An Illustrated History of Old Sutton in St. Helens, Lancashire

Part 33 (of 90 parts) - Sutton Celebrations!

An Illustrated History of Old Sutton in St.Helens
Part 33 (of 90 parts) - Sutton Celebrations!
An Illustrated History of
Old Sutton in St.Helens
Sutton Celebrations!
Researched and Written by Stephen Wainwright ©MMXVII
This page is devoted to pictures and reminiscences, mainly contributed by visitors to this website, which illustrate the different types of celebrations that have taken place over the years within the Sutton and Bold district of St.Helens. Do contact me if you would like to contribute your own celebratory photographs.
The above photographs are both of St.Anne’s RC Church in Monastery Lane, Sutton, which were taken in the early years of the 20th century. The top image was taken within St.Helens in 1907 and appears to be a Catholic faith ‘demonstration’, as they were then often known. The second image is of a church walking day within Sutton, which were grandiose occasions.

The St.Helens Reporter described a similar event from 1895: ‘Shortly after noon the school children began to assemble, and by half-past one about 900 boys and girls, followed by the Children of Mary, Society of St.Aloysius, League of the Cross, Sacred Heart, Catholic Benefit Society, and the Philanthropic Society, making a total of about 1,100, wended their way to Mr Willis’s field, St.Helens Junction, which he kindly lent for the occasion. Roughdale’s Brass Band led up the procession, playing for the Morris Dancers immediately behind…The boys with their red sashes, and the girls mostly dressed in white, looked admirable. Along the route through the various streets bunting and other decorations enlivened the scene beyond description. An extraordinary display of evergreens across Robins-lane, from Messrs Rennie and Fisher to Messrs Turner and Rigby, was beautiful. When the processionists arrived at the field the sun shone out magnificently. After about 1000 children had been substantially fed various sports and entertainments were indulged in. A stage had been erected where the children of Sutton Infants’ School delighted their hearers with a commendable performance. Miss Bickerstaffe played the harmonium for them most satisfactorily. Roughdale’s Band, conducted by Mr. Geo Beesley, played selections during the afternoon and were succeeded in turn by Sutton Road Prize Brass Band, conducted by Mr. J Appleton. The Very Rev. Fr. Rector had provided a large assortment of prizes for the sports.’

A Wesleyan Methodist walking day in Sutton pictured about 1910 (contributed by Beryl Huyton)

A Wesleyan Methodist walking day in Sutton pictured about 1910

Wesleyan Methodist walking day c.1910

The above photograph kindly contributed by Beryl Huyton has been restored after being badly torn and damaged. The surviving part of the caption at the bottom of the photo reads 'SLEYANS', suggesting it was a walking day by the Wesleyan Methodists. Beryl's mother Beatrice Johnson is third in line in the procession. As Beatrice was born in 1897, that dates the photograph at about 1910. Around this time the family were living at 129 Robins Lane in Sutton. It's not known where the picture was taken, although the Methodist chapel was then at 364 Sutton Road. Note the cups that the girls were holding which they would be taking with them to a local field where there'd be refreshments and various activities.

Clock Face Methodist Church's Sunday School outing to Pex Hill, Widnes in 1911 (contributed by Terry Callaghan)

Clock Face Methodist Church's Sunday School outing to Pex Hill, Widnes 1911

Clock Face Methodist Church's Sunday School outing to Pex Hill in 1911

The photographs above and below were both found by Terry Callaghan when clearing out his parents' garage. They show the Clock Face Methodist Church's Sunday School annual outings to Pex Hill in Widnes. Both pictures were taken in the same location outside of their chapel and opposite the Clock Face Post Office. The above photo was taken in July 1911.

Another Clock Face Methodists Sunday School outing - Note steam engine (contributed by Terry Callaghan)

Another Clock Face Methodists Sunday School outing - Note steam engine

Clock Face Sunday School outing

This picture was probably taken in 1910 or 1912 and reveals that the Sunday School 'charabanc' was being hauled by a steam engine. Note the large steering wheel in the driver's cab. The Widnes firm of J. H. Davies became a road haulage contractor and continued until 2008 when it went into liquidation. The elderly man holding the banner was probably the owner of the bicycle. The charabanc would have made a slow journey to Pex Hill, so the cyclist would have experienced little difficulty in keeping up.

