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

Part 35 (of 92 parts) - A - Z of Sutton Streets Part 2 (L - Z)

An Illustrated History of Old Sutton in St.Helens
Part 35 (of 92 parts) - A - Z of Sutton Streets Part 2 (L - Z)
An Illustrated History of
Old Sutton in St.Helens
A to Z of Sutton
Streets Part 2
Researched and Written by Stephen Wainwright ©MMXVII
LANCOTS LANE - Lancots Lane in Sutton Oak used to be a hub of industrial activity with Sutton Glass Works that stretched across both sides of Lancots Lane, bonecrushers and fertiliser manufacturers Crone & Taylor and later Sidac, amongst other businesses. These days it's more renowned as the home of the Sutton Oak Welsh Chapel and a low, redundant railway bridge (right) that's only 8' 3" high, which regularly gets struck by drivers who put far too much faith in their Sat Navs. The last time was in 2008 when an Asda home delivery van had its top sliced off! It’s been suggested that the derivation of Lancots Lane is 'Lance Corporal Cotts’, however that is unconfirmed. The first census reference to Lancots Lane occurs in 1871, with just one house and two lodges but it is clearly stated on the 1849 OS map. In the 1851 census there is a reference to Luncarths Lane, although that is not mentioned in any other census. It’s likely that the 1851 census enumerator when enquiring of the name of the street, misheard Luncarths for Lancots.
“Lancots

The Lancots Lane bridge in Sutton is only 8' 3" high and was photographed by Fred Clare in 1986

“Lancots

The Lancots Lane bridge in Sutton was photographed by Fred Clare in 1986

“Lancots

The Lancots Lane bridge in 1986

LEACH LANE & SUTTON LEACH - 'Leach' or 'leech' has historically referred to a stream that runs through a swamp or bog, which is essentially what one finds between Mill Lane and Leach Lane via the Sutton Brook. Sometimes the term Toad Leach was used and this was how Sutton Leach was described in Greenwood's 1818 map of Lancashire and in newspaper advertisements during November 1829, when proposals for the St.Helens and Runcorn Gap Railway were announced. View article on Leach Hall

LEA GREEN ROAD (between Elton Head Road, Lowfield Lane & Chapel Lane) - Lea Green is derived from the Old English word ‘leah’, which refers to a clearing / field in a woodland or forest. Merseyside Archaeological Society believe the original Lea Green estate may have been a Lea or Ley holding belonging to Richard de Standish, who owned Sutton property during the 14th century. In the Liverpool Echo of June 10th 1939 Eric Hardy wrote:
 "Le" or "Ley" is still a farmer's word for field, and often ends a place name, as Chorley. These two words were combined in the old Domesday name for Rainhill – "Rannle," the ridge-field, occupying the ridge or summit of the hill near Prescot, a name corrupted into its modern form. Lea Green, its neighbouring village, makes similar use of that old field name.
LINDSAY STREET (off Clock Face Road) - Like Crawford Avenue, the street is named after David Alexander Edward Lindsay, 27th Earl of Crawford, whose company owned Clock Face Colliery.

LOWFIELD LANE (Lea Green) - Named after Lowfield House, which was situated near the street’s junction with Lea Green Road. The house dates back to at least 1588. It was then owned by 66-years-old Hugh Ley, whose surname was probably derived from the place name Lea Green, and not the other way round. The house was listed on 19th and early 20th century Ordnance Survey maps, when situated near to the railway station. However on the 1937 OS map, the location is referred to as Lowfield Farm.

MARGARET AVENUE (off Kent Road, near Sutton Park) - Like the adjacent Rose Avenue, the short street was named after Princess Margaret (1930 – 2002). The street name was chosen by builders A. J. Kenwright of Robins Lane, who mainly chose names with Royal connections for the houses they built near Sutton Park.

MARINA AVENUE (off Robins Lane, near Sutton Park) - Named after Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark (1906 – 1968), who became the Duchess of Kent. Born in Athens, Princess Marina’s marriage to Prince George, Duke of Kent, the fourth son of King George V, was the last occasion in which a foreign-born princess married into the Royal Family. Marina’s cousin was Prince Philip and her mother was a granddaughter of Tsar Alexander II of Russia. The name of Marina Avenue was chosen by builders A. J. Kenwright of Robins Lane, who mainly chose street names with Royal connections for the houses they built near Sutton Park. These names were then approved by St.Helens Council.

MARSHALLS CROSS ROAD - This was so-named because roadside crosses used to be placed on highways so that travellers could stop and pray for their safe journey. 'Marshall' is a word of German-French derivation that means 'Master of the Horse' and it came to denote the local farrier. So it is probable that there was a blacksmith or farrier on the route who shoed the horses that passed through.

