Meetings 2022

From Hoole History and Heritage Society

Hoole History& Heritage Society Meetings - 2022

Wednesday, 19th January 2022

“Robert Lewis Jones: Chester General Station Manager” Robert Lewis Jones started out as the owner of the Chemical Works at Chemistry Lock. He moved to Flookersbrook and became the Station Manager at Chester, where he was in charge when a major rail accident occurred. As a result of this experience, he went on to make a noted contribution to synchronising clocks using electricity. Peter Elliott

A related article can be found on Peter's website here

Thursday, 17th February 2022

“James Hampson Spencer: Chester’s, almost forgotten, 19th Century Stereoscopic Photographer” In 2013, during a research visit into ‘Life in Victorian Hoole’, Linda Webb and Monty Mercer made a chance discovery of prints of James Hampson Spencer’s photographs at the National Archives in Kew. Extensive research has been taking place into the life and work of this previously little-known photographer since then. His stereoscopic photographs provide a ‘window on the world’ of Victorian society during the last quarter of the 19th Century. Linda Webb, Monty Mercer

Wednesday, 23rd March 2022

“The Neston Collieries 1759-1855” Our first external speaker for two years, Anthony, a local historian with a diverse range of interests focused on maritime and industrial history in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, brought the competitive story of these local collieries to our attention.  He told the story of the use of remarkable construction and engineering ideas in successfully mining coal in this period. Individuals, as different as the engineer George Stephenson and Emma, Lady Hamilton (later, Nelson’s mistress), played a part in the story as did the dangerous, appalling conditions of work along with the living conditions and health of the individual miners and their families of Neston. Anthony Annakin-Smith

Saturday 23rd April 2022

Members were invited to a talk at The Queen Hotel, by Trish Jones, entitled "The Voyages of the Sunbeam". This was organised by the "Thomas Brassey Society". Trish told the story of the 157ft yacht "Sunbeam" (considered to be the most beautiful schooner in the world at the time) owned by Lord Brassey (Thomas Brassey's eldest son) and his wife Annie. Annie Brassey, a keen photographer and anthropologist went on to write several highly popular books about their journeys. One particular global adventure they had was circumnavigation of the world with their family for eleven months which captured the imagination of the public at the time see: "A Voyage in the Sunbeam".

Thursday 12th May 2022

Our guest speaker for this occasion was Mike Curtis who will gave a presentation on “The 1737 New Cut of the River Dee”. The Dee estuary is unusual in that comparatively little water occupies such a large river basin. To improve access to the port of Chester, a new cut was, after several false starts, made through the Saltney Marshes towards Flint. However, the river diverted its course bringing unintended, irrevocable and unforeseen consequences over time and the shifting of the navigable portion to the Welsh coast. With the cessation of barge-transport of Airbus wings along the Dee there is now effectively no commercial shipping on the Dee.

Tuesday 7th June 2022

The venue was a unique one: St Peter's Church, Plemstall. Society member Peter Elliott gave a talk on "Plegmund and his Well". Plegmund was Archbishop of Canterbury under Alfred the Great and is generally believed to have lived and studied in the vicinity of Plemstall, which is his day would have been an island in the Gowy estuary. The well associated with him is close to the church, which has very interesting architecture and memorials. Peter gave a description of the life and times of Plegmund and events involving Chester from that period. He also discussed Plegmund's impact on English literature, as well as some new research, including into the very peculiar circumstances of the restoration of the well in 1908. Before the talk, society members had the opportunity to inspect the graveyard and the Church's unique interior.

Wednesday 13th July 2022

We undertook a canalside walking tour from Cow Lane Bridge to Hoole Lane Bridge led by Phil Cook. This is now a popular walking route but Phil showed that this was not always so and gave a detailed explanation of the industial and social history of this corridor through the city, pointing out many interesting features which can be overlooked.

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".