamont to the accompaniment of a resounding cheer.

Beamont was a member of the board of Union guardians, so when large new workhouse was planned in 1849 he found himself appointed to the building committee. The old premises in Church Street and at Newton were found inadequate by an inspector who commented that the Warrington Workhouse was surrounded by ditches of stagnant water, breeding disease. Now a much larger, modern building erected on land near Whitecross was opened in 1851. Subsequently a workhouse infirmary was built, which eventually became the Borough General Hospital.

Rock Villas.
In 1859, the Beamonts left Bewsey Street to more rural surroundings, in the hope of achieving some improvement in Ann’s deteriorating health. Peter Rylands occupied their former house which had once been his family home. The Rylands family at that time, like other local industrialists, supporters of the Liberal party and, when Peter eventually left the house it became the Warrington Liberal Club. The front was reconstructed as a much grander club building which bears the date 1913. However, the rear portion of Beamont’s old house was retained and, remarkably, still survives. The large garden at the side became the club’s bowling green and it too may still be seen.

Ann was about to turn 70, but she had outlived nine of her siblings, with just her younger unmarried sister Mary left and must have felt she was approaching the final phase of her life. On Thursday 24 November, Ann may have sensed the end was approaching. Driven by her passion to save children from sin, probably connected with old feelings of personal guilt, she went to town in her phaeton to buy some religious tracts. As soon as she returned she began to distribute them to children in the neighbourhood. Ann finally came home to the house at Common Lane about seven o’ clock that evening, sat down, leant her head back and died without uttering a sound.

The funeral was held at Grappenhall where Ann was buried. There is no monument, not even a gravestone at Grappenhall, but in November 1860 a memorial east window was installed by public subscription in St Paul’s church, Bewsey Road, only a stone’s throw from their old house. The subject, the charity of Dorcas, chosen to mark Ann’s lifelong involvement with charity in the poorest districts of town and the figure of Dorcas was particularly appropriate in that she had for many years held a girls’ sewing class on Saturdays in their Bewsey Street home. The church was demolished in 1984.

Without Ann
Ann was an exceptional person who made a deep impression on all who met her. She was so influential in Beamont’s life that we may fairly divide it into three parts, before Ann, with Ann and after Ann. Marriage in 1825 had transformed the troubled young man we meet in his early diaries and Ann’s death would have an even greater effect, when the recognition of her faith and example transformed him into the great philanthropist and builder of church schools and churches which he then became.

Orford School.
Beamont’s first project was to rebuild the school at Orford. The work was undertaken in memory of his beloved wife Ann, who had recently died and who had been so committed to the school. A large memorial stone to that effect with the date 1860 was placed high in the south gable. He was surely right in believing a new school at Orford was what she would have most wanted and that would be the most fitting memorial to her. The building was demolished in 1987.

St Ann’s Church.
It was largely due to Beamont’s efforts that a new parish of St Ann’s was formed in 1864. Beamont gave the land for new church schools to be built, which were opened in the same year. He endowed the vicar in memory of his first wife. Indeed the church dedication itself, originally to have been to St Mark, was chosen in memory of Ann. William doubtless remembered that he himself once wrote to her
‘if I ever feel inclined to worship a saint I believe I shall choose St Ann’. The church is now a climbing centre.

The Town Misssion
Building new churches and schools were not Beamont’s only religious enterprise. There was something else which Ann would have supported just as strongly. She had spent her life bringing comfort, charity and religious teaching to the young and the poor. On the very day of her death she was distributing tracts to the children of the neighbourhood. Now, Beamont with the support of others set about promoting a Town Mission for Warrington. An important principle of the Mission was that it should be entirely non-denominational. Four mission agents were taken on, each with a portion of the town to cover. They would visit people at their own houses and read the Bible to them.

A Second Marriage.
Needed the companionship, care and day to day support of a wife, so, after an interval of three and a half years, he remarried, to a middle-aged acquaintance, Letitia Naegeli. Three years after the wedding, an opportunity presented itself which Beamont had probably half dreamt of since his youth: Orford Hall, the old seat of the Blackburnes, became vacant.

On 1 August 1866, Beamont took a seven-year lease of the hall from John Ireland Blackburne at an annual rent of £100. Included in the lease of the house were the garden, lanes and pleasure grounds and a coach house, stables, granary and other outbuildings. Beamont enjoyed a long and very productive retirement at Orford. His travelling exploits abroad were now over, but retirement simply meant a greater opportunity for commitment to public service as well as more time for research and writing. Sundays of course were wholly taken up with participation in church services and William’s Sunday School teaching. Weekdays were filled with a dizzying activity. Regular meetings connected with the many responsibilities Beamont had assumed took up much of his diary. There could easily be several meetings on the same day, all of which he would attend. Nor was he content to sit and listen; he always took a leading part in proceedings to ensure progress was made and was a willing volunteer to chair committees or serve on sub-committees.

The Beamonts’ social life can only be described as hectic, with frequent visits to stay with friends in London, Wales and elsewhere, and an unceasing round of social engagements and other local events. When they were at home, much of the day was taken up with callers.

Considering Beamont’s social and public commitments, the extent of his personal antiquarian and literary activities is truly astonishing. He now, in his so-called retirement at Orford, became a regular weekly correspondent of the Warrington Guardian and from 1868 to 1884 made a significant contribution to the newspaper, virtually none of it under his own name. This was the period of his life which saw the prolific output of local history works, the greatest of his literary achievements being his monumental 3 volume Annals of the Lords of Warrington and Bewsey.

The last years.
In 1881 he remarked that up to then he had only suffered a few days’ illness from his childhood. However by 1884 things were becoming difficult. In January 1885 he realizes old age is upon him and complains ‘alas I begin to find my powers of body failing. My hearing is bad and my sight … worse. I am almost blind but I thank heaven whose mercy has spared me my faculties so long’.
By the beginning of 1888 his strength was rapidly diminishing and his commitments ceased one by one. The end occurred at Orford Hall at ten past twelve in the early morning of Thursday 6 June, 1889. It was said that he had caught a chill on a visit to the Guardian Office in Sankey Street which gave rise to a short illness of about six weeks.

H Wells, 16 April 2019



His Life as recorded in the National Archives.

Extract from National Archive and Livewire Warrington Library and Archive Service
This text contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

Mayor and Antiquarian.

William Beamont (1797-1889) was, in his day, undoubtedly the most notable figure in the town of Warrington. A solicitor by profession, he was the first Mayor of the town, and actively involved in public affairs all his life. He was a great benefactor, sponsoring and endowing many local institutions and charities. He was also a keen antiquarian and historian.

He was born in Warrington, his father being an established linen draper in the town. His early education was at a dame school kept by a “Mrs Birch” (His nickname for the actual lady, our speaker named the lady), then at a boarding school in Chester conducted by a Mr Stolterforth. His chosen profession was the law: he was articled to a Mr Strethill Wright in Knutsford, completed his training in London, then came back to practise in the Market Place in Warrington, in premises subsequently occupied by Messrs Robert Davies & co.

He devoted a large part of his time to public affairs. He was instrumental in bringing about the incorporation of the town. In "Some remarks as to the Necessity for a Corporation, in a Letter addressed to the Inhabitants of Warrington" (1846) he set out arguments in support of this. A petition for a charter of incorporation went before the Privy Council and was granted in 1847. He was elected Mayor at the council's inaugural meeting. He sat on several committees, and in days when private money found its way into public concerns he spent a large sum of his own money to complete and connect sewers in the town. He was chairman of the Savings Bank, attended meetings of the Gas Board, worked hard for the Infirmary, to mention but a few other of his concerns. He also held the offices of High Constable and clerk to the magistrates.

Museum and Library.

He was the first chairman of the Museum and Library Committee in 1848. A circulating Library had been established in the town in 1760, maintained largely by private subscription. It became fully rate supported in 1848 - the first of its kind in the country - uniting with the museum of the local Natural History Society, which had been founded in 1835. This had been achieved through his efforts together with the first Town Clerk, John Fitchett Marsh. It was at first housed in rented premises in Friars Green. He laid the foundation stone of the present building in Museum Street in 1855. This was enlarged in 1876 by the addition of the Art Gallery. Although he resigned as an alderman in 1854, he remained (co-opted) as Chairman of the Museum and Library Committee until his death.

A devout Church of England churchman, he was renowned for his charitable deeds and unstinting financial generosity. His name is, in this context, linked with various educational establishments, including the Mechanics Institute, the School of Art, the Grammar School, Heathside Schools, St Ann's School and Orford Schools. He built and endowed St Ann's church, and endowed the parish of Orford. Here at Orford, in the combined school and church (used Monday to Saturday as a school and Sundays as a church and Sunday School) he attended services, read lessons and taught at the Sunday School until he was 90 years old. He campaigned to build a hospital to replace the Warrington Dispensary (opened in 1810) which had become inadequate for the needs of the town, setting up a fund and initiating a group to work to this end. The Infirmary was opened in 1872, with "Beamont Ward" a monument to his interest in the project.

Warrington Library and Museum geographorguk 1304989

Eirian Evans / Warrington Library & Museum / CC BY-SA


Education: "College of Art" under his auspices.

Warrington Collegiate Institute building College of Art geographorguk 1304995


Warrington College of Art, by Eirian Evans, CC BY-SA 2.0, Warrington Collegiate Institute building - - 1304995.jpg


Historical research and publishing historical books and notes on his foreign trips.

He held a lifelong interest in antiquarian and historical research, especially after retirement from his professional work c1865. He had many works published, numbering some sixty or more books and pamphlets. These include histories of Warrington and the surrounding parishes and townships, books based on his foreign tours, and transcripts or abstracts of historical documents. His own copies of several of these, with notes, additions and pasted in news-cuttings etc., are preserved in the Library Reference Section. He left a large quantity of unpublished material, which forms the basis of the Beamont Collection. He was also a member and officer of various Lancashire and Cheshire learned societies, and a voluminous contributor to newspapers, especially the "Warrington Guardian".


His first wife was Ann Gaskell, the daughter of John Gaskell, a Warrington merchant. The authoress, Mrs Gaskell, was a distant relative. Ann Beamont was so active in charitable and church work herself that he claimed that in some parts of the town he was known as Mrs Beaumont's husband. She died in 1859. They had lived in the town in Bewsey Street, but after her death he moved to Rock Villas, Latchford.


His second wife was Laetitia Naegeli, who was of Swiss parentage. She too distinguished herself in the community by charitable deeds, and continued to do so after his death. She herself died in 1902, and the residue of her estate went to the "Beamont Charity" for "well conducted persons who have known better days". They had lived for most of their married life at Orford Hall, which they rented from the Ireland-Blackburne family.



Two children were born of the first marriage. One son, John, died in infancy in 1829. The other son, William John (1828-1868), was a clergyman and author. He was educated at the Warrington Grammar School, Eton, and Trinity College, Cambridge. He toured Egypt and Palestine as a young man, was ordained in 1854 and spent some time in Jerusalem where he was engaged in educating intending missionaries to Abyssinia, Sunday School work and in preaching both in English and Arabic. He was a chaplain to the camp hospitals of the British army before Sebastopol. He returned to England in 1855, became curate of St John's, Broad Street, Drury Lane, London, then in 1858 accepted the vicarage of St Michael's, Cambridge. He died, aged 40, in 1868, his death hastened by a fever caught in the east. He had many works published, was the founder of the Cambridge School of Art (1858) and Church Defence Association (1859). He was also the originator of the Church Congress (1861).

William John Beamont has a much bigger 'profile' in the reference books and websites than his father William Beamont.

Pioneer of Local History.

William Beamont has been criticised, in his lifetime and after his death, over certain inaccuracies and shortcomings, but it needs to be remembered that as a local historian of his time he was in many ways a pioneer. No-one can doubt his industry and application. It has been questioned how a man who was so actively engaged in his own profession and in public life found time to write so many books. Albeit by then retired from the law, he once partly disclosed the secret when he said "I spend several hours before breakfast every morning on the work". He was then 80 years of age.


 Thanks to speaker Mr H Wells.

