Past meetings of the
Upton-by-Chester Local History Group

    Thursday 26th March 2009
  • Professor Peter Gaunt was guest speaker at this meeting, his talk was on the course of the civil war in Cheshire and its effects. Although Cheshire landowners were largely neutral about the civil war, some supported the parliamentarians while others were royalist. William Brereton was staunchly Parliamentarian and was instrumental in trying to recruit troops to fight but was unsuccessful. In 1642 the Treaty of Bunbury was created, effectively withdrawing Cheshire from the war - no more recruitment should take place in Cheshire, for either side. However, in 1643, the treaty was overturned, key towns were secured by the Cavalry from London and the county, from Chester eastwards, became Parliamentarian. This did not mean the end of fighting for Cheshire, 1644 saw the battle of Nantwich and 1645 the Battle of Rowton Moor. By this time William Brereton had power over teo thirds of the county but not Chester. The city was difficult to capture due to its proximity to North Wales, which was staunchly Royalist. In February 1646 Royalists surrendered to the Parliamentarians, and so, an end to the war in Cheshire. Cheshire was unique due to the fact that it was a divided County for the duration of the Civil War.

    Sunday 3rd December 2008
  • Approximately 30 Upton members travelled to Mollington Village Hall for this joint meeting hosted by Mollington and Backford Local History Group. Mollington group were celebrating the publication of their first book “Beneath the Surface” which consists of a series of essays written by various members, covering a multitude of subjects. The culmination of several years work, the book covers the townships of Mollington, Backford, Caughall, Chorlton and Lea by Backford. The evening started with John Hess (Chairman, Mollington group) welcoming everyone present and then walking us through their new book with the help of a computer and large screen. Phil Pearn (Chairman, Upton group) then voiced the thanks of our group for being invited. It is hoped that these meetings will become a regular feature of our programme; one is planned to May 2009 when we will be sharing information of the historic gardens of the area. Following seasonal refreshments, Joyce Cook was invited to tell us of Christmas customs past, which she did with her usual enthusiasm. Everyone enjoyed this informative talk plus looking through the memorabilia which Joyce had brought with her. Following a sing song of popular carols, the meeting was closed and everyone made their way home on this very frosty night.

    Thursday 27th March
  • With the aid of a projector and screen Dan Robinson, former keeper of Archaeology at the Grosvenor Museum who has a keen interest in Viking history in Britain. embarked on the intriguing history of how and when the Vikings became part of our history. Viking symbols can be found in some unexpected places, look carefully at the Rover Car badge. We know the Vikings came from what is now Denmark, Sweden and Norway and the language spoken today in Iceland is virtually the same as the language spoken by the Vikings 1000 years ago. Their early history was written in story form known as saga’s and although the stories are fundamentally true they have been embellished over the generations. The aggressive images that is most often shown of them wearing horned helmets is not a true representation, being a nation that wanted wealth they fought and took what they wanted until they met with opposing force when they tended to move on to another district to raid. The first note of Viking invasion on these shores was in 793 when they sacked the Lindisfarne Abbey. In 874 - 1014 the east coast of Ireland was under attack when the Vikings were trying to settle there, they created many of the major towns at that time, but in 902 the invaders were driven out of Dublin and they fled across the Irish Sea to land in North Wales under the leadership of Ingermund, eventually Ethelfreda (Saxon Queen) gave Ingermund land to settle in on the Wirral peninsular. Several Viking names remain to this day; Raby = border; Thingwall = field for a Thing (parliament) where laws are established; burgh (borough) = fortification. We know that in 907 the Vikings attacked Chester, archaeology has uncovered artefacts in Bridge Street, indeed St Olave’s chapel is dedicated to Olaf Harolson a Viking king, St Bridget’s likewise. Chester had fortune to have the biggest mint in England from 920 - 970, in 1970 a hoard of silver was uncovered just outside the walls which most probably belonged to a ‘monier’ or coin maker. As on the Wirral some familiar names come from that time, Souter (Souters Lane) = cobbler or shoe maker; Crook Street probably originated as Crockham which is of Viking origin. Further into Cheshire, in Shocklach Church (St Edith’s, possibly after St Edith of Bolesworth who married a Viking), there is a well worn sandstone block which appears to depict a horse and rider in Viking style and in all probability comes from that time. Although our history is very often depicted as Norman v Saxon, the Vikings must have influence the outcome of some of the battles by helping one side or the other. Last but not least, evidence has been found of Viking settlements in America, 500 years before Columbus landed on those shores. Joyce gave the vote of thanks on behalf of the group for a very informative and enjoyable talk given by someone who really knows his history!

