The Lost Streets of Hoole
Bishop Street, Law Street, and Griffiths Terrace
These properties along with those in Faulkner Street, Charles Street, and the northern end of Peploe Street (Westminster Road) were the first streets of urban Hoole. They were built on the Flookersbrook Field, also known as Bishops Field; on the Hoole Township Tithe Map c.1839 (in the County Record Office but also available online) it is shown as Plot No.13 owned by Charles Hamilton; through marriage and early heir-less deaths, the land passed to Thomas Faulkner who in the 1850s sold the Field in building lots.
These were bought by builders and investors as, in today's terminology, 'buy to lets' and were rented by workers who had come to Chester following its expansion after the arrival of the railways. The tenancies changed hands very frequently, rents being just a few shillings.
A deed dated 1853 records the sale by Thomas Faulkner to George Brown, builder of Newton, of the land which was to become Bishop Street. The houses were advertised in 1854 as being well tenanted. The street contained 34 terraced houses and it must have been a very tight knit, law abiding, residential community, perhaps marred in 1868 when proceedings were taken against one Samuel Earlam for keeping pigs on his premises at No.3 “so as to be a nuisance”.
Much later when local Manx T.T. rider Bill Smith opened his motorcycle shop he extended Bramhall's Garage in Westminster Road to occupy the corner with Bishop Street where an enclosed yard now houses Lewis's Ice Cream vans. Bishop Street was demolished to make way for today's car park.
The Hoole Millennium Book suggests that the street was named after Bishop Peploe Ward. Unfortunately, he only became a Canon and the name more likely alludes to Bishop's Field or Bishop's Ditch which flowed into Flookers Brook (the stream).
Built at a right angle to what was then the end of Peploe Street, the next field being Cow Pastures which was not built on until the 1890s, Law Street consisted of 18 terraced cottages. In 1876, Mr. Lloyd's cow keeper’s business at No.2 was sold by auction including a well-bred in calf cow, a cow in milk, a useful pony and cart and dairy equipment. The business was still being operated by Elizabeth Griffiths in 1892. The cows were kept on the open land behind. In 1911 a fish and chip shop was run at No.18 by a Mr. Davis.
In response to a query from a reader, the Society discovered some incidents that occurred here. In 1867 a girl aged 2 was crushed by a turning horse-drawn coal cart; in 1895 a child died after playing with fire and igniting his clothes; in 1883 a man was charged with taking laudanum with intent to commit suicide.
The shop on the corner with Peploe Street was originally a general store, is remembered by old 'Hooligans' as a newsagent called Sharmans, and more recently (35 years) has been a barbers and hairdressers. Law Street was demolished in the 1960s; the photograph shows the north side and Sharmans shop.
Griffiths Terrace was also built at a right angle to the then end of Faulkner Street, on the boundary with Cow Pastures and Thomas Walker/Lightfoot's lands. Ten terraced cottages led to Hoole Bank where the Co-op was to be built in 1906, much of the site now being occupied by Walker Street Community Park. On its corner with Faulkner Street the shop at No.55 sold small wares in the 1920s and was a grocery store run by Mrs. Kearle in 1952.
The illustration shows the Author's Aunty Alice looking out to see why a photograph was being taken of the last gas lamp in 1967. We have not been able to discover who 'Griffiths' was.
Although these Streets were condemned in the mid-20th century, when they were built the provision of fresh water and sanitation and the caring administration of Hoole Local Board, democratically elected from 1864, led to good living conditions and a very low mortality rate in Hoole compared with other urban areas of the country.
- Article by Ralph Earlam, some parts of which were initially published in ‘Hoole Roundabout’ in September 2016 - http://www.hooleroundabout.com
- Tithe Map produced with permission of Cheshire Record Office