Welcome to 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.
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.
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 18th Jan 2024
Caroline Ellison, a City of Chester Tourist Guide, will be telling us about the "blue plaques scheme" and the sites of the few we have in the City. You will know that Hoole's one plaque is sited on the front of the Ba Ba Guest House on Hoole Road: "The house was the birthplace of Group Captain Geoffrey Leonard Cheshire, Baron Cheshire VC, OM, DSO & Two Bars, DFC (7 September 1917 – 31 July 1992) who was a highly decorated British RAF pilot during the Second World War." Owners, Bill and June Smith are joining us to share in the evening.
Friday 16th February 2024
We have organised a visit with a guided tour of Bishop Lloyd's Palace, Watergate Row and a ttalk on its history. Further details will be circulated nearer the date. This will be instead of our monthly Thursday meeting at Kingswood and you will need to make your own way there.
Bishop Lloyd's Palace is unique nationally and internationally. Nowhere else in Britain is there such a profusion of original carvings, dating from the late Tudor period. We have no written records of the ownership or occupation of the building until around the 1640s. The front of the building is the only witness to the tastes and history of its early occupiers. Last year Skysnappers Film and Photography did drone photographs of the carvings. Some of the results were surprising. The old cliche 'if only these walls could talk' will be realised in this lecture. It is looking at the front of the house, but it takes us on a helter-skelter of historical facts, ideas and artistic interests. The talk is actually in Bishop Lloyd's Palace to add more authenticity to it. Doors open at 7.00 for a 7.30 start.
Thursday 14th March 2024
David Hearn: “Strongholds of the Mersey” (Perch Rock, sea defences etc.)
Thursday 18th April 2024
Linda Webb: “The Lost Gardens of Hoole” (Part 1)
Thursday 16th May 2024
Peter Elliott: “The Battle of Hoole Heath”: most people have heard of The Battle of Rowton Heath (24 Sept 1645), but fewer are aware of the strategic context of the battle and the fact that much of the fighting actually took place in Hoole. Peter will be explaining how this unexpected battle came about and how it fits in with other, related, events in Civil War Chester.
Thursday 13th June 2024
Phil Cook: “Hoole Bridge area”
Thursday 18th July 2024
Linda Webb: “The Lost Gardens of Hoole” (Part 2) - a guided walk (for a max. of 20/22)
The most recent updates can be found in:
- Mails to Ireland (Nov 2023): a history of mail between Chester and Ireland
- Hoole Hall: a short history of the building;
- Hoole House: a short history of this lost building;
- 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.
- Murder at the Beehive? (Feb 2023)
- Medical Museum (Jan 2023)
- The Trial of Thomas Williams (Jan 2023): a remarkable case involving Martha Hamilton (nee Panton)
- Ermine (Jan 2023): a little of the history of the old building
- Osborne Aldis (Jan 2023): the "play" about his life
Below is a list of meetings during the last year. To get a full list of past meetings click on the words "Past Meetings" above.
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.
Thursday 28th September 2023
Linda Webb: "Hoole in the 1920s"
Thursday 19th October 2023
Su Lowy: ""Victorian Millinery & Prostitution". The story of the milliner in the Victorian period reflects the many contradictions of that era. Su's talk determined what a milliner’s work was and how that trade led to a close relationship with prostitution. It also links fact and fiction and the moral mores of the time.
Thursday 23rd November 2023
Phil Cook explored some of the history of the Mails to Ireland. The first postal service began in 1516 with the Royal Mail service becoming first available to the public from 1635. Operating initially by horse, stagecoach, then train and packet boat, Chester was an important stopping-off point en route to Holyhead and embarkation for Dublin. The first Irish Mail train left Euston Station in London at 8.45pm on 1 August 1848, due to arrive at Holyhead at 6.45am the following morning. It was to connect with one of four new mail packets (boats) provided by the Admiralty, all paddle steamers. It operated until 2002.
Thursday 7th December 2023
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:
Data Protection & Copyright
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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)."