    Sunday 10th February 2008
  • Phil introduced Ray Jones, local historian and author who joined us to tell of Hoole House. Ray explained how he often gets enquiries over the internet, from people who are interested in maters connected with Hoole, most of which a member of his group can resolve. However, one instance had them all stumped. A student from Geneva, studying famous alpine gardens, contacted Ray asking about Hoole House Alpine Garden. As nothing was known of this garden, this led to research by Ray and his team. Hoole House stood on the junction of Hoole Road and Pipers Lane, built in 1760 by William Hamilton and covered and area of 20 - 30 acres. By the 1830’s this country house was owned by Lady Elizabeth Broughton, it was she who employed the renowned architect John Douglas to adapt Hoole House to her requirements. This involved creating and Alpine Garden, rocks were brought in from North Wales (one as large as 33’) and white pebbles were introduced to represent snow on the peaks. Although Lady Broughton was a very private person and this garden was created for her own enjoyment word soon circulated about this wonderful creation. John Claudius Loudon, a famous garden of the tine begged Lady Broughton to let him visit. She agreed to his visit but forbade him to publish anything about it. In 1838 and article appeared in the August edition of Gardeners Magazine. Lady Broughton died in 1857 and the lease for Hoole House was taken over by Martha Panton who moved with her family from North Wales. In 1883 (?) the house and garden was bought by Claude Hamilton Vivien (part of the Hamilton family?), it was this owner who started to sell off part of the land. In 1896 a Mrs Potts bought Hoole House and in 1913 it was auctioned, along with Hoole Hall (Hoole Hall - lot 1 + Hoole House - lot 2). Hoole Urban District Council were the owners in 1954 when the garden site was sold for council housing and in 1972 the house was demolished as it was so dilapidated. All that remains of the splendid garden now is the large cedar tree. Our next speaker for the evening was Dr Sydney Burchet whom we met at the Newton Exhibition held last year and whose interest is the area of Flookersbrook. The brook which the area gets its name from, rises in Vicars Cross, possibly close to Abbots Well, it runs along Lightfoot Street under the railway bridge then on to join Newton Brook and Finchets Gutter on the Parkgate Road. It is possible it gets its name from Flukes being caught in the brook in earlier times. Flookersbrook is half in Newton and half in Hoole and at one time encompassed the area that the Railway Station stands on now. It is mentioned in Ormerod’s Cheshire and Dr Burchet read many facts about the area during civil war. The current fenced off area is financed by local residents which enables it to stay as a private area.

    Wednesday 2nd January 2008
  • This evening’s meeting took an open forum/workshop format; we are trying to record as many memories of events in the Village Hall as possible. December 2008 will see the 80th Anniversary (Monday 8th December) of the hall and there will be several celebrations including an afternoon exhibition which our group will be creating. Although we have much information on the hall the aim of this evening is to capture the thoughts and memories of our members. Frank Whaley will be one of the guests of honour at the December celebrations. Frank sang “What shall we do with the drunken sailor” at the Village Hall opening ceremony in 1928.

