From Hoole History and Heritage Society

Welcome to Hoole History and Heritage Society

Hoole Urban District Council Crest "All is in vain without the Lord". For more on its remarkable (and unfinished) story see: "Coat of Arms".
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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.

Help Wanted!!

Are you a member of the Society and need help with historical research? Perhaps even for something that might end-up being published on this website? Please feel free to email us. For example Peter Elliott (aka User:Hooligan) is looking into the convoluted history of the Peploe/Ward/Hamilton/Panton family after whom a clutch of streets in Hoole are named, and would like to find someone who is able to follow-up on hatching/matchings/dispatchings and wills.


Chester Heritage Festival events will be taking place in the days from Sept 8th to 17th. Details can be found here.


Unless noted otherwise, we hold our monthly meetings at The Kingswood Complex, Kingsway, Newton, Chester, CH2 2FF, starting from 19:15. The programme for the following months is:

Thursday 28th Sept 2023

Linda Webb will be talking to us about "Hoole in the 1920s".

Thursday 19th Oct 2023

"Victorian Millinery & Prostitution", Su Lowy. The story of the milliner in the Victorian period reflects the many contradictions of that era. The talk attempts to determine what a milliner’s work was and how that trade led to a close relationship with prostitution. It also links fact and fiction & the moral mores of the time.

Saturday 11th Nov 2023

At 10.45 am at the Hoole and Newton War Memorial. A short act of remembrance will take place as we think about our local folk who lost their lives in conflict. The Society will be laying a wreath on your behalf.

Thursday 23rd Nov 2023

Phil Cook will explore some of the history of Mails To Ireland from 1516, the year that Royal Mail was founded, by horse, stagecoach, train and packet boat and some of the effects it had at Chester.

Thursday 7th Dec 2023




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Click here for a list of what is new on this site

The most recent updates can be found in:

  • Battle of Hoole Heath (Apr 2023): King Charles' paid a visit to Hoole in 1642 and was back in Chester three years later to see his army defeated. Much of the fighting on this second visit took place in Hoole, but exactly where in Hoole isn't entirely clear.
  • Ermine (Jan 2023): a little of the history of the old building

Past Meetings

Below is a list of meetings during the last year. To get a full list of past meetings click on the word "Meetings" above.

Tuesday, 27th Sept 2022

We celebrated the 10th anniversay of the Society. A decade ago a small group of people interested in the history and heritage of their local environment decided to get together, pool their knowledge and explore further. They had a vague idea that it would not take too long. Now, ten years later the Society has gathered a huge store of information on Hoole and some nearby places and there is still much more to be uncovered.

Thursday 13th October 2022

Chris Fozzard gave a talk on "A short history of Newton Hall" based on his recent book.

Thursday 17th November 2022

Guest speaker Steve Howe, local resident, photographer and author of the virtual stroll around Chester City Walls told us about “The Ermine Hotel” (aka “The Flookersbrook” Pub), a site of long interest situated as it is on the old Roman road, the turnpike and then linked to the railway. He also explained the origins of the pub=sign and the link to St Peter at Plemstall and the Hurleston's of Newton Hall, both of which have been the subject of recent talks.

Thursday 8th December 2022

Society's AGM and Christmas social. Some of the business at our AGM can be a little dry, so this year we added a pantomime (with an all-star cast!) which had been specially "written" for the Society. The subject is the somewhat tragi-comic Osborne Aldis who was the benefactor of Plegmunds Well, and most of the text is adapted from his various court appearances and other actual historical documents researched by members of the Society. Osborne, as you will recall from our talk at Plemstall, was a Cambridge graduate who was catapulted to fame (and prison) for his fraud on the Bank of England and then spent many years living off relatives while failing at various business schemes. He eventually moved to Chester where a chance meeting led him to restore Plegmund's Well, before his dodgy dealings had him back in the dock. Was he really a crook? - or does his reputation require repair? After the panto the jury gave a majority vote that he WAS a crook! As Osborne said before a somewhat agitated judge, quoting some other playwright, "whether the evil that men do lives after them and the good is oft interred with their bones".