Mr Wells's website and publications;

HWells photo ex his website N 044b sum06


The members and visitors thank Mr Wells for his many years of research which gave us an interesting insite into our town's early formation.

His publications are available from his website or by contact to Mr Wells,



History of Victorian Costume and Social Change.

Thursday 14th March 2019 by Barbera Joyce on "100 Years of Costume Drama.How clothes reflect social change in the 19th century".

On Thursday evening the 14th of March 2019 members and one visitor enjoyed a vivid description of the change in costume of men and women during the Victorian era. The talk was illustrated by images of clothes from the various decades of the Victorian period.

source unknown ex wikipedia commons public domain Victoriah Fashions JPG

source unknown ex Wikipedia commons public domain Victorian Fashions.

800px Frith A Private View detail


Ex Wikipedia: [Picture is currently in a private collection] A Private View at the Royal Academy, 1881 is a painting by the English artist William Powell Frith exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 1883. It depicts a group of distinguished Victorians visiting the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1881, just after the death of the Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, whose portrait by John Everett Millais was included on a screen at the special request of Queen Victoria (visible in the archway at the back of the room). The room is Gallery III, the largest and most imposing room at Burlington House.

Frith worked on the painting through much of 1881 and 1882. He later said in My Autobiography and Reminiscences, published in 1887, that "Beyond the desire of recording for posterity the aesthetic craze as regards dress, I wished to hit the folly of listening to self-elected critics in matters of taste, whether in dress or art. I therefore planned a group, consisting of a well-known apostle of the beautiful, with a herd of eager worshippers surrounding him."

The subject of the painting is the contrast between lasting historical achievements and ephemeral fads. The portrait of Disraeli represents the former, and the influence of the Aesthetic movement in dress represents the latter. Aesthetic dress is exemplified by the principal female figures, to the left, in green, pink and orange clothing. Oscar Wilde, one of the main proponents of Aestheticism, is depicted at the right behind the boy in the green suit, with signature lily buttonhole, surrounded by female admirers.


Social Status.

The speaker noted how the illustrations and recorded descriptions of people’s clothes were very much indicators of social status. The wealthy could afford to have clothes made for ordinary use and for display and could preserve them or hand them down to others. Therefore surviving clothing is mainly from the wealthy whose clothes were not subject to rough work or wear.

Society was stratified and the clothes of the wealthy group changed with fashion and influenced the other classes trying to emulate them in dress. As display symbols of wealth some types of clothing needed extreme care and maintenance to ‘keep their looks’.

The subject of clothing in that era has considerable documentation and many available studies and websites devoted to it, and so the speaker talked mainly about the wealthier class.

1837 Dress





An 1837 dress showing the tight waste and corsetting.        









1844 fashion plate depicting fashionable clothing for men and women including illustrations of a glove and bonnets Magasin fr konst nyheter och moder 1844 illustration nr 8

1844 fashion plate depicting fashionable clothing for men and women. 


Fasiona plate girls 1870

Fasion plate girls 1870 French Magazine


victorian mens costumes 1


1861 Victorian mens costumes plate 1   



victorian mens costumes 2

 Victorian mens costumes plate 2. Top Hats were an expensive item and required hours of maintenance.   


Change in cost and method.

At the start of the Victorian era most clothes were hand made and hand cut and sewn. As the period developed the fruits of the industrial revolution and the availability of cotton made great changes. The sewing machine altered both household ability to make clothes and in industrial factories led to mass market cheaper clothing.
Cotton thread and the sewing machine revolutionised clothing manufacture.

Clothes were changed many times per day by the wealthy and the up and coming middle classes who could afford to emulate them. Morning dress, day dress and evening dress developed with subsets of evening dress for ladies depending on the event to which people were going.


Late Evening 2nd Bustle Era 1880s Dress



1880s Evening Dress. Dresses Cut low for some events but high for others. Do not make a mistake about the rules!


Punch Masculine beauty retouched1 PNG

 A comment on dress which shows both the pose, and the middle class children's holiday dress. 


Second hand market and business. A very large industry.

As wealth and leisure dictated the higher fashions, after use or when unfashionable these clothes were disposed of to the second hand market or distributed to servants who wore or changed the clothes to suit their purposes. The business of making new clothes ran alongside a much larger trade in altering and selling second hand, or third hand or fourth or fifth hand clothing.
As long as it was still wearable there was a market for it. Such large usually unlicensed or irregular markets also gave cover for more dubious or criminal activity in some parts, with some dealers handling both legitimate clothing and other illegal business. The ‘Petticoat Lane’ market in London existed from its ‘Hog Lane’ Tudor name to ‘Petticoat Lane’ in early Victorian times but changed its name to ‘Middlesex Street’ in the 1830s and only became a licensed formal market place in 1930.


Social change.

As the wealthy displayed, and changed fashion it was then as now, important for some people to ‘keep up with your peers’ in display matters, and changes occurred and worked down though the emerging middle class and by the second hand market route was seen later on the poor, although altered to suit their daily use.
The increasing cash available to the middle and working classes changed the range and availability of clothes and footwear from the beginning of the Victorian era to its end, and industry developed mass market clothes to sell to them.

PublicDomain Overcoat left and topcoat right from The Gazette of Fashion 1872 5 187 Mens Coats 1872 Fashion Plate

PublicDomain Overcoat left and topcoat right from The Gazette of Fashion 1872 5 187 Mens Coats 1872 Fashion Plate



Crinoline and mass manufacture.

LACountyMuseumOdArt Womans Cage Crinoline LACMA M2007211380

From USA, LA County Museum Of Art Woman's Cage Crinoline LACMA M2007211380


With the replacement of many layers of petticoats by a ‘crinoline’ support frame, ladies were able to walk unhampered by the heavy weight of many cloth or horse hair stiffened petticoats but sitting down could lead to lower body display unless the crinoline was correctly folded for modesty. Thus arose the undergarment knickers industry for ladies who previously had not worn such undergarments.
This became a large manufacturing industry in many materials with steel forms being easy to manufacture, fold and ship to market.

Image: Woman's Cage Crinoline Image

Description: English:
England, circa 1865
Costumes; underwear (lower body)
Cotton-braid-covered steel, cotton twill and plain-weave double-cloth tape, cane, and metal
Center back length: 36 1/2 in. (92.71 cm); Diameter: 38 1/2 in. (97.79 cm)
Purchased with funds provided by Suzanne A. Saperstein and Michael and Ellen Michelson, with additional funding from the Costume Council, the Edgerton Foundation, Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer, Maureen H. Shapiro, Grace Tsao, and Lenore and Richard Wayne (M.2007.211.380)
Costume and Textiles
Date circa 1865
Collection Los Angeles County Museum of Art




The advent of chemical dyes during the mid-Victorian period and ability to ‘print’ on cotton made a change in the range and colour of clothes used by people.



As Victorians had a defined ritual for mourning with many subsets of periods and type of dress, a major proportion of the business of dyers was the dying of existing formal clothes black for those who could not afford ‘new mourning clothes.

 Public Domain Princess Beatrice mourning

Public Domain Princess Beatrice mourning



From Durham university website for schools.

What did the poor wear?

Poor families owned a very few everyday outfits and, if they were lucky, some smarter clothes to wear to church or on special occasions. Many outfits were bought second-hand and were passed down through the family. Clothes would have been mended and patched for as long as possible.

Clothes had to be practical. You had to be able to work in them and they had to last a long time. They were often made from wool or cotton in dark colours as this was cheaper and the dirt didn't show as much. Shoes also had to last a long time. Some people wore heavy boots with thick hob-nailed soles. Women wore caps and bonnets not just to be respectable but to keep hair from getting caught in machines and to fend off dirt and head lice.

Children wore clothes handed down from older family members. Not all families could afford shoes for their children so some had to go barefoot.

 Child workers dress main qimg e4e37ced571a198b0ed1e0b57e6a0796 c

Child workers dress main qimg e4e37ced571a198b0ed1e0b57e6a0796 c

Children in corner Katherine Bailey PhD Victorian Era Media Studies main qimg 8afec442d44416c74e876e1844b9adf7 c

Children in corner Katherine Bailey PhD Victorian Era Media Studies main qimg 8afec4

 poorer class dress main qimg cbe4847b8a1dcdae9bf83f9d1505cee6 c

 poorer class dress main qimg cbe4847b8a1dcdae9bf83f9d1505cee6 c

 Three street children Katherine Bailey PhD Victorian Era Media Studies main qimg 37c43fdabd3e917b651e7c76c4a7817b c

Three street children Katherine Bailey PhD Victorian Era Media Studies main qimg 37c43fdabd3e917b651e7c76c4a7817b c

 Photograph showing a Victorian family at work making trousers Image courtesy of wwweridingnet poorclothessml

Photograph showing a Victorian family at work making trousers Image courtesy of poorclothessml



The members and their visitors thank the speaker for her most interesting talk, which took us through a very rapid time of social change reflected in the clothes of people

and changing methods of manufacture.


 Some Links for Further Study.

A video on hand stiching of clothes before mass manufacture.

Victorian Hand-Sewing: The Sew and Fell Stitch.












































Poor clothes exQuora main qimg 8afec442d44416c74e876e1844b9adf7 c

2019-02-14 Impromptu

Impromptu Talk replaced scheduled talk.

Our meeting on February 14th, 2019, a talk by Philip Jeffs on “A Basic History of Warrington through Maps” was abandoned due to technical difficulties with the projector-computer combination. The group hopes to enjoy Philip's talk at a later time.

Impromptu Talk.

Marlene Nolan with much professionalism of ‘the show must go on’ type stepped up to the front and gave a much enjoyed impromptu talk on Culcheth’s past.

Marlene showed some slides from her own personal research notes into Culcheth’s past and talked of the persons, places, and change to the area though records she has researched, and answered questions from the audience.

Marlene’s ‘off the cuff’ talk was much appreciated by our members and visitors.

Old Maps

Below by courtesy of the of the National Library of Scotland, and reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland are a couple of early Ordnance Survey maps circa 1900 from the Lancashire Sheet areas of the Ordnance Survey.

These do not show the older Culcheth, but at a time ‘after the railway development’ era, and one should note that our nearby Kenyon Junction is the oldest junction stop, and has entered crime novels due to its fame. The “Culcheth” name itself is not on one of the maps but “Newchurch” is the name given at both east and west of the present village centre, while on the other map “Newchurch” is the village place name with a “Culcheth Hall” nearby also named.


Culcheth 1900 OS map Screenshot 2019 02 28 18 50 46


Lancs 1900 OS Map Screenshot 2019 02 28 19 04 54


The group thanks Philip Jeffs for his help during an eventful evening and Marlen Nolan for her succesful impromptu talk.


The Raven Inn

Planning Application Warrington Borough Council
Application Number:  Planning Application 2019/34186
You may comment by searching for this number on link:

Revision Note: as at 2019-02-28  the "Culcheth Life", monthly issue 192 March 2019, indicates that plans will be revised. 

Link below:
Campaigners want community use

Their website on 28th February 2019 notes
Campaigners would like to see historic Raven Inn become community hub
CAMPAIGNERS battling to save the historic 16th Century Raven Inn at Glazebury, Warrington, say they would like to see it transformed into a community hub for future generations to enjoy

The Warrington Guardian has also writen about this

The WireFM has reported on iT.

 Warrington Worldwide has also reported on this.


Zoe Chaddock photo The Raven Inn circa 2013 small IMG 2099

 The Raven Inn circa 2013. Image by Zoe Chaddock, copyright Zoe Chaddock.


 Our members have given a brief detail of its history.
History of The Raven copyright Zoe Chaddock.


The Raven Inn: said to date from 1562.
The two photographs depict the Raven in the early 20th century.
Photo 1 taken when John Clough was landlord (1902 to at least 1911). Photo 2 is circa 1926.
It is one of Culcheth's oldest surviving buildings.