    Monday 17th December 2007
  • 5th Anniversary Celebration. What an achievement, it does not seem 5 minutes since the inaugural meeting held tentatively to see if there would be any interest in starting a local history group. We need not have worried, the membership now is as strong as it was in that first year. This meeting was well attended. Previous speakers had been invited as had contacts made at the summer exhibition held in Newton, along with members from other local history groups. Len Morgan had agreed to give a talk and slide show on Chester Christmas’ past. On arrival members and guests mingled and chatted while enjoying the lovely buffet organised by Hilary & Stan, mulled wine was available (and popular) along side tea and coffee for those who preferred it. Following the sweet course everyone was given a piece of ‘anniversary cake’ to finish off the first part of the evening. Most of the credit for this group being so active must go to our chairman Phil Pearn. Without his drive and enthusiasm we would not have come this far and as a small token of our appreciation, Phil was presented with a framed caricature of himself which we hope he will hang in his study at home to bring a smile to his face when he looks at it. To round off the evening, local historian Len Morgan gave a slide show of Chester at Christmastime in years gone by. The evoked many memories for our members and was a fitting finale to a lovely evening.

    Thursday 11th October 2007
  • Instead of meeting at our usual venue of the Village Hall, we met at the Parish Church for the start of our evening, later moving on the the Church Hall to investigate how well the Church Archive group are getting on with their collection of memorabilia. We were made very welcome and shown many interesting artifacts to do with church life and personalities.

    Monday 3rd September
  • This evening held a little something different for our meeting, it was our first invitation to a neighbouring Local History Group. Chorlton, Mollington & Backford Local History Group came to Upton to learn a little of how we do things and likewise we heard of how they organise their calendar of events. A thoroughly enjoyable evening with delicious refreshements.

    Tuesday 14th August 2007
  • After an appalling day, weather-wise, 19 brave members gathered at Northgate Ponds with Joh Seiler (Chester City Council Landscape Architect) to see some of the work carried out by the department John works in.

    The Northgate Ponds appeared sometime between 1882 and 1911 on the extensive railways lands to the north of the city centre. At that time the railways were a particularly important feature of Chester's landscape and economy. It is possible that the 'ponds' were tanks constructed to supply water to steam locomotives, especially as they are situated on land slightly higher than the railway tracks to the south and east. They had become considerable overgrown over recent years with the effect of reducing wildlife. They were given a new lease of life with surrounding trees being cut back. The main pond was drained, deepened in the centre, relined and refilled before appropriate flowers were planted around the edge. On leaving the ponds we wandered along the Sustrans cycleway up to Lime Woods Fields, an area just off Kingsway. Here, again, the council have improved what was simply a large field. Drainage has been installed to keep the surface usable all year round, a large childrens play area with interesting climbing frames keeps the local children occupied. Through a new gateway and we came to Newton Hollows,an ancient track that linked chester with Wilderspool, Warrington. This short stretch is all that is left now and John explained how the vegetation has been cut back and they are still working on eliminating the Japanese Knotweed. A good footpath has been laid so it is usable all year round and indeed it does seem popular with local walkers with many passing us while we were learning of the work that went on behind the scenes.

    A very interesting evening, a pleasant little walk and a bit of history as well, what more could we ask for. Oh yes, the weather was kindness itself without a drop of rain falling until we were all back home.

    Monday 18th June 2007
  • A Well attended meeting where members welcomed John Herson from Liverpool Johns Moores University, who is about as well informed as anyone could be on 'The Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Liverpool 1207 - 2007'. A every interesting evening when we all left the meeting knowing a little more than when we arrived.

    Thursday 17th May 2007
  • Hannah Crowdy, keeper of local and social history at the Grosvenor Museum visited us on 17th May. Hannah told us of the history of photography from the 16th century, when the camera obscura was developed, unfortunately there are no images from this time as they did not keep. Moving on the 19th century Hannah explained that 8 hour exposure was the normal. Things developed quickly from then on, exposure time was soon down to 30 minutes when the Daguerreotype was invented, professional photographers used this system but only the wealthy could afford to have their photographs taken. Henry Fox Talbot experimented with paper negatives and published his findings; we are now down to an exposure time of 3 minutes. In 1851 Frederick Scott Archer used glass negatives to create paper pictures, then in 1861 the first colour pictures appeared. 1888 saw George Eastman create pictures using celluloid and the Kodak No. 1 camera “You press the button and we do the rest” was the advertising slogan. The ever popular Box Brownie brought photography to the masses in 1900. Hannah also explained how styles of photography changed as cameras developed. The earliest pictures of people were usually full length, then as things progressed the subject would be sitting then later still head and shoulders were popular. It was not until the popularity of the Box Brownie that outdoor photography emerged. Hannah brought many examples of photography with her which made the meeting extremely interesting.

