The precise derivation of Suttonin St.Helens is uncertain. It probably takes its name from 'Sudtun' the old English for southern enclosure or south town and was likely to have been the southern portion of a Saxon thegn's estate. Before the Conquest of 1066 AD, Sutton was held by King Edward the Confessor and located within the Royal Forest of West Derby. This extended from Burtonwood to Crosby and in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Sutton became part of the Barony of Widnes. Along with fourteen other townships including Windle, Parr and Eccleston, it became part of the large ecclesiastical parish of Prescot and its rich seams of coal, which were first discovered in Sutton Heath around 1540, transformed it from an area of moorland and forest into a thriving community. The old Township of Sutton included Peasley Cross, Marshalls Cross, Clockface, Ravenhead and Sherdley and totalled 3,752 acres. Sutton's landowners feared that amalgamation with other townships would result in higher rates and so on financial grounds they stubbornly attempted to preserve Sutton's independent status. However, Parliament was concerned about the living and working conditions in the expanding English factory towns and demanded reforms to improve their citizens' health. It became increasingly recognised in the St. Helens townships that only incorporation into a borough could create a system of local governance that was capable of delivering badly-needed improvements.
This silk of the St.Helens coat of arms was included in BDV cigarette packs in 1915. BDV were owned by Godfrey Phillips of London who used the strap 'by appointment to the King of Spain'. The St.Helens Borough coat of arms was granted in 1876 and it lasted until 1974 when the Corporation became a Metropolitan Borough and a new coat of arms granted.
So in February 1865 a public meeting chaired by Dr. Robert McNicoll was held and a resolution was passed that the:
Local governing bodies at present existing in the townships of Eccleston, Parr, Sutton, and Windle are various, inefficient and unsuited to the exigencies of the increasing population, trade and manufacture of those townships: and the economic, social and sanitary well-being of the district therein comprising, imperatively call for an improved form of Local Government which a Charter of Incorporation can alone supply.
A public inquiry followed in 1866 conducted by Captain Donnelly and on January 30th, 1868 Queen Victoria granted the Charter of Incorporation to St.Helens. The St.Helens Improvement Act of 1869 was quickly passed and in 1889 St.Helens became a County Borough which granted the town additional powers. In 1974 an expanded Metropolitan Borough was created.
How Sutton Was Viewed in the 19th Century
This is how John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales described Sutton in 1870-72:
SUTTON, a township and a chapelry in Prescot parish, Lancashire. The township lies around Sutton-Oak, Lea-Green, and St. Helens Junction r. stations, 21⁄2 miles S of St. Helens; and has a post-office under St. Helens. Acres, 3,616. Real property, £44,146; of which £9,147 are in mines, £170 in canals, £2,640 in railways, and £1,601 in gasworks. Pop. in 1851, 5,288; in 1861, 9,223. Houses, 1,588. There are numerous good residences. Coal, ironstone, limestone, and potters' clay are worked; and there are glass-works, bottle-works, cobalt and zaffer-works, copper-smelting-works, earthen-ware works, drain-pipe works, grease and varnish-works, an oil-refinery, and watch-movement manufactures. A county lunatic asylum also is here. The chapelry includes only part of the township, and was constituted in 1848. Pop. in 1861, 4,071. Houses, 755. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Chester. Value, £716. Patron, Kings College, Cambridge. The church is in the pointed style. There are a Wesleyan chapel and national schools.
This is how Slaters Directory of St.Helens (1895) described Sutton:
SUTTON was formerly a township, but now forms part of the township of St. Helens, and is wholly within the borough of St. Helens; it is also an ecclesiastical parish, formed August 17, 1848 from the civil parish of Prescot, of St. Helens; lt has two stations on the St. Helens Junction railway, and is in the Newton division of the county, hundred of West Derby, union of Prescot, St. Helens county court district, petty sessional division of St. Helens rural deanery of Prescot, archdeaconry of Warrington and diocese of Liverpool. The church of St. Nicholas, erected in 1849, is a stone building in the Early Gothic style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles and a turret containing one bell: there are two stained windows in the chancel, presented by William Pilkington esq.; the east window and three in the aisles were given by William Blinkhorn esq.; there are 350 sittings. The register dates from the year 1849. The living is a vicarage, average tithe rent-charge £548, net yearly value about £400, with 1 acre of glebe, in the gift of King's College, Cambridge, and held since 1889 by the Rev. Maximilian Frederic Breffit Binney M.A. of that college. The church of All Saints, erected in 1893, at a cost of £7,800, defrayed by subscription, is a chapel of ease to St. Nicholas, and has been built to accommodate the large and increasing population near to St. Helens Junction: there are 600 sittings. The Wesleyans have a chapel in Sutton road. St. Anne’s Catholic church, erected in 1852, is a stone building in the Early English style, consisting of nave, aisles, transept and a tower with fine spire, and will seat about 500 persons. There are collieries, plate glass works, cobalt works, glass bottle works, copper smelting works, earthenware works and drain pipe works. The St. Helens Cottage Hospital, established here in 1873, has beds for 56 patients; it is managed by a committee of 17 persons, of which the mayor is chairman. William Pilkington esq. is lord of the manor. The principal landowner is Michael J. Hughes esq. The soil is clayey; subsoil, clay. The crops are wheat, oats and green crops. At Lea Green is a station on the London and North Western railway. At Marshalls Cross and Sutton Heath are earthenware works. There is a free Methodist chapel at Marshall's Cross and a Wesleyan chapel at Nutgrove.
