Butchers’ Shops in Hoole
By carrying on trading during the Covid-19 lockdown not only did Hopton's continue to provide local residents with their high-quality meat and meat products, they also ensured that a butcher’s shop had traded in Hoole for over 160 years. Even during the two world wars Hoole Food Control Committee ensured that the availability of meat continued from butchers’ shops, but with strict controls on rationing and deliveries.
The first butcher’s shop in Hoole is recorded in an 1857 directory, run by William Jones at 3 Charles Street (now part of Chatwin’s premises). In 1864 William Jones was declared bankrupt but appears to have carried on trading because in 1869 he was summonsed, his scales being 4 drams against the customer and was ordered to pay costs of 4s.6d. He is also listed in the 1871 Census, still as a butcher but then, identifiable by his 10 children, the same William Jones appeared in the 1881 Census as having moved to 19 Charles Street where his occupation was shown there as a printer.
When, in 1860, a butcher’s shop opened in Faulkner Street in the premises now occupied by Deli-Vert, it was the first to be run by a member of the Dinwoodie family, a name to be associated with the providers of meat in Hoole for the next 115 years. It was run by John Dinwoodie Jnr., then aged 19; unfortunately, John died suddenly at the age of 41 in 1883. His widow continued to run the shop until their son Frederick Turner Dinwoodie took over and in 1905 he moved the business further down the Street to Nos.65/67. A branch of the business run by one of Frederick’s sons took over George Harvey’s butcher's shop in Walker Street and Dinwoodies the butchers became a well-established enterprise until 1974 by when both shops were closed. More details of the Dinwoodie Family are in People of Hoole.
As the population of Hoole expanded during the Victorian era so did the demand for fresh meat, and when the Co-op opened in Walker Street in 1905 its butchery department was in competition with five other butchers’ shops in the area.
Members of the Society have investigated the effect of the arrival of the Co-op on the many shops then trading locally (including 12 grocers and provision dealers, 6 drapers, 6 boot and shoe shops and at least 9 general stores); surprisingly many were to survive probably because Hoole’s population continued to expand significantly.
The main competition to Dinwoodies was from Joseph Crewe whose family had run butchers’ shops in Watergate Street and the Market Hall for many years. His first shop in 1898 was rented at No.32, re-numbered to 40 Faulkner Street, now the Sea Breeze Fish Bar. At that time most of the properties in Faulkner Street were rented houses but when landlords realised that they could obtain higher rents they started to convert them into shops; research shows separate blocks being developed over time. Joseph Crewe moved across the street to No.31 (it is worth noting that his neighbour, Dawson the newsagent, did likewise from No.26 to No.35) the business continuing there until 1938 when Joseph Crewe died. After the Second World War the premises were used by Richard (Dick) Parry, who as Hoole’s only barber became a well-known character. Although Dinwoodie and Crewe were rivals they often appeared together as judges at livestock market competitions.
When Joseph Crewe moved across the road, the shop next door No.29 was also a butcher's run by Edward Bagshaw who originally came to Chester to work as a manager for Thomas Lloyd a butcher in the Market Hall. Edward Bagshaw’s manager, Alfred Betton, lived over the shop while Edward lived at 7 Panton Road before moving to 5 Hoole Park. Nos.29/31 are now the Delhi Street Indian Restaurant.
Meanwhile in Charles Street, premises at No.24 occupied for many years by the Roberts family, cow keepers, and briefly occupied by George Stalker, dairyman, and William Wild, fishmonger, became a butcher's shop run in 1881 by John Evans who went into liquidation in 1882. It was then run by Edward Roberts and later directories link the business to the Argentinian Meat Company! The shop (now the Groves Herbal Dispensary) was eventually to be tiled in dark green and white, a unique shop frontage in Hoole. Roberts the butcher traded in Charles Street into the 1970’s.
All these butchers, Dinwoodie, Crewe, Bagshaw and Roberts continued to trade during the first half of the 20th century, their premises equipped with cold stores, wooden chopping benches and usually sawdust on the floor. During the two World Wars, Hoole Food Control Committee issued regulations to ensure rationing (a typical ration in WW2 for one adult was meat to the value of 1s 2d per week) and deliveries to minimise the use of transport, the Food Order even referring to the use of cycles. Frederick and later John Dinwoodie, and Ernest Bagshaw were members of the WW2 Committee.