Children in a May Queen parade in Sutton Oak in 1925 (contributed by Margaret Crosbie)

Children pictured in a May Queen parade in Sutton Oak in 1925

Sutton Oak May Queen parade in 1925

May Queen parades have largely died out in Sutton, although the Shining Lights Heritage Group has revived the annual celebration in Sutton Manor, where schoolchildren process to the Dream sculpture. The above picture shows an 1925 May Queen celebration, apparently, in Sutton Oak and has been contributed by Margaret Crosbie. Margaret writes:
 This is a picture of my Gran. On the back it says 3rd Prize May Queen 1925. Her name was Jane Elizabeth Lawley/Dodd and my mother told me she used to sell firewood around the Sutton area. She lived in Morris Street and on the side of the cart it says Jane Dodd Morris St Sutton.

An Independent Methodist Church walking day from the 1920s - note the girls are all carrying teacups

An Independent Methodist Church walking day from the 1920s

An Independent Methodist Church walking day from the 1920s

This 1920s picture of a Sutton Independent Methodist Church walking day has come from an undated local newspaper cutting. Jessie Hunter (née Madison) is featured in the cutting identifying herself at the front of the parade with her pals Norah Kendrick, Jenny Whalley and Beryl Robinson who are walking just behind her. If you look at their hands you'll see the children were also carrying a a teacup, like in the 1910 photo. Jessie explained:
 Our teacups, that were tied with handkerchiefs, were for when we arrived at Reginald Road for the field-day treat.
Now known as Sutton Village Church, the Herbert Street church that dates back to the 1880s, still observe their Walk of Witness.

Sutton Manor C. of E. Mission Sunday School Walking Day (contributed by Tommy)

Sutton Manor C. of E. Mission Sunday School Walking Day

A Sutton Manor Church of England Mission Sunday School Walking Day

The above photograph has been contributed by Tommy, whose late mother was the eldest daughter of wrestler Billy 'Ted' Beech. Hilda Beech is pictured on the left of the photo in the white hat, with her sister Maggie on Rev. Colegrove's left, in front of the banner. Tommy believes that the photo was taken in the late 1920s. However the poster on the side of the house was part of an election campaign for William Robinson. The first time that he stood for election was in 1935, which he won for the Labour party.
The above images show two Peasley Cross Walking Days from 1939. On the left is the Peasley Cross Sunday School Queen of Hearts with her retinue. The Queen was Jessie Bibby, who carried a bouquet of lilies and wore a dress of white lace, with a train of silk velvet, plus white shoes. The train bearers were Betty Jones, Elsie Thomas and Dilys Thomas, who wore dresses of pink organdie, while the twelve maids of honour carried baskets of red roses. As they processed to Sherdley Park, Margaret Friar and Ruth Ashcroft walked at the front of the group bearing a shield announcing the coming of the Queen.

On the right is an image of the 24th field day of St. Joseph’s RC church from May 1939. It features children who had streamed the banners in the procession from the church school in Peasley Cross to Sherdley Park. The St.Helens Reporter said that the annual event was renowned for the colour and beauty of its procession, in which hundreds of children dressed in costumes of all colours.

A World War 2 Victory Party in Oxley Street off Robins Lane in 1945 (contributed by Ken Whittaker)

A World War 2 Victory Party in Oxley Street off Robins Lane in 1945

WW2 Victory Party in Oxley Street

Ken Whittaker has contributed this photograph of a WW2 Victory party in Oxley Street off Robins Lane that he attended as a small boy in 1945 (click here for the complete photo with identification of attendees by Ian Bate). Ken writes that his father had just left Sutton Oak sheds where he'd been a goods guard and bought the newsagents at 28 Waterdale Crescent, just opposite Oxley Street. Ken comments on the photograph:
 In these affluent days, when people who can’t afford a holiday abroad consider themselves poor, it is interesting to note the state of the clothes which were being worn, and the seating accommodation, taking into consideration that this was a special celebration and everybody was dressed in their best clothes for the occasion. 