A map of old Sutton from Frank Free's excellent 1979 book 'Our Heritage in Sutton and Bold'
This website has been written and researched and many mages photographed by myself, Stephen Wainwright, the Sutton Beauty & Heritage site owner. Individuals from all over the world have also kindly contributed their own photographs. If you wish to reuse any image, please contact me first as permission may be needed from the copyright owner. High resolution versions of many pictures can also be supplied at no charge. Please also contact me if you can provide any further information or photographs concerning Sutton, St.Helens. You might also consider contributing your recollections of Sutton for the series of Memories pages. Sutton Beauty & Heritage strives for factual accuracy at all times. Do also get in touch if you believe that there are any errors. I respond quickly to emails and if you haven't had a response within twelve hours, check your junk mail folder or resend your message. Thank you! SRW
HERITAGE HOME PAGE (Page 1)- This page (that you are currently viewing) is an introduction to the history of old Sutton in St.Helens, Lancashire. It briefly discusses the relationship between the old Sutton township and the town of St.Helens. In addition there is information on all the pages in this website's extensive heritage section.
SUTTON'S LORDS & MASTERS (Page 2)- The history of the 'lords and masters' or people of influence in old Sutton. Included are the two William Blinkhorns (managers of Sutton Glassworks), Arthur Sinclair (Mayor of St.Helens and pictured here), William Roby Pilkington (Lord of the Manor of Sutton), Holland family, Eltonheads, Daresburys, Norreys and the Bolds.
MICHAEL HUGHES (Page 3)- In the latter annals of Sutton's history, the name of Michael Hughes of of Sherdley Hall appears regularly as the three Michaels dominated life in Sutton for 150 years. The original copper industrialist and his son and grandson were land owners, employers, benefactors and patrons and the family provided a livelihood for numerous tenants.
MICHAEL HUGHES QUOTES (Page 4)- A selection of quotes from correspondence from 1911 to 1918 between Michael Hughes (or his wife Edith) and their Sherdley Estate Agent, Dr. Henry Baker Bates of Sutton Hall. The Hughes's often wintered abroad and also spent much of their time at their Thornham Hall estate near Eye in Suffolk. The couple regularly sent letters to Dr. Bates in which they responded to his questions on estate business, described their lives and shared their strong opinions on events and politics.
SHERDLEY ESTATE (Page 5)- This page describes the Sherdley estate in Sutton with articles on Sherdley Hall, Costeth House, Sutton Hall, Sutton Grange & Choccy Hill, the Roughley Coat of Arms and Sherdley Delph. An appendix to this page is 'The Remarkable Life of Photographer R.G. Brook'. This article describes the ironmonger who took many photographs of the two Sherdley Halls.
SUTTON'S HALLS AND HOUSES (Page 6)- This heritage page describes some notable halls, houses and homes within the Sutton district. Separate articles are devoted to Bold Hall, St. Michael's House, Brook House, Green End House, Middlehurst House Farm, Ellam's House (a.k.a. Tripe Shaws) and Ravenhead House.
DR. HENRY BAKER BATES (Page 7)- This page is dedicated to this remarkable man who was much loved by Sutton folk as their doctor and councillor, Sherdley Estate agent and four-times Mayor of St.Helens during the war years. The St.Helens Reporter in their 1940 obituary described him as the "uncrowned king of Sutton". In recognition of his services Dr. Bates was made a freeman of the St.Helens Borough and awarded the CBE.
HISTORY OF RELIGION PART 1 (Page 8)- Apart from an introductory article on the history of religion in the Sutton & Bold district, this page is devoted exclusively to the Church of England Parish Churches. Although its main focus is St.Nicholas in New Street, the history of All Saints church in Ellamsbridge Road is also covered in some depth, along with the other places of worship.
HISTORY OF RELIGION PART 2 (Page 9)- This second part in the trilogy of pages on the history of religion, concentrates on Roman Catholic places of worship in the Sutton & Bold district. St.Anne's Church, Monastery & Convent are described in detail and there are also articles devoted to St.Theresa's in Sutton Manor and St.Joseph's in Peasley Cross.
HISTORY OF RELIGION PART 3 (Page 10)- This third religion page has articles on a) Welsh Chapels (inc. Sutton Oak) & the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel; b) Independent Methodist Chapel in Herbert Street & Emmanuel Mission in Helena Road; c) Other Chapels including the Congregational Church, St.Helens Junction Railway Mission, Sutton Baptist Mission, Primitive Methodist Connexion chapel and a Sutton Manor Methodist Mission.
