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Welcome to the Christleton Blog. This is the best place to check what is happening as I tend to mention here any new items or features to the website as and when they happen and give a link to where you will find them. But I would encourage you to click around the site and explore. You are currently in the main part and you will find links to two other main sections. The Christleton War Voices which has an immense amount of information about Christleton in World War I. The other is Christleton 3 which is rich in photographs and includes two regular monthly features. Wildlife Watch and The History File. Enjoy.

Christleton Fete

Village Fetes at Christleton

The tradition for holding Village Fetes at Christleton seems to have evolved from the efforts of Rector Lionel Garnett to raise funds for the re building of the church in 1876/7. The church is built and over 150 years later the fete still lives on. Read more about the early village fetes in the August edition of Christleton in the Past by David Cummings


You might be asking the same question

David Cummings in the June issue of Wildlife Watch brings us up to date with the Legion Meadow in the village. But he starts with a question you may have been asking yourself. Where have all the swallows gone? I am wondering if they are all roosting in the village telephone exchange as getting the June matierial online has been exasperating with pathetic internet upload speeds.

Christleton Primary School Site 1971

Cement, Sand and Coarse Aggregate

Education can I think be likened to the building of a house. On a bare patch of land the footings are dug. Assuming you have found a good builder he will dig a deep wide trench and fill it with a strong mix of concrete. From this the bricklayers will start to lay one course at a time. Just like a young child starting their education. With understanding teachers the child will leave one day we hope with enough knowlege to face the world.

I cannot say that I greatly enjoyed my schooldays. Perhaps it was because you would need two hands to count the number of schools I went to. But looking back now I realise it did form a base for me to grow from and seek knowledge of new things. I think that I have probably learnt a lot more since I left school but it is strange the stupid things you can remember from those school days long ago wereas you have difficulty in remembering the name of someone you met last week. I can remember in chemistry learning an alphabebital list of valencies which started with Aliminium having a value of 3. This is something I have never had to know about in later life and trusting my luck it would not be a question if I ever appeared in an episode ot The Chase.

This month sees the fifth article for Christleton in the Past by David Cummings. The subject is Education and as it is numbered 1 it looks as if David will be returning to the subject again the future.

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Birthday Girls

I was lucky enough to be one of the villagers to visit Miss Anne Butterworth at Oaklands Nursing Home yesterday the 24th April. She was celebrating her 99th birthday. Anne has always been the most easy, interesting and entertaining person to talk to and she had not lost any of that sparkle when we were able to see and talk to her safely from behind a glazed screen. Anne was accompanied by Harold, her new birthday bear, who she has named after her brother and father. It was also a birthday for Sheila Roberts. So an opportunity for a photograph of two of the nicest ladies you would care to meet. Many more happy returns to both of them.


All About Shops Now

Never before have shops been so much in the news. Even before this wretched Covid 19 some of the big names had started to disappear from our high streets. What will happen when life returns to some sort of yet unknown normality I do not know. There has been such a switch to online shopping only time will tell if all those shoppers will return to the real shops. I had an antique shop at 25 Watergate Street, Chester for 30 years. I think I enjoyed part of the golden years of Chester being a centre for antique shops and galleries. The Chester listing in the yearly Guide to Antique Shops in the UK used to take up 6 pages or more. The shops were spread around the city but most of them were in Watergate Street. This was probably due to it being the last of the main streets to be upgraded and therefore rents were more affordable.

I opened there in 1968 buying the remaining part of the lease from Raymond Plant, a dealer who specialised in fine English furniture, sporting prints and other pictures. I think he lived at Ivy House in Pepper Street, Christleton. I can remember first visiting the shop in my late teens when it was an antiquarian bookshop run by Mr. Langley. Dressed usually in a long raincoat he used to sit at the back of the shop whistling at times an incomprehensible tune. But I remember there was that wonderful aroma of dusty old books. The shop was lit by about three electric light bulbs hanging from a low ceiling. When Raymond later ran the shop he had the floor dug out so he was able accommodate longcase clocks and other tall furniture. This now meant that you had to go down steps into the the shop. When I moved in I found the old skirting boards still intact 3 feet above floor level. When I moved out in 1998 there was a good demand for small shops and I was able to sell the balance of my Chester Council lease. It could be a long time before anyone can do that again as there is now a large selection of empty properties for aspiring entrepreneurs. Number 25 has been empty and to let for 18 months or more. When in town its nice to go and have a look at the old shop. It evokes a lot of memories. I wonder if in years to come a historian will notice that the hanging sign above the front door has in the ironwork bracket supporting it the letter N. This was made to order in the late 1970's by Barry Crump, the Blacksmith in Christleton. There is a photo of Barry Crump working at his smithy by the High School in David Cumming's April edition of his fascinating new series - Christleton in the Past.

