Bignall End – The Changing Face of Ravens Lane

 

Researched by Clive Millington

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

In this view taken around 1900 Audley station bridge marks the beginning of Ravens Lane, at its junction with Boon Hill to left, Bignall End Road to right, and Bignall Hill behind camera. The bridge carried the Audley Branch Line from Alsager in Cheshire to Keele in Staffordshire, a distance of 7½ miles. It joined the Crewe to Derby main line at Alsager and the Newcastle-under-Lyme to Market Drayton line at Keele and opened on 24 July 1870 as a goods railway to serve local collieries, but on 28 June 1880 a passenger service was introduced on the line. This resulted in connections to the national railway network for local people. Stations opened at Audley and Halmerend to serve the local area. Passenger traffic later declined and the stations closed on 27 April 1931 with the railway reverting to goods traffic only. Following the gradual closure of collieries in the area, the Audley to Keele section of the railway closed on 18 June 1962 with total closure of the line on 7 January 1963 (see The Audley Railway in Audley Historian no. 4).

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

Following the closure of the railway, the bridge was demolished in 1966. The same view in 2007 shows the Plough Inn at right.

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

The stationmaster’s house, no. 1 Ravens Lane, stands on the left of this view. Opposite stand nos. 8-24 in the first terrace. Beyond are nos. 26-60. When this photograph was taken, around 1900, there were no properties built beyond no. 60 until the other end of Ravens Lane.

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 9 Ravens Lane

This is the small brick building which appears on the left of the above photograph just beyond the stationmaster’s house. It is recorded as the boot repair shop of Thomas Taylor from 1916 until 1940. Next door in a wooden building was the joinery business of Rowley and Taylor. (Roy Taylor’s father was the manager of Newcastle Sawmills.) This is also the building in which Doris Johnson (see also no. 22) is known to have had a fruit shop.

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

The same view in 1996 with no. 9 long since demolished

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

Station House in 2008

 

The first recorded stationmaster at Audley Station was Holland Steventon from 1880 until his death in February 1914. The only other recorded is William Poyser from 1914 until 1924.

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

The Plough Inn and nos. 2-6 Ravens Lane seen in 2007

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: The Plough Inn

Samuel White is listed in a trade directory of 1834 as having a beer house in Ravens Lane. This is identified in the 1837 Tithe Award of Audley parish as a building in the same position as the Plough Inn of today. However, the inn is not mentioned by name until the 1871 census. When numbers were given to the properties, the inn was no. 2 Ravens Lane, but now no. 2 is next door. It is likely, therefore, that the inn was larger in the past.

 

Licensees: Dates are those for which records have been found. The intervening years could be covered by those listed or by an unrecorded licensee.

 

Samuel White 1834-1845

Mrs Martha White 1845-1851 (widow of above)

William White 1852-1864 (son of above)

George Wood 1867-1884

Wilmot White 1885-1891 (son of above William)

Holloway Stone 1892-1900

Charles F.H. Hargreaves 1901

Mrs Alice Stone 1904-1905

Alfred Bunn 1906

John Steele 1907-1921 (Owned by Robinson Brewery Co. in 1910)

Allen Goodwin 1924

A. Pitchford 1924

Thomas Morris 1928-1932

Miss Jessie M. Morris 1933-1940

Arthur Morgan 1950

William Sumner 1960

Patrick Conway 1970-1978

Michael McNicholas 1979-1981

Derek Boulton-Lear 1982-1984

Patrick Jepson 1985

Roland Chidlow 1986-1987

David Hardstaff 1988

Edwin Cope 1989-1991

Les Holt 1992-1996

Paul & Lisa Holt 2005-2007

Julie Grindey 2008-2012

Fran Dunne 2012

Adrian Justin Hyam

Peter Minister & Carla Dawn 2015-

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

No. 8 at left of entry in 2008

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 8 Ravens Lane

This was the grocer’s shop of John Proctor in 1900, continuing until 1912. The property was then sold at auction by Heywood and Son at the Butcher’s Arms in Audley on 16 July 1913. The lot was described as:

“All that valuable corner shop, being no.8 Ravens Lane, Audley, for many years occupied by Mr John Proctor. Rental £14 per year. There is a roomy grocer and provision dealer’s shop, sitting-room, back-kitchen and two bedrooms, also storeroom and good yard. Gas and water laid on.”

