Hello again people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here. My human suggested that we walk around Runcorn and take some photographs to post with older views of the same area. He wanted to show some of the changes that have been made to the town. He needed a model to photograph in each of the areas. Who could carry out that role? Who do we know that likes to be photographed? Who is photogenic enough? I know! Me, Joe the Cocker! Perfect. I get to go walkies. The big feller gets to do a bit of reminiscing. And you, dear readers, get to see photographs of me! OK, photographs of Runcorn. So, it’s win – win!
Our first pair of photographs show the bandstand at the Heath, Highlands Road. The older photograph was taken in 1958 with the bandstand being built in 1922. It used to be a popular concert venue on Sundays. Nowadays it is a replacement that was erected in 2013. Before the pandemic the bandstand was again used for concerts.
The next set of photographs show the Transporter Bridge from above Ferry Hut in Mersey Road. The photo was taken in the 1940’s or 1950’s and shows the Transporter Bridge with the Ethelfleda Railway Bridge in the background. Ferry Hut was a popular bathing spot as can be seen by the number of people in the Manchester Ship Canal. The Transporter Bridge has been replaced by the Silver Jubilee Bridge, that has recently reopened after a 3.5 year refurbishment and paint job. The main bridge over the Mersey in the area is the Mersey Gateway Bridge further upstream from Runcorn Gap. The area has been landscaped with only the approaches to the Transporter visible.
The next set of photos show the line of the locks that joined the Bridgewater Canal to the Manchester Ship Canal. The locks have been closed and filled in. There is a campaign called Unlock Runcorn, attempting to reinstate the flight of locks. Bridgewater House can be seen in the centre of the photograph, once the residence of the Duke of Bridgewater. The building has been converted to an office complex. The footpath that runs to the Ship Canal follows the route of the flights of locks with some canal walls still visible.
These photographs show Castle Road in Halton Village. The Castle pub is in the centre of the shots. On the left is the old Vicarage for St. Mary’s Church. The pub was built as a courthouse to Halton Castle, which is behind the building. The vicarage building is a private residence and no longer linked to St. Mary’s Church which is also situated further up the hill.
Weston Village was our next port of call. The images are of Weston Old Hall, with Weston Cross in the road on the older photograph. The cross was relocated in the 1960’s to a safer position, off the road, onto the green one hundred yards away. The building was originally a farmhouse built in 1607. It is a Grade II Listed Building. Nowadays, the red sandstone building is a private residence and no longer a farmhouse.
The older photograph shows the Swimming Baths in the 1970’s. Originally the Market Hall, it was converted to a swimming pool and also used for concerts and as a dance hall. It stands on High Street with Holy Trinity Church visible on the right.
The following iconic building is Georgian style Bridgewater House on Old Coach Road. It was built, in 1771, for the Duke of Bridgewater for him to use while he was overseeing the construction of the Bridgewater Canal. It was later owned by the Bridgewater Trustees and the Bridgewater Navigation Company. During the Second World War, the Royal Air Force used the building for the Balloon Section. After the war it was used by the Manchester Ship Canal Company and is now rented out to individual companies.
The row of cottages are located in Highlands Road was once known as Snuffy Road. The older photo, from the early 1900’s, shows the quarrymen’s houses on a rough track and faced the Highlands Road Quarry. Nowadays, the cottages face the tennis courts and bowling green on Heath Park. The park was built on reclaimed quarry spoils.
The next photographs show Moughland Lane at the turn of the century with a pony and trap travelling along the road. The houses in the background are on Greenway Road. Nowadays, on the right is the Runcorn Cricket Ground. Houses and flats are on the right of the road.
The last pair of photographs show Halton Grange, the Town Hall as it is known as nowadays. The rural aspect of the area can be seen by the cows grazing in the foreground. The area now has houses built on it in Ivy Street and Pool Hollow.
We walked the route in a different order than my human has listed the photographs in basically, because he is disorganised! The Castle Road photograph was taken on a separate walk because it is not in the same vicinity as the other places that we visited. We hope that you enjoyed seeing a snippet of the ‘Then and Now’. If you did, please feed back to us and we will do some more similar walks.Till next time!
Original photographers unknown