REV. HENRY VALLANCEY (Page 11)- The first Vicar of Sutton Parish, Henry Edward Francis Vallancey, was an influential figure during the second half of the 19th century. He ministered to the denizens of his parish for a remarkable thirty-nine years and was also the driving force behind the creation of Sutton National Schools. However, the long-standing Sutton cleric concealed a secret throughout the four decades that he served his Sutton flock, as he was the father of twin, illegitimate sons.
EDUCATION IN SUTTON (Page 12)- This page features articles on Henry Vallancey and his Sutton National Schools, Sutton 'Nash' during the 20th century, St.Anne's RC School, Robins Lane Schools, Marshalls Cross Infants School and Clock Face School / St.Aidan's. There is also an article on the history of Sutton library, which was first opened in Sutton Road before moving to Carnegie Crescent.
FROM ROBINS LANE TO SUTTON ACADEMY 1 (Page 13)- This is a 5-part history of Robins Lane Secondary Modern and Sutton High, which also includes the infants and junior schools. Part 1 covers the period from 1909 to 1969 and is illustrated by 17 photographs. The page includes Doris Gee's plays, hobbies days, success in the St.Helens Inter-Schools Athletics competition and other sports, awarding of wrist watches for good attendances and the creation of a single mixed school.
FROM ROBINS LANE TO SUTTON ACADEMY 2 (Page 14)- This is a 5-part history of Robins Lane Secondary Modern and Sutton High, which also includes the infants and junior schools. Part 2 covers the period from 1970 - 1979 and is illustrated by 20 photographs. The page includes sporting and dramatic successes and a new head for the secondary school. Plus a sports centre, talking newspaper, annexe in Elton Head Road and a change of name.
FROM ROBINS LANE TO SUTTON ACADEMY 3 (Page 15)- This is a 5-part history of Robins Lane Secondary Modern and Sutton High, which also includes the infants and junior schools. Part 3 covers the period from 1980 - 1989 and is illustrated by 16 photographs. The page includes descriptions of the school nature reserve, protracted staff dispute with the headmaster, a student Town Hall protest, threat to axe the school's sixth form and a murder.
FROM ROBINS LANE TO SUTTON ACADEMY 4 (Page 16)- This is a 5-part history of Robins Lane Secondary Modern and Sutton High, which also includes the infants and junior schools. Part 4 covers the period from 1990 - 1999 and is illustrated by 14 photographs. The page includes descriptions of a new arts centre, a terrible fire and the closure and demolition of the Robins Lane secondary site. Plus great academic success, along with an extension of the school’s charity and community work.
FROM ROBINS LANE TO SUTTON ACADEMY 5 (Page 17)- This is a 5-part history of Robins Lane Secondary Modern and Sutton High, which also includes the infants and junior schools. Part 5 covers the period from 2000 - 2013 and is illustrated by 13 photographs. The page includes two name changes for the secondary school, several changes of head, a ‘Notice to Improve’, diamond jubilee party, centenary exhibition and a £8 million investment in a fabulous new building.
MINING IN SUTTON (Page 18)- This page describes the history of mineworking in Sutton township from when it was first mined in Sutton Heath about 1540. Figures discussed include Samuel Woods of the Lancashire Miners' Federation, who was born in Sutton, and publican Charles Heyes of the Locomotive Inn. The latter was also an engineer and he developed a safety device called the Provident Patent Safety Catch. Pits described include Sherdley colliery, Sutton Heath colliery and Phoenix colliery and trade union disputes, including the 1926 strike and lockout, are also discussed.
SUTTON MANOR COLLIERY PART 1 (Page 19)- The first in a two-part profile of the only St.Helens pit to be opened during the twentieth century and the last to close, dates from 1906 to 1959. The page contains details of Sutton Manor Colliery's development, mining accidents and industrial disputes including the 1926 strike and lock out. Note there are six accompanying Photo-Albums with over 250 pictures of the colliery.
SUTTON MANOR COLLIERY PART 2 (Page 20)- This second in a two-part profile from 1960 to 1991, includes the opening of Sutton Manor Institute, the colliery's reorganisation in 1968, holidays to Russia, £14 million investment in 1983, electrification of no.1 pit's steam winder, 250 redundancies in 1986 and Sutton Manor Colliery's closure five years later. Note there are six accompanying Photo-Albums with over 250 pictures of the colliery.
CLOCK FACE COLLIERY (Page 21)- Documenting its history from 1890 to 1966, the page describes the colliery managers, mining accidents, opening of Clock Face Institute in 1914, mining practices, 1926 strike / lock out, Clock Face Colliery carnivals, sports & band, opening of the pit-head baths in 1939, its role in the 1948 Berlin airlift and final closure in 1966.
BOLD COLLIERY PART 1 (Page 22)- This is the first in a two-part history of the colliery, covering the years 1875 until 1955. The page documents in great detail the many mining accidents at Bold, including the cage disaster of 1905 that cost 4 boys and a collier their lives. It also profiles manager Andrew Jackson and describes how in 1940, Bold miner Carl Schofield and colliery agent Thomas Jameson were both awarded the Edward Medal for saving five men.
