Alsagers Bank – The Changing Face of High Street

 

Researched by Clive Millington

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Note: Several ‘shops’ included in this article were nothing more than the front rooms of houses, used as a means of providing extra income. This was how many shops evolved in the local villages; the successful ones eventually being converted into proper shop premises. Others lasted for only short periods of time and as a result are only recorded today in the memories of those who used them many years ago.

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

On the right is no. 10, the first building in High Street, uphill from its junction with Heathcote Road and High Street, Halmer End on 6 May 2008. The house at left is no. 14.

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 10 High Street

In 1905 this building became the Halmer End branch of the Silverdale Equitable Industrial Co-operative Society. The store “had two long, marble-topped counters running down the opposite sides of the whole length of the store. It employed at least ten men – no women – and each assistant was responsible for a certain range of commodities”. The store sold meat and dairy produce, groceries and washing products. “But it was a very slow service … Goods bought at one counter had to be paid for there and then before moving on to the next counter.” (Extracts from Audley Historian no. 11 pages 74-75) Before you could shop at the Co-op you had to become a member and then you were given a number. (Extract from Halmer End: A Brief Account of Village Life in the 1920s and 1930s, which contains further details about the store.) It was managed in 1911 by Joseph Henry Hill, who lived next door at no. 12, followed by Frank Kirkham in the 1930s. After closure it became another works of Sallie Robinson Studio Pottery in the 1970s (See Bignall End - The Changing Face of Ravens Lane) but closed in 1982. The building stood derelict for several years before being rebuilt as houses in 2000.

 

 

The Co-op exterior and staff

 

    

 

The former Co-op in its derelict state in the 1990s

 

 

During rebuilding in 2000

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 14 High Street

Arthur Humber, a builder, was here from 1916. He was also an undertaker. His son Jack Humber continued the undertaker’s business here until the 1970s.

 

 

 

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This pre-1909 view shows Church Farm on the left hand side and opposite are nos. 14 onward. In the centre of the view is the first Alsagers Bank Church. The view can be dated as pre-1909 because the man in the middle distance pushing a bicycle is George Richardson Riley who died in 1909. He was the son of William Riley, the Halmer End ironmonger. The girl in the white blouse is George’s daughter Elizabeth. They posed in this view for the photographer Thomas Warham.

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

The same view in 1984 shows the addition of a house alongside Church Farm. On the opposite side the demolition of no. 16 has exposed the side of no. 20.

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: Church Farm

Church Farm predates the church, which gave it its present name, by at least 100 years. The farm was formerly known as Alsager(s) Green Farm and Alsagers Bank Farm later. Alsager(s) Green was the area separating Halmer End from Alsagers Bank, and the Alsager family who lived here in the 17th century are believed to have given their name to the area. The family and Alsager(s) Green are mentioned by Richard Parrott in his 1733 An Account of the Parish of Audley (see Collections for a History of Staffordshire 1944 edition), but are recorded, from the local dialect, as Auger and Augers Green. In Parrott’s time the road, which is now High Street Alsagers Bank, High Street Halmer End and Shraley Brook Road Halmer End, was known as Halmer End Lane for its entire length; Alsager(s) Green and Alsagers Bank being part of Halmer End.

 

Farmers

 

Samuel Burgess is recorded in 1783 when Alsagers Green Farm of 77 acres was part of the Apedale estate of Sir Nigel Bowyer Gresley. Samuel is last recorded in an 1834 trade directory.

 

Joseph Burgess, a relative of the above, is recorded in the Audley Tithe Award in 1837, when the farm of 72 acres was owned by Richard Edensor Heathcote of Apedale Hall. It is not named but is clearly identified on the Tithe Map.

 

Benjamin Leighton is recorded in the 1851 census. He died in 1854 and his wife Hannah (née Wood) continued until 1857 when she gave up the business and sold the farming stock (see below). The farm at this time was called Alsagers Bank Farm.

 

Thomas Poole, who married Mary Burgess, a relative of the above, is recorded in a directory of 1860. He is last recorded in the 1871 census. By 1861 the farm had 120 acres of land.

 

Possibly James Smith who is recorded in the 1881 census for Alsagers Bank as a farmer. Also recorded in an 1884 trade directory.

 

William Eardley is recorded as a farmer and butcher in the 1891 census and as a farmer in an 1892 trade directory. In 1893 he declared himself bankrupt.

 

George Burgess, the eldest son of Daniel Burgess of Red Hall farm in Halmer End. He is recorded at the farm from 1900 until 1936. A land survey of 1910 records the farm, of 76 acres, in the ownership of the Midland Coal, Coke & Iron Company of Apedale.

