THE Chronicle’s recent Nostalgia feature on Christ Church School in Newtown has encouraged visitors to a city exhibition.
Newtown Remembered is at Chester History & Heritage Centre at St Michael’s Church until November 29.
The exhibition celebrates the development of the Newtown area over the years. The focus is on the places, the people and the community spirit, which is a central part of this fascinating collection of memories.
The exhibition combines first hand accounts with authentic pictures that help to piece together what life was really like in early Newtown.
Once a thriving community with its own shops, pubs and schools, the evocative photographic exhibition looks at the terraced streets of Newtown and the people who lived there. Images include the Cattle Market, Northgate Station and street parties.
The photographs of the old Gloucester Street Christ Church School were found by Roland Waite in his Talbot Street attic and new pictures are still coming in to the exhibition.
An expanding and overcrowded Chester desperately needed new housing, leading to the creation of Newtown.
Development of the area in the 19th century meant it was one of the first industrial estates in the city, combining terraced houses, shops and workshops.
One contributor said: “Every little street had a corner shop. Alfie Moore took over (the main corner shop) in the 1930s. His wife looked after it during the war – he was a POW in Italy.”
Many contributors have fond memories of the cattle market, originally situated on Lower Bridge Street in 1850, which eventually moved to ‘The Paddocks’ on George Street. Known as the ‘Beast Market’, it was a source of entertainment for many children growing up as one recalls. “I spent many hours playing by the cattle market, hoping a sheep or pig would escape as the farmers unloaded them. Every Christmas Pat Collins would set up his funfair there.”
Schools were a key feature of Newtown. Christ Church School was erected in 1840, and extended in 1872, its aim being to promote education for boys and girls.
However, in 1855 the boys were relocated, eventually being moved to George Street in 1908.
There are fascinating additions to the exhibition from former pupils, ‘My main memory of George Street (school) was the headmaster Mr Tremlett calling all us boys into the playground to see a German airship, the R100, flying over Chester.”
Elaine Pierce Jones, who mounted the exhibition said: “The response has been fantastic. People have made repeat visits, often bringing friends, family and neighbours.
“The comments in our book have been brilliant, making it all worthwhile.”