1825 Baines Directory and Gazetteer
Thos. Partington

1841 census
Raven between Bury Lane and Wards End
Thomas Partington 60 Publican
Mary 60
Joseph 20
Thomas 20
Mary Daniels 25 FS

1851 census
Bury Lane
Thomas Partington 72 Victualler/Farmer of 6 acres
Mary 71
Joseph 35
Thomas 33
+2 others

1854 Mannex & Co Lancashire Directory
George Daniels, Raven

1858 Post Office Directory
Raven Inn, Bury Lane
George Daniels

1861 census
Raven Bridge
George Daniels 45 Inn Keeper
Ann 28
Amelia 4mo

1864 directory
Raven inn, Bury Lane
George Daniels

1865 Slaters Directory of Lancashire Pt1
George Daniels, Raven & Sword, Bury Lane, Culcheth

1869 Slaters Trade Directory of Lancashire Pt2
George Daniels, Raven & Sword, Bury Lane, Culcheth

1871 census
The Raven
George Daniels 56 Publican
Ann 38
Amelia 10
Mary 8
William G 4
Monica 2
Denis 3mo

Leigh Div – List of licensed victuallers (Culcheth)
John Rigby / Raven / Culcheth / 30th Nov 1872 / Rat value £27

1876 Warrington, Wigan & St. Helens Directory (Inns & Pubs)
Raven, John Rigby, Bury Lane

6 December 1880 Manchester Evening News Publican attacked at Raven Inn.

1881 census
Raven Inn
John Rigby 53 Licensed victualler
Alice 51
Sarah 19
James 12
Alice 8

1885 Postal Directory Bedford-Leigh
John Rigby, licensed victualler, Raven Inn, Glazebury

1891 census
Raven Inn , Warrington Road
John Rigby wid 65 Publican
James son 22
Alice dau 18 Bar maid

 End of Zoe Chaddock's history of The Raven Inn

pub circa 1910 IMG 2089 copy2

 Raven Circa 1910 from photo inside pub taken some years ago by CLHG member.


Location map. Courtesy of and by permission of The Ordinane Survey.


20190129 OS Screenshot 2019 01 29 11 44 40

The Raven Inn, marked by + on OS map SJ67350 96068.By permissionof Ordinance Survey.


A brief outline has been published by Philip Jeffs
Brief story.

 The Raven Inn, Glazebury

Local tradition places the date of the Raven’s construction to 1562, when it is said to have been built as part of the Holcroft family’s estate in the area. The raven, after which the pub is named, is taken from the coat of arms of the Holcroft family. The Holcroft’s lands centred around their two seats, Holcroft Hall and Hurst Hall, between which the Raven Inn can be found.

During the Edwardian era Interest in the history of the site saw the building given a mock-timber cladding to “better reflect its antiquity”. The inn’s sign was repainted by the Reverend Whittenbury Kaye of Newchurch to show a truer reflection of the raven on the Holcroft coat of arms. This made the inn somewhat of a national oddity in having a sign painted by the local vicar.

Kaye’s complaint against the older sign was that it showed a raven holding a dagger standing on the body of a dead soldier. Local myth was that during a skirmish between Scottish troops and Parliamentarians towards the end of the Civil War a raven had carried a sword from the body of a soldier into the inn. This was said to be some omen the meaning of which is now long forgotten. The original sign was said to represent that mystical raven. Kaye pointed out that the raven holding a dagger was actually an ancient emblem of the Holcroft family and predated the Civil War. As such he repainted the sign to remove the dead soldier.

Whilst the raven part of the story may not have survived into modern times, stories of the battle have. Generations of locals have passed on the story of Scottish soldiers fleeing the Battle of Worcester and finding Warrington Bridge held by their opponents. The Scots were then forced to cross the Mersey by the ferry at Hollins Green, skirting around the unpassable Chatt Moss via Glazebrook and Glazebury. A skirmish, we are told, broke out as they passed the Raven.

The Reverend Kaye in his book on Colonel Blood records that ‘As late as 1879 relics of the skirmish were found. On widening the road leading from Culcheth to Leigh near the Raven Inn, a mound in an adjoining field was removed, in which were found bones and rusted weapons’. The burying of troops where they fell was a common practice during the civil war.

The noted historian George Ormerod confirms in his ‘Civil War Tracts’, written in 1844, that the Scottish troops did cross at Hollins Green when fleeing north in 1651.

The Holcroft family, for whom the pub is named, achieved notoriety for their involvement in the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII, their support for Cromwell’s forces during the Civil War, and the marriage of Maria Holcroft to Colonel Blood at Newchurch, Culcheth in 1638. Colonel Blood is, of course, best remembered for his attempt to steal the crown jewels, but that is another story for another day.

The Raven Inn has lent its name to the nearby Raven Bridge and to an early school in the village, shown on the tithe map of 1838, named appropriately the Raven School.

According to Warrington’s Local Plan of 2014, the Raven is a locally listed building, but is not yet nationally listed.

Pevsner in his “Buildings of England” states that directly beneath the mock-timbers of the pub are double pile brick walls dating from the early 1700s. Traces of the building’s earlier phases may be found within those brick walls or within the beams and roof timbers.

Surveys would have to be carried out to confirm the age of the building, and archaeological digs to confirm the presence of any battle remains. So where the boundaries lie between truth and folklore with the Raven Inn may never be fully discovered, but what is undeniable is that the building remains a symbol of the area’s history and a reminder of a time when tradition was passed down through generations of locals by the art of story-telling.

 End of Philip Jeff's brief notes.

 The Raven Inn Glazebury 1926 IMG 2093 copy1

Raven Inn circa 1926 from photo inside pub

Airships to 1918

"Triumph & Tragedy, the airship story to 1918"

A most interesting evening was had by members and visitors at a talk by David Bushby on his interest in airships and "The Triumph and Tragedy, the airship story to 1018"
in the development and use of airships with notes on the early balloonists and airship builders.

David Bushby brought an interesting collection of items about airships, toys from long ago,even a blow up model airship, and many postcards and our members were allowed to browse though his postcard album. Only a small number of pioneers and incidents are given below from a very well researched talk with both his illustrations and his display of postcards. His introduction to early British pioneers was informative as most members did not know their names.


The start of lighter than air vehicles. Paper Balloons.

Toy balloons were used hundreds of years ago for amusement in China and were called sky lanterns or Kongming Lantern. According to historical records, the inventor of hot-air balloon was Zhuge Liang (181-234), a noted politician and strategist of the Three Kingdoms Period. (Zhuge Liang was also known as Zhuge Kongming).

In the Yuan Dynasty, the hot-air balloon became popular throughout the country, and during festivals such balloons were launched, which attracted huge crowds of viewers. Joseph Needham noted that the invention of paper in China was several centuries earlier than its use in other countries; with paper people made lanterns, and some lanterns with very small hole in the upper part would rise and even float in the air due to the strong light and heat.

This Chinese industry of hot air lanterns exists to today, and these imported lanterns could be bought in UK but are now deemed a fire hazard.


Early ballooning.

There is a dispute between France and Brazil over the first hot air balloon.

1709, August 8 : Brazilian-Portuguese priest Bartolomeu de Gusmão made a presentation of a hot air balloon in Lisbon, in front of King John V and the Portuguese court. It was a small paper balloon made of paper that flew some 4 meters in the air.

In 1783, the Montgolfier brothers built a balloon using the same hot air principle, which flew 2,000 metres high, on the 4th of June of the same year. With the discovery of the hydrogen gas, Jacques Charles filled a balloon with it and flew on 23 August 1783. Although dangerous, it had the advantage of allowing a longer flight to be performed.

Medal Montgofier CC licence from Science Museum large 1946 0114 0001

The Montgolfier Brothers on a medal. Above heads, below the balloon in the clouds


reverse Mongolfier medal CC science museum download

Reverse of medal. Held in the Science Museum.

The Mongolfiers thought it was the ‘coals’ “embers” or smoke that generated the lift. This was not corrected until Englishman James Sadler demonstrated it was the ‘hot air’ that was lighter than cold air and thus gave lift to the balloon.

 reverse Mongolfier medal CC science museum download

 First Public demonstration of Balloon.  4th June 1783.

US LC cards including  First public demonstration in Annonay 4 June 1783 02562r

USLC cards including First public demonstration in Annonay 4 June 1783 02562r

Cards of balloons.



Here our speaker brought to our attention the activities of an Englishman James Sadler, who deduced the Montgolfier brothers were wrong in their understanding of the principle of lift as ‘the smoke’ but in reality the less dense hot air as hot air was ‘lighter’ than cold or ambient air. This was to the audience a most interesting unknown person and fact.

James Sadler.

Text from Wikipedia

ex james sadler balloonist 42756bd1 7377 407e a7e7 d57fd75f5a2 resize 750

James Sadler balloonist

Sadler worked as a pastry chef in the family business, The Lemon Hall Refreshment House, a small shop in Oxford.
Sadler was the second person to make a balloon ascent in England, very soon after the Tuscan Vincent Lunardi's flight on 15 September 1784 in the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company at Moorfields.
However, James Sadler was the first English Aeronaut having made his ascent during the month after on 4 October 1784 from Christ Church Meadow, Oxford. The balloon rose to about 3,600 feet and landed near Woodeaton, around six miles away. His second ascent on 12 November, this time in a hydrogen-filled balloon, reached Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire after a twenty-minute flight. In May of the following year he took off near Moulsey Hurst, Surrey, accompanied by W. Wyndham MP, hoping to reach France, but in fact descending in the Thames Estuary, and thus failing to repeat the earlier exploit of Jean-Pierre Blanchard and his passenger. Sadler made two further ascents in May 1785, the first of which was from a field behind a gentleman's garden on the site of what is now Balloon Street in Manchester. On this flight he was accompanied by a cat and landed in Radcliffe. On his second ascent he travelled alone and having risen to 13,000 ft. travelled 50 miles before landing near Pontefract, West Yorkshire. On this occasion, he sustained bad injuries after being dragged for around 2 miles by the balloon, which eventually threw him clear before taking off again empty.

He was appointed Chemist in 1796 in the newly created Naval Works Department under Sir Samuel Bentham. Although the post was only abolished in 1807, he had major disagreements with Bentham and carried out few works. His most important invention was that of the table steam engine. He was responsible for improvements to cannon design, from the barrel to the shot used, to improve accuracy; for which he was praised by Admiral Lord Nelson.

He resumed his ballooning activities although he was devastated by the death of his younger son, Windham Windham Sadler, in a ballooning accident in 1824.
He is buried at the church of St Peter-in-the-East in Oxford, now part of the college St Edmund Hall.


Although a celebrity in his own time, Sadler is largely unknown today. This has been partly attributed to his lack of writing any works and partly to class prejudice: he was only a pastry chef and not formally educated. Despite being a resident of Oxford and an accomplished scientist, the university mostly ignored him and academics looked down on him. While obituaries for Sadler were written elsewhere on his death, the university's own newspaper wrote simply, "Mr James Sadler, elder brother of Mr Sadler of Rose Hill, Oxford, has died."

Manchester connection.

A public square in Manchester was named after Sadler on 8 September 2015 by NOMA, which is a neighbourhood being developed in partnership by The Co-operative Group and Hermes Investment Management. The square is named Sadler's Yard and is near to Balloon Street.

Link to BBC articles.


Montgolfier Brothers.

The well known balloon ascent and the many articles about this and the images and engravings has instilled in the public mind the Montgolfier brothers as the main characters in hot air ballooning.



British first “airship pilot”

Ernest Willows,

Called the Father of British Airships who was issued Airship Pilots Certificate No. 1.

Ernest Thompson Willows was born 11 July 1886, Cardiff, Wales, and died 3 August 1926.

Ernest Thompson Willows (1886–1926) was a pioneer Welsh aviator and airship builder. He became the first person in the United Kingdom to hold a pilots certificate for an airship when the Royal Aero Club awarded him Airship Pilots Certificate No. 1.


 Willows Public domain 1905.Willows.No.1 tn

Willows No. 1

Built in 1905, Willows' first airship at age 19, offered some very unique features amongst airships of the day. Most notable is that it flew and was navigable! In addition to a 10 foot diameter, pusher propeller, the engine drove a pair of propellers in the front. These tractor propellers could be swivelled to direct their thrust and thus the ship could turn, ascend or descend without the use of rudders or elevators. The gas envelope of the No. 1 was 72 feet long, 18 feet in diameter, made of varnished silk (common among the early, small airships of the era), carrying a 30 foot long, triangular, steel-tube frame gondola.

