Developments in Upton Travel and Shops

In Upton to-day, within easy reach of Chester, and with adequate public services, we are apt to forget that it is not so long since travel was difficult, water had to be fetched, and lighting was by lamp or candle light.

Travel

In former times to the majority of Upton people this meant going to and from Chester. They walked or went in their own traps or carriages. Then came the horse-bus which a resident remembers as running in 1895. It was a double-decker bus drawn by a pair of horses and the fare was 2d each way. In the Winter time straw was put on the floor of the bus in an attempt to keep passengers' feet warm and dry. The last day of running was a festive affair, the driver being supplied with so many drinks that on arrival at the Market Square he was spread-eagled over the horse's back. However, the Police were lenient and "winked the other eye." This was about 1920. Prior to the buses Mr. Enoch Davies used to drive Upton people to Chester in a cart with planks put across to serve as seats. On Saturday nights the villagers would meet at Mr. Davies' coal yard, at the end of Flag Lane, about 8 p.m. The horses which carted coal in the week was dressed up with clean harness and rosettes and were harnessed to a shandry with a seat on either side and at the back. They called at the Frog to pick up the farmhands and wives and away they went, even if the menfolk did not earn more then 18/- per week.

Then a Mr. Hudson of Whitby ran a converted motor ambulance as a bus via Stoak and Stanney to Upton, stopping at the Urban Stores and then to Chester via the Bache and Liverpool Road. Crosville started a bus service next but the villages remained faithful to Hudson's bus until later it was incorporated with Crosville Motor Services Ltd. which from 1921 has maintained a bus service between Upton andChester. In 1935 a bus service was started from Chester on a circular route via Hoole and Upton. To-day in this age of bustle, travel is by mechanical means - by bus, car and cycle. (88)

Land was bought from the Egertons for the Chester to Birkenhead railway to be cut through Upton. The railway was opened in September, 1840. The main station is at Chester, though since the beginning of World War II a halt has been opened in Upton.

The Shops

The small village shop has given place to several and various shops, including one multiple grocery store. They fall into three groups:-

Former Shops

  1. The village shop remembered by many of the older folks was at 12, Heath Terrace. To-day it is a private house whose large front window is a reminder of its former state. We have been told how people drove in carriage and pair to buy home-produced and home-cured bacon and hams sold by the owner of the shop.
  2. E. Dean had a shop at the Mill. Among other things stamps were sold there before a Post Office was opened in the village.
  3. There was a joiner's shop at the Bache where nowadays Mr. Nixon has his business.
  4. An old inhabitant remembers spending her childhood d and d on home-made toffee bought from a small shop in a Smoke Street cottage.

General Shops

 

  1. The general shop known as The Urban Stores was formerly a butcher's shop. Previously to that it had been a farm shippon.
  2. The General Shop and Newsagent's at the end of Heath Road (Mason's to most of us for many years) has had an unusual existence. The building started life as the "Old Chapel." Later it was turned into a general shop by a Mr. Buxton. (89)

 

Present-Day Shops

Since the development of the By-Pass Road about 1931 shops have been opened on one side of Long Lane. About the same time a few shops were opened at the Bache, and in 1935 a general grocery shop was built on land formerly known as Further Broad Hey. We are well served for groceries and many necessities of life and, living so near Chester, can obtain our other needs there.

Our Post Office has had three homes. The first was in the old village shop afore-mentioned. Next it was moved to the Newsagent's, which is also known as the Old Post Office. Then the present Post Office was opened on Long Lane in the mid-1930s.