In 1933, Sydney Nicholson opened a butcher’s shop at 54 Westminster Road (opposite Law Street). In 1945, Edward Bagshaw died and for a number of years his shop in Faulkner Street was run by Read's. It was then taken over by Nicholson's who by 1977 had premises at Upton, Waverton, The Lache and Buckley.
In 1967, Dawson the newsagents advertised for sale a new shop at 30 Faulkner Street which had been converted from a residential dwelling. It was bought by Harry Hopton, a master butcher whose son Bryan had opened new eateries in Chester: the Caribbean Grill, Chester Steakhouse and the Witches Kitchen in Frodsham Street. In 1974, Harry Hopton purchased the champion bullock which weighed ten and three quarter hundred weight at the Chester Smithfield Market for £688, a record price; he also bought the champion beasts at other markets and advertisements show them being sold both through the restaurants and at the shop. Selling meat for freezers was another line of business.
As the millennium approached shopping habits began to change. The big supermarkets had their own butchery departments and provided a wide range of meat products; ready meals and eating out were becoming the things to do; working wives were spending less time cooking and family meals traditionally including joints or cuts of meat were becoming less frequent. Vegetarianism was also making an impact.
Not surprisingly, butchers’ shops everywhere began to close. A nationwide survey shows that there were 15,000 shops in 1990 and now there are less than 6,000. Nicholson's endeavoured to increase their trade by opening a deli counter. This shop became known as Clancy’s and has also now closed.
So now in Hoole we have just one shop, Hopton’s, who fortunately continue to provide (without any sawdust) local residents with a traditional high-quality butchery service.
The picture shows a collage, giving an impression of John Dinwoodie's shop in the late 19th Century at No.2 (now No.10) Faulkner Street. The upper floor was later extended over the entry on the right which continued to provide access to the rear, much used by Faichney's Taxis, whose family also ran the shop as a greengrocer. Other occupants as greengrocers were Ruscoe's and O'Reilly's (who also owned the chip shop). The premises which are now the Fresh Flower shop were built into the entry. The splendid pair of townhouses still stand alone as the only non-commercial premises in that part of Hoole.
The Holborn Restaurant
At the end of the First World War, Hoole Urban District Council decided to welcome home those who had taken part in it by hosting a celebratory dinner; only recently it has been discovered that this did not take place until 31st December 1919 and that it was held at the Holborn Restaurant in Chester when nearly 400 sat down to a dinner, which was followed by a smoking concert.
A restaurant which could seat that number of people would have been a significant undertaking - research has shown that it was located at 29 Foregate Street, with at that time a telephone number of Chester No.9. It had been established in 1884 by a John Kendrick. It was the place to eat in Chester, especially for race visitors and tourists, and it hosted many formal dinners and functions. For many years an orchestra played daily from 12.30 to 2.00 pm and from 3.30 to 6.00 pm An afternoon tea dance was a speciality in the 1920s for 2s. 6d. If you couldn't dance, a school of dancing was available giving, in 1927, a demonstration of 'The Charleston'.
Demonstrations of hairdressing and beauty culture were held for ladies while gentlemen could avail themselves of the smoke and billiard rooms. Advertisements show that the Holborn welcomed large excursions, choir and picnic parties - outings to Chester were among the favourite places to visit in the calendars of many organisations.
The premises were closed in 1938 to be replaced with the large branch of Marks & Spencer on the north side of Foregate Street opposite the current store; it now houses River Island and Wilko's. A little-known link with the First World War was that in October 1914, the Restaurant was used by Chester Civilian Association twice a week for military and physical drills "to ensure that men were fit and ready for any duty necessary for home defence". Thankfully it was not required.
After reading this article Simon Waddington, a member of the Society, forwarded an illustration of its interior from a 1923 Guide to Chester.
The restaurant does not look very welcoming, nor a sophisticated place to eat, but to seat 700 and having an orchestra playing daily must have had its attractions.
More information has been found about John Kendrick who in addition to The Holborn, set up the ‘Vienna Restaurant and Café’ in Northgate Row, referred to as Kendrick's in the advertisement. He started as a confectioner at a shop in Princess Street and is credited with introducing French patisserie to Chester. He was a keen early motorist but in 1913 while driving in North Wales collapsed while driving near Devil's Bridge, Aberystwyth. He was succeeded by his son, William John (Jack) Kendrick.
