We have recently been emailed by Christopher Gibbins, who is one of the 11 surviving grandchildren of Horace Jones (the man who gave his name to Jones Farm Road). Chris, who now lives in the West Midlands, has sent us the following memories of his visits to Gateacre in the early 1950s:

I can just remember the old Lee Hall in a state of disrepair. In Netherley Road was the gate which I used to jump out and open when my grandfather and father were driving in to Lee Hall Farm.

My aunt, Lilian Brown, had a sweet shop on Halewood Road between the school and where the traffic lights are now. She was 'open all hours'.  There was a half-glazed door leading from the shop to the sitting room behind and, when we visited, she would sit on an upright chair in the sitting room by this door and continually look through the net curtain on the door to make sure she wasn't missing out on any customers. As children we could choose which sweets to have as a gift when we parted!

My aunt inherited the tenancy of this shop from her father, and moved to Lydiate in late 1963 when she retired. Her sister, Ella Brown, also a lifelong spinster, taught at Gateacre School for a while - this might even have been before or during the First World War.  She felt she couldn't maintain good discipline because parents would say "Oh don't take any notice of her, she's only from the sweet shop."  Eventually she moved to Wokingham where she lived and taught for many years before moving back, in old age, to share a bungalow at Lydiate with my widowed grandmother, Marian Jones. I believe there was another sister, Dorothy, who died during the flu pandemic around 1918."

"Between the wars, my grandparents did not go on holiday with their children.  Money was tighter then, of course, and the farm was only rented. My mother used to tell me that they saved up for a day out in Southport each year. On the great day, my grandmother and her four children would catch the train from Gateacre to Southport quite early. My grandfather, having looked after the horses etc., would follow on a later train and arrive in Southport in time for lunch.  How times change!

My grandfather's family were originally carters from Old Swan, and before that from North Wales, somewhere near Northop, I understand. My grandfather could remember Queens Drive being built through pretty much open countryside. An amazing project, just before the first world war. When the farms around Gateacre were sold to the Corporation for development, my grandparents were staggered that their former neighbours who owned their own farms were receiving sums of around £200,000."

The above article was published - in two parts - in our January and March 2016 Newsletters.
We always welcome reminiscences of life in Gateacre, and information about personalities
from the past, for possible inclusion in the Newsletter and on our website.

We have recently published a 53-page booklet:
'The Story of the Lee and its People

by the late Sylvia Lewis (edited and updated by Ken Williams). It contains a wealth of information about Lee Hall, the Farm and Lee Park Golf Club.

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Page created 26 Jan 2016 by MRC, last updated 25 Mar 2016