BOLD COLLIERY PART 2 (Page 23)- This second part covers the developments at the colliery from 1955 to 1991 and describes the improvements in technology and practice. The adjacent Bold Power Station is featured in detail and a section of the page relates how surface superintendent Harry Simmons put steam locos back to work at the colliery. When these were replaced by diesel locos in 1982, Railway World magazine dubbed it "the effective demise of industrial steam" in Britain.
BOLD POWER STATION (Page 24)- This page is devoted to the history of Bold Power Station, which was a major customer of Bold Colliery. It also discusses the process of generating electricity, with many images sourced from the power station's own promotional booklet. Thanks to Peter Jenner, former Control Engineer and Station Efficiency Engineer at Bold, for his assistance.
LEA GREEN COLLIERY (Page 25)- This page describes the history of the colliery off Lowfield Lane from its opening during the early 1870s by James Radley until its closure in 1964. It documents the many deaths of men and boys as young as 13, who worked at the colliery's three pits. Lea Green miner and Manchester United star player Bill Foulkes is also featured and the page includes 14 photographs.
INDUSTRY IN SUTTON PART 1 (Page 26)- Separate articles are devoted to Clay, Pottery and Brickworks, Glassmaking in Sutton, Sutton Rolling Mill & Copper Works, Chemical & Alkali Works and Crone & Taylor Bone Crushers.
INDUSTRY IN SUTTON PART 2 (Page 27)- This second Industry page contains articles on Iron Works and Engineering Firms, Locomotive Makers (Edward Borrows & Sons and John Cross & Co.), plus an article entitled Other Sutton Works.
INDUSTRY IN SUTTON PART 3 (Page 28)- This third Industry page is exclusively devoted to relating the history of Sutton Mill, which was a water and steam-powered corn mill situated off Mill Brow. The page discusses the Lamb family, who were closely associated with Sutton Mill, with a number of members serving as millers.
SUTTON SHOPS (Page 29)- This page contains miscellaneous information, photographs, articles and adverts on shops and small businesses within the Sutton and Bold district. There is also an article entitled ‘Sutton Shopkeepers and Strikes’ which describes the difficulties shopkeepers endured during times of industrial unrest and provides a particularly violent example at the time of the 1893 strike.
TRANSPORT IN SUTTON (Page 30)- This page chronicles the history of trains and buses in Sutton, St.Helens. Railway stations including St.Helens Junction, Sutton Oak, Clock Face and Lea Green are described, as well as Sutton Oak Engine Sheds and the St.Helens Junction Sheeting Shed. The famous intersection bridge and Sutton Incline are also explained. The development and chronology of steam and electric trams and trolley and motor buses are also explained.
TRANSPORT TIMELINE (Page 31)- This page examines developments in the transport infrastructure that allowed people and goods to get in and out of Sutton and Bold and be transported within the town of St.Helens. It also features the price of progress with details of the many train, tram and bus accidents that occurred.
HEALTH & SANITARY CONDITIONS IN SUTTON (Page 32)- This page contains articles on ‘Fevers and Sewers in Sutton’, ‘Industrial Health and Injuries’, ‘Mental Health’ including Rainhill Hospital, ‘Medical Practitioners’ including doctors Casey, Pennington, Bates, Tough, Cook, Bird, Campbell and Fox, plus ‘St.Helens Cottage Hospital and Sanatorium’ in Peasley Cross.
SUTTON PUBS & BEERHOUSES PART 1 (Page 33)- These two pages attempt to document all public / beer and off-licensed houses plus breweries, that have been situated in Sutton and its outlying areas. Part 1 features an 800 word introduction and an A - L directory of pubs.
SUTTON PUBS & BEERHOUSES PART 2 (Page 34)- The second of two pages which attempt to document all public / beer and off-licensed houses plus breweries in Sutton and its outlying areas. Part 2 features M - Z in the directory of pubs, as well as a list of all known off-licences and breweries.
SUTTON SPORT (Page 35)- The range of sports and teams who have played in Sutton are featured in this page, along with notable players. The history of Sutton Cricket Club from its foundation in 1864 is described, along with the various football clubs who have played association or rugby football. Featured personalities include Mick Lawrence, goalkeeper Bernd 'Bert' Trautmann, winger John Connelly and referee Jim Finney from Sutton Road. The page is concluded with an appraisal of the Sutton Glassworks women’s football team.The Sutton Sport article describing the history of Sutton Cricket Club has been rewritten and expanded, with three new photographs added. Two of the pictures are team photos from the 1950s. These have been contributed by Geoff Chisnall, whose family were heavily involved with the club.
SUTTON HARRIERS (Page 36)- The Harriers athletics team were in their day as high profile sporting ambassadors for the town of St.Helens as Saints rugby league team are today, achieving remarkable national and international success within just 8 years of their formation. By 1906 the Harriers had won the National Cross Country Championships and their members accrued 13 sets of medals during their first 14 competitive championships. This page records the remarkable history of Sutton Harriers throughout the 20th century.