The Herbal Brewery, Garden Lane
Before the First World War there was a mineral water works at 157 Garden Lane which was run by Davies & Moulding. A large undated flagon bearing both their names at 'The Herbal Brewery' located there recently appeared for sale.
In the 1911 Census, William Joseph Davies is listed aged 38, living at 10 Salisbury Street, as an employer at a herbal brewery meaning that the business was established some time before that date. (In the 1901 Census he was a cellar man working for a brewery in Birkenhead). Harry Moulding is listed as aged 35, living at 93 Whipcord Lane, his occupation is also shown as a herbal brewer.
The partnership was dissolved by mutual consent on 3rd April 1917. Just before this an advertisement appeared for "the sale of a motor waggon (sic) 40 hp F.I.A.T., the owner having no further use owing to being called up, at 157 Garden Lane". This is probably why the partnership was dissolved. Military records show that No.60218 Private Harry Moulding was recruited into the 16th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment, which was set up in April 1917 as a transport battalion charged with the logistics and movement of materials mainly in the Mersey Docks area. Its recruits, who were not issued with arms, were usually in the upper age band for call up. Harry was then aged 41. The unit was disbanded in 1919.
On his return from military service Harry Moulding ran a butcher's shop in Crane Street - the 1891 Census shows that as a young man he was an apprentice butcher. Another glazed flagon labelled Moulding & Sons, Crane Street, 1937 has also been found; it is not known if the Mouldings still had a connection with the mineral works or simply advertised the contents produced by it under their name on the flagons.
A flagon bearing the name W. J. Davies, presumably then carrying on the business alone is dated 1920.
In 1921 an accident was reported involving a lorry owned by Davies & Haynes, Herbal Beer Makers, and it would appear that another partnership had been set up; another flagon bearing both names dated 1929 has been found.
This partnership seems to have been enlarged to include a third partner because in 1935 the firm of Davies, Haynes and Dodd was put into liquidation, the business then being situated in Whipcord Lane and described as containing a herbal brewery plant, 2 motors and bottles. The business was not sold as a going concern and in March 1936 the contents of what was then described as The Botanical Brewery, Whipcord Lane were sold by auction.
Eight years earlier an advert on 2nd June 1928 stated that the premises originally known as The Herbal Brewery, 157 Garden Lane were to let. Seven weeks later a similar advert, referring to the premises as the "former Mineral Water Works" appeared. The business appears to have moved to Whipcord Lane at that time.
From 1939 to at least 1945 the original premises at 157 Garden Lane became a garage run by Fletchers, who specialised in auto-electrics. From 1969 to probably 1978 a car sales business was run from there called Lane End Motors (No.157 was at the end of the Lane).
Herbal beers have been brewed for centuries, but non-alcoholic versions were promoted in the Victorian era by the temperance movement attempting to combat the excessive consumption of gin and beer by the working classes. Varieties such as dandelion and burdock and, of course, ginger beer survived, and the addition of fruit flavours to aerated mineral water produced lemonade, orangeade, raspberryade etc. Soda water manufacturers were also into this market and from the early 1900s with the advent of mass glass bottle production, firms in Chester included Laycocks in Linenhall Street, and the Dee and Cestrian Mineral Water Companies.
These firms combined in 1938 to become Dee, Cestrian & Laycocks opening a bottling plant at the Portland Works on Station Road in 1945. The company was wound up in 1968.
Also, after the Second World War a national company with the now unfortunate name of Corona established weekly delivery rounds of 'pop' to residential areas. In Chester their base was in Handbridge, before moving to the Sealand Industrial Estate. Deposits had to be paid on the bottles which ensured that they were returned. Corona Soft Drinks had been founded in South Wales in the 1880s again in response to the temperance movement, it was sold to the Beecham Group in 1958 and subsequently Britvic but stopped trading as such in the late 1990s.
There are not many businesses that leave behind artefacts which illustrate so graphically the history of their ownership.
- Article researched and written by Ralph Earlam, July 2020, Hoole History & Heritage Society
- Article researched and written by Ralph Earlam, August 2020 (updated October 2020), Hoole History & Heritage Society
- Article researched and written by Ralph Earlam, September 2020, Hoole History & Heritage Society