Joseph Daniel Barker took over and is recorded from 1916 until 1928, followed by Mrs Mary Ellen Barker in 1932. By 1936 Mrs Rosa Edwards was a grocer, hosier, stationer and photographic dealer. Her husband Jack was the photographer. In 1948 the photographic business moved to the old Audley station building, at the bottom of Bignall Hill, which became Edwards Photographic Studio. The grocery business passed to George Sumnall, who at the time had a shop at no. 176 (see later entry) as well as one in Church Street, Audley (see Audley – The Changing Face of Church Street). The last business at no. 8 was a hairdresser’s run first by Valerie Sellers and finally by Erica Stephens. It is now a private house.

 

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

A 2008 view of the terrace from no. 12 at right along to no. 24 which stands on the corner of Tibb Street

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

No. 24 on the corner of Tibb Street in 2008

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 20 Ravens Lane

William Riley, a hairdresser, is recorded here from 1921 until 1932. Now a private house.

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 22 Ravens Lane

This was the butcher’s shop of Frank Scrivens & Son from 1932 until 1940. Doris Johnson followed with a fruit and vegetable shop from about 1950 until 1966. Now a private house.

 

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 24 Ravens Lane

George Wood, a grocer and bread baker, was here from 1900 until 1921, followed by Louis Taylor, a confectioner from 1928 until 1937 when it became S. & K. Stores run by George Sumnall and H. Kent, selling groceries and provisions (see also nos. 8 and 176 Ravens Lane). A shop was here later, run by Maurice May, who repaired cycles and sold paraffin and bundles of sticks for lighting fires, amongst many other items. Now a private house.

 

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

No. 15 is in the centre of this 2008 view

 

 

Fact file: No. 15 Ravens Lane

This was the home of John Billington, a greengrocer who is also recorded at no. 13 from 1910 until 1932. The map of 1924 shows a small building adjacent to no. 15 which could have been the shop at no. 13. It was demolished when the present nos. 11 and 13 were built.

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

A firm which painted markings on roads was based on a plot of land between nos. 17 and 21 Ravens Lane. From 1963 until 1984, A. E. Wemyss & Son, coal and haulage business was based here.

(photo courtesy of Donald Wemyss)

 

A Wemyss lorry at the site c1967, with Alfred Wemyss and his son, John

 

The site became the Audley Funeral Home of funeral directors Dennis Cartledge and Horne Brothers.

 

 

Audley Funeral Home in 2008

 

 

 

 

The nearest section of these buildings was reconstructed from the former garage of Frank Proctor, becoming no. 21 with the house next door. Beyond is a single storey building, which was formerly two buildings, nos. 37 and 39. The building furthest from camera is no. 41 in this 2008 view.

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 21 Ravens Lane

This was the shop and garage of Isaac and Mary Proctor from 1913 (see also no. 46). Isaac, who died in 1922, had been a contractor at Jamage Colliery and owned transport. His son Frank ran the garage and his charabancs were used by local people on outings, but he died suddenly in 1932 at the age of 41, leaving his mother Mary and sister Marion to run the business. The shop had sold radios, cycles and accessories, and at a time when there was no electricity supply in Ravens Lane, the business generated its own electricity, along with charging accumulators for customers. In 1940 Frank Scrivens, a butcher, purchased the premises and continued until 1975. The business was sold to Frederick Douglas Moss, also a butcher, but he re-sold the property in 1978 to John and Barbara Johnson and it became a wool shop. The following year David and Lynn Nixon purchased the shop which became Bignall End Wine and Wool. They continued until 1999 when they sold the business to Jan and Phil Moreau. They joined the buying group Londis (formed in 1959 by the independent retailers of the London District of the council of the National Grocer’s Federation) and sold mainly groceries, wines and spirits. In 2003 they acquired the newsagents business at no. 48 and transferred it to no. 21.

 

  

 

A Frank Proctor charabanc and an outing photographed at “The Pump”, where Ravens Lane joins New Road and Chapel Street

 

            

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 37 Ravens Lane

Arthur Riley, a boot maker, is recorded here from 1912 until 1940. He repaired shoes in this small building. Arthur Dixon, a chiropodist, was here later and then Marion Hassall, a hairdresser.

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 41 Ravens Lane

This was Arthur Riley’s shoe shop in which he displayed and sold his products. It was a clothes shop later.