    Monday 23rd April 2007
  • This meeting, when approx 40 members attended, was deloted to Upton's post war development. It was led by Phil Pearn and involved open discussion with members recalling how the area had changed in their lifetime.

    Thursday 29th March 2007
  • John Seiler, landscape architect for Chester City Council who came to tell us something of the history of Newton Hollows and other green spaces. John has been in Chester for just 3 years but he has lots of exciting projects on the go. Newton Hollows is the last remaining link between Chester and Warrington, and can be found between Newton Lane and Fairfield Road. It can still be picked out on aerial maps. The name Hoole = at the hollows (c1119) and there have been several folk stories about the area. Known as Valley of the Demons, there was reputedly a “large black, slavering dog” marauding the hollows. Now it is a unique, tranquil piece of land just 1½ miles from Chester city centre. Before starting work on transforming the overgrown hollows, much consultation took place between the council and residents / schools / local area planning committees to discover what was wanted. Listed as an ancient route, it has become a much loved, well used pathway that will have signs and information boards eventually. John went on to describe (with the help of overhead slides) some of the work that his department is involved in - Grosvenor Park, Linfields Park, Riverside Walk and Watertower Gardens. At the end of this enjoyable evening John agreed to join us on our summer walk. We will meet at Northgate Ponds and he can explain why the work has been undertaken there, then he will guide us through Newton Hollows.

    Wednesday 3rd January 2007
  • Chester City Baths: Mr Fred Morris, secretary of Chester Swimming Association, came to give us the interesting history of Chester City Baths; fondly known locally as 'the old baths'. Chester Swimming Club has been in existence for more than a 100 years, and originally used an open pontoon situated on the river Dee as there were very few indoor pools back in the 1880’s. Chester City Council decided to build a swimming pool and started to gather in funds, with the Duke of Westminster pledging half the cost. John Douglas was commissioned to design the building but admitted he had no knowledge of how to construct bathing areas. A competition was held and the winning entry was submitted by architect Harold Burgess who won the grand sum of £50. William Freeman was awarded the contract to build and construction began in October 1898, the baths were completed and opened in 1901 at a cost of £13,700. Chester Swimming Club now had two wonderful indoor pools to use, which meant all year round swimming unlike the river pontoon which was only usable during the summer months. The new baths were heated by coal and stayed open till WW1 when it was closed to conserve coal. It re-opened shortly after the end of the war and was well used for swimming and water polo, producing many swimmers and polo players who played for Britain. During WW2 the baths stayed open during daylight hours but had to close in the evening as it was impossible to black out the large skylight windows. In 1957 the pools were re-tiled and in 1962 a major revamp took place and the coal heating was replaced by oil as it was cheaper and more efficient. In 1975 Chester City Council wanted to close the baths as it intended to build a new sports complex which would include swimming facilities. The swimming club committee did not see any plans for the new Northgate Arena complex and was unaware that the swimming facility would be a leisure pool, not suitable for competition swimming at all. In 1977 the Swimming Club lobbied the Council to keep the ‘old baths’ open, the Council claimed they could not afford to as it made a loss of £78,000 during that year. After much negotiation the council agreed to let the swimming club have it on a 12 month lease. Hence Chester Swimming Association came into being, a committee of 8 volunteers who have worked relentlessly to let the baths to various clubs and groups. The baths became so successful that the council had no hesitation in extending the lease. To date they have never made a loss and the baths are in use from 6am to 10pm daily. The old Slipper Baths, once used by members of the public who had no bath facilities at home, were closed and a café replaced them. The oil heating has changed to gas, and general maintenance has taken place over the years. More recently Chester City Council thought about demolishing the old baths but as it is a grade II listed building this is out of the question. It is ironic that the Northgate Arena complex, built in the 1970’s, is now due for demolition as the plant and machinery is corroding away and needs renewing; whereas the Victorian City Baths is still going strong.