He built his first airship, the Willows No. 1, in 1905 when he was 19. It was first flown from East Moors, Cardiff on 5 August 1905, the flight lasting 85 minutes. This was soon followed by an improved Willows No. 2, in which he landed outside Cardiff City Hall on 4 June 1910. No. 2 was re-built as No. 3 which he named the City of Cardiff before he flew it from London to Paris in 1910. This was the first airship crossing of the English Channel at night and the first from England to France. The journey was not without incident, including dropping the maps over the side during the night, and problems with the envelope caused the airship to land at Corbehem near Douai at two o'clock in the morning. With the help of the local French aviator Louis Breguet the airship was repaired and arrived at Paris on 28 December 1910. He celebrated New Year's Eve with a flight around the Eiffel Tower.
Willows moved to Birmingham to build his next airship, the Willows No. 4. First flown in 1912, it was sold to the Admiralty for £1,050 and it became His Majesty's Naval Airship No. 2.

 His Majestys Naval Airship No. 2 on the ground Ernest Willows airship.Willows 2a Public Domain

 His Majesty's Naval Airship No. 2 on the ground Ernest Willows airship.

 His picture is on website.


Charles Green.

Charles green was noted for using coal gas to replace hydrogen. A much less costly gas and quicker to fill a balloon.
Link and extract.

Charles Green (31 January 1785 – 26 March 1870) was the United Kingdom's most famous balloonist of the 19th century. He experimented with coal gas as a cheaper and more readily available alternative to hydrogen for lifting power. His first ascent was in a coal gas balloon on 19 July 1821. He became a professional balloonist and had made 200 ascents by 1835. In 1836, he set a major long distance record in the balloon Royal Vauxhall, flying overnight from Vauxhall Gardens in London to Weilburg, Duchy of Nassau (Germany) a distance of 480 miles (770 km). By the time he retired in 1852, he had flown in a balloon more than 500 times.

 Charles Green Balloonist 20px

Henri Giffard.

He was notable for using a steam engine in his balloon.  A steam power steering balloon. Steam was never used again.
Steerable flight. (“Dirigible”)

 A good photo of an early collectable card as an advertisement is on this site with Henri Giffard’s balloon.
A German collectible card, a so-called “Liebigbild”, added to product packaging of a meat extract
around 1900, showing Giffard on his flight.

Jules Henri Giffard, a French engineer and inventor. He built the first full-size airship — a cigar-shaped, non-rigid bag that was 143 feet (44 meters) long and had a capacity of 113,000 cubic feet (3,200 cubic meters). He also built a small 3-horsepower (2.2-kilowatt) steam engine to power a three-bladed propeller. The engine weighed 250 pounds (113 kilograms) and needed a 100-pound (45.4 kilograms) boiler to fire it.

The first flight of Giffard's steam-powered airship took place Sept. 24, 1852 — 51 years before the Wright Brothers’ first flight. Travelling at about 6 miles per hour (10 kilometres/hour), Giffard travelled almost 17 miles (27 kilometres) from the Paris racecourse to Elancourt, near Trappes. The small engine could not overcome the prevailing winds, and Giffard could only manage to turn the airship in slow circles. He did, however, prove that in calm conditions controlled flight was possible.


Santos-Dumont. A Brazilian in France.

France was the established place for airship technology and others came there to be involved at the centre of the developing industry.

Santos Dumont.

Alberto Santos-Dumont (20 July 1873 – 23 July 1932) was a Brazilian inventor and aviation pioneer, one of the very few people to have contributed significantly to the development of both lighter-than-air and heavier-than-air aircraft.

Santos Dumont WikipediaCommons photo "14 bis".

The heir of a wealthy family of coffee producers, Santos-Dumont dedicated himself to aeronautical study and experimentation in Paris, where he spent most of his adult life. In his early career he designed, built, and flew hot air balloons and early dirigibles, culminating in his winning the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize on 19 October 1901 for a flight that rounded the Eiffel Tower.

Good article in link:

He was involved in both 'lighter-than-air' machines and 'heavier-than-air' machines.

Santos Dumont was also the first to fly a “Heavier-Than-Air Machine” in Europe in 1906.

 Santos Dumont WikipediaCommons photo Voo do 14 bis. Santos Dumonts flight over Bagatelle in its 14 Bis

Photo of his “14 bis” engine powered flight.



Stanley Spencer

Stanley Edward Spencer (1868–1906) was an early English aeronaut, famous for ballooning and parachuting in several countries, and later for building and flying an airship over London in 1902

 Foto von Luftschiffer Stnley Spencer mit Familie der Zeitschrift Die Woche Nr. 40 vom 4. Oktober 1902.512px Stanley Spencer Aeronaut

 Photograph in the German boulevard magazine Die Woche showing "Luftschiffer Stanley Spencer mit Familie" (Aeronaut Stanley Spencer with family).


 Spencer designed "MellinsAirship" advertising airship


Spencer designed "Mellins Airship" advertising airship.


British airships.

Aviation in Britain Before the First World War RAE O755.By Royal Engineers official photographer This is photograph RAE O 755 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums. Public Domain 24267699

Aviation in Britain Before the First World War RAE O755.By Royal Engineers

Five British Army Airships the Nulli Secundus Dirigible No 2 the Beta the Baby and the Gamma RAE O104

Five British Army Airships the Nulli Secundus Dirigible No 2 the Beta the Baby and the Gamma RAE O104


The German developments.

Prior to the first world war, the German forces had developed on the previous ideas and built airships.
As did other forces as spotter platforms for observation and fire control.
Britain had discounted Airship Raids as ‘they flew during the day’ They were large and could be seen’ and thus easy targets.

The Germans proved the British wrong. Zeppelins flew at night, and were very difficult to shoot down as they flew at heights which took a fighter plane about 40 minutes or more to get to that height and the ammunition did not set the Zeppelins on fire, and as they had many ‘gas bags’ the lost of one or more was a mere inconvenience.
Eventually a crisis developed in the UK as ‘air raids’ became an actual event.

Here London was saved much damage as The Kaiser kept back the Germans from bombing UK for a couple of years or so. Specifically London where there were his cousins and fellow monarch, a later example of how the British at Waterloo did not shell Napoleon because Wellington said “we do not shell generals”, when asked for permission to fire on Napoleon.

Guided Airships.

Zeppelin’s developments were due to his research on the topic of "Lenkbare Luftschiffe" or "guidable airships", with rigid structural shape to with stand the forces during flight.
See link:
Article on Zeppelin.

 German 75px Bundesarchiv Bild 146 2005 0095 Graf von Zeppelin

Graf von Zeppelin


Article: on warfare.

With a comic style illustrations and story. History rendered into internet art.

Zeppelin, Count Ferdinand Graf Von Zeppelin

"On the night of January 19, 1915 two German navy Zeppelins carried out the first successful bombing run against British soil. One of the ships was the L-3. Both craft bombed from an altitude of 3,000 feet and both returned safely. On May 31, 1915, ten months into the war, the first Zeppelins showed up over London. In August 1916 two-million cubic feet mid-level ships operating at 13,000 feet went on line. It wasn't until September 2, 1916 that the British pulled the first airship out of the sky over England in direct air-to-air combat"



Zeppelin. Brief story of his life.

Extract from:

 Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin (1838-1917) was born in Konstanz, Baden on 8 April 1838 and was the first large-scale builder of the rigid dirigibles which eventually became synonymous with his name.

USA service of Count Zeppelin.

German USA War students of two continents by Alexander Gardner 1863

German USA War students of two continents by Alexander Gardner 1863 (with von Zeppelin).

Count von Zeppelin's military career was somewhat varied. During a leave of absence from the Prussian army in 1863 he served with the Union army during the U.S. Civil War. More conventionally he served with the Prussian army in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, during which he was commended for bravery.

He married, in 1869, to Isaballa Freiin von Wolff from Livonia; they had a daughter, Hella, born in Ulm in 1879.

His own fortune was put behind his ideas as he funded the research from his own money.
Zeppelin first conducted balloon trials whilst in the U.S. as a military observer during the 1860s. He subsequently founded an airship factory at Friedrichshafen using his own funds, retiring from the army in 1891 with the position of lieutenant-general. Zeppelin proceeded to devote the remainder of his life to the design and construction of engine-powered dirigibles.

The first successful trial of one of his airships took place on 2 July 1900. Eight years later Zeppelins were making routine commercial mail and passenger flights over Germany, with a remarkable safety record despite the risks in using highly flammable hydrogen gas to inflate the airships.

Zeppelin successfully persuaded the German military of the potential of using airships during wartime. Consequently Zeppelin's LZ-3 model was accepted into German army service in March 1909 as the Zeppelin Luftschiff 1. In the event, during the First World War, the German military deployed 115 Zeppelins for a variety of missions including reconnaissance and bombing, despite their vulnerability to attack and bad weather.

Zeppelin aircraft were effectively removed from front line service at Verdun in 1916, as improved Allied aircraft succeeded in achieving a higher destruction rate. Even so, newer models were introduced that could fly higher and higher, although this impacted their bombing accuracy. Their use was more or less discontinued in 1917 as Allied bombers demonstrated a consistent ability to destroy the airships.

Ferdinand von Zeppelin died on 8 March 1917 in Berlin.

German Dirigible Flying Over the British Fleet

German Dirigible Flying Over the British Fleet.



German Bull George Hotel Ramsgate Kent England German Zeppelin raid damage 1915

German Bull George Hotel Ramsgate Kent England German Zeppelin raid damage 1915.


British Airships.


Extract summary.

Airship development in the United Kingdom lagged behind that of Germany and France. The first British designed and built airship was constructed by Stanley Spencer, and on 22 September 1902 was flown 30 miles (48 km) from Crystal Palace, London to Ruislip, carrying an advertisement for baby food. A series of more practical airships was constructed by Ernest Willows, the "Willows Number 1" making its first flight near Cardiff on 5 August 1905. The Royal Navy realised that airships similar to Ferdinand von Zeppelin's designs could be of great use and in 1909 ordered construction of a rigid airship. This was completed in 1911 but was wrecked while leaving the hangar before it had flown. Meanwhile, the British Army's School of Ballooning, later the Air Battalion Royal Engineers, acquired a small fleet of semi-rigid and non-rigid airships for observation purposes; they were taken over by the Royal Navy on the creation of the Royal Naval Air Service in 1914. A large number of rigid and non-rigid airships were mainly used to counter the U-Boat campaign in World War I. Interest in military airships declined at the end of the war, but some success in the commercial field inspired the Imperial Airship Scheme; however, the disastrous crash of the R101 in 1930 ended serious government and commercial interest in airships.
Since the 1970s, there have been persistent efforts to revive a British airship industry, using new designs, materials and technologies.

Page with notes on raids on Britain and counter offences.



First Zeppelin casualty over UK.

Lieutenant Leefe Robinson, of No 39 Squadron, proved this theory wrong when on 2 September 1916 he took off from Suttons Farm, near Hornchurch and shot down with incendiary and explosive ammunition SL11, a Schütte-Lanz airship (principally of wooden structure, unlike the metal framed Zeppelins). SL11 crashed at Cuffley in Hertfordshire and Robinson was awarded the Victoria Cross.

By 1917 the strength of the Home Defence (HD) units stood at twelve squadrons, mostly operating from airfields with at least some night flying facilities. After a three month gap, a 5 airship raid on London was launched on the night of 16/17 March 1917. The attack proved ineffective due to bad weather. The same was true for three further raids during the summer of 1917.
The final Zeppelin bombing attack on England took place on the night of 5/6 August 1918 with 5 airships taking part. Once again bad weather was a factor in the effectiveness of the raid. None crossed the English coast and L70, Germany’s newest Zeppelin, was shot down by a DH 4 off Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk.

Such was the end of the Zeppelin raids.

Accidents and casualties.

There were many lives lost during the period of early development, and accidents in flight.
As in the development of most transport systems, there were many early casualties through accident or mismanagement.
The future of development of travel depends on pioneers taking acceptable risks.