These cottages in Marshalls Cross Road were demolished during the mid 1960s

Marshalls Cross Road cottages which were demolished during the mid 1960s

Marshalls Cross Road cottages

The north-south route along the present Marshalls Cross Road probably dates back earlier than Roman times. It formed a crossroads with the road between Warrington and Ormskirk/Lathom crossing the road from Prescot to Winwick. Frank Bamber wrote about Marshalls Cross in Clog Clatters in Old Sutton:
 For hundreds of years, Marshalls Cross must have been a place where the ancient travellers travelling from Wales and Cheshire stopped. Reaching the River Mersey, crossing it at Fiddlers Ferry and moving along Chester Lane, they might have stopped, rested and prayed at the ancient Saxon cross, before continuing their hazardous journey to the North. Perhaps the advent of the old Bull and Dog followed on the tradition of the old places where the travellers could partake of food and drink and rest for a while. Although Marshalls Cross was, and still is, a part of Sutton, we, from Sutton, always looked on the Crossites as a small community of their own. Marshalls Cross also had its own rugby league team and ground, on which I have played. It ran along the top end of New Street to one side of Graces Square.

A postcard of the junction of Marshalls Cross Road and Robins Lane taken around 1910 - 1915

The junction of Marshalls Cross Road and Robins Lane around 1910 - 1915

Junction of Marshalls Cross Road and Robins Lane around 1910 - 1915

In 1899 some additional land was acquired from Captain Michael Hughes of Sherdley Hall to widen Marshalls Cross Road. Then at the St.Helens Town Council meeting of February 7th 1900, it was agreed to raise a portion of the road by five feet. In the discussion, Sir David Gamble commented how from Peasley Cross past St.Helens Hospital to the Waterdale Crescent area, there was not a single yard of flagged footpath. This had clearly been corrected by the time the photograph above was taken.
The above photograph taken during the 1930s is an example of the many ‘back’ houses that used to be in Sutton. Those were situated behind the last houses in Marshalls Cross Road, with those shown on the left being just before Sherdley Road and those houses on the right behind Ada Street. The photo is looking south towards Sherdley Park and the large gable walled chimney pots slightly to the right are those on the main building of the St.Helens Sanatorium on the other side of Emmett Street. In spite of their drab appearance with the outside toilets and washhouses, the residents still whitened their steps and flags. The photograph was taken just before they were demolished as unfit for human habitation.

Joseph Massey
MASSEY STREET (off Baxters Lane) - Seems to have been named after the Massey family. William was high bailiff of the St.Helens County Court for over 40 years and his son Joseph Massey (pictured right) was councillor for East Sutton during the 1880s, with a solicitor's office in Hardshaw Street. It was there on May 27th 1891 that he infamously thrashed Fred Dromgoole, manager of the St.Helens Newspaper, for a perceived libel, hitting him twenty times to the head and knocking out a tooth. Massey was also chairman of the St.Helens & District Tramways Co. and the St.Helens Conservative Club. In 1903 as Alderman Massey he was made Mayor of St.Helens.
MONASTERY ROAD / LANE (off Robins Lane) - Named after Sutton Monastery or Retreat which was built between 1849 and 1851 along with St Anne’s Church. More details here. Originally Monastery Road was known as Church Road but was renamed in 1902.
“Monastery

Monastery Lane in 1960 looking towards the Golden Cross pub with the chimneys of Bold Power Station and Colliery

“Monastery

Monastery Lane in 1960 looking towards the Golden Cross

“Monastery

Monastery Lane pictured in 1960

NEILLS ROAD (off Gorsey Lane) - Named after the Bold Iron Works of William Neill's, who were industrial, chemical and structural engineers. Sometimes it was referred to as Newton Road. More here.

NEW STREET - The street belies it's name being at least 200 years old and is referenced on Greenwood's Map of Lancashire of 1818. It was obviously a new road at some point, which gave it its name. There is a comprehensive article on the history of New Street in the How Sutton’s Changed page.

NOOK LANE (between Watery Lane and Sutton Moss Road and including Moss Nook and Sutton Nook) - Nook refers to a secluded, out of the way place which describes Nook Lane, near Sutton Moss. This first first appears on the 1891 census with eight cottages listed. Peat turf was extricated from Sutton Moss for use as firelighters or animal bedding litter.
“Nook
The above photograph shows no. 2 Nook Lane, a very old cottage from at least the early 1800s, which was situated at the end of Watery Lane and faced the former Bowling Green Inn. In 1851 Father Honorius Mazzini, who had been born in Rome and was briefly the Rector of St. Anne’s, occupied the cottage. In 1871 blacksmith John