Thursday 19th January 2023

We arranged a private guided tour of the Medical and Social Care Museum of the University of Chester. This is housed in basement rooms at Riverside, Castle Drive, Chester (formerly County Hall, Riverside, and now the "Wheeler" building). Volunteer guides took us through the collection of curiosities ranging from the early 19th century, through World War 1 to the modern day and includes artefacts from local hospitals. A short video can be SEEN HERE.

Thursday 16th February 2023

Clive Tolley gave the first part of his talk on "Hoole Heath: Raking up the Past". Back in the time of Edward III there was an "inquisition" about Hoole Heath. Since then many historians have used documents from that time to interpret the landscape, but have they made mistakes? Clive has taken a fresh look at the location and development of the heath and routes across it. In this first part he discussed the bounds of the heath and a second part will follow later in the year.

Thursday 23rd March 2023

John Walker on Dr John Haygarth of the Chester Infirmary. Haygarth (1740 – 10 June 1827) played an important role in the epidemiology and eradication of smallpox and the exposure of medical quackery. Haygarth spent 30 years at Chester and became known as one of the best physicians of his time.

Thursday 20th April 2023

Peter Elliott on the April 1923 Suspension Bridge across the Dee. It is almost exactly 100 years since the new bridge was opened, and Peter looked at some features of the bridge that are not in the guidebooks. These included:

  • How this was not the first suspension bridge in Chester: there was an earlier bridge (1849) leading to Curzon Park;
  • This was not the first suspension bridge over the River Dee: that was the chain bridge just upstream Llangollen (1814);
  • The design of the first "suspension" bridge over the Dee at Chester (1852) followed the "Dredge Taper Principle" which was both innovative and controversial;
  • The current (1923) bridge was not designed by Charles Greenwood as is often said, but a "flat pack" bridge from David Rowell & Co;
  • The heraldic shields on the current bridge are slightly mixed-up.

Peter's article and the references used can be found on his own website;

Thursday 11th May 2023

Monty Mercer - the Rainhill trials were an important competition run from the 6 to 14 October 1829, to test George Stephenson's argument that locomotives would have the best motive power for the then nearly-completed Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR). Stephenson's Rocket was the only locomotive to complete the trials, and was declared the winner, and some family of Monty were involved.

Thursday 8th June 2023

Linda Webb on William Williams, Hoole builder amd local benefactor.

Thursday 13th July 2023

Clive Tolley gave the second part of his talk on his highly detailed study of Hoole Heath. In the first part we learned about the bounds of the heath, this second part looked at routes across the heath.

Tuesday 1st August 2023

Philip Cook: 175th Anniversary of the Opening of Chester General Station - walking tour.


During the shutdown the Society has continued to keep in touch and share information with its members through Newsletter emails. These are now being shared to a wider audience:

Hoole Road in the early 1900's. The photo conceals a mysterious death. On the left is the chemist's shop where strychnine was bought and on the right the public house where a woman died of it. See "Murder at the Beehive?" for a possible solution by, of all people, Agatha Christie.

Data Protection & Copyright

Data Protection Policy and Procedures

Hoole History and Heritage Society is committed to protecting all personal information that is entrusted to us by people and to respecting their rights around how their information is handled. If you wish to see our data protection policy in full, please use the 'Contact Us' page and request a copy of the 'Hoole History and Heritage Society - Data Protection Policy and Procedures'.


A clause has been added to our 'Terms and Conditions' page to address regular requests the Society receives for copies of the photographs we have on the website. This clause reads "Materials (including photographs) from which the articles in this website are developed are, unless otherwise identified, believed by the Society to reside in the public domain. Should anyone or any organisation dispute this assertion please contact the Society (through the Contact Us page) and we will do our utmost to resolve the matter to everyone’s satisfaction (e.g. by appropriate attribution)."