The members and visitors thank Dave Bushby for a most enjoyable talk, which has shown us facts and events we did not have in our general knowledge.

Muckers on the Wire

Warrington Soldiers in World War 1

A brilliant and well received talk by Nigel Wilkinson was given on November 8th, 2018 to our Group on the first few months of the 1914 -1918 war.

The illustrations were from Nigel Wilkinson's book, "Muckers on the wire" and illustrated the lives, hopes, disappointment and horrible realities of these first few months of the war experienced by soldiers from Warrington.
They were part from the existingTerritorial Army (originally raised and intended only to fight within the UK) and the subsequent recruitment of soldiers from the local Warrington and surrounding area factories and industries.



Nigel Wilkinson










Nigel Wilkinson from a Warrington Guardian photo report when the book was published.


book muckers

Part of the cover of Nigel Wilkinson's book.


The illustrations given during the talk were superbly researched to illustrate his talk.

The South Lancashire Regiment.

Extract from records.

Regular Army

The 1st Battalion spent the war on garrison duty in Quetta, Baluchistan, on the North-West Frontier. The 2nd Battalion landed at Le Havre as part of the 7th Brigade in the 3rd Division in August 1914 and spent the entire war on the Western Front. The 3rd (Reserve) Battalion was a depot and training battalion stationed in Lancashire throughout the war.

Territorial Force

The 1/4th Battalion landed at Le Havre as part of the 7th Brigade in the 3rd Division in February 1915 for service on the Western Front. The 1/5th Battalion landed at Le Havre as part of the 12th Brigade in the 4th Division in February 1915 also for service on the Western Front.

Finish of extract.

Territorial service.

The Territorial force included the 'Warrington Soldiers" were  raised as Territorial  Soldiers who obtained an experience  different from their factory life, and the obligation of the  two weeks camp was seen as a 'paid holiday' by many Territorial Soldiers. It was a considerable attraction at the time before the First World war, when paid holidays were not normal. Often the TA group would be personnel from a specific factory with the owner  funding the group from personal wealth, and perhaps being a nominated head of the unit. The men having to pay for their own equipment and training ammunition for their rifles.

They were volunteers obliged to attend a drill hall on their off-work-day (Saturdays) for about twenty days per year and also attend a two week camp each year. (This time obligation was still the same in the 1950s.) The camp as a paid holiday in a distant area was a big attraction to young men in pre-1914 industrial towns and the owners of factories and works ‘competed’ to provide a ‘show force’ for status funded partly by their own funds.
It was originally seen as a last defence in the country against an invasion to supplement the home stationed regular army; where most regiments had battalions that rotated between home and foreign service on a 3 year tour basis, so always there was less than 50% of the regular army in the UK.

It differed little from the “Fyrd” of Saxon times:

A Fyrd was a type of early Anglo-Saxon army that was mobilised from freemen to defend their shire, or from selected representatives to join a royal expedition. Service in the Fyrd was usually of short duration and participants were expected to provide their own arms and provisions.

The Territorial Army was funded and equipped much like a Saxon era local Fyrd, namely it was raised locally for part time service with soldiers intended to provide and pay for part of their own kit, such as boots, and training ammunition (so not much actual shooting practice or musket drill was done).

 Typical camp 1913 some in uniform some in work clothes 5th Border Regiment 24585589356 91b9431626 b

Typical camp 1913 some in uniform some in work clothes 5th Border Regiment


The government of the day was trying to get a reserve force for little cost. Little had changed since Saxon times.


Then came the declaration of war in 1914, and the local Warrington ‘Saturday Warriors’ who were then on their annual camp were summoned for active duty.


Political changes to obligations.

As the force could not be legally sent abroad, and the government needed them in Belgium & France as Germany’s plan to sweep to Paris in a short time had only been stopped just short of Paris.
At which point the German commanders picked their line of defence/offence and retreated to the higher ground where they had superiority of ‘field of fire’ down on any opponent. A set of battles (the race to the sea) eventually set an almost fixed line, from the Swiss border to the sea on the coast of Belgium, with the Germans on the high ground.

“We agree to serve abroad” [or so reported!]

A meeting was held in The Parr Hall of the local TA soldiers to try to obtain a concession from them to volunteer for foreign service. It was reported as successful in the papers [1 below] but our speaker has unearthed from diaries of the commanding officer [2 below] that he did not think the change would happen. A lot of persuasion including agreement to pay some compensation and hold jobs open for their return from the war was agreed.

1. The papers: “the 4th battalion agreed almost to a man to offer themselves for foreign service.”
2. The diary: ‘The Battalion did not unanimously agree, in fact on the first meeting only about 45% held up their hands’..... could anyone have expected them all to go in those early days?’

The slides showing newspaper report and the actual officer’s recording of events had a big impact with our listeners.

The result was the battalion went to war. Entraining at Bank Quay Station, Warrington aftet an early start a long wait for a train.

lancashire infantry museum waiting to entrain index

Entraining, the long wait for a train. Lancashire -infantry-museum_photo_waiting_to_entrain_index.jpeg. 

 A Lancashire Infantry Museum photo. Regiment waits for transport [they went to Scotland!]

They were allocated to defend Rosyth on the Firth of Forth, as enemy submarines were expected in the Firth.

Within weeks, they had altered duties and entrained for France and Flanders where they became part of the soldiers around Ypres.
The Ypres Salient was the main head of rail for supplies from UK and channel ports to the front line.

 M Marcel phail Map of Ypres salient 1914 Maps5

IWM Ypres November 1914 download

Ypres November 1914  (Imperial War Museum photo)

 Ypres 1915 download

November 1915 Ypres Market Square shows the destruction by German Artilery from their higher ground bases.

Ypres by 2015. The town destroyed by enemy shelling from their higher positions.

Allied Soldiers from Warrington were in static lines in shallow wet trenches.

 manual page for shallow trench post 9885 097175000 1289316675

Instructions for a shallow trench with higher built up protection above soil level.

The instructions.

reconstruction of shallow trench with sandbag top Ypres 003

An 'idealised' reconstruction at Ypres exhibitions. Reconstruction of shallow trench with sandbag top Ypres 003

“Fancy” Reconstruction in Ypres tourist area of how it should have been, but the upper walls were often full of dead bodies used as ‘bricks’.


trenches should not be deep as water level was just below surface in Ypres download

The reality of trenches in the wet soil around Ypres.
(Trenches should not be deep as water level was just below the surface in Ypres).



 Over the top.A  later  image from battle of the somme photo 453721

 Over the top to attack. (Image from Somme battle).

 Going over the top the Warrington soldiers were in full line of fire from the upper positions of the German trenches, so attach was to walk into a hail of bullets and other weapons.

Southlancs Infantry Museum photo field deployed index

South Lancs infantry Museum Photo .

In the field lay the dead, at least for a day as recovery could only be done in darkness, and in some cases for many months before the dead could be recovered for burial.


Strange  An odd point, opposite the Warrington soldiers later in war a specific German was stationed.


24th October 2014. From website:

 the church at Zonnebeck sometime in 1915 1917 Yesterday 23rd October 2014 a private in the 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment named Adolf Hitler de trained at the occupied French city of Lille

 A named foe was known to be opposite the Warrington trenches.

Above: the church at Zonnebeck sometime in 1915-1917. Yesterday, (23rd October 2014) a private in the 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment named Adolf Hitler de-trained at the occupied French city of Lille, where Crown Prince Rupprecht commands the German 6th Army. Today he is marching towards the Ypres salient.

 This became relevant during negotiations for peace before the Second War with Hitler, when he asked where a UK person from Warrington in the UK delegartion was stationed during the Great War.

Sometimes the link is in little things.

souls of zonnebeke2

 A later image of the church. 

 The speaker's talk.

The talk covered the early part of the engagements of Warrington soldiers, 2014-2015, and the summary of events is given on another’s presentation quoted below.


CLHG: From presentation of another person on Ypres 2014-2018 a summary.


First Battle of Ypres - 1914

  • Race to the sea: German vs. Allied Forces as they all try to secure N. France’s ports

  • Germany uses the German Fourth Army, aka Kinder Corps (kinder = children) - majority of soldiers = young, inexperienced volunteers between ages 17-19

  • Sub-battles (Langemarck, Gheluvelt, Nonnebosschen) = heavy losses for Germans, less for British/Allies

  • Encountered well-trained British Expeditionary Force

  • Allied (France, UK, Belgium) victory

Hill 60

  • Everyone wanted Hill 60

  • Strategic geographical position—overlooked Ypres / all the roads around it

  • British take initially take Hill 60

  • Taken by Germans during First Battle of Ypres

  • Both sides accuse the other of using gas attacks

  • Finally retaken by Allies in 1918

Second Battle of Ypres - 1915

  • The British took advantage of the winter season for warfare.

  • Massive German offensive attack

  • There were two new forms of warfare:
    Chlorine Gas: Signalled the beginning
    Flamethrowers: “Liquid Fire”

  • British/Canadians held the line against Germans,

despite gas attacks

  • Essentially a stalemate

  • Main players: French/British Empire, Belgium vs. German Empire




Joseph Crosfield geographia 3060468 90f2bc74

From local industry to 'Muckers' the Joseph Crossfield works memorial. A pals memorial.


War memorial Warrington download

The Warrington town memorial.


And still nightly they play a bugle call at:

The Menin gate download

The Menin Gate at Ypres / Ieper, Flanders, Belgium


Please, visit the website below, read details, and listen to the ceremony.

The 30,000th ceremony is available through a browser on Google’s YouTube video at:

Ceremony of the 30,000th. Last Post in Ypres ( 9 july 2015 )


Writer’s note:

Images are from Imperial War Museum or other public domains. All copyrights acknowleded where known

The speaker’s images are in his book, and not in this article.  They are well worth the effort to obtain and read.



The group thanks Nigel Wilkinson for his most impressive talk and enlightenment of our members and visitors.










20181011 Knutsford  Hoard

Photographs are from Liverpool ECHO, The British Museum by permission (a typical pot), and the Liverpool Museums articles on the finds. All copyrights acknowledged.

On Thursday 11th October 2018, 26 members and 3 visitors were treated to a talk by Vanessa Oakden, the current Curator of Regional and Community Archaeology at Liverpool Museums about The Knutsford Hoard found by a metal detectorist who reported it to Vanessa Oakden in her former role for Liverpool Museums as Finds Liaison Officer. A ‘Finds liaison Officer’ is based at a museum and co-ordinates with and enters the reported finds into the Portable Antiquities Database after verifying that the find is suitable for entry to the database.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme is run by the British Museum and National Museum Wales to encourage the recording of archaeological objects found by members of the public in England and Wales.

The metal detectorist Mr Alan Bates found the items in 2012. First a couple of items. Then more then he rang Vanessa Oakden saying he had ‘found a hoard’, Vanessa disbelieved, as she had been given many false reports before, but excitement was generated as she asked questions and established that this Mr Bates knew his coins and could describe them accurately.

So out of the comfy office into the field and review the finds and establish what was there and if worth further investigation after of course getting the formal permission of the landowner to look at the area (a permission Alan Bates already had).

Alan Bates and Vanessa Oakden from blog Liverpoolmuseums Knutsford edited

Alan Bates and Vanessa Oakden at site with a new find


Excavation (with site owner's machinery help).

Excavations then were organised using the metal detectorist’s skill to mark suitable areas as the items had been scatted from ploughing. As she was pregnant, excavating was not the easiest thing. She remembered the discomfort and the excitement. Our audience were in awe at her dedication to such uncomfortable field work.

coin being excavated from ground DSC 0705 Knutsford SR excavating silver coin

Coin being ecavated from ground showing muddy and wet conditions.


The result was “The Knutsford Hoard” found in 2012 by Alan Bates including three fine examples of gilt ‘trumpet’ brooches, two silver finger rings, and 103 coins which were issued between 32BC to the late 2nd century AD

Liverpoolmuseums head photo knutsford hoard archaeology collection

The Liverpool Museum's page top photo of the hoard. Showing a ring, coins and broach

The preparation of the display.