A street party in Powell Street, Sutton on VE Day in May 1945 (contributed by James Prescott)

A street party in Powell Street, Sutton on VE Day in May 1945

A street party in Powell Street, Sutton on VE Day in May 1945

James Prescott's family came from Sutton, with his grandfather of the same name born in Knobstick Hall in 1892 and then later lived in Waterdale Crescent and Irwin Road. Amongst his family photos is this marvellous picture of a VE Day street party in Powell Street. James writes:
 This a picture of a party in Powell Street, Sutton. I am told that the lady in front right with "pinny" on is Maggie Pennington with her son in front of her. Maybe someone will recognise others? 

Another version of the Powell Street party photo taken on VE Day May 1945 (contributed by Ken Morgan)

Another version of the Powell Street party photo taken on VE Day in 1945

Powell Street VE Day party May 1945

Above is another photograph of this event supplied by Ken Morgan. You can view a larger version here. Perhaps you were one of the children in the picture, looking rather tired after the day's festivities? In an edition of the St.Helens Star from May 1985, which commemorated the 40th anniversary of VE Day, it was stated that the Churchill impersonator was known as Mother Proudlove, who assisted the local doctor and helped to bring the babies of Sutton into the world. Can you confirm her identity?

A VE Day street party in May 1945 in Irwin Road, Sutton (contributed by James Prescott)

A VE Day street party held in May 1945 in Irwin Road, Sutton

VE Day street party in Irwin Road

James has also contributed the above photograph of the VE Day celebration that was held in Irwin Road. Note the houses in Kent Road on the right. The families in the photo include the Pennington, Fairclough, Schofield, Brown, Burrill and Grace families. Click Here for a wider view of this great picture in which all 54 attendees are shown with 36 of them identified by Les Grace, assisted by James Prescott. Les is the fair-haired lad, then 7-years-of age, on the front row in the above picture. Perhaps you can name some of the unidentified ones in the larger version?

A similar photograph (above) has been found by John Barton in his attic, who writes that it "may be VE day celebrations in local farmer Eddie Rimmer's field". Click Here for a larger version. After studying the picture Harry Hickson is more specific:
The photo was actually taken in the field at the back of Irwin Road at about the present Huntley Avenue point, and in the distance you can see Billinge to the right, the gasometer at Peasley Cross, Robins Lane Senior School Tower, and closer, the first houses in Marina Avenue (nos. 5,7,9,11,13 &15), alongside Sutton Park. The party therefore would be a few hundred yards up from the other Irwin Road picture contributed by James Prescott. I know a few faces but cannot put names to them, although I do recognise the second from the left front row behind the hedge as Michael Shaw and the fourth is Ian Shaw his older brother. Behind Ian in the middle is the Curate Rev. Wood.
In August 2015 the same photograph was published in the St.Helens Star, contributed by David Morris, now resident in Llandudno. He wrote that it was a VJ day party: "I am on the front row, second from the right and would be 14 at the time." David's three brothers, mother and father are also in the picture.

David Morris also contributed the above photograph, which shows a few of his friends at the party - which celebrated victory over Japan - queuing for ice cream, which was provided by Fredericks.

Some parties to celebrate the end of the European war were held indoors as in the above picture. The venue is the Sutton Oak Welsh Chapel and the photo has been contributed by Paul Thomas who writes that his great-granddad John Kenwright and great-grandma Katy are on the back row, fifth and seventh respectively from the right. Paul's Aunt Betty is eighth from the right. Please get in touch if you can name any others. Click Here for a high resolution view.

