Runcorn -Then and Now

Hello again people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here. Me and my human are still walking every day but, due to the ongoing restrictions, we are walking from home. Hopefully, you are enjoying the pictorial quizzes that we have been posting. Most of these quizzes are about our town, Runcorn, and we apologise again to our readers who live in other areas. All our followers will still be receiving the Runcorn quizzes because if we stopped the automatic deliveries to you, we would have to delete you from our list. Hopefully, this situation will change in the not so distant future and we can get back into the hills and mountains. Meanwhile, we have decided to do one of our regular walks and show you some photographs from the archives showing how the area used to look. We hope that you enjoy it.

We left the house on a cold winter morning with me in my fleece suit and my human dressed as if he was about to walk to the North Pole. The big feller nearly landed on his backside on more than one occasion as he slipped on the frozen pavement. I held back the laughter, mainly because I can’t physically laugh but, also because he didn’t seem to see the funny side of his antics. We crossed over Heath Road by the Union Tavern into the grassy area behind the hedgerow. I was allowed a few minutes freedom off-lead while I had an attack of the zoomies. The small pond in the dip is all that is left of Big Pool.

Runcorn -  Union Vaults 1960
The Union Vaults 1960’s by Kevan Craft (Flickr)
The Union Tavern – now

Big Pool was a very busy area with large warehouses on the edge of the Bridgewater Canal. Crowther’s Farm was located at the end of Heath Road. Nowadays, the area is unused except for the ducks swimming on the water. Sprinches Boatyard was situated nearby and is now used by the Runcorn Motor Boat Club. The area only sees pleasure craft on the canal whereas in the 19th century it was a manic hub of narrowboats transporting goods in and out of Runcorn.

Big Pool
The Big Pool no date – by Frank (Flickr)
Big Pool – now
Runcorn Motor Boat Club – close to Big Pool on the Bridgewater Canal

On leaving the area we headed along Victoria Road toward Delph Bridge. Just before the bridge on the left is Delph House. It is a residential building nowadays but, it was the home of Hambleton’s Humbugs. These legendary sweets were delicious but, as hard and sharp as little pyramids of glass. I think that it was compulsory to buy a ‘quarter’ on the way to watch Runcorn play.

Hambleton’s Humbugs
Delph House on right – the home of Hambleton’s

We crossed Delph Bridge and on to Canal Street. This was the home of Runcorn AFC but, initially was built in 1895 for Runcorn RFC, the Rugby Union club. Runcorn Rugby League Club took over took control of the stadium.after until in 1918 Runcorn Football Club. The football club remained at Canal Street until 2001 when the ground was sold. Nowadays, a housing development is on the site.

Runcorn 2
Canal Street match day – by John Parker SUFC (Flickr)
Canal Street area now

From Canal Street we headed downhill along Bridge Street. This street was once lined, either side, with shops. The outdoor market was outside of the old Police Station. Many of these buildings have long since been demolished.

Runcorn -  Bridge Street and Market stalls & Fountain
Bridge Street – by Kevan Craft (Flickr)
Bridge Street nowadays

We continued along Bridge Street and looked up High Street. At one time, large buildings lined this street on either side. St. Paul’s Church was a large ornate building that dominated the left hand side of the road. Funded by Thomas Hazlehurst, it was the largest Methodist Chapel in the Liverpool area when it was opened in 1866. It was demolished in 1969 as part of the New Town Development Corporation’s plans. The site is now used for the St. Paul’s Heath Centre.

Runcorn High Street - View past St Paul's church
High Street & St. Paul’s – by Kevan Craft (Flickr)
High Street nowadays

High Street looking up at St Pauls
Another view of High Street – by Frank (Flickr)

On the right hand side of High Street, in the 1960’s, there was a large indoor market with shops and a cafe. This too was demolished as part of the New Town plans for Runcorn. We passed the entrance to Church Street, which used to be the main shopping street before the Shopping City was built.

RUNCORN MARKET HALL POST CARD
Runcorn Market 1960’s – by Frank (Flickr)
The site of the bus station and market
Runcorn - Church Street 1960
Church Street 1960 – by Kevan Craft (Flickr)
Church Street now

Our walk took us further along High Street and we paused for a while at the site of La Scala. This was once a cinema, a concert hall and later a bingo hall. The Beatles played here twice in 1962. It stood derelict for a number of years before it was demolished in 2012.

La Scala
La Scala – by John Furnival (Flickr)
The site of La Scala

At the junction with Devonshire Place, or Square, we turned uphill onto Doctor’s Bridge to turn around to look toward the Masonic pub. This was another bustling area with shops lining the streets. The Transporter Bridge used to dominate the skyline until its demolition and subsequent replacement by the Silver Jubilee Bridge in the early 1960’s

Looking down to Devonshie Square
Devonshire Square – by Frank (Flickr)
Devonshire Square

Our final port of call on this walk was at the site of the Transporter Bridge. When it was completed in 1905 it was the largest of its kind anywhere in the world.

runcorn transporter bridge
The Transporter Bridge – by mwmbwls (Flickr)
Transporter Bridge site now

That was the end of our short wander into town. There are plenty of other sights on this route that we could have mentioned but, we will save them for another walk. So many of our town’s historical structures have sadly been demolished. Hopefully, we can prevent this from happening in the future. We hope that you enjoyed following us on our bimble. Till next time!

10 thoughts on “Runcorn -Then and Now

  1. It was great seeing High Street although I was from Widnes I served a few years of my apprenticeship at MANWEB on High St.in the early 50’s. Sad to see the buildings that have been demolished. Watched an FA cup match Runcorn V Barrow in the late 40’s I think Barrow won 1-0. I look forward to reading about your hikes brings back memories. Keep Hiking.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent , Mal

    I went to watch Linnets a couple of times when visting mates. I takeit they no longer exist then since2001. I asked you about the Wilsons pub just down from Delph bridge, is it still there? Also interested in old photo of baths and are they still there. Have a feeling they were near Police station. Also the leather tannery on Moore road.

    Ta Frank

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Runcorn football split in two with one team playing at the Pavilions Weston Point. The team now has a small developing stadium on Murdishaw. The Wilsons is still there. I will send photos. The baths still there too. Is the tannery on Halton Road?

      Like

  3. Runcorn in my youth 50s 60swas a great place to come to from Widnes. Good selection of shops and the Scala Saturday night. Calverts had a shop in the High St..the market wasn’t as good as Widnes ..but a lovely town in those days

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great memories of the then thank you Joe, I lived here 1953/70 and had great fun growing up in and around Grices farm, fished Big Pool, drank in the Vaults, worked for Devonshire Bakery and followed the football, great web page.

    Liked by 1 person

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