Of course the biggest work is the cleaning, recording, and eventually getting the finds established as treasure under the Treasure Act. The metal detectorist and the archaeologists have to understand a great deal of complex law, (the “Gov.UK” website shows a 135 page PDF ‘summary’ as its code of practice) with regard to the finds, but a useful summary given below was abridged by Vanessa for our easy understanding “two or more coins or objects with more than 10% gold or silver over 300 years old”. The advice to metal detectorists on treasure is given below in the paragraph headed “Summary: Treasure Act."

Aquisirtion announcement in the museum's blog.

Announcement in Museum Blog.


The Clasp-Broaches

These 3 ‘trumpet’ style broaches are shown below, and also a modern cheap one (sold by internet) and one very expensive modern Danish version, so their use has lasted over many years with our population to hold cloaks or other garments

Knutsford Hoard brooches from blog liverpoolmuseums


Photos of the old  hoard broaches.

and  photos of new modern equivalents still in use:

Modern equivalent broach showing working mode ex etsy auction Twighlight Forge USA Screenshot 2018 10 11 23 37 49

modern high fashion expensive Danish broach type s749518301978605088 p196 i3 w1003

An expensive modern Danish pin clasp cloak broach . Modern bling equals the roman bling.

Outer cloak held by two broaches and chain etsy auction USA Screenshot 2018 10 11 23 47 55

How two broach clasps and chain hold on a cloak, modern use in Denmark.


The Rings.

The two rings are shown, one with its decoration intact save for wear, and the other with the stone smoothed.
One has had the ring diameter adjusted (perhaps to re-use it for a second person).

silver ring with decoration v0 large

The decorative engraved stone ring.


Silver finger ring with red semi precious stone carnelian. v0 large

The smooth stone set ring.


The Coins.

There were silver ones and a small amount of copper ones. It is assumed the copper ones were placed at the top to form a top layer to protect or seal in the lower more valuable ones and the other objects in the pot, like a paper cover top in a jar of home made jam.

copper coin ses Copper alloy sestertius of Antoninus Pius.v0 large

The copper coins. Copper_alloy-sestertius_of_Antoninus_Pius.

Photo of the probable seal or top layer copper coins.


Silver denarius of Lucilla and Venus standing to left holding victory Liverpoolmuseums photo v0 large

Not all the coins had 'macho emperors' on them. This shows Silver_denarius_of_Lucilla-and_Venus-standing-to-left_holding_victory_Liverpoolmuseums-photo


silver denarius Hadrian liverpoolmuseums photo v0 large

Uk's best known emperor, some Scots like his idea of a wall . A silver-denarius-Hadrian-liverpoolmuseums--photo.


silver denarius mark antony Liverpoolmuseums photo v0 large

The playwright's and cinema's emperor. A silver-denarius-mark-antony-Liverpoolmuseums-photo


The Containing Vessel.

the piggy bank pot pieces of orange ware pot Liverpoolmuseums photo v0 large



BritishMuseum typical Roman pot 360126001

Typical pot from British Museum's collection. Was the Knutsford pot like this? BritishMuseum-typical-Roman-pot_360126001.jpg

The broken container with the ‘copper top’.

From the ceramic shards found at the site it is assumed that the hoard was in a ‘jar’ /‘cup’ / ‘vase’ with the top layer being the few copper coins which were used as a ‘lid’. The rim of the vessel was not found, and the shards were scatted across the area due to ploughing.
A very old ‘piggy bank’ with the silver and gold beneath the top copper coin layer.
If the container is of lead, the coins are in much better condition than if in a ceramic jar, due to chemical interactions of lead and the precious metals.

Typical container photo by permission of The British Museum (not the one of the Knutsford hoard as it is shattered.
The rim of the Knutsford Hoard pot has still not been found, only a few shards.)


Links:  for your better viewing and understanding of the finds.

The best photographs of all the items and a history of the finding and cataloguing is given on The Museum of Liverpool’s website and in the “finds” websites.
We do earnestly recommend a visit to these sites to understand all the items.

Museum link.


Finds link.

Summary: Trasure Act

Summary: Treasure Act. Given on ‘’ website.

The Treasure Act

The Treasure Act, 1996 is a piece of legislation designed to deal with finds of treasure primarily those made by metal detectorists in England and Wales. It legally obliges finders of objects which constitute a legally defined term of treasure to report their find to their local coroner within fourteen days. An inquiry led by the coroner then determines whether the find constitutes treasure or not. If is declared to be treasure then the owner must offer the item for sale to a museum at a price set by an independent board of antiquities experts. Only if no museum expresses an interest in the item or is unable to purchase it can the owner retain it.

'Treasure' is defined as being:

All coins from the same hoard. A hoard is defined as two or more coins, as long as they are at least 300 years old when found. If they contain less than 10% gold or silver there must be at least 10 in the hoard for it to qualify.
Two or more prehistoric base metal objects in association with one another
Any individual (non-coin) find that is at least 300 years old and contains at least 10% gold or silver.
Associated finds: any object of any material found in the same place as (or which had previously been together with) another object which is deemed treasure.
Objects substantially made from gold or silver but are less than 300 years old, that have been deliberately hidden with the intention of recovery and whose owners or heirs are unknown.

Under English law a landowner has sole title to any archaeological artefacts found on his or her property. Legitimate metal detectorists come to an agreement the owners of the land they detect on to share any proceeds from treasure sales. Those who detect illegally, either on Scheduled sites or without the landowners' permission cannot benefit from the Treasure Act.
Illegal detectorists have had their loot confiscated and can face fines and prison.

End of summary.


 Metal Detectorists and how their hobby enriches the U.K.

 The value of metal detectorists to UK history.

In 2014 the BBC had an article and program on the finds from 2012, as it takes a long time to get all items organised, cleaned and recorded. They said:

Amateur archaeologists with metal detectors found 990 items classified as treasure during 2012, according to figures from the British Museum. All of the rare coins, rings and brooches contain gold or silver, and many date back more than 1,200 years.

The public reported more than 74,000 other historical items to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which experts say has "revolutionised archaeology". More than 900,000 objects have been reported since it started in 1997.

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum said the scheme, which launched its annual report today, was "ensuring that finds found by ordinary members of the public are rewriting history."
"Many of the most important finds have ended up in museum collections across the country, thanks to the generosity of funding bodies," added MacGregor, who launched the report with culture minister Ed Vaizey.

A total of 8,500 archaeological items have been classified as treasure, which signifies the presence of a precious metal, such as gold or silver according to figures from the British Museum.

Image from Liverpool Echo of Alan Bates and theKnutsford Hoard JS82759983

Image from Liverpool Echo of Alan Bates and theKnutsford Hoard JS82759983






The members and visitors thanked Vanessa Oakden for her talk and some hope to inspect the hoard at her invitation at Congleton Museum where it is currently on display.

Link to Congleton Museum.

Link to Liverpool Museum


Link to metal detectorists' forum  UK

Link to Current Archaeology Magazine UK

Current Archaeology is a British monthly archaeology magazine.






20180508 A talk on "The Bollin Valley, Dunham to Warburton" by Keith Warrender.

On Thursday May 8th, 2018, the members and guests were given a superb display of photographic views with historic and anecdotal notes of buildings, and sites, with historic and anecdotal notes in the Bollin river valley between Dunham and Warburton taken by our speaker Mr Keith Warender, a former graphic designer.


The photographs below are all CC by SA licence from public domain sources and not from the speaker.





"BOLLINGTON, a township partly in the parish of BOWDON, but chiefly in the parish of ROSTHERN, hundred of BUCKLOW, county palatine of CHESTER, 5½ miles (N. by W.) from Nether Kuutsford, containing 264 inhabitants. There is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists." [From Samuel Lewis A Topographical Dictionary of England (1831) ©Mel Lockie]"



We learned that "Little Bollington" was originally called "Bollington" as above and due to a fire and the fire service going to the wrong place, in recent years, the place where the fire took place but was not given help during the fire was renamed "Little Bollington" in 1981.

The distance of the error is shown below. (From Google Maps)


 20180517 Bollington to Little Bollington JPG

 The Swan with two nicks.


Swan with two nicks geograph 3883512 by Colin Pyle

A view of the pub. near Little Bollington, with its unusual name coming from ownership marks cut into the swan's beak.


The troubles of a photographer.


Our speaker took a day to try to get the tourist boat passing the outfall of the Bollin river into the Ship Canal, and being 'chased off' his parking spot thought he had lost "the shot" as the time when the boat would pass the Bollin point from timetables and estimated boat speed had passed, but as boats can be slow, he got his beatiful shot of the boat shown below just passing the confuence at Bollin Point.

Features of houses normally inaccessible to the public were shown and a lot of admiration for his persistence (?) to get photographs was admired.


The Boat

 Mersey Ferries Manchester Ship Canal copyrightMerseyTours


 Bollin Point.

Bollin Point geograph 3226543 by Anthony ONeil


Bollin Catchment area.

800px River Bollin catchment area

 The Toll Booth at Warburton.

Current Day History.
On the night before our talk, some "persons" had attached and set fire to the Toll Booth at Warburton, and by the time our speaker had passed the road was open. As our locals know the 'toll' is not paid for the high level bridge over the ship canal but for the old (now dry) former Mersey channel, as shown on the diagram below. On the next day the remains of the (private) toll booth were removed for safety's sake, with intention to later replace it.

 Toll Bridge Bridge Booth destroyed geograph 1337692 by Peter Whatley


 Photos of points in the Bollin Valley.

After viewing the speaker's grand set of photographs of the Bollin Valley from Dunham to the Ship Canal, some felt we should have also have had a small talk about how to get very high quality photographs of views and buildings, as his expertise was visible in the slides shown to us.


Aquaduct carrying Bridgewater canal over Bollin from river

Aquaduct carrying Bridgewater canal over Bollin from riv

 Bollin goes under Manchester Airport geograph 90493 by Ian Warburton


 Bollin goes under Manchester Airport geograph 90493 by Ian Warburton


Fish Ladder HEP scheme geograph 4157912 by David Dixon

Fish Ladder HEP scheme geograph 4157912 by David Dixon


 Bridge in Lower Garden Quarry Bank Mill geograph 2858538 by David Dixon


 Bridge in Lower Garden Quarry Bank Mill geograph 2858538 by David Dixon



Downstream near Morley River Bollin geograph 2858716 by David Dixon

 Downstream near Morley River Bollin geograph 2858716 by David Dixon


Giant Hog Weed Heatley geograph 1386650 by david newton

The Enemy! Giant Hog Weed Heatley geograph 1386650 by david newton



Old Mill new appartments Bollin Mill geograph 1386553 by david newton

Old Mill new apartments Bollin Mill geograph 1386553 by david newton.

The old industry of the river becomes the new living places.




The speaker has published his photography in a couple of books about the Bollin valley obtainable from the speaker at his address:


Bollin Valley past present 51UWuO8BYZL. AC UL320 SR244320

Bollin Valley past present 51UWuO8BYZL. AC UL320 SR244320



Bollin Valley Mac Ship 61Ho9XOMTVL. SX377 BO1204203200


Bollin Valley Mac Ship 61Ho9XOMTVL. SX377 BO1204203200


Publisher: (Mr Keith Warrender's own firm).

 Willow Publishing

Address: 36 Moss La, Altrincham WA15 6SZ

Phone: 0161 980 2633



Our thanks to our speaker for a most beautiful set of illustrations o fthe Bollin River Valley and its features.


20180412 CLHG Report. Two men, George Lyon and Charles Walmsley DRAFT.1.0

George Lyon and Charles Walmsley

On Thursday 12th of April 2018 our members (one of whom is a possible descendant of George Lyon) and visitors were taken by Marianne Howell through a well illustrated and researched talk into a different time and social structure with the tale of George Lyon "called the Upholland Highwayman" and Charles Walmsley the Lord of the Manor of Ince in Makerfield, Wigan.  
The talk gave the details of the known facts about George Lyon including the item that for the main robbery of Charles Walmsley's house he sat outside while directing others to do the robbery. Not quite the 'bold robber' he claimed and boasted to be.

