Walker Street

An exploration of the early history of this street which "dog-legs" from Faulkner Street to Lightfoot Street.

Tithe maps in the Cheshire Record Office show that a Thomas Walker (1782-1857) owned properties in Newton Township in the area we now know as Flookersbrook. These included a tan-yard, a brewery, a brick bank and at least 6 houses and cottages. On the south side of Hoole Road, in Hoole Township, he owned plots of land and a number of dwellings including Ashtree House (recent research show that the rightful owners were the Trustees of the Estate of John Lightfoot, his father in law).

Thomas Walker’s father, George, was a brewer and liquor merchant but Thomas became a tanner and he married Katherine Lightfoot. When the lands in question were finally sold the part south of Hoole Road was acquired by Brabner & Court, Solicitors from Liverpool, who developed the properties we see today between Faulkner Street and Lightfoot Street.

Walker Street was built in 1881 from an opening in Lightfoot Street (see Lightfoot Street article). Initially it only went as far as Pickering Street, the dog-leg, its link to Faulkner Street, known as New Walker Street not being built until 1887 when All Saints School was erected. It was necessary to demolish houses in Faulkner Street by the Bromfield Arms to create the opening for Walker Street.

Corner Shops

Unlike Faulkner Street and Charles Street where houses were turned into shops, Walker Street had shops on every corner. The range of shop provided all that one could need; grocers, bakers, butchers, newsagent, smallwares, boots and shoes, as well as a bicycle dealer. They changed hands and their type of trade frequently. Old “Hooligans” fondly recall Lowndes' fish & chip shop being there.

A special feature of these corner shops was the entrance actually built into the corner. The photographs show where the current owners at the junction with Phillip St still have their front door actually on the corner while others have shifted the doors around the corner.

The arrival of the Co-op in 1906 which included a grocer, a butcher, and a shoe and clothing store on the upper floor, was a major event. Many will remember getting their ‘divi’ and buying milk tokens there as well as the cash pulley system. The car park was called Hoole Bank and bonfires were lit there on November 5th but, miraculously, the Co-op wasn't burnt down.

The Co-op in Walker Street is scheduled to close in July 2017 (the Faulkner Street shop has already closed) in order to concentrate business on The Elms site on Hoole Road. This will bring to an end 110 years of the Co-op on its Walker Street site.

The other major building was the Tin Chapel erected in 1894 following a dispute between Nonconformists, who had run a successful Sunday School at Westminster Road Schools, and the Church of England to whom the Duke of Westminster eventually gave the Schools. The Chapel was originally a Church of England Mission Hall from Edge Hill in Liverpool. When the Congregational Church moved to its present site on Hoole Road, it became Braids furniture store.

In the 1950s, football fans could catch a double decker bus from behind the Bromfield Arms to take them to Chester Stadium in Sealand Road. It’s unlikely that the bus would get through today.

Article by Ralph Earlam, some parts of which were initially published in ‘Hoole Roundabout’ in February 2016 - http://www.hooleroundabout.com

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