A fascinating glimpse of the Port’s past before living memory has emerged just in time for Christmas.
The 130-page ‘Dock Street Memories’ booklet has been produced by the energetic Ellesmere Port Local and Family History Society with the support of Cheshire West and Chester Council and is on sale now.
The picture-packed publication is the fifth in the popular series of large, glossy booklets containing images, quotes and newspaper reports about Ellesmere Port produced by the society. Others in the series capture marvellous memories of the town centre, Whitby Road, Cromwell Road and Station Road.
The society says: “Again, like the other ‘Memories’ booklets, it’s fully illustrated but, this time, it’s different, it goes way back into the town’s past before living memory.”
The booklet starts with the early history of the area with sections on Stanlaw Abbey, Poole Hall and the building and opening of the Ellesmere Canal and the Manchester Ship Canal.
It then moves forward with extensive chapters on Dock Street, its shops and the surrounding streets, from when they were first built to the end of the 20th century with dozens of contributions from local people included.
Adds the society: “Douglas Edwards, an artist who grew up in the area in the 1940s but subsequently emigrated to Canada, wrote in the Ellesmere Port Pioneer that ‘Though we children were probably born and raised in the most perilous of times, truly, I believe we all had great childhoods’.
“The motorway cleared much of the area around Dock Street but the memories from the ‘bottom-enders’ live on – but for how much longer?”
MP Justin Madders opens the booklet with the foreword, praising its description of the town’s development and showing how some of the early families who lived in the Dock Street area were instrumental in creating a busy, thriving town.
He writes: “It sets out well how the town has slowly grown away from the docks but I am pleased to see that there is also recognition of that area having a renaissance thanks to the National Waterways Museum. The work done there has helped to recapture an important part of the town’s heritage.”
The new ‘Dock Street Memories’ booklet is described as being ‘all about the town’s development and growth, good times and bad, with lots of memories thrown in’.
Copies of the ‘must-have for any Portite proud of their heritage’ are available at the National Waterways Museum, the Ellesmere Port libraries and Trinity Methodist Church at £10 a copy.
The society, now established for eight years, meets regularly once a month in the Tom Rolt Conference Centre at the National Waterways Museum on South Pier Road.
The popular meetings are held on the third Tuesday of the month, except August, with doors opening at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.
The next booklet by members of the society, featuring Little Sutton, is at an advanced stage of production and is due out in the spring.
Funding for the booklets, edited by Celia Webber, chairman of the society, has come from a rolling fund’ with substantial contributions from local councillors and businesses.
All monies received are reinvested into producing further ‘Memories’ booklets about the area.