Cliff Boddy

The Memories Cliff Boddy

The History File for April by David Cummings is now online. It is the memories of Cliff Boddy , a choirister, scribe and verger who served the congregation at St. James' Church for 79 years. A fascinating look at the man and our village of Christleton. I am so pleased to have in my possession a copy of the wonderful plan of Christleton that Cliff made and which has been featured on the home page of the Christleton website for the past few years.


Remembering a Wonderful Artist

It is sheer excitement in the March edition of Wildlife Watch by David Cummings. Winter is fading away and Spring is upon us with all of its natural wonder. The fine photo of a Shelduck took me back to when I used to live on the banks of the Menai Straits in Bangor. On a visit to The Tegfryn Gallery in Menai Bridge I was greatly impressed with a watercolour by Charles F. Tunnicliffe, OBE, RA of a Siamese Cat in a tree. Unfortunately I did not have the sense to buy it but soon afterwards my father got to know the artist visiting him at his house in Maltraeth which looked towards the Snowdonia range. In those days you could commission a painting from the great man for about £250 which my father did. It was a full size work of Shelduck and Young. when we heard the painting was completed I went with my father to collect it. Charles was working in his studio surrounded by many examples of his work. He used to make preparatory drawings on a type of greaseproof paper which had watercolour added. These drawings were later used to trace outlines onto the end white art paper. Charles sat on a kind of typists chair with wheels which he manoeuvred around, very often running over the drawings lying on the floor, endangering their very life. A memory I will never forget. The Shelduck painting came to Christleton when we moved in 1977. Charles Tunicliffe died two years later in 1979. My father decided to sell the painting in later years when it was offered at a sale at Sotheby's in Watergate Street, Chester. It was such an impressive work that its image appeared on the front and back cover of the sale catalogue. By this time the unpopular buyer's premium has been introduced where 10% of the hammer price was added to what the purchaser had to pay. This goes directly to the auctioneers. The percentage of this obscene charge has since risen a number of times and in many cases can now be 25% to 30% or even more. I wonder if any vendors bother to think about the difference they receive to what the purchaser actually pays. I worked in an auction room in my early 20's. A commision of 10% on the hammer price was paid by the vendor. No additional charges to the purchaser.


Outside Entertainment

The April edition of Wildlife Watch by David Cummings is now online. It makes cheering reading hearing how our natural world continues to thrive whilst the human race is on pause due to the dreadful pandemic. If you have a bird feeder within sight of your kitchen window where one seems to spend time you will be continually entertained by garden visitors. I have not seen a Gereenfinch on my feeder for a long time as David illustrates. The almost permanent inhabitant is a Wood Pigeon who walks, parades and scampers around the base of the bird feeder totally relient on the Blue Tits, Coal Tits and sometimes Robin throwing seed down to him. I often toss some seed down in the same place to supplement the Tits' donations but very often this is digested by a squirrel who magically appears on cue. Endless entertainment outside.

Monarch on the Canal at Christleton

Living with History

Some lovely photographs in David Cummings' new series about Christletin in the Past. This month he stays on the canal but this time it is all about the historic working narrow boats. We are lucky to be near Ellesmere Port where there is an Easter Festival at the Boat Museum. Not this year though due to Covid 19. All the more reason to enjoy David's illustrated article for March.

Stoneydale, Christleton

Living with History

When I get the time to read fiction, which unfortunately is not as often as I would like, I would probably choose a book by Wilbur Smith. But for a taste of histoty which I love it would be C. J. Sansom. You can just about smell the foul streets and houses as he takes you back to the time Henry VIII. I did not feel the same magic when listening recently to a dramatisation on BBC Radio 4 of Sansom's "Lamentation". Which goes to prove there is nothing like a book. A real book in black and white where you can physically feel the paper and turn the pages. Unbeatable. But this month David Cummings has transported me not quite so far back as Tudor times but into the 1900's in my own house, where I am typing this blog, with the story of a previous resident Lt. Colonel John Dolphin CBE. Just one more result of David's never ending research into local history.

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