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

On the opposite side of the road, on the corner of Tibb Street, stands no. 26. The terrace continues to no. 48 on the corner of Hope Street. 2008 view.

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 26 Ravens Lane

This was the grocer’s shop of Frederick Rhodes from 1900 until 1939 with a bakery at the rear. His daughter Edna May Johnson took over before 1939. By 1960 it was the grocer’s of George Hart. In 1982 it was Hooper’s Cycle Centre and in 1984 Village Crafts, run by Angie Stubbs. By 2002 it was Bignall End Barber Shop and remains so today. In 2012 the premises were shared with Hairs and Graces, a hair salon.

 

           

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 28 Ravens Lane

Frank Brindley, a fried fish dealer was here from 1921 until 1937, but the shop was run by his wife Esther, as Frank was blind. Esther was also a local postwoman. By the 1950s it had changed to J.S. Condliffe & Co., who sold fireplaces, crockery and fancy goods. Joseph Spencer Condliffe, following service in World War II, worked for a Chesterton tile firm and learned how to make fireplaces. His first fireplace was made behind “Lynton” in Ravens Lane, where relatives lived, and fitted into a house in Chapel Street, Bignall End. Later, whilst living at no. 11 Tibb Street, he was in partnership with Peter Gatley. No. 28 Ravens Lane was purchased later. In 1957 the business moved to no. 130/132 Ravens Lane (see later entry) and no. 28 was sold to Proctor & Lowe (see also nos. 155 & 171). They sold cycles, radios, televisions and other electrical items. The shop closed in 1990 and the property became a private house.

 

 

Fireplaces at the rear of no. 28

 

 

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 30 Ravens Lane

In 1901 this was the butcher’s shop of Arthur Rowley. By 1909 Alfred Joseph Banks had taken it over, continuing until at least 1932, before moving to no. 45. In 1940 it is recorded as the fruit shop of Samuel Johnson. Next was a Mr Jackson, an ironmonger and hardware dealer whose business was continued in 1950 by Francis G. Newman. The shop was also a pet store then. In 1968 Bignall End Post Office was transferred from Boon Hill to here and remains so today (see The Postal Service in Audley Parish in Audley Historian no. 19).

 

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 32 Ravens Lane

The only business recorded here is that of Mrs Hannah Wood, a confectioner and general dealer, from 1928 to 1936.

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 34 Ravens Lane

From 1928 until at least 1940 Mrs Eleanor Harrison was another confectioner and general dealer. In the 1950s it was the grocery, drapery and general store of William Allen. The grocer’s shop of David and Cynthia Roberts, called Maid Marion’s Store, followed (see also no. 48). Finally it was the grocer’s shop of Margaret and Arthur Clarke from 1977. It is now a private house.

 

  

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

No. 48 on the corner of Hope Street with no. 46 next door, in 2008

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 46 Ravens Lane

Isaac and Mary Proctor, grocers, were here in 1900, continuing until 1913 (see also no. 21). Edward James McVay was a draper and hosier from 1916 to 1924. From 1928 until 1940 it was the fruit, fish and florist's shop of Frederick Poole, then Mrs Louisa Poole, a greengrocer. Now a private house.

 

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 48 Ravens Lane

In 1928 Mrs Florence Henshall is recorded here as a shopkeeper. By 1936 Miss Ada Henshall had taken over as a newsagent, tobacconist and confectioner. By 1937 it is recorded as Henshall & Smith, (Abraham and Alfred) who also ran a taxi service, as well as being coal merchants, haulage contractors and furniture removers. The partnership was dissolved in 1966 and Alfred Smith continued the business as a newsagent and stationer. In 1974 David and Cynthia Roberts took over as newsagents, continuing until August 1986 (see also no. 34). The business was sold to Dennis and Sheila Hand and then to Malcolm and Josephine Haynes in 1989. The newsagents closed in 2003 following purchase and transfer to no. 21. K. Singh was the last newsagent here. It is now a private house.

 

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

On the opposite corner of Hope Street stands no. 50, then along to no. 60. 2008 view.

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 50 Ravens Lane

John Rowson was recorded as a baker here in the 1891 census and as a confectioner in a trade directory. He died later that year and his wife Alice Jane continued the business until her death in 1926. It has been a private house since then.

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 54 Ravens Lane

Mrs Ada Ollier was a general dealer here in 1917.