    Wednesday 6th December 2006
  • Christmas Meeting: 40 members attended our December meeting and it wasn’t long before we could smell inviting aromas drifting in from the kitchen area. Phil had pinned local history quiz questions around the hall, everyone wandered from question to question noting down their answers. Before long the inviting smells materialised into a superb buffet, laid out by Hilary and Stan Roberts and helpers Everyone enjoyed the hot and cold supper, glass of wine and friendly chatter. Following this - another quiz (thanks Phil). This one had a musical theme, one line of a song was given and we had to guess the title, not as easy as it sounds. Much fun was had and shortly after Pat Parker took to the piano to lead a seasonal sing song to round off the evening.

    Sunday 12th November 2006
  • 4th AGM followed by Tracing your Family History: Following on from the AGM, group member Alan Comyns told us of his interest - not so much in tracing his family tree but in discovering where his unusual surname came from. He discovered the name in Scotland where a Robert de Comyne was a major rival of Robert the Bruce, then in 1307 the name completely disappeared. Later, in the 18th century the name was commonly found in Surrey and Alan suspects workers were brought over from France, where the name probably originated, to work on a major building project. After refreshments, Tony Barratt led us all through the 1881 census for Upton. This was done with the help of the large screen and as Tony explained by looking at the list of properties you can imagine the route the census taker would have walked to do his task. Everyone then spend time looking at the maps which were on display and the information which had been brought along by the family history guests.

    Sun 15th October 2006
  • Long Established Families of Upton. Joyce Cook started the evening by telling something of Upton families; from a document in the Mayor’s Office she found an account of the death and funeral of a Widow Davie, who lived and died in Upton in Elizabethan times. Her will is in the Records Office and is dated 1603, Marjory Davie left the “core of her children” to her brother William Cross. Davie is one of the oldest traceable families in Upton. Visitor Graham Hinde then told how his family moved to Chester in the mid 1800’s from the Ince/Elton area. The large family were mostly horse dealers and they moved into Egerton Street, Black Diamond Street and George Street, all in close proximity to each other and more importantly close to the horse market. Graham’s father had a butcher’s shop in St Annes Street, he built ‘The Mount’ on Long Lane (now Mallard Court retirement flats) and while he was living there he built ‘Northfields’ on the land next door to The Mount, which is still in use today. Another name that crops up frequently in Upton history, is Ithel. Guest Vanessa Ithel lives in Wervin where her husband James’ family have farmed, for many years. The other member of the Ithel family who came to our meeting was John Payne OBE (John’s mother was an Ithel) and his wife Christine who travelled from Reading to be with us after a member of their family heard we were holding this meeting. John told of his ancestor Robert Ithel who was Sheriff of Chester in 1294, more recently this branch of the Ithel family lived and worked at Chapel House Farm in Wervin, John’s father running a threshing business. He remembers the Hinde family and visiting the farm they worked. The Ithel’s lived at Upton Hall in the 1800’s but the last resident of the hall was a member of the Hinde family.

    Sat 1st July 2006
  • Coach trip to Liverpool. 48 members went by coach (at £15p.h.) to Liverpool accompanied by Conservation Architect Jamie Coath.

    Firstly we visited St.Georges Hall; with Jamie acting as our guide we were given an insider's view to the project of bringing the hall back to its former glory. Leaving the hall behind we were given a tour of 'World Heritage' sites around Liverpool city centre before enjoying a picnic lunch in glorious sunshine taken in the gardens adjacent to St.Georges Hall. Following lunch we travelled on to the Williamson Tunnels at Edge Hill. In stark contrast to the warm sunshine the tunnels were cool and dark. A volunteer guide explained their history in excellent detail. This, our first coach trip proved a great success with strong calls for more.