A 1940s fancy dress party but the location is a bit of a mystery (contributed by Paul Thomas)

A 1940s fancy dress party but the location is a bit of a mystery

1940s fancy dress party in Sutton

This photo of a fancy dress party from the 1940s has also been contributed by Paul Thomas and his great-grandmother is in the middle of the back row (with hat on). To her left (wearing glasses) appears to be Maggie Pennington who is also featured on the Powell Street VE day photo. However the location is a bit of of a mystery. Paul's family think it is St. Anne's Social Centre on the corner of Robins Lane / Edgeworth Street that had previously been a Methodist church nicknamed the 'Tin Chapel'. However Joan Heyes and her daughter Brenda Macdonald, authors of The Tin Chapel article in Memories of Sutton Part 5, don't recognise the building. Joan used to attend the chapel during the 1920s and '30s. Plus Rev. Roy Monks has identified his mother Catherine Jean Monks (then Jean Knapper) who is second from left draped in streamers. She attended St. Anne's Catholic school, so Roy believes this event would have been linked to the school. Do get in touch if you can identify anyone else in the photo or have thoughts on the location.
The above picture of a Sutton parish walking day c. 1946 is particularly interesting as it was taken outside the Blinkhorn Parish Rooms in Waterdale Crescent, of which photographs are rare. It has been contributed by Norris Kenwright, who now lives in New Zealand and writes:
 My sister Iris is in the centre of the picture and to the left is Bertha Heyes, who was a wonderful character. She received a medal for what she did in the community and at the local hospital. 
“May
This picture is of a May Queen group taken about 1946/7 outside no. 2 Old Mill Avenue and contributed by Harry Hickson. Some of the known children are (L-R) 1st Angela Brogden; 4th Maureen Foy; 5th Lily Twist; 6th Margery Rimmer; 7th Keith Rimmer; 8th Colin Foy; 9th back Anthony Flynn; 10th front Patricia Hardman; 11th front Brian Hardman; 12th back Beryl Anders; 13th ? Williams and the lady in the bedroom window at no. 1 is Mrs. Turner.
David Normington Gerrard has contributed the above photo taken in Robins Lane of a 1948 walking day and writes that:
 The Walking Days were held in the school holidays and organised by the church, The photos were always taken at the same place in Robins Lane, just outside Davies's Post Office because they were also photographers. My Nan, Emily Gerrard (née Thorns) is at the front of the ladies from the Mother's Union and just at the back is "Nanny" Yarwood, my Auntie Audrey's mum. They always walked together. 
Harry Hickson adds extra identification spotting Mrs. Carrington of Mill Lane, fourth from the front in the line nearest the camera. Her sons Graham and Brian appear in the St.Nicholas Choir photo in Harry's article 'My St.Nicholas Choir Days' in Memories of Sutton 10. To her right is Mrs. Smith, also of Mill Lane, mother of John Smith in the choir picture and wife of Sutton PC 'Bobby' Smith. Harry is the son of another well-remembered Sutton bobby, Sgt. Alf Hickson.

At the rear of the ladies is Kenwright's lorry carrying a number of youngsters. You can see a close-up of the lorry in David's article '
Sutton Memories – I Remember' in Memories of Sutton 2.

East Sutton Labour Club Children's Field Day of 1948 (contributed by Anne McCormack)

East Sutton Labour Club Children's Field Day of 1948

East Sutton Labour Club Field Day

During the 18th century, a 'Field Day' was when the military spent time on field manoeuvres. These days, the manoeuvring involves trying to come first in the various athletics contests! Alternatively known as sports days, many of us remember the field days as end of term or year rituals at school. Organisations or clubs also held them too. I’ve already shown field day photos of the Independent Methodist Church and St.Joseph’s and the above picture, contributed by Anne McCormack, shows children processing to the event organised by East Sutton Labour Club. Anne writes:
 My mum, Bett Murphy, is walking beside the children in the field day photo taken on August 7th, 1948. My mother was the first woman porter at St.Helens Junction station as her brother Joe joined the army in WWII and she kept his job open. 