It appears George Lyon 'enriched' his tale when he told it to his local fellows and some details such as 'his transportation" are not documented and appear to have no basis from known records. He must have been tolerated as a known local thief and as such there may be a basis for his supposed help to others.

The (in)visible thief.

As retold in Wikipedia George Lyon's one major feat as a highwayman was to hold up the Liverpool mail coach. With his accomplices, who have been unknown since, he planned the robbery at the Legs of Man public house in Wigan. They then persuaded the ostler at the Bull's Head Inn in Upholland to lend them horses for a few hours. They held up the Liverpool mail coach at nearby Tawd Vale on the River Tawd, firing two shots and forcing the driver to pull up so that they could rob the passengers. The gang then returned to the Bull's Head, and when the robbed coach later arrived at the inn, Lyon and his accomplices had an alibi as people had seen them in the pub earlier in the afternoon.

George Lyon is said to have held up the Liverpool mail coach by firing shots and forcing the driver to stop. Then, having robbed the travellers, he went swiftly to the pub at Upholland, where he had been drinking earlier. The travellers arrived a little later, bringing with them their tale of robbery and their narrow escape from death, and as Lyon was in the pub both before the robbery and afterwards he was not suspected by the travellers.

The robbery at Ince.

One of George Lyon's accomplices an Edward Ford had been employed redecorating the manor at Ince and as such knew the lay out and what loot could be obtained when the owner and family were absent and only the 'live in staff' were at the  house.

George Lyon and his three accomplices Edward Ford, David Bennett and William Houghton, carried out the burglary at Westwood Hall, Ince, Wigan in April 1815. Lyon was the 'lookout' who stayed outside, and  even is said to have sent one of the others back to try to get more loot, which was in the form of silver items.

The loot was offered for sale in an inn but was both easily recognised and was bought by an undercover fence, thus informing the authorities and allowing the thieves to be caught and tried.   
One of the thieves Ford, who it is thought had suggested robbing the house to Lyon, and had himself taken part in some 17 previous robberies, gave evidence against the others and was thus spared the death sentence  given to the other three robbers.

A reproduction of George Lyon's letter (with the aid of the prison chaplain, the Reverend Cowley) to his family at Upholland to send him his suit and boots to wear at his execution was shown and in it the appeal to have his body brought back to Upholland for burial.  


Trial and King's evidence.

Prisoners arriving at lancaster castle in 1827 ex lancashire museum archives














We can surmise the prisoners would arrive to a similar crowd as above after sentence.


The four thieves were tried and sentenced. Edward Ford who it is thought had suggested robbing the house to Lyon, and had himself taken part in some 17 previous robberies, but because he turned King's evidence he was spared the capital sentence.

The execution of Lyon, Houghton, and Bennett, took place in Lancaster before a large crown, entertainment for the onlookers somewhat like a horse race meeting today,  just before noon on Saturday 22 April 1815 for the offence of the burglary at Westwood Hall, Ince, Wigan.

Lacaster Gazette andgeneral advertiser April 29th copy of report image.


 Lancaster Castle Hanging Corner by nabokov English wikipedia 1024px HangingCorner CC by SA




















The return of the body to Upholland.

A publican and others carried out George Lyon's wishes to remove the body to Upholland and avoid a possible use of the body for dissection as was the then practice for executed  persons. The trip was undertaken in very bad weather and our speaker illustrated the use of the available then and now maps to show the extra miles taken possible y to avoid a flooded stretch of road. The body return party being followed by many folk, so even at that time George Lyon was a 'celebrity' in his own district.

His body was buried in the same place as his recently deceased daughter and the gravestone  shows her name but not his. Still at the present time this grave is visited by visitors to Upholland  which makes it an unusual present day tourist attraction.


George Lyons grave by jim Farrel 9b5288b7fd22539e62da64f1a756a6dbe560f071George Lyon Grave CC by SA


Unremarked old grave.                                              Howver sometimes ...                                       someone remembsrs and places a rose!                 


5St Thomas the Martyr Church Upholland 0073c338b1d5659900545609d321e73fde1005a                        graveyard from Ormskirk Bygone Times website


The church at Upholland,   and an old photo of graveyard,  looking to the inn with the grave in middle right of view. the right hand side building reputably haunted.

Note on the gravesite.
Below the level of the roadway, on the extreme western edge of the church burial ground and directly opposite the White Lion Hotel, lies a flat tombstone, with the single name
'Nanny Lyon' inscribed on its surface. This is believed to be the grave of George Lyon, the 'UpHolland, highwayman'.
Photo shows theWhite Lion Hotel and adjacent right hand building viewd from graveyard.

Charles Walmsley.

A very different character and lifestyle based on inherited wealth and  the usual social occupations of a gentleman. He was notable for being on the specially selected jury (biased to the status quo) for the Peterloo massacre  trial of the armed persons who in excess of duty carried out the injury and death of folk protesting in Manchester, which avoided any of the Yeomanry or Militia being convicted. The 'Authorities', Gentlemen and wealthy folk were at that time worried that the revolutions on the continent would spread to England and much disturb the status quo.

We were shown a copy of a report of the trial and the jury members selected which included the respectable Charles Walmsley.

Charles Walmsley links indirectly George Lyon to the events of Peterloo and the reformation of voting rights.

A further note for those interested in Peterloo.




 Print of the Peterloo Massacre published by Richard Carlile




















Print of the Peterloo Massacre published by Richard Carlile

While composing this report your webmaster came across an interesting deposit of a unique account of the Peterloo enquiry and trialof Henry Hunt.
The Working Class Movement Library’s copy of the Trial of Henry Hunt.

Not everything about that trial is yet available as handwritten notes by a witness about the other witness's statements are still to be deciphered.


Unlocking Ideas Worth Fighting For:
Project to uncover and unlock the unresearched collections of the People's History Museum and Working Class Movement Library

New Peterloo Evidence…Maybe
Posted on February 1, 2013 by unlockideas    

I was searching for biographical information on one of the Yeomen present at Peterloo, a small note dropped out of the Working Class Movement Library’s copy of  the Trial of Henry Hunt. Originally the book had belonged to William Hulton, the magistrate who on the 16th August ordered that the crowd be dispersed and ‘the orator’ Hunt arrested. Hulton gave several hours of testimony at the trial (at which Hunt was sentenced to two years in Illchester Gaol), and to discover the magistrate’s very own copy of the proceedings was remarkable.
However, within the Hulton volume of the Trial of Henry Hunt is something more exciting entirely. During Hunt’s trial Hulton took handwritten notes; writing in pencil he minuted the words of other witnesses before his own testimony, and these are bound within the volume. The handwriting is difficult to read and will take a bit of time to decipher, but having emailed a historian specialising in Peterloo it appears that the source of evidence is unknown.

Those interested in democrary and the eventual changes from the Peterloo incident can help by attending the aniversary events in 2019 and help to raise a suitable memorial.
The Peterloo Memorial Campaign has been set up to lobby for a respectful, informative and permanent memorial to this profound event, whose 200th aniversary is on 16th August 2019.
See website
Article: website:


Wigan Heritage Service, "PastForward"  Edition: Number 31 summer  2002.


A copy of the Wigan Heritage Service is available as a PDF from the link:

Allan  Miller’s  book  on  George  Lyon,  the  Up  Holland  highwayman,  was  featured  in  
Past Forward  Number 29. The book proved a great success, and was sold out in a very short time.
The editor of "PastForward" has in Number 31 published an article which Allan Miller has written for Past Forward about George Lyon.

The webmaster is of the opinion the article in PastForward Number 31 is a good summary of the times of George Lyon.


Mario. the Lancashire Archives  map system.

MARIO (Maps & Related Information Online) – Lancashire County Council’s interactive mapping website. 


Lancashire's Criminal Past

Lancashire's Criminal Past Link:

The Historic Society of Lancashire & Cheshire.

Website & article.
Links: General Enquiries This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Membership Enquiries This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Editorial Submissions This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

George Lyon article on The Historic Society of Lancashire & Cheshire website: Link:


The Grave.

The Grave of George Lyon marked by daughter's name is at St Thomas the Martyr, Upholland.
Church website: St Thomas the Martyr, Upholland.

Lancashire Archives.

The Lancashire Archives, previously known as the Lancashire Record Office, is the county record office located in Preston
Website links:

Searchable on-line-link:

Lancashire archives houses the family and estate papers of the Walmsleys in 55 boxes.
Included in. the collection some documents of direct relevance to the burglary.


National Archives.

Further searches for Lancashire can be done on the National Archives.

Pendle Heritage.


On the website of Pendle Heritage [] is a photo of a wages slip [dated a few months before the burglary] of amount to the maid in residence at the manor  of Ince at the time of the burglary. The maid gave evidence at the trial.

Peterloo Link: Link to a note on Hunt "The Orator"

BBC Link.

BBC archive page with photograph of grave and church.
BBC article on George Lyon'.
BBC Lancashire, Darwen Street, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB2 2EA

Note on the gravesite.
Below the level of the roadway, on the extreme western edge of the church burial ground and directly opposite the White Lion Hotel, lies a flat tombstone, with the single name 'Nanny Lyon' inscribed on its surface. This is believed to be the grave of George Lyon, the 'UpHolland, highwayman'.


Lancaster Castle.


"Hanging Corner" outside Lancaster Castle, site of numerous public executions between the late 18th Century and 1865. The double-doors on the RHS hinged inwards into the "drop room", where condemned prisoners were pinioned immediately prior to execution. Condemned prisoners were led outside onto the wooden gallows platform, which was level with the bottom of the double-doors. The iron railings and bollards are modern additions made in the 20th Century.
By Nabokov at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Prisoners. Typical scene of prisoners entering Lancaster castle

This watercolour, by an unknown artist, illustrates the arrival at the castle of a gang of poachers. The poachers were caught after a gamekeeper was shot dead on the Fitzherbert Brockholes estates at Claughton near Garstang in 1827.  George Lyon and fellow condemned would probably have create a similar public spectacle but not as large as their hanging .


 Prisoners arriving at lancaster castle in 1827 ex lancashire museum archives

20180308 CLHG Report Miners Relief Society by Stephan Knott

Ex Wigan Archives Web site:


Counting the cost.

On the 8th of March 2018 the group and its visitors were given a talk by Mr Stephen Knott, a Wigan Archivist on the The Lancashire and Cheshire Miners Permanent Relief Society and the project "Counting the Cost" to catalogue and digitise the archived material of the "The Lancashire and Cheshire Miners Permanent Relief Society" (LCMPRS).
The archived material, some saved by 'chance', while incomplete has enabled a great deal of understanding of the LCMPRS work and objectives to give aid to miners and their dependents when sick of injured and to relatives when a miner was killed in a pit accident. Examples of the archived material were shown as illustrations.
The archives are open to the public and can be seen by appointment.

Use of the Archives.

This project "Counting the Cost"has made available to researchers and others the ability to search the catalogue of records.

While today's medical objectives for research would like to have had much more detail on the injuries and sickness suffered by the miners as a tool for medical research, only those 'sick' for more that six months are in the archived material. The other card index records for the 'less than six months sick' period may have been lost or destroyed in the many 'save and reuse paper' exercises during the 1939-1945 war efforts. Many detailed medical notes are lost.

Modern Medical Research often needs the minutia of records and objects considered 'ephemeral' or 'disposable' by the generations using them as current and future forensic tools and statistical analysis opens greater knowledge of the past and helps current medical science.

Project team.
Mr Knott lead a team of volunteers working with aid from a grant of financial assistance from funds made available by the Welcome Foundation.


The Team.

The Wigan website acknowledges this valuable assistance  from Welcome Trust and the volunteers.
Wigan Archives Service would like to thank the Wellcome Trust for funding Counting the Cost and making this important project possible.
We would also like to thank the team of volunteers who transcribed and digitised the relief registers and index cards, these include:
Pat Aspinall, Wilf Bamforth, John Green, Molly Hilton, Ian Irving, Arthur Jones, Will Kaye, Dorothy Lee, Tom McGrath, Tim Sen, Sophie Smith and Lorraine Whittle.
The project was managed by Stephen Knott, Project Archivist.

