This picture shows the bottom of Wharton Hill and the way that the traffic over the Town Bridge used to be two-way outside the Red Lion. You can see the road become the High Street at the top of the picture – now, of course, the Old High Street. All buildings on the left of the photo have now long gone.
In this picture you can see Wetherspoons and its car park.
The photo also clearly shows John Street and Dean Street. I’ve never noticed the modern building on John Street before.
The Queens Arms was built in 1958. It became a Wetherspoons on 26th January 2003.
The other thing to notice is that the old Chicoland takeaway on the edge of the town centre, opposite Wetherspoons, hasn’t become a Chicoland yet. I can’t remember what it was before.
Always described as Winsford’s best natural asset, the Flashes are three lakes along the course of the River Weaver. The lakes are called Top Flash, Middle Flash and Bottom Flash, and they extend over some 200 acres (80 hectares).
They formed in the 19th century (cartographical evidence dates their formation to between 1845 and 1872), due to the subsidence of surface ground into underground voids. The voids were largely the result of brine extraction, in which rock salt deposits were dissolved and washed out by water. As the ground slumped into the voids, the River Weaver widened at each point, until lakes were made where arable land had once been.
From the late 19th century, Winsford Flashes became popular with working class day-trippers from the nearby industrial centres of Manchester and the Staffordshire Potteries. Visitors came in large numbers for a day’s leisure boating, picknicking, and sightseeing. However, the Winsford Flashes were never developed as a public amenity, and their popularity soon fell into decline.
Today, they are primarily enjoyed by the local community, and are used for sailing (Winsford Flash Sailing Club is based on the 90 acre (35 hectare) Bottom Flash), fishing, and walking. They support a wide range of wildlife, with several species of migrant wildfowl, such as Canada Geese, using them as an over-winter destination.
The people of the town are rightly protective of them and potential development near to them was one of the key issues of the Neighbourhood Plan.
This photo clearly shows how large the Flashes are. You can see the Ways Green holiday park development on the right. Much of the housing on the right of the picture (off Weaver Street) was only developed in the last ten to fifteen years.
On the right of the picture you can see the gas tower which was demolished in the early Nineties (I think). Mid-Cheshire College is there now.
At the bottom right of the picture you can see Pimlotts which was demolished around five years ago.
At the bottom of the picture you can see The Vale/Jaxx/Liquid Lounge in better times. Today it lies derelict.
At the bottom left of the picture you can see Greedy Pig/Lighthouse chippy/Old Post Office which was demolished in 2014.
Despite the loss of some of the buildings described the road layout remains entirely the same since its construction.
Technically in Darnhall, the Raven Inn is situated at the far end of Swanlow Lane between Winsford and Church Minshull. Since 2007 the pub has been closed. Here is a photograph of the pub during that year, showing it in its better days.
The name Raven comes from the Corbett family, long time residents of Darnhall Hall and upon whose family crest was a raven. The hall was sold to the Verdin family in the late 1800s and was demolished around 1950.
The pub is believed to be one of the oldest in Vale Royal. It used to be a gamekeeper’s cottage but was mentioned as an alehouse in Weaver Township, an older name for Darnhall, in 1631.
The licensee on this date was John Robinson and in those long gone days the customer base would have been the surrounding farms and travellers on the ancient Over to Nantwich Road.
In 2009 plans were made to turn the premises into an Indian Restaurant but these plans were never realised and this once thriving pub continues to decline.
In September 2013 it was revealed that a squatter was living in the pub.
I can’t quite place the time that this picture was taken – but it does prove one thing – de.bees hasn’t always been there after all! The picture shows in its place the market place which the bar’s address is named after.
The Red Lion is clearly visible on the right and the town bridge.
Thankfully the factories have disappeared and the buildings on the left of the bridge which is now a beautiful nature area by the Weaver.
The road layout has remained quite similar, although, of course, a one-way system exists.