    Mon 12th June 2006
  • Member George Storey gave a fascinating illustrated talk on 'Thornton-le-Moors' - its village and church history. Some 40 members attended and learnt a lot about a neighbouring village of ours.

    Sat 13th May 2006
  • 20 members met at Poulton to visit the Research Archeological Dig with the Director - Mike Emery and our Programme Secretary Kate Roberts - a regular volunteer 'digger' there.

    Mon 24th April 2006
  • Local Chester residents - David Ellis & Roger Shone - entertained us with the nostalgia of Chester's past cinema and Concert Hall days - with old posters - photographs and memorabilia. About 50 members enjoyed this nostalgia

    Thurs 30th Mar 2006
  • Local resident and Freeman of Chester Hilarie McNae gave a fascinating talk on 'The Guilds & Freemen of Chester' - accompanied by many archived items and the regalia of her guild - 'The Cordwainers'. Hilarie became a member of the Guild in 1993 when the Chester Guilds were first open to females.
  • Attendence was in the forties.

    Sun 5th Feb 2006
  • To celebrate our 'most famous Cestrian - Thomas Brassey the railway builder - on the bi-centenary' - local Chester resident John Whittingham gave an entertaining and informative account of the great man and of our local railway system. Some 50 people attended.
    Weds 3rd Jan 2006
  • Meeting held at the former 'Institute'- now the Guide Hut - with our thanks to the Guide Hut Trustees.
  • Member Jean Roberts who was instrumental in establishing the Guide Hut gave us a good insight into its history and showed us around the building. The Institute was built 99 yrs ago.
    Weds 7th Dec 2005
  • Christmas Festivities with good refreshments and wine - all free - to celebrate a successful year.
    Sun 6th Nov 2005
  • - our 3rd AGM presided over by Joyce Cook marking 4 successful years with a membership well over 100 and an AGM getting a good turnout of 40+
  • followed by an illustrated 'walk through' our Book
    Sun 9th Oct 2005
  • Open Forum on Upton's smaller businesses over the years. We discussed the local shops and past businesses but not as much new information emerged as in other 'open forums'
    Mon 5th Sept 2005
  • Roger Stephens gave an entertaining talk on The Folk History of Cheshire's Wildlife - with opportunity to buy his excellent book on the topic
    Thurs 2nd June 2005
  • Tim Ackerly gave an illustrated talk on 'The River Dee & its uses'. There was obviously a strong interest in the topic from the large number of questions - all of which were helpfully answered.
    Tues 3rd May 2005
  • We celebrated the 60th anniversary of VE Day with over 60 people attending including the local press photographer. Members brought along war-time memorabilia which was laid out on 4 tressle tables.
  • Members recounted their memories of the war days including the 'stories behind the memorabilia'
  • The local 'Creative Writing Group' recited a number of items which helped us get a real feel for those wartime days.
  • Member Bob Parker gave us a fun 1940s quiz while we were digesting our refreshments and then his wife Pat played the piano for our finale wartime sing-a-long.
    30 March 2005
  • This was a major event with members and invited guests to launch our 'book'. It was an opportunity to thank the many people who have helped us in our launch years. Bubbly and some good snacks were enjoyed by all
    February 2005
  • Mike Emery - Site Director Poulton Abbey Archaelogy - used slides and 'findings' to take us through the story so far or this exciting local dig. Well over 50 members attended this meeting. Programme Secretary Kate Roberts - is one of the volunteer helpers on the site. Info will follow on their next 'open day'
    January 2005
  • Geoff Taylor gave an illustrated talk on the canal through Chester and on into Llangollen. His family had the boat building business at the Canal Basin - and hence we got inside information on many stories of local boat building and life on the Chester canal.
    November 2004
  • 2nd Annual General Meeting followed by membership renewals and then 'end-of-year' celebrations on a nostalgia theme - with nostalgic items brought along by members. Festive refreshments and a 1960's quiz.
    October 2004
  • The three compilers/editors of the book used the new computer projector and screen to give members an insight into the proposed content of the book
    September 2004
  • Micheal Kiernan joined by other members of the group presented and discussed the various military and wartime activities in the area over our history.
    July/August 2004 outings
  • Eddy once again ran two evenings of walks around historic Upton - new routes from 2003. A third walk was along the towpath of some of Chester's canal.
    June meeting at Chorlton Hall - home of John & Valeria Hess - former home of Ormerod
  • We were shown around the house and gardens and John described the history of the house and its residents all set against the context of national and local social change. A thoroughly enjoyable evening for the 50+ members who attended. We said our thanks with a donation to the Hospice of the Good Shepherd at John's request.
    meeting on Thurs 20nd May 2004
  • Member Carol Coles gave an illustrated talk on 'Life Within the Asylum - and its impact on the Uptopn Community'.Once again we had over 50 attendees and plenty of discussion on this interesting topic.
  • After the break we discussed the need to get more information on the working life within the village. We have info on the self-employed but very little on what it was like working for the major employers of the past - the Mill; the Nursery; the farms; in domestic service etc.
    meeting on Thurs 22nd April 2004
  • John Herson - Head of History at Liverpool John Moores University gave an illustrated talk to 55 of our members and guests. John presented the key social & economic factors of 19th century Chester to help us understand the nature of the limited migration from city to surrounding villages during this period. Several misconceptions were cleared up and this 'bigger picture' should help us write the book chapter on Upton's early urbanisation.