Christmas party in 1950 in St. Anne's Parochial Hall (contributed by Anne McCormack)

Christmas party in 1950 in St. Anne's Parochial Hall

A Christmas party which was held in 1950 in St. Anne's Parochial Hall

Anne has also contributed the above children's Christmas party picture and writes:
 The 1950 Christmas Party photo in St Anne's Parochial Hall, on the corner of Robins Lane and Edgeworth Street, is another interesting view of post-war life. There are no adult men there, no dads etc. Unheard of today with all the talk about "bonding" and "quality time". All the men were probably at work as I don't remember anyone not in work. All the people in the picture were good neighbours and the kids ran in and out of one another's houses. Mrs. Ashton, on the far left holding one of her children, was a lovely lady. They had a plot on the Tip and kept pigs. She would give us a penny for our "pillins" or potato peelings and when her last child, Lesley, was born we all trooped into the front room to view her. Several of Mrs Ashton's children were at the party, including Beryl, Alan, Tash, Christine and Geoff. 
“Festival
The Festival of Britain in 1951 was a national exhibition designed to give British people a feeling of recovery in the aftermath of war. It was centred on London, where Pilkington’s Glass exhibited the biggest window in the world, which was 50 feet long and weighed a ton. Events were also held in the regions and in St.Helens there was floodlighting of the town hall, an exhibition, music and drama festival. A Festival of Britain celebration was also held on the so-called ‘Kenwright estate’, near Sutton Park. This had been built by A. J. Kenwright & Co. and comprised Robina Road, Irwin Road, Kent Road, Marina Avenue, Sandringham Drive etc. Norris Kenwright worked for the family firm and has contributed the above picture, writing that:
 The 1951 Festival of Britain pageant photo shows my sister Iris being crowned. The tall girl, I think, was Dixon Taylor who became a policewoman. 

The culmination of a Sutton Parish Walking Day in Sherdley Park c.1952 (contributed by Ken Morgan)

The culmination of a Sutton Parish Walking Day in Sherdley Park c.1952

The culmination of a Sutton Parish Walking Day in Sherdley Park c.1952

There are many photographs of Sutton children (and adults) processing during the annual walking or field days, although pictures of the processionists in Sherdley Park - where most walks ended - are less common. However Ken Morgan has contributed this picture commenting that:
 This photo was taken after one of the Sutton Parish walking days. All Saints met up with St. Nick's at the junction of New Street and Robins Lane and then walked to Sherdley Park. The clergyman was Rev. Kurrle, a friendly fellow. Next is Don Sparks who lived in Reginald Road, and then me. The other two are very familiar faces but their names escape me. Walking Day was very big in those days and went on well into the ‘60s, maybe even longer.
Joan Blackledge (nee Simms) adds that Rev. Stanley Kurrle came from Caulfield Grammar School, East Kilda, Victoria in Australia and also names Brian Harrison (far right) and next to him Tom Walker.

Walking day procession in Junction Lane in Sutton in 1951 or '52 (contributed by Brian Renshall)

Walking day procession in Junction Lane in Sutton in 1951 or '52

Walking day procession in Junction Lane

The above picture is of a walking day in Junction Lane in 1951 or '52. In the centre is Nita Renshall (née Lyon) who believes the girl to her left is Valerie Simcock. Both girls lived in Herbert Street and Nita thinks that the procession was connected with the Independent Methodist Church, now known as Sutton Village Church. Can anyone confirm this or provide additional information on the picture?
“Sutton
This photo comes from John Barton's collection and was taken about 1953 and was probably connected with All Saints Sunday School. John is pictured in the glasses at the top left of the photo. Please get in touch if you can name any of the other boys and you can view a larger version here. Maureen Geoghegan (née Foy) fondly remembers what wonderful contributions the adults made to the enjoyment of the children at Sutton National and All Saints Sunday Schools. Various plays, pantomines, singing, and formal dance classes were held every week, and lay preacher, the Rev. George Myers, was also very involved in these activities as well.

The Parish Rooms '8.15 Club' tuck in after a panto performance c.1953 (contributed by Ken Morgan)

The Parish Rooms '8.15 Club' tuck in after a panto performance c.1953

Parish Rooms 8.15 Club c.1953

This picture shows another type of celebration held in the Blinkhorn Parish Rooms c.1953 (view larger version here). It's the 8.15 Club who are enjoying themselves after performing a panto. Ken Morgan writes that:
 8.15 refers to a "club" held every Sunday evening, after church, at, would you believe, quarter past eight, in the Blinkhorn Parish Rooms, in Waterdale Crescent. It was for teenagers from All Saints and St. Nicholas churches. On other nights of the week there was table tennis, even country dancing run by Roy Hordley. There's a Sutton character for you! In the early 50's we produced a panto, which was only on for a couple or so nights and at the end, on the Saturday night, we had a party.
Boscow Street Coronation

