History and Background of the Hoole History and Heritage Society
The Hoole History & Heritage Society aims to study, advance and promote community awareness of the local history of the Hoole area (including parts of present-day Newton, Boughton, and Plemstall, as far as they impinge on Hoole).
We provide an opportunity for our members to explore and share their interests in our past by facilitating research and discussion leading to the preparation and presentation of papers, documents, photographs, personal recollections, and online resource.
We intend to create a detailed and accessible archive as a result of our joint researches so future generations will have an accurate record of the places and people that have shaped Hoole and the immediate surrounding area as it is today.
How we got here
The idea of a History & Heritage Society for Hoole goes back a long way and has had many enthusiastic supporters who have researched and pooled their discoveries. Indeed, Hoole History & Heritage Society (HHHS) stands gratefully on the shoulders of work undertaken by Hoole Residents Association in 2000 (with Millennium Funding).
The launch of a local history society came about because of strong interest and popular support and, in 2012, a group of volunteers started to plan for the formation of Hoole History & Heritage Society. Several well-known local historians supported this idea and volunteered to be part of a programme of speakers in 2012-2013. A visit to the Chester History and Heritage Centre and to Cheshire Record Office showed the resources potentially available.
Fortuitously, an opportunity arose that summer to apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund and, prior to the launch of the Society, a successful bid was made to the ‘All Our Stories’ Project. This enabled the Society to gain some basic equipment and the means to make rapid progress in pursuit of our aims.
What have we done?
The focus of the Lottery submission was Victorian Hoole following the arrival of the railways, and the building of Chester Station. At which time the ‘urban village’ of Hoole grew and became the new centre of life for the area, each part of which was already rich in local history.
HHHS met the objectives of the Lottery submission in the following year by, amongst other activities:
- Visiting the National Railway Museum to obtain information on Chester Station and the associated jobs, culture, and trains;
- Obtaining records and primary evidence about Hoole’s history from the Cheshire Records Office;
- Exploring the origin of street names, land ownership and businesses, and how these changed;
- Building up a picture of who lived in Hoole, through Census details and local Directories and newspapers;
- Exploring school and church life, leisure facilities, law and order, and local politics;
- Uncovering the history of the Royal Agricultural Show, held in Hoole in 1893, and exploring how it anticipated some contemporary issues for Hoole.
In 2014, being the hundredth Anniversary of the start of The Great War, HHHS prompted further interest in researching the local War Memorials. This led to asking the local community to help to shed more light on what they, and the Rolls of Honour, could tell us about the people of Hoole.
In the years since our inception we have:
- Organised meetings for members with topics from Roman Times to the Present Day;
- Steadily attracted additional members, now with a current membership approaching 90;
- Established the HHHS website, recording an increasing number of ‘hits’ year by year;
- Provided a Local History section in the ‘Hoole and Newton Roundabout’, which is freely distributed to every house in the area,
- Received and answered many enquiries from members of the public, mainly about their family or property's history.
Where to next?
We have recognised that the history of Hoole cannot be separated from that of Flookersbrook and Newton, and, for some specific historical aspects, extends into Hoole Village, Plemstall, and Boughton.
An exciting aim continues to be to record and photograph the buildings and types of housing across Hoole with their original features and their individual stories, and to explore life in them through memorabilia, memories, census returns and deeds. Additionally, where significant buildings have been lost, e.g. schools and the workhouse, their histories will be recorded, and photographic evidence preserved.
The Society will continue to meet local people’s wishes to explore the origin of street names, recording, and explaining any changes made over time. Similarly, the histories of the people of Hoole and their families, (including landowners, employers, shopkeepers, etc. and the politicians and societal shapers) also need to be researched and recorded.
Key events, like the early days of Chester Football Club behind Faulkner Street, need further researching and signposting. Similarly, the wishes of allotment holders and crown green bowlers, to record the history of their clubs and societies, will be pursued as will the histories of local churches and societies. There are also many Railway archives both locally and nationally still to be recorded and interpreted from a Hoole perspective.
As part of our continuing commitment to Hoole heritage, we intent to monitor existing conservation areas and to ensure that the historical and community significance of possible redevelopment areas is made known.
An important target for the Society is to obtain further funding to achieve our aim to construct a comprehensive and accessible archive of all the information and material that we hold.