Ormskirk in old picture postcards

Ormskirk in old picture postcards

:   Mona Duggan
:   Lancashire
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-5399-7
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Ormskirk in old picture postcards'

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This collection of postcards and photographs has been compiled to keep alive the memory of Ormskirk in the period from 1890 to 1930. Memories of wh at it was like to live in the town during those years are fading rapidly and very few peopie remain who have personal memories of 19th century Ormskirk. Such memories are part of our heritage and should be perpetuated.

Ormskirk has had many claims to farne - or notoriety throughout the generations. In Tudor times, it was renowned as the centre of the glove trade and even in the 17th century, many townsfolk bequeathed gloves to their favoured relatives as a mark of special regard. After the Civil War and the disastrous siege of Lathom House, Ormskirk had a more macabre claim to farne. Visitors came from far and wide to see the tomb of James, the seventh Earl of Derby, who had been beheaded at Bolton in 1651. The vault of the Derby family in the parish church had two wooden doors which could be opened by visitors to reveal the two coffins; one containing the body of the unfortunate earl and the other the head. At the end of the nineteenth century the tomb was sealed and the church no longer provides th is grim spectacle for visitors . Other less gruesome happenings made the church memorable to certain groups of people in bygone years. For the Quakers, it was the scene of Oliver Atherton's courageous attempt to convert the townspeople in 1658. 'Moved by ye Lord' and without a thought for his own safety, he climbed into the pul pit immediately before the morning service and preached the faith of the Quakers to the gathered Anglican congregation. When the vicar approached, the constables jumped up from their pew, forcibly removed Atherton and

escorted hirn to the Town Hall in Church Street, where he was imprisoned for a day .

For the Ormskirk Presbyterians, the eastern window of the church perpetuates the memory of their first great leader, Nathaniel Heywood, who was ejected from the church in 1662 for his puritanical beliefs. He was so highly respected in the town that on his death in 1677, the town constabie led the vast crowd of people through the town to the parish church. The Anglican authorities allowed Reverend Starkie, a Presbyterian minister, to preach the sermon and Heywood was buried in the parish church in the burial place of the Stanley family, the Bickerstaffe chapel, now the site of the north aisie.

Others had less commendable reasons for remembering Ormskirk. The market place was the site of the pillary and stocks where many offenders were punished. Among those put in the stocks in the seventeenth century were the townsfolk who dared to talk during the meeting of the Court Leet, the forerunner of the Council. At the bottom of Aughton Street was a cook stool over what was then a much larger brook. Any woman who scolded or 'chid' in the township was punished by being ducked on the stool into Dyers' Lane Brook. There was a whipping post in Burscough Street and it was here in 1746, th at John Halton was tied, stripped naked and whipped for drinking the health of the Pretender. Many other Jacobites remembered Ormskirk as the place where they raided a glass warehouse when they fled northwards during their retreat from Derby in 1745. They smashed dozens of glass botdes and scattered them on the roadwa y to impede the loyalist cavalry which was pursuing them.

Ormskirk and Lathom were also remembered for the curing properties of their waters. Towards the end of the 17th century and during the early years of the 18th century, Ormskirk was one of the early spa towns. Long before the emergence of such spas as Harrogate and Scarborough, the Earl of Derby saw the possibility of such developments and authorised the grounds around the spring at Lathom to be landscaped and music to be provided for dancing to entertain the visitors. Both the spring at Lathom and the cold plunge bath at the bottom of Greetby Hili were visited by those suffering from a wide variety of iIInesses, seeking cures. William Blundell, the Cavalier, visited the spa, but found the cure very costly, for he feit sa weil that he ate all befare hirn! The spring which fed the plunge bath was used, until recently, by the Bath Springs Brewery, where 'cures' of a different kind were prepared.

Other sourees of entertainment were available to visitors to the town. Race meetings were held on Aughton Moss, where many of the gentry took their harses to challenge those of their neighbours. Gradually, these meetings grew into major events, attracting many spectators. Later, vi sitars were given the opportunity to take part in the fun, and races for footmen and even for the wornen, were introduced into the programme. Near the Beaconsfield memorial was a cockpit, which gave its name to Cockpit Lane between St. Helens Raad and Chapel Street. Here, on many occasions, the celebrated Derby cocks challenged those of other Lancashire gentry. On other occasions, humbier cocks fought for the amusement and wagers of the crowd. Cock fights were

of ten organised to coincide with the fair which was held twice yearly, at Whitsuntide and during the first week in September. Until the early years of th is century, Ormskirk was famed for its horse fair, when people converged from all over Lancashire to buy or exchange their animais. Of course, all kinds of other things were sold: fairings - pottery souvenirs -, linen, cakes and sweetmeats. 'Quack' doctors of ten visited the fair hawking their remedies and conjurors demonstrated their tricks to the crowd. In earlier fairs, various exotic animals were displayed to the wonderment of the children and companies of players presented dramatic productions to the spectators. The whole memorable scene would be similar to th at repeated nowadays in the large square at Marrakesh in Morocco.

Market day has always been an opportunity for enjoyment. People from the neighbouring villages gather to seil their wares and exchange news and townspeople take the opportunity to buy fresh produce from the countryside. Also on sale is the famous Ormskirk gingerbread which earned the town the title of 'Gingerbreadopolis'.