This lovely photograph has been contributed to this website by George Hill and shows a ‘coronation’, apparently in Boscow Street. You can view a larger version of the picture here. As the actual crowning of Queen Elizabeth II took place on June 2nd 1953, it’s reasonable to assume that the Sutton event took place around this date. George believes the venue for the children’s coronation was in Boscow Street. If you can pinpoint the exact location or identify any of the children, please do get in touch.

A walking day photograph in Robins Lane which was taken about 1954 (contributed by Tom Williams)

A walking day photograph in Robins Lane which was taken about 1954

Walking day in Robins Lane c.1954

This picture has been contributed by Tom Williams, who believes it was taken by his uncle of the same name around 1954. Many readers of this page will recall Tom Williams Snr., as he owned the well-remembered Red Rose electrical / bike shop on Peckershill Road. His nephew writes that his Uncle Tom:
 ...lived at 136 Robins Lane and the photo is taken near there. In the foreground are myself in the pullover and cap. To my right is Norman Anderton, my friend who lived in Ellen Street. Maybe other people will recognise themselves or their friends. I've suggested around 1954 but I might be wrong. I went to Cowley Boys that year and if the cap is a Cowley Boys cap, the year would fit. Then again it might be a Sutton C of E cap (if such existed) and it would be pre-1954. My wife thinks I look younger than 11, so maybe it's pre-1954.
George Hill has also supplied the above photographs of a St.Anne’s walking day, with the procession shown on Dawson Avenue, with Boscow Crescent pictured on the right. George says the photos were taken in the late 1950s.

Two photographs of the Peasley Cross Congregational Church walking day (contributed by Cynthia Powell)

Two photographs of the Peasley Cross Congregational Church walking day

Two photos of the Peasley Cross Congregational Church walking day

The above are two photographs of the Peasley Cross Congregational Church walking day, with the second picture in Sherdley Park with Rev. West in the centre. These have been contributed by Cynthia Taylor who thinks that several other churches may have played a part in the event. Cynthia writes:
 My father Rev. William G. West was minister at Peasley Cross Congregational Church from 1953 to 1959 and we lived at 285 Marshall's Cross Road, just a couple of doors down from the little corner shop.
We stay in Peasley Cross for this 1960 picture which shows the children of Holy Trinity Sunday School led by Norma Harrison (ex-Robins Lane and Cowley School) pictured on the left and Marjorie Hale (née Brown), daughter of the licensee of the Farmers Arms, on the right. The photo was taken on Marshalls Cross Road just past St.Helens Hospital, with the entrance to the Fever Hospital just in front of the 25A bus on the left.

A Sutton Manor Colliery May Queen parade circa 1961 (contributed by Mel Moran)

A Sutton Manor Colliery May Queen parade circa 1961

A Sutton Manor Colliery May Queen parade which took place about 1961

This shows part of a Sutton Manor Colliery May Queen parade and was taken about 1961. In the background is the old bridge that ran over Walkers Lane and in the distance are the houses in Jubits Lane in front of Sutton Manor park.

Three pictures of a Methodist walking day in Herbert Street c.1965 (contributed by Julie Bligh)