    meeting on Thurs 25th March 2004
  • The well attended meeting was focused on arrangements for the Exhibition on the 27th. After concluding exhibition administration issues - the Chairman used a borrowed computer projector to give members an insight into the extent of our web-based archives.
    meeting on Sun 8th February 2004
  • Chester History & Heritage were our guests telling us about the whole subject of carrying out an 'Oral History Project'. After some initial delay - the Village Hall was double-booked - and we ended up using the parish church following their evensong. The vicar kindly let us use the warm church rather than the cold church hall on this below freezing evening. Emma of CHH took us through all the issues we needed to consider for such an oral history project and explained how we could use the digital audio recorders available from CHH. The initial thinking amongst the two dozen members who attended was that a full oral history project was something we should consider as a follow-up to our book but that our current focus should stay on gathering information that could be summarised and transcribed into our book. Some people may well find the audio recorders useful while talking with older residents in their own home. Some oral history gathering may be attempted in a side room during our exhibtion.

    After the presentation members had an opportunity to discuss various points with Stephanie and Emma both of CHH - both of whom have helped our group from launch.

    meeting on Wed 7th January 2004
  • Over 50 people gathered to hear member Kate Roberts give a very popular and informative talk on 'Archaeological Digs around Upton'. She briefed us on why and how digs are carried out and then told us about the various digs that have been carried out in and around Upton. After her talk members had the opportunity to view maps and 'finds'.
  • Most of the points regarding Upton raised in her talk are now recorded within this website.
    Xmas festivities meeting on 22nd Dec with local history quiz, festive refreshments and singalong
  • 40+ members attended and tested their local knowledge against the 58 new local history quiz questions - some proved very taxing - top scorer (in the low 40's) was John Gough who ended the evening for us by accompanying the carol singalong on the piano.
  • The refreshments - both solid & liquid - were in the festive spirit and much appreciated by all.
    1st AGM and meeting on 12th November 2003
  • The AGM was well attended. We welcomed a new Treasurer and a committee member. Two constitution changes brought in the position of President and for Hon.Life Membership.
  • After a break during which membership renewal was handled, Joyce Cook was inaugurated as our President and presented with a chain of office and memorial album to mark the 25th anniversary since the 'A Good Sing' victory on BBC TV NorthWest.
  • Some 16 past pupils of Joyce Cook then joined the meeting to pay tribute to such an inspiring past teacher - they all gathered around the piano to reminisce and pose for the Local Newspaper photographer.
  • Joyce then addressed the full gathering talking about the importance of recording our history - both as it happens and by research into the past.
  • see fuller report on meeting on 12 Nov 2003
    Meeting on 29th October 2003
  • An audience of over 50 were entertained and informed by member Tony Barrett
    as he told us of all the transport links that had been proposed for Upton over the years but never materialised -
  • Canals including one to pass right through the centre of the village
  • an airport (rather a aeropark) for Chester
  • other railway routes, motorways & tramways
  • we all saw how different a village we might have had

