Westminster Road

North from Charles Street

Although Westminster Road was one of the earliest streets in Hoole it was not a through road until the 1880's. Before that date the first 100 yards or so from Hoole Road were a gated access (the pillars remain today) to serve the rear of Egerton Terrace and Swinfen Villas. These two properties were a part of Moor Park whose boundary wall made the street north from Charles Street into a cul-de-sac. A petition signed by 200 residents to remove the wall was presented to the local Council in 1871.

In those 100 yards, on the eastern side Williams Terrace (now Nos.4-10) was built, to be joined in 1894 by the new Hoole Urban District Council's Offices, a house (No.2) for the Sanitary Inspector, and the base for the Hoole Volunteer Fire Service. It is just possible to decipher Hoole Urban District Council on the front of the tyre depot today. By 1902 a Fire Station had been erected on the site, and after the Council moved to The Elms in 1924 the offices were used by Moffat and Gillespie for their drapery business, and the Fire Station became a lino and curtain warehouse run by Greenaway and Sons.

On the western side the gardens to Egerton Terrace were sold in 1884 to build a row of houses (Nos.1-11), and a Welsh Wesleyan Chapel; the area south of there was later the site of the first garage with petrol pump in Hoole (G.F. Brammall) and later Bill Smith's Motorcycles, now an enclosed area for Lewis’s Ice Cream vans.

At the head of the cul-de-sac on the eastern side, a National School was built in 1855 (see Education in Hoole article). This later became the Mission Room and was used by All Saints Church for activities, an instrument store and practice room for the Boys Brigade Band. It is now an integral part of Lewis's Ice Cream business.

The shop there first appears in an 1857 Directory and 1861 Census as a grocer's and baker's run by Thomas Balshaw who became the landlord at the Bromfield Arms. After his death in 1874, his son Richard ran the business and opened Hoole's first Post Office there. It was occupied pre-1902 by Jones & Davies and then solely by Thomas Jones who continued on his own as a baker and grocer. There are pictures of the shop and also separately of their horse drawn cart daily deliveries of bread continuing from their later premises at 3 Charles Street (now Chatwins) until the 1950's). Lewis's was established in Warrington in 1888 but did not come to Hoole until after 1906.

South of Charles Street

Westminster Road was originally called Peploe Street after the Peploe-Wards who married into the Hamilton family. In 1865 the Marquis, later to be the Duke, of Westminster, built the School for Girls & Infants lower down the Street and enlarged it in 1895; in recognition, the Street was re-named Westminster Road. The School became Hoole Community Centre in 1987.

Hoole History & Heritage Society has carried out in-depth research into the Schools' 150th Anniversary Year.

The Baptist Church was originally built in 1863 as a Lecture Hall & Reading Room for use by local working men giving them the opportunity to improve their reading skills and general education. From 1893 Ebenezer Baptist Church hired the Reading Room for Sunday worship and purchased it in 1911. It was established as a Church in 1952.

Although Peploe and New Peploe Street (as Westminster Road was known) were predominantly houses, purpose built shops were erected on the corners of Charles Street, Law Street and Philip Street, and a row of three squeezed into a gap opposite Law Street.

Traders included:

  • Butcher (1877 William Mason, 1950's Nicholsons)
  • Chemist & Provision Dealer (1878 Lowes, 1950's Rowlands)
  • Grocer (Luptons on the corner of Philip Street)
  • Newsagent & Circulating Library of 10,000 volumes (1930/50's Sharmans)

Remarkably, three off licences traded in the street. On the corner of Charles Street, owned by Pritchards Solicitors, the licensee in 1880 was John Payne, and in the 1930/50s Archibald Manley. The Lion Brewery in 1906 was at No.56, the Dymond family in the 1940/50. And at No.138 the pub that never was! Drury House was built in 1877, but following opposition from the local Temperance Movement and the existing pubs was not granted a licence. Magistrates were eventually persuaded to sanction an off-licence 1892 to William Mullins. From 1939 to the 1950s Albert Harrison was licensee. Many readers will recall that the Drury House off-licence was still operating in the 1980s. The building was the second in Westminster Road to be designed by John Douglas.

Drury House c1971

Next to the school, Hoole's second garage appeared in 1930 run by Harry Oates and later his son. Next door were buildings used by Maddocks the coach builders and as a workshop and store for Norbury & Sons, plumbers whose shop was on the corner of Charles Street.

At the corner with Lightfoot Street, Flookersbrook runs beneath your feet. The Minutes of the Hoole Local Board record how dangerous the bridge crossing this was, and how it was piped in 1865 at a cost of £60 10s, the tubes being supplied by Thomas Brassey’s Canada Works Company.

In 1891, John Latham, a boilermaker was located here and he was summoned (wrongly) by Hoole Urban District Council for building over the stream itself. It seems that the Council wanted to be rid of a noisy neighbour. In the 1920s, this site was occupied by the West of England Building Supply Company and in the 1950s by Holbrooks Produce Merchants.

[Article by Ralph Earlam, some parts of which were initially published in ‘Hoole Roundabout’ in June and July 2015 - http://www.hooleroundabout.com]