 

Donald Bailey took over the tenancy of the farm in 1936 in the same year that he married Muriel Irene Burgess of the same Burgess families as above. In 1943 the farm, along with other former Heathcote properties, was sold by auction on 25 October to a Mr Durber. The farm then had 35 acres of land, let at an annual rent of £39. Donald Bailey later purchased the farm and continued here until his death in 1991. His son John took over and is still at the farm today.

 

 

The sale of the farming stock in 1857

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

The old barn at Church Farm on 6 May 2008

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

No. 34 "Bank Cottage" with nos. 20-26 below on 16 May 2008. The entrance to Stone Quarry Farm is at left.

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: Stone Quarry Farm

In 1837 John Bailey is recorded in the Audley Tithe Award as having a house here. A stone quarry (or hole) was on land belonging to a farm (name unknown) situated lower down the bank, where William Riley & Sons are now sited in Halmer End (see Halmer End – The Changing Face of High Street). That farm closed later. In 1851 John Bailey is recorded as a farmer of 9 acres but it is not until 1871 that the house (or farm) is recorded as Stone Hole. The name changed after 1904 to Stone Quarry Farm.

 

Farmers

 

John Bailey, from 1837-1867.

 

Henry Bailey, who was also the gamekeeper of the Heathcote family at Apedale Hall, was at the farm from 1867-1901.

 

Frederick William Bailey, from 1905-1916. A land survey of 1910 records the farm, of 23 acres, in the ownership of the Midland Coal, Coke & Iron Company of Apedale.

 

Hannah Bailey, widow of Frederick William, from 1921-1940.

 

Henry Bailey, from 1943 until about 1995. The farm was sold in 1943, at the same time as Church Farm. The sale catalogue states that the farm had 23 acres of land, let to Henry Bailey at a rent of £30 per annum.

 

The Baileys at Church Farm are the same family.

 

 

Donald Bailey and Cyril Goulding at Stone Quarry Farm

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

This was the first Alsagers Bank Church. It is recorded as being built in 1875 from funds provided by Captain J. H. Edwards-Heathcote of Apedale Hall, whose son was baptised in the first service in the church on 30 November 1876. The church is dedicated to St John but was only a Chapel of Ease attached to Chesterton Church until 1932. The early records of baptisms, marriages and burials are to be found in the Chesterton parish registers.

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

The church was replaced in 1911 by this brick and tile building which still stands today. In 1932 the ecclesiastical parish of St John’s, Alsagers Bank was created. The following notice appeared in the October 1932 edition of the Audley Parish Magazine:

 

 

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The church on 3 February 2007. Although still the parish church of St John’s, it is now administered by the Vicar of Audley. (See also issue no. 10 of Audley Community News for more photos of the church)

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

Halmer End War Memorial was unveiled on 22 September 1924 and commemorates the war dead of Halmer End, Miles Green, Alsagers Bank and Scot Hay, although several had already been commemorated on the Audley War Memorial in Church Street. (See Never to Return published in 2000 or the new edition published in 2007)

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

The same view on 27 March 1996

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

This pre-1911 view looking downhill to the church shows a group of old cottages at left. They were nos. 56-60 High Street and were demolished some time around 1950. At that time they were all owned by Mrs Martha Ellen Dean (see also no. 202).

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

Alsagers Bank Church Hall / Sunday School on 6 May 2008

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: Sunday School

Alsagers Bank Church Sunday School was officially opened on Monday 21 February 1921 by Mrs Edwards-Heathcote of Betton Hall, near Market Drayton. It was not however the building showing above, but a transformed army hut. It lasted for just 4 years, being burnt down on 2 February 1925. A replacement Sunday School, the one in the above photo, was erected and officially opened on Monday 4 January 1926 by Lady Mosley, the daughter of Captain and Mrs J. H. Edwards-Heathcote. The builders were Maddock Brothers of Audley. The building later became a Church Hall and is now The Pinewood Pre-School.

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

A pre-1916 view of nos. 61-71

 

 

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Nos. 61-71 (left) on 11 August 2007

 

 

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The opposite side of the road with "Quarry Side" (right) up to no. 116 on 6 May 2008

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

Looking back down the bank on 16 May 2008, the new properties at left have replaced the old nos. 122-136. Below are nos. 120 down to 114. On the hillside at the rear of these properties once stood a maze of more than twenty old cottages called Downing’s Place and Cornes’ Place. They were known locally as “The Holes”. Conditions there were bad and in 1910 three children from one family died in a diphtheria outbreak. Eventually the tenants were all re-housed in Council Houses in The Drive, built in the 1940s, and the old properties were demolished.

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 122 High Street

This was the general merchandise shop of Aaron Bosworth from 1912 until 1938.