BOXERS & WRESTLERS (Page 37)- As well as an introductory article, this page features articles on boxers Ernie Proudlove of Herbert Street, George 'Bold' Thomas, Mick Gordon who was known as "the fighting collier", Wilf Douglas from Junction Lane and Ray Shiel. There are also articles on Sutton Manor wrestlers Ike Beech and his son Billy 'Ted' Beech. The latter was also the masked mystery man 'Dr. Death' and sometimes called himself the 'Red Devil', 'Executioner', 'Black Arrow' or 'Hangman'.
LEISURE & ENTERTAINMENT IN SUTTON (Page 38)- This page has the following articles: Early Closing and Moral & Social Improvement; Rise of the Excursionist; Enjoying the Parks of Sutton; Sutton's 'Show Field' or 'Show Back'; The Sutton 'Bug' - Sutton's Picture Palace; Wireless, Television & Rediffusion; Blinkhorn Rooms; Sutton Social Clubs and the St.Helens / Sherdley Show.
SUTTON CELEBRATIONS! (Page 39)- Devoted to photographs and reminiscences contributed by visitors to this website which illustrate the different types of celebrations that have taken place over the years in Sutton. These include Walking Days, May Queen Parades, VE Day parties, Fancy Dress parties, Christmas parties, Whit walks, Gala Queens, Royal visits etc.
STREETS AND PLACENAMES (Page 40)- The derivation of the following street and place names is explained in separate articles: Marshalls Cross Road, Eaves Lane, Leach Lane, Lancots Lane, Ellamsbridge Road, Watery Lane, Waterdale Crescent, Baxters Lane, Sherdley & Ell Bess, The Score & Scorecross, Clock Face, Sutton Oak, Heward Avenue, Beth Avenue & Freda Avenue. There is also a section devoted to 'Sutton Street Names in Brief' and appendices on 'Street Name Changes' and two 'A to Z of Sutton Streets' downloads from the 1901 and 1911 censuses.
PUDDING BAG (Page 41)- This page is devoted to the cul-de-sac that was nicknamed 'Pudding Bag' and which contained Woodcock Street (originally known as Church Street) and Railway Terrace. The houses were enclosed in a triangle composed of two sides of railway lines and were built for railway workers and their families. Around 200 people lived within Pudding Bag and they had their own pub, the Golden Cross.
SUTTON CRIME PART 1 (Page 42)- Part 1 of three pages devoted to curious crimes and court cases in Sutton, St.Helens. The 11 articles in this page are entitled ‘Murder and Suicide on a Train’, ‘Irish Terrorism in Sutton’, ‘Midnight Coup in Lancashire’, ‘Indecent Behaviour in a Churchyard’, ‘Two Candidates for the Ragged School’, ‘Trouble at Rolling Mill’, ‘The Raid on the Sutton Tossers’, ‘The Drunken Hearse Driver’, ‘The Shooting of a Bold Poacher’, ‘The Great Railway Robbery’ and ‘The Attempted Axe Murder of a Stepfather at St.Helens’. Some articles feature illustrations by Marty Strutt.
SUTTON CRIME PART 2 (Page 43)- The second of three pages devoted to curious crimes and court cases in Sutton, St.Helens. The 10 articles in this page are entitled ‘The Breach of Promise and Seduction of a 17-Years-old Sutton Girl’, ‘A Madman in a Monastery’, ‘A Policeman's Lot was not a Happy One!’, ‘The Shooting of Michael Noonan’, ‘The Legal and Illegal Beating of Boys’, ‘Seduction of a Sutton Builder’s Daughter’, ‘Brutal Murder of Walter Davies’, ‘Red Tape in Old Sutton’, ‘Poetic Justice in Sutton Manor and 'The Very Strange Case of Alderman Boscow’. Some articles feature illustrations by Marty Strutt.
SUTTON CRIME PART 3 (Page 44)- The third of three pages devoted to curious crimes and court cases in Sutton, St.Helens. This page features brief accounts of over 100 cases, which are related in about four or five lines and which are not described elsewhere in this website.
SUTTON TRAGEDY PART 1 (Page 45)- Part 1 of three pages devoted to tragic cases in Sutton, St.Helens. The seven articles in this page are entitled ‘Tragic Drowning of Two Boys’, 'Dad's Army Tragedy’, ‘The Three Heroic Sutton Nurses’, ‘Tragedy of a Pond’, ‘The Luck of the Irish?’, ‘Death Under Chloroform’ and ‘The Ironic Tale of the Fortune Teller and the Ditton Train Crash’. Some articles feature illustrations by Marty Strutt.
SUTTON TRAGEDY PART 2 (Page 46)- Part 2 of three pages devoted to tragic cases in Sutton, St.Helens. The eleven articles in this page are entitled ‘Strange Confession of the Distraught Mum’, ‘Legendary Curse of St.Anne's Well’, ‘The Tragic Demise of Sutton Nash's Owd Tolly’, ‘Tragic Suicide of Annie Makin’, ‘The Rabid Railway Shunter from Herbert Street’, ‘The Romantic Suicide’, ‘The Drunken Steeplejack’, ‘Crossing The Line – Rail Deaths in Old Sutton’, ‘Maternal Murder and Suicide’, ‘Child Tragedies in Old Sutton’ and ‘The Sutton National School Storm’. There is also an appendix article entitled ‘When The Dead Went To The Pub! – Coroners Inquests in Old Sutton’. Some articles feature illustrations by Marty Strutt.