Three pictures of a Methodist walking day in Herbert Street in Sutton c.1965

Three pictures of a Methodist walking day in Herbert Street c.1965

The above photos are of an Independent Methodist Church walking day from c.1965 with sisters Julie and Lesley Fairhurst from Herbert Street in the close-up photo above right. Can you name any others? Julie has provided the pictures and writes that her mother made her dress and that of her sister's. Maternal dressmaking seems to have been quite common for the old walking days. Herbert Street walking days used to process to Penlake Football field, off Reginald Road, until the field was sold for houses.
This walking day photograph to Sherdley Park was taken in 1966 by Harry Hickson and it shows the children (with some mothers), primarily from Sutton 'Nash' School, setting up in Robins Lane just before Edgeworth Street.
Above are two Whit Walks pictures from the 1960s. In the left hand photo (L to R) are John Lewis, later Archdeacon of Europe, curate Bill Harrington, Rev. Reg Smith, curates Fred Cheal and Jeremy Howett. The photograph on the right shows at the front (L to R) unknown, John Lewis, Reg Smith, Fred Cheal and another unknown. Patrick Smith - whose father served as Vicar of Sutton from 1959 to 1966 - has contributed the pictures. He recalls how his father Rev. Smith was keen to keep the tradition of Whit Walks alive:
 Dad was very strongly in favour of Walking Days. We previously were in Radcliffe, a mill town where Whit walks were very strong. The walks went round the centre of the town and in the early 1950s every church turned out with 'Queens' and attendants, choir members, Mothers Union etc. with all the banners flying. By the time that we were in Sutton during the 1960s, people in general were less inclined to walk but Dad felt that it was a Christian witness, therefore it continued. We walked and then, I think, we ended at Sherdley Park. It was a great excuse for fun and there were a good number of onlookers. games etc. on the field and a good time was had by all. I remember that at one event I worked for Phil Frederick of Fredericks Ice Cream. I got him to come and put his van on the field. Hard work though!  

Two photographs of a fancy dress street party in Robina Road (contributed by Dave Almond)

Two photographs of a fancy dress street party in Robina Road

Fancy dress street party in Robina Road

The two pictures above have been supplied by Dave Almond and brings backs many happy memories of the days when a cowboy suit was a must-have for all boys, especially this web-site owner! When I was five I was a very reluctant school-goer, so my parents bought me a cowboy outfit as an inducement. Fifty years on my sister still regularly mentions this, as three years earlier she had gone to school quite willingly without presents. She says this was her first experience of the unfairness of life!

In Dave's top picture c.1950, he's the cowboy whose taking part in a fancy dress street party in Robina Road. Dave went to Robins Lane junior and senior schools from about 1946 to 1960 and has other photos on the
Robins Lane School pages. Harry Hickson writes that Joan Simms is also in the top picture. Joan is second from the left of the four older girls, wearing a Queen of Clubs dress. Left of Joan is Isabel Wallace. Right of Joan are (L-R) Marie Howarth, Jean Rimmer and Joyce Rimmer with her brother Christopher standing in front of her.

Jean Morris the Lancashire Miners Gala Queen c.1969 (contributed by Ray Liptrot)

Jean Morris the Lancashire Miners Gala Queen c.1969

Jean Morris the Lancashire Miners Gala Queen pictured about 1969

Hard-working miners in Bold, Clock Face and Sutton Manor would celebrate the annual community Walking Days, Galas and Carnivals that featured Rose Queens and Gala Queens. In the above picture, Jean Morris, Lancashire Miners Gala Queen c. 1969, poses with a group of pitmen. John White writes:
 Jean went to various colliery clubs in her reign as Gala Queen. Her father was James Morris who worked at Bold colliery until he retired from ill health. 

Waiting for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in Sutton Manor (contributed by Jane Mines)

Waiting for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in Sutton Manor

Waiting for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in Sutton Manor

From a Miner's Gala Queen to an actual Queen! On June 21st 1977, when in her silver jubilee year, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh drove through Sutton Manor on their way into St.Helens for an official visit. Many houses were festooned with union flags and bunting as a celebration of a quarter of a century of her rule. The above photograph shows local residents awaiting the Royal drive by and the picture below captures the moment that they'd all been waiting for.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh travel up Jubits Lane (contributed by Jane Mines)

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh travel up Jubits Lane

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh travel up Jubits Lane in Sutton Manor

However Royal celebrations in Sutton haven't always gone off successfully. On March 10th 1863 the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra at Windsor Castle was celebrated by some youths at Sutton Sheds. They let off a number of cannons until a bored 56-pounder suddenly burst, severely wounding three of the lads. William Burrows had his left eye almost cut out, Thomas Holmes was severely wounded in the thigh and William Hill was injured in the face.