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 130 High Street

Joseph Sumnall and his wife Ann were grocers from 1891 until 1913 when Joseph died. Ann continued until 1916. From 1928 to 1940, Mrs Ethel Beech was a confectioner. Harvey Beech, who was also a barber, followed, selling sweets and cigarettes. The Beech family lived next door at no. 132.

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

The Boughey Arms public house

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 115 High Street, The Boughey Arms Public House

 

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

George Downing 1818 (Owned by Sir John Fenton Boughey)

Ralph Downing 1834-1859

George Downing 1859-1868

Ralph Downing 1869-1907

George Wood 1908-1909

Thomas Wright 1910-1911

George Wood 1912

Leonard Henshall 1916-1917

Eli Henshall 1921-1928

William Otley 1928-1932

John Trickett 1933-1936

John M. Ellis 1939-1940

Thomas Brannan 1950

George Aldridge 1960

 

On Ralph Downing’s retirement in 1904 the Boughey Arms was put up for sale by public auction:

 

The Boughey Arms closed soon after 1960. It was demolished around 1970 and the site redeveloped.

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

The redeveloped nos. 117-121, set back from the road on 16 May 2008. No. 123 is the tall building on the right of view.

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

A 1910 view looking downhill with the grocer's shop at no. 127, centre right

 

 

No. 146 at left and no. 135 at right with no. 127 below on 14 June 2008

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 127 High Street

Caleb Rhodes, a grocer & provision dealer, was here in 1871. He died in 1886 and his widow Ann took over. In the 1901 census their son-in-law John Spode, a grocer, was also living here.

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 133 High Street

John Butters, a grocer, had a lock-up shop from 1901 to 1911. From 1921 until 1932, it was the butcher’s shop of Bertram Henry Allman. The shop was a wooden building in front of the house and could be the one just below no. 135 in the old black and white photo below.

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 135 High Street

In the 1950s this was the home of Alfred Wemyss, coal merchant, whose coal yard was at the rear of the property in 1959, with access via the old drive entrance to Apedale Hall (see below). His father, Albert Edward, lived next door at the School House in The Drive. The coal business was in the name of A. E. Wemyss & Son (see also Bignall End - The Changing Face of Ravens Lane for more about the Wemyss business).

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

The final section of the bank before High Street levels out, with nos. 142-146 at right and no. 135 at left on 14 June 2008. The buildings higher up on the left are in The Drive, the former gated driveway to nearby Apedale Hall. The driveway was reconstructed in the mid-19th century, but the entrance to the earlier driveway can still be seen, just past no. 135.

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: No. 144 High Street

From 1896 to 1924 Samuel Steele Dean was here as a stationer, grocer and general dealer.

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

This old view looks back down the bank. On the left is the Gresley Arms, and right is no. 135.

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

Little change by 28 January 2007

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

The Gresley Arms as it appeared in the early 20th century

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

 

 

The Gresley Arms in March 1988

 

 

© 2016 Audley & District Family History Society

 

Fact file: The Gresley Arms Public House

 

The public house is named after the Gresley family. Sir Nigel Gresley inherited the Apedale estate in 1754. In 1776 it passed to his eldest son Sir Nigel Bowyer Gresley. He died in 1808 and the estate passed to his son Roger who had to wait until 1820 before he came of age and succeeded to the estate. By 1833 the Apedale estate was owned by Richard Edensor Heathcote, who had married his cousin Emma Gresley. The estate included the Gresley Arms which is first mentioned by name in a trade directory of 1834.

 

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

 

William Jones 1815-1834

John Jones 1837

William Wilson 1841-1880

William Wilson (son of above) 1881-1888

Enoch Poole 1891-1892

Edwin Parkes 1896-1905

Ada Parkes 1905-1912 (Owned by Parkes Brewery Co. Burslem in 1910)

Charles William Burgess 1912-1949

Emmie Brayford 1950-1954

John Tellwright 1960

Alfred Wemyss 1963

Douglas Forster 1970

Brenda Forster

Joseph Preece 1986

Reginald & Linda Smith 1991-2000

Carl Smith 2001-2005

Louise Ann Pope 2009

Carl & Sarah Smith 2010-

 

The early publicans were also farmers on the land owned by the Heathcote family. William Wilson, however, later farmed from 25 to 27 acres of land which was attached only to the Gresley Arms. When Ada Parkes was here in 1910 this land had reduced to 18 acres and was owned by the Midland Coal, Coke & Iron Company of Apedale.

 

 

Report on the 1888 sale of the Gresley Arms

 

 

Details of the 1888 sale of William Wilson's possessions

 

 

A view of the paddock attached to the Gresley Arms with Miss Wilson feeding the turkeys. The building in the background is the School House in The Drive. The paddock is now the Gresley Arms car park.