SUTTON TRAGEDY PART 3 (Page 47)- The third of three pages devoted to tragedies in Sutton, St.Helens. This page features brief accounts of more than 20 tragic and unusual deaths, which are related in a few lines and not described elsewhere within this website. Titles include ‘Died from Opening a Tin of Mustard’, ‘Dead Baby in Washing Mystery’, ‘A Tramp's Sad End’, ‘Strange Suffocation Case’ and ‘Morris Street Mother's Sad Death’.
SUTTON AT WAR PART 1 (Page 48)- As well as an introductory article, this page features articles and sections entitled ‘Sutton Bond Munitions’, ‘Sgt. John Molyneux VC’, ‘Cpl. John Davies VC’, ‘Pte. Thomas Griffiths’, ‘Pte. William Bate’, ‘Zeppelin Attack at Bold’, ‘B24 Battery Cob Crash’, ‘Military Graves’, ‘Sherdley and the Red Cross Fund’ and ‘Captain Hughes's Homecoming’.
SUTTON AT WAR PART 2 - WAR NOTES & PHOTOS (Page 49)- This page contains miscellaneous Sutton & Bold wartime / military notes and photographs. There are over forty notes which vary in length and the information is presented in approximate chronological order from 1634 and is accompanied by more than twenty pictures.
SUTTON AT WAR PART 3 - THE POISON GAS WORKS (Page 50)- For nearly 40 years, Sutton hosted a major poison gas works off Reginald Road, where the Abbotsfield Road industrial estate is now. Between the wars it became the UK's main centre for research, development and production of chemical warfare agents. Although primarily a research facility, for the first six months of WWII the plant was the sole manufacturer of mustard gas in the country. The Sutton Oak Chemical Defence Research Establishment also pioneered research into nerve agents, including the deadly sarin.
SUTTON AT WAR PART 4 - WHAT'S WRONG WITH SUTTON? (Page 51)- It was the height of the Great War but for two months during the summer of 1915 there was another talking point in the columns of the St.Helens Reporter, "What’s Wrong With Sutton?" Headlines included 'Scandalous Gossip At Sutton' and 'The Women Who Sprawl On The Flags' as the newspaper printed a series of lurid letters alleging character assassination and inappropriate behaviour by Sutton lasses. It led to a soldier in France sending a lengthy letter to the Reporter to exonerate the reputation of a young lady. Then the paper sent a reporter to comb Sutton’s streets for evidence of the women, who their correspondents claimed, had far too much time on their hands and sprawled on the flagstones engaging in idle gossip. This page contains exactly what was printed in the paper, including headlines.
SUTTON AT WAR PART 5 - WAR DIARY OF HAROLD EMBLEM (Page 52)- The story of Lieutenant Harold Emblem is somewhat different to that of other Sutton 'Tommies', as the young man from New Street kept a diary. Harold’s record of his time in France has survived and documents the final 17 weeks of his war. These were also the last weeks in the life of the member of Sutton Parish Church's Young Men's Bible Class. Harold’s last diary entry of April 23rd 1918 refers to sniping, ending with "Hope for relief". It didn’t come and he was shot dead later that same day, whilst bravely attempting to seize ground from the enemy. This page tells Harold's story and offers a download of his diary.
HOW SUTTON'S CHANGED (Page 53)- This page documents some of the changes that have taken place over the years within the Sutton district. As well as an introductory article, there are also articles on Sutton Manor village, the New Street estates, Edgeworth Street and Sutton Mill Dam & Community Action.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON INDEX OF ARTICLES (Page 54)- This page lists all of the Memories of Sutton pages and articles with a brief synopsis of the subjects and a direct link to each article. Please do get in touch if you'd like to contribute to the Memories section of this website.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 1 (Page 55)- With 9 articles: ‘Arthur Normington? Who’s He?’ by David Normington Gerrard; ‘Being Sick in Sherdley Park & Walisdale Cottage’ by Joan Heyes & Brenda Macdonald; ‘Diving in the Clayhole’ by Ian Bate; ‘Christmas Productions at Robins Lane Sec. Modern’ by Ivy Swift; ‘Catching Sticklebacks in the Mill Dam’ by Ken Whittaker; ‘School Memories’ by Jan Tickell; ‘The Best Ice Cream in Town!’ by Ivy Swift; ‘St.Michael's House & Cromwell's Oak’ by David Richardson and ‘Our Engine’ by Ken Whittaker.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 2 (Page 56)- With articles: ‘A Sutton Schoolboy's Memories of WW2’ by Bill Bate; ‘Sutton Memories – I Remember’ by David Normington Gerrard (describing the people and shops in Waterdale Crescent and New Street during the 1940s and '50s); ‘Polly Fenney of Chester Lane’ by Jim Lamb (describing the local character who ran a horse-driven coal business) and ‘My Sutton Memories’ by Enid Kenyon (recalling Sutton Bug cinema, Robins Lane school and Peasley Cross Sanatorium).