Link to the Wellcome Trust.

Image of Lancashire Geology.
Courstesy of

copy LancashireCheshireGeology v2


Injury, sickness or death.

Pit "Disasters", injuries, death and sickness in the mining industry led to many efforts by local pit folk, and others to try to help those who by injury, sickness or death lost all means of livelihood and income. Such loss of income and permanent or temporary disablement could lead to extreme poverty with all its consequences.
While there was communal efforts in the case of pit disasters "defined as more that five persons dead in a single incident", the everyday occurrence of injury and death was a constant background to this industry with the Lancashire coal fields being for many years having greater than the industry average of deaths per 1000 workers and in some years being the worst in the country.


Brief Outline of LCMPRS as set out on the Wigan Archives website:

Set up in 1872, the LCMPRS provided financial assistance to miners injured in industrial accidents and unable to work, as well as for widows, children and dependent relatives of those who were killed.
The records generated by the society give an invaluable insight into the working conditions endured by miners and the impact this had on their health, the well-being of their families and the communities they lived in. With its head offices in Wigan, the society continued to give financial assistance to miners and their families until 2006.
The 'Counting the Cost project" has unlocked this important collection of records for researchers studying industrial injury and disease in the Lancashire and Cheshire coalfields as well as for family historians with ancestors who worked in the coal industry.





The Financial Assistance.

Financial relief
The Lancashire and Cheshire Miners Permanent Relief Society (LCMPRS) initially paid financial relief to miners injured in industrial accidents and unable to work, as well as for widows, children and dependent relatives of those who were killed. In 1920, they started to make payments to miners unable to work because of industrial diseases, such as nystagmus, an eye condition, and musculoskeletal disorders like synovitis and beat knee. In 1939 the society also began making payments to miners suffering from lung diseases including silicosis and pneumoconiosis.
As part of the Counting the Cost project, these records detailing relief paid have been transcribed into databases and are now available online to researchers. For data protection reasons the names of claimants born after 1918 have been left out of the databases but other details relating to their claim have been kept to enable data analysis.


Relief was given and records kept under headings:
Permanent Injury Relief (More than 6 months off work and claim for relief)
Widows relief
Children's relief
Industrial disease relief
Silicosis and pneumoconiosis relief


Full and Half members of the Society.

Members who claimed relief for more than 6 months following an industrial injury were classed as “permanent” claimants. The term “disabled” was also sometimes used.

Although the Mines and Collieries Act 1842 stopped women from being employed underground they were still permitted to work on the surface.
Membership of the Society was therefore open to women – they had the option to join as “full members” or “half members”.
'Half member' was also used for the child workers.
The records show death and injuries to children as young as 13 years of age.

From a small start of membership in the early days the society had eventually over three quarters of working miners in its membership.



Links to further information and illustrations.



The sub-agencies or local pit agencies through which the main society worked at local level:


A visual and audio PDF presentation with photographs of the archives is available at: "Lancashire and Cheshire Miners permanent relief society PowerPoint with voice over".

As part of an Undergraduate Part II Work Placement. February – March 2017, 35 hours with all photos property of author.
Note this presentation has an audio file that may only work in exactly the same software as it was created in by the author.

Copy first slide ODP PDF XCF PNG

Image acknowled as author's property in link below. (No author details on web page or inside the presentation.)


Map of the Bolton and Bury Coalfield


Wikipedia article on Lancashire coalfield.


Disasters listed in Wikipedia.

Mining disasters in Lancashire coalfield.
The "gassy" coal seams, poor ventilation and the use of candles meant the coalfield was prone to explosions and, between 1851 and 1853, had the highest mortality rate of any British coalfield. In 1850, 16 men and boys died at Bent Grange Colliery in Oldham, 36 died at Coppull Colliery in 1852 and in two disasters within a year at Ince Hall Colliery, 58 died in 1853 and 89 men died in 1854. In 1883 some 68 men and boys were killed and 53 were injured at Moorfield colliery near Accrington.
Mining was dangerous: flooding, gases, roof falls and explosions of firedamp contributed to the deaths of thousands of workers in Lancashire's pits. In the first half of the 19th century there were many disasters, many caused by firedamp and inadequate ventilation. In the year 1859 there were 68 fatal accidents in Manchester district and 57 in Wigan and St Helens. The third worst mining disaster in the country was at Hulton Colliery Company's Pretoria Pit in 1910 when a faulty lamp caused an explosion killing 344 miners.
In 1962 16 men died and 21 were injured at Hapton Valley colliery near Burnley. The last disaster on the coalfield was at Golborne Colliery in March 1979, when three men died instantly in an explosion of methane caused by an electric spark and seven men later died of their injuries.
List with data on mining disasters in Lancashire.


Link to Wikipedia article on Pretoria Mine disaster.

An 'Image'  search of pit accidents will give a view of the many incidents and their sketches as localy reported at the time.

Reference pages.

Wigan Archives Services maintains a "FaceBook Page": Link:

Note: Facebook viewing may require registration and may track your activity for commercial purposes.

History and preservation of mines.
The Northern Mine Research Society.


UK Government Resources (free of charge resources)

Includes current residual risk areas from old mining activities available on maps.


Link to our group's report on the Pretoria Pit Disaster.



The group thanks Mr Stephen Knott for all his hard work on the project and his talk on the project to the Culcheth Local history group.


20180208 Victorian Prostitution & the Contagious Diseases Act.

A talk on " Victorian Prostitution & the Contagous Diseases Act" by Brian Joyce was given
at Culcheth Community Centre, 2 Jackson Avenue, Culcheth, Warrington, WA3 4EL, UK.

The talk illustrated with photographs, periodical articles and sketches as well as by Mr Joyce's many years of research in local newspapers, and reports on the effect on British armed forces readiness for war causing parliamenary action that was discriminate in place (garrison town and naval towns) and on persons (both actual prostitutes and non prostetutes were harmed and forced into 'examinations' and 'prison'.

Brian Joyce has studied this area of history and carried out considerable research using the newspapers and police reports both in the Medway towns and in Leigh, Lancashire to get a comparison between:
The country areas, the North of England with its industrial and factory employment for females and the Southern commercial towns with a rising middle class employing females as domestic servants areas which gave widespread female employment, and:

The 'government paid' male employing towns and ports of the army and navy where there was a great lack of employment for females due to the lack of a middle class employing servants and a large factory system employing females.

This led to great female poverty for both single females in these areas and the only ability to enter the cash economy becoming by becoming a part time or full time prostitute.
However the armed forces had manpower availability problems with the great number of diseased males, which in England appeared to be of a greater proportion than that experienced in foreign stations such as the Meditearanian ports or India.
Based on medical reports that the disease was spread by prostitutes a concerted action was taken to enforce the treatment of prostitutes by law and police action in these 'government towns' by the Contagous Diseases Act, which enforced 'treatment' in locked wards after arrest by London Metroplolitan police acting in these areas.
The Contagous Diseases Act was not enforced in 'civilian towns' after a failed attempt to test it in Southhampton, thus it was limited in area but caused great problems inthe areas where it was enforced, and some non-prostitutes were subjected arrest and the difficult examination procedures.
This lead to many many movements to repeal the act with a specific failure being used for propaganda by the repeal movements.
The act was based on a major fault that 'only females' spreasd the disease and was thus a deliberate gender discriminatory act.
Eventuality the act ceased to enforced and was repealed.


Female work in the North

Women at work textile workers new bedford

female work AddieCard05282vLewisHine

Reality of appearance and Fiction depiction.


Brian Jones illustrated the big diference in actaulity of appearnce and poverty of the prostitutes by using police photographs and stills from the films and television 'dramas' of prostitutes. The actuality was extreme poverty in dress, and health, compared to the fictionalised drama.



The matter of the 'problem' in the Medway towns was part of Brian Joyce's study and he has published a book on the matter, available to buy from Brian Joyce.

Book Cover.


book cover 21040138

Details of book as given by "Amazon". -Abe Books.
Hardcover: 293 pages
• Publisher: Baggins Book Bazaar Ltd; First Edition edition (May 1999)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 1901625044
• ISBN-13: 978-190162504
A social history of prostitution in the late 19th century within the Medway towns.
From the Author
A history of prostitution in Victorian Chatham.
This book examines the lives of the prostitutes and brothel-keepers who worked in the garrison town of Chatham in Kent during the reign of Queen Victoria. It was at this time that Britain experimented with government supervision of prostitution through the Contagious Diseases Acts, and the area around Chatham was one of the districts in which the Acts were applied. Enforced by Metropolitan policemen in plain clothes, the Acts forced women the police suspected of being prostitutes to undergo medical examination for venereal disease. If they were found to require treatment, the women could be forcibly detained in hospital for up to nine months. The Chatham Scandal looks at the fate of the girls who found themselves victims of the Acts. It also attempts to discover their backgrounds and the way they lived their precarious lives. The careers of several individual prostitutes are examined in detail, as are case-studies of the public-houses and private residences in which they conducted their business.


The following links give much greater detail and analysis with illustrations.

QUOTATION from Spartacus Educational.
Contagious Diseases Act by John Simkin (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) © September 1997 (updated August 2014)
Contagious Diseases Act
In 1864 Parliament passed the Contagious Diseases Act. This legislation allowed policeman to arrest prostitutes in ports and army towns and bring them in to have compulsory checks for venereal disease. If the women were suffering from sexually transmitted diseases they were placed in a locked hospital until cured. It was claimed that this was the best way to protect men from infected women. Many of the women arrested were not prostitutes but they still were forced to go to the police station to undergo a humiliating medical examination.
Some women considered this law discriminated against women, as the legislation contained no similar sanctions against men. Josephine Butler and Elizabeth Wolstenholme led the campaign against this legislation by forming the Ladies' Association Against the Contagious Diseases Act. Butler and Wolstenholme toured the country making speeches calling for a change in the law. Butler, who was an outstanding orator, attracted large audiences to hear her explain why this law needed to be repealed. Many people were shocked by the idea of a woman speaking in public about sexual matters.
Some women did not agree with Josephine Butler and Elizabeth Wolstenholmeover this issue.Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, who ran the New Hospital for Women in London, took the view that these measures provided the only means of protecting innocent women and children from venereal disease. The Contagious Diseases Act was finally repealed in 1886.

Copy2 Josephine Butler LastScan50

Copy2 Josephine Butler




Link to a PDF article on "The Campaign against the Contagious Diseases Acts Dr Jane Jordan, Kingston University."

In 1864, in response to pressure from the War Office, the Government introduced a temporary piece of legislation designed
to control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among the armed forces. This law demanded the registration and examination
of prostitutes working in and around 11 garrison towns and naval ports. Two further Contagious Diseases (CD) Acts, in 1866
and 1869, extended the province of the original legislation to cover 18 towns and cities, the majority in the south of England.
Undoubtedly, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among the British Army and Navy had reached alarming proportions (as
evidenced by the statistics compiled by army doctors in attendance during the Crimean War a decade earlier).

However, the Government’s response was to treat the spread of syphilis purely as a sanitary issue. Moreover, the legislation applied
to one sex only; the prostitutes themselves (or women the police believed to be prostitutes) were to undergo regular examination and, if
necessary, quarantine while they underwent medical treatment. Similar examinations of their male clients were never seriously
considered. Thus the legislation had the effect of a guarantee of security from disease to those men stationed in areas subject to
state regulation: any male civilian living in or visiting these areas could also take advantage of knowing that registered prostitutes,
or ‘Government Women’ as they became known, were ‘clean’.


A sumary of the act from a female point of view.


 Wikipedia article.

Effect in Ireland.






Copy 54. Medway slums The Common back of Free School Lane Courtesy of Stephen Rayner and Medway News


Medway slums Copy 54. Medway slums The Common back of Free School Lane Courtesy of Stephen Rayner and Medway News


copy2 women in work telephonists 92845900

Later 'gentile' women's work copy2 women in work telephonists 92845900

CDA copy front b22348578 0003


CDA copy front b22348578 0003



The members thank Brian Jones for his talk and its illustration of how legislation even if supposedly with good intention
can give rise to extreme harma nd discrimination.