    Meeting on 7 Sept 2003
  • Nearly 40 members and visitors attended this open forum on 'Occupations in Upton through the ages - though mainly the last 50 years or so'

    Meeting on 16 June 2003
  • Over 50 members and visitors attended our 2nd forum - this time to cover the various organisations - past & present - within Upton. We covered the following with good input from around the floor -
    WI; Horticultural; Scouts & Guides; Drama; Flower club; Village Hall; WW2 defence organisations and touched on others

    Meeting on 19 May 2003
  • Over 40 members attended the talk by Joyce Cook - an ex-teacher of Upton St.Mary's and Upton Manor Primary. She had us all enthralled with her reminiscences and enthused by her enthusiasm for archive research. Joyce was responsible for putting Upton-by-Chester in the National limelight with the I-Spy competitions and the BBC TV's 'Good Sing' in 1978
    Meeting on 17 April 2003
  • Over 50 members attended this 4-part forum - we in turn addressed - the shops, the schools, the churches and the pubs. Each part had its own chairman who ensured a good balance of contributions as the discussion shot around the forum - we all sat in a double layer big circle. Molly MacFarlane who previously ran a shop in Upton was our star contributor who was able to add anecdotes on most of the topics. The success of the Forum means it will be adopted again.
    Meeting on 20 March 2003
  • Over 40 members attended an illustrated talk and discussion on the Zoo's history. Brian Coles chaired the event by a number of speakers. June Williams - the daughter of founder George Mottershead contributed as did members of the current Zoo staff and former employees. for more detail
    Meeting on 18 February 2003
  • Over 50 members attended the illustrated presentation on 'George Ormerod & his history of Cheshire' The presenter was John Hess who lives in the former home of Ormerod - Chorlton Hall - and has extensively researched and published on the subject. John gave a thorough and very interesting insight into George's motivation and achievements for what is still regarded as the main authorative reference text on Cheshire. We were delighted to have George Ormerod at the event - the great great great grandson of the famous historian.
    Meeting on 29 January 2003
  • Approx 50 members attended the meeting which started with a illustrated talk by member Carol Coles on the history of Upton's Hospital which started out as the Lunatic Asylum such that at the end of the 19th century some 40% of Upton lived in the Asylum.
  • The website was demonstrated to those members who have no internet access
    Meeting on 8 December 2002
  • Nearly 50 members attended the local history quiz of 62 questions which members found very informative. The meeting offered good opprtunities for members to meet and seasonal refreshments were provided. This was the first opportunity for members to buy copies of the recently transcribed copy of the Upton History as compiled by the WI in 1951.
10 members attended a research workshop at CHH on Fri 15 November
    Meeting on 15 October 2002
  • At the inaugural members meeting the constitution was approved and a committee appointed.
  • Member Max Green gave an illustrated talk on 'Early Upton' drawing on old maps and records from the Domesday survey through to about 1900.
    Meeting on 5 Sept 2002
  • Sarah Oswald of Chester History & Heritage chaired a discussion during which several representatives from other local history groups told us of their experiences in establishing their groups.
  • Len Morgan gave a highly entertaining slideshow on 'Memories in and around Chester' which brought back memories for many of the audience and educated the incomers. We all enjoyed the reminiscences of Len Morgan and Eddy Edison.