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 3 (Page 57)- With articles: ‘Building the Sutton Parish Hall’ by Patrick Smith; ‘The Sutton Bug Crush’ by Bill Bate; ‘Trekking from the Manor for the Sutton Bug Tuppenny Rush’ by George Houghton and ‘Marshalls Cross Memories’ by Liz Mercer, who describes how Dr. Eric Baker Bates, son of the Mayor of St.Helens, Dr. Henry Baker Bates, had to be fed by her grandparents.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 4 (Page 58)- With articles: ‘Mill Lane Memories’ by Brenda Macdonald & Joan Heyes; ‘Dancing in Sutton & St.Helens During the 1940s’ by George Houghton plus ‘Dancing in Sutton During the 1960s’ and ‘Early 'Arry of New Street’ by Patrick Smith. In Patrick's second article he pays an affectionate tribute to indomitable character Arthur Robinson who had the nickname of 'Early 'Arry'.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 5 (Page 59)- With articles: ‘The Rolling Mill Tavern and the Junction Inn’ by Alan McDermott; ‘Traders' Holidays’ by George Houghton (when all shops in St.Helens closed for a day in July and coach trips visited Blackpool); ‘The Tin Chapel’ by Brenda Macdonald & Joan Heyes and ‘Watery Lane Memories’ by Valerie Evans.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 6 (Page 60)- This page is devoted exclusively to ‘Life in the Old Convent Part 1', extracts from 'Once Around the Circuit' by Dave Latham. Born in 1947, Dave lived for the first seven years of his life at the old convent in Fenney's Lane in Sutton. Amongst his many memories, which are often comical, Dave describes living at the convent with his miner great-grandfather and the stealing of fog detonators from a signal box in 'Pudding Bag'.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 7 (Page 61)- This page is devoted exclusively to ‘Life in the Old Convent Part 2', extracts from 'Once Around the Circuit' by Dave Latham. Born in 1947, Dave lived for the first seven years of his life at the old convent in Fenney's Lane in Sutton. In this page there are two hilarious articles: ‘Mrs. Meadowcroft's Bottom’ and ‘Fishing and the Maggot Farm’.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 8 (Page 62)- With articles: ‘Childhood Days in Peckers Hill Road’ by Anne McCormack; ‘Hospital Chaplain Memories’ by Patrick Smith; ‘St.Anne's Schooldays and the Clock Face Plaque’ by Herbert Eden; ‘St.Anne's, Neil's & Blood Curdling Monsters at Sutton Bug!’ by Alan McDermott and ‘Robins Lane Plays & the Street Party’ by Janet Watson.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 9 (Page 63)- A whole page is devoted to the recollections of Harry Hickson which include WWII, Mill Lodge, Millersdale, the Royles, playing in the brook in Sutton Leach, Sutton Mill Dam, the tragic drowning of six-year-old Duncan Smith, the Coffey family winning the pools, Stan Leyland's monkey Chico, flooding by the Wheatsheaf, Dr. John Unsworth and the Bottom Dam.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 10 (Page 64)- Harry Hickson continues his recollections in a second page which contains two articles: a) 'School Memories from the '40s & '50s' which describes Marshalls Cross infants, Robins Lane primary, Sutton Road and Robins Lane senior school. b) 'My St.Nicholas Choir Days' in which Harry describes being in the church choir from the mid-1940s until the early 1950s, including the annual choir trip to Southport.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 11 (Page 65)- This page is devoted to family recollections of the Sutton Oak Chemical Defence Research Establishment (a.k.a. Poison Gas Works or the Magnum) with the following articles: ‘Memories of My Father's Work at Sutton Oak & Nancecuke’ by John Hunter; ‘Memories of the Poison Gas Works’ by Stan Bate and ‘Ernest Booth Research Organic Chemist’ by Elisabeth Nicolson.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 12 (Page 66)- This page is devoted to 'Memories of Sutton Manor' by Stan Johnson. Stan worked down the colliery from 1955 to 1962 and describes his training, stone dust, tallies, going down in the cage for the first time, conditions down the pit, 'Stuggy' the Sutton Manor ghost, a cage crash and pit accidents etc.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 13 (Page 67)- This page contains 3 articles: a) ‘The Hancocks of Sutton Manor’ by David Hancock (describing his family's garage & road haulage business); b) ‘Football the Beautiful Game’ by Bill Bate (describing how Bill joined a team of former school mates from St.Anne's in Sutton before becoming a professional goalkeeper) and c) ‘St.Anne’s Under Eleven Inter-Schools Cup Winners 1952’ by Stan Bate.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 14 (Page 68)- This page contains 3 articles: a) ‘Uncle Peter of Graces Square’ by Stan and Bill Bate (describing how their stonemason uncle overcame the loss of his hands); b) ‘Keeping Nicks at Sutton Mill Dam’ by Jim Lamb and c) ‘My Childhood Memories of Sutton Manor’ by Arthur Padmore (describing going to the colliery baths, spud picking at Haslem’s farm and pinching peas from a cart outside the Forest Road Co-op!).