The arrival and departure of the Royal party at Sutton Mill Dam (contributed by Jim Lamb)

The arrival and departure of the Royal party at Sutton Mill Dam

The arrival and departure of the Royal party at Sutton Mill Dam

Although Queen Elizabeth didn't stop off in Sutton, her son Charles made up for it 11 years later. This was on May 24th 1988 when the Royal seal of approval was given to the community efforts in converting the Sutton Mill Dam into a wildlife nature park and the creation of Gerards Lane Adventure Playground. You can read about the former here and the latter had been opened in the previous year after local residents had leased the site from the council, formed a Playground Association and received support from the Groundwork Trust. It cost of £38,442 with donations from BBC Children in Need, King George V Trust, Rainford Trust etc.

Prince Charles at Sutton Mill Dam - a time of celebration in Sutton (contributed by Jim Lamb)

Prince Charles at Sutton Mill Dam - a time of celebration in Sutton

Prince Charles at Sutton Mill Dam

Despite the rain, a crowd of two hundred onlookers turned up at the Mill Dam to see the Prince of Wales. Among them was keen photographer Jim Lamb who can trace his family tree back to the miller Lambs. They ran the corn and water mills on the site from 1784 until the 1860s. Jim took the six photographs above as the heir to the throne arrived at the fish bar entrance opposite New Street and chatted to locals about Operation Groundwork, the St.Helens Council-commissioned project to improve Sutton Mill Dam. However, the Royal visit which delighted many Suttoners, didn't go completely to plan as Jim writes:
 Charles's visit started very well with him talking to everyone about the Dam and the local area. However, four 15-year-olds on the other side of the bridge began making a nuisance of themselves by throwing stones. At this point Charles made his way down to them and gave them a good ticking off and he sent them off onto the other side of the dam. A short time afterwards he made his way to his car. However, he did stay thirty minutes in the rain. 

Sutton Parish Church Gang show c.1965 (contributed by Jim Lamb)

The Sutton Parish Church Gang show pictured c.1965

Sutton Parish Church Gang show c.1965

Jim Lamb has been photographing life in Sutton for well over half a century and as a regular churchgoer at St. Nicholas, has captured many church and school celebratory events. This includes the above Gang Show photo which the aforementioned Patrick Smith remembers well:
 This photo is the Grande Finale of the Fashion Parade of the "Gang Show", where all the Parish joined in some harmless fun. The bride is Fred Thomas, who was a woodwork teacher at Robins Lane school and lived in New Street. Fred is shown next to the groom who was Frank Alcock. He was known as "young Frank" as his dad, who was the organist at St. Nick's, had the same name. The obvious difference in their sizes brought great merriment, as you can see from the faces of the participants. Fred's wife Beryl actually chivvied Fred, to the extent that she did his make-up, and then wouldn't let him eat or drink anything, so that the make-up would be perfect. She was a very determined lady, who passed away at 101. 

Whit Monday Walking Day procession of 1971 in Robins Lane (contributed by Jim Lamb)

Whit Monday Walking Day procession of 1971 in Robins Lane

Whit Monday Walking Day 1971

Jim also took the above photograph of a Whit Monday Walking Day procession in 1971. The walk began at Marshalls Cross School and is now passing the post office in Robins Lane. Can anyone recognise any faces? Do please get in touch if you can.

St.Nicholas Gala Day c.1990 with Revds. Mather and Soulsby (contributed by Jim Lamb)

St.Nicholas Gala Day c.1990 with Revds. Mather and Soulsby

St.Nicholas Gala Day about 1990

Sixteen years later, Jim photographed the St.Nicholas Gala Day procession in New Street at the top of Eaves Lane. Note the recently completed flats at Holbrook Close on the right. The above photograph features Revds. Mather and Soulsby on the right and was probably taking about 1990.

Three photographs from various years of the St.Helens Show (contributed by Jim Lamb)

Three photographs from various years of the St.Helens Show

Three photos from the St.Helens Show

Living near to Sherdley Park, Jim Lamb has regularly photographed the St.Helens Show and has captured many images, such as the ones above.
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Stephen Wainwright
This website has been written and researched and many images 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
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