Most of these memories have faded as time has passed by, but, fortunately, we now have photographs to perpetuate the more recent memories for future generations. In the fellowing pages we present a collection of postcards generously lent to us by Don Ambrose of Ormskirk, together with photographs and reminiscences of several kind friends and hope that these pictures will reawaken memories of the more recent past.

1. Lathom House, a few miles outside the township of Ormskirk, has been closely associated with the town because it was the home of the Earls of Derby, the lords of the manor of Ormskirk. This building replaced the ancient Lathom House which was destroyed when the besieged Cavaliers surrendered to the Roundheads in 1645. Then in 1724 this house, designed by a famous Italian architect, Giacorno Leoni, was sold to Sir Thomas BootIe, a wealthy lawyer and Member of Parliament for Liverpool. During the First World War a re-mount depot was set up in the park to accommodate 7,000 horses and about 2,000 men. The buildings suffered greatly during the army's occupation and since then they have gradually deteriorated until now only the western sta bie block remains. Plans are afoot to renovate these buildings, but a lot of controversy surrounds the project.

2. Ormskirk church is one of only three English churches with bath a tower and a steeple. Many legends remain about its origins. The most popular is that two sisters could not agree on whether their legacy should be spent on a tower or a steeple. Eventually, a compromise was reached and both tower and steeple were erected. The more plausible explanation is that the spire was not strong enough to house the beils from Burscough Priory, given to the church at the dissolution of the monasteries. Consequently, the tower was built for them, using stones from the ruined priory. Beneath the east window can be seen an ancient stone built into the wal!. Whether it was part of a Norse cross or Celtic-Romano carving is uncertain, but it is reputed to depiet St. Paul in chains accompanied by a Roman soldier .

3. The entrance porch 10 tne church was built in 1891, after the children of the parish had collected fBO to pay for it. The daughter of the vicar's warden, lane Maria Freeman, who was then only seven years old, laid the foundation stone and was presented with a silver trowel to commemorate the event. The pillar in the foreground was formerly one of the supports for the galleries inside the church which were removed during the renovations of 1885. At that time much of the ancient fabric of the church was removed to create a large, airy church.

4. This picture of the interior of the church shows two smal! galleries with rows of candles on them, either side of the east window. These have since been removed, lcaving a plain wall which allows more light into the chance!. Here the lectern is in the form of a brass eagle, an al!egorical reference to the word of God being carried down from heaven and also, incidentalIy, an echo of the eagle in the Derby coat of arms. In 1949 a carved wooden stand, a fine example of modern craftsmanship, took its place. The sm all lights above the choir stalls have also gone to make way for the modern lighting system which now graces the church.

5. Although Cross Hall was in Lathom, it had so many connections with the history of Ormskirk that it warrants inclusion in this collection. This was the home of one branch of the Stanley family, who for many years held the right to the tolls from Ormskirk market. It was demolished in the early part of the 20th century and all that now remains is a section of the garden wall and the old barn which stood behind the house. This Hall stood on the corner of Ladies Walk and the road leading from Ormskirk to Westhead and has given its name to the hili on which it stood - 'Cross Hall Brow' - and later to the school built there - 'Cross Hall High School' - on the site of the old industrial school.

6. The industriaI school for pauper children was opened on Cross Hall Brow in 1886. During the early years, the staff rose at 5.30 a.m., breakfast was served at 7.15 a.m. and then the dormitories were scrubbed each day by the children. The guardians provided clothes for the children, but the dress of the girls caused some controversy. The lady guardians thought that the girls were indecent without drawers and that some should be provided. The male guardians disagreed, declaring th at women had not worn drawers for centuries and as many women, who continued not to wear thern, were accepted as being perfectly decent, they feit the extra expense was quite unnecessary. After a heated argument, the lady guardians won the day and drawers were provided. In 1895, a more lenient board of guardians decided that scrubbing the floors each day was unnecessary and that breakfast could be served at 8 a.m.

7. As soon as the war hroke out in 1914, the guardians announced that 50 beds could he provided at the industrial school for wounded soldiers and sailors at short notice. The offer was not taken up until1917, wh en the children were moved and the hospital was opened. About 200 soldiers were transferred to convalesce at Orrnskirk and in 1918 an annex, containing another 54 beds, was opened. The government only provided essentials for the soldiers and so the people of Ormskirk organised events to raise money for various comforts. Several townspeople entertained soldiers in their homes and, on at least one occasion in 1917, the soldiers were invited to the Golf Club where they played golf, bowls and various indoor games. The hospital finally closed on 30th April 1919.

8. Befare the workhouse on Wigan Road was converted into a hospital, the townsfolk were served by this cottage hospital in Hants Lane. Schoolchildren were treated for minor ailments in the clinic, which is towards the back of this picture. Later, this hospital was renamed the Brandreth Hospital, in memory of the famous Ormskirk doctor who was one of the leading physicians in Liverpool at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Dr. Brandreth also raised money to erect a new building in Burscough Street for the dispensary, which at the time was in Lydiate Lane (now Derby Street East). That extravagant piece of palladian-style architecture has since become the Farmers' Club.

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