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 15 (Page 69)- This page is devoted to a single article by Susan Morrison-Jones called 'The Last To Live in Sherdley Park'. Susan describes her experiences living in the old servant's quarters in Sherdley Park from 1978 to 1980. Sections are devoted to The Sherdley View, Strange Encounters of the Third Kind, Walking in the Park, One Ghost or the Other, A Secret Hoard of Silver, Snow, Sherdley Show, Making Love in the Park, Gang Warfare etc.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 16 (Page 70)- This page is devoted to a single article by Alan Pugh called 'Growing Up in Sutton Manor'. Alan describes his Lithuanian clogmaker grandfather, St.Theresa school days, the war years and Christmas and also recalls some Sutton Manor shops and people. Alan's tale of the bomb that landed at the rear of his Jubits Lane house is quite remarkable.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 17 (Page 71)- This page contains 4 articles: a) ‘My Dad Jack Smith’ by Frank Smith (describing his hard-working father who worked at Clock Face Colliery for 50 years and never complained); b) ‘Lancashire Miners Gala Queen 1964/65’ by Pat Beesley; c) ‘My Penlake Memories’ by Marie (including steam trains, hens, roly poly puddings, Dr Leslie and childhood freedom) and d) ‘The Pudding Bag Blood Splashers!’ by Jim Lythgoe (describing his gang, first TV in the street and bonfire night).
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 18 (Page 72)- This page contains 3 articles: a) 'Living at Sutton Hall Cottage' by Eileen Spencer. Eileen's grandfather, William Vose Spencer, worked in the Sherdley Estate Office from 1912 to 1956. Among her memories Eileen tells of a stone font dated 1722 that was given to her family. b) 'Grandad as a Sutton Lad' by David Case. David discusses aspects of his childhood, including his miner father, acetylene-powered bike lamps, Children’s Hour, trams & trolley buses etc. c) 'The Day I Visited Lea Green Colliery' by Phil Morris. Phil describes the day in 1954 when his father Cliff – a deputy at Lea Green Colliery – took his 5-year-old son to his workplace.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 19 (Page 73) - This page features six articles: a) 'Head Cook and Bottlewasher: Growing Up in Post War St Helens'. This is an extract from Alan Tucker’s new book and he describes his childhood visits to his grandparents, James and Elizabeth Webster, who lived in Lionel Street. b) ‘My Early Days in Sutton’ by Ken Morgan c) 'My Sutton Nash Memories' by Diane Heaton d) ‘Memories of Davies’s Dairy’ by Brenda Macdonald e) ‘Memories of Davies’s Dairy’ by Tom Williams f) 'My Family at Ravenhead Glass Works' by Gill Chesney-Green.
MEMORIES OF SUTTON PART 20 (Page 74) - This page features a single article: Harry Cunliffe was born in 1909 at Phoenix House in Sutton and the family later moved to Convent House in Fenney’s Lane. In these 3400-word extracts from Harry’s handwritten memoir, he vividly describes a time when people made their own entertainment, household drudgery for women, the haunted convent and much more.
CAN YOU HELP? (Page 75)- This page contains photographs, mainly contributed by site visitors, which invite questions. Perhaps you can help by supplying an answer? Also requests for assistance with research are featured on this page. Please do get in touch if you can supply any answers or would like your own request placing on this page.
SUTTON TRIVIA & TRUE FACTS! (Page 76)- Articles include: ‘Dubious Medicines and Sutton Testimonials’, ‘The Great Fire of Sutton Moss’, ‘When Queen Victoria Came Through Sutton’, ‘Royal and Noble Visits to Ravenhead’, ‘The Flying Pharmacist of Junction Lane’, ‘The Night That 'E.T.' Came To Bold!’, ‘Frog Frying Tonight in Sutton!’, ‘Bally Whittaker - The Heavyweight Sutton Builder’, ‘The Great Sutton Storm of 1884’, ‘What Lord Haw Haw Said About Sutton’, ‘A Letter from the King of Belgium to Sutton’, ‘The Day That Sutton Brook Caught Fire!’ and ‘Fred Thomas - The Hermit of New Street’.
SUTTON POETRY (Page 77)- This page is devoted to poems mainly written about Sutton from a number of authors including Brian Salkeld and Frank Bamber. Some are composed in Lancashire dialect, such as 'Owd Ike Ashton' about the Fisher Street undertaker (pictured).
CLOG CLATTERS IN OLD SUTTON (Page 78)- This page is devoted to downloads of the late Frank Bamber's remarkable recollections of life in old Sutton. Frank was born in 1910 at 64 Edgeworth Street and in his 169-page memoir, vividly brings to life the people and places of pre-war Sutton. It's a wonderful read and I am delighted to make his book freely available, completely unedited.
RESEARCH SOURCES (Page 79)- Most of the research for this website has come from the owner studying thousands of newspapers from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. However other sources have been used and this page details the books and other publications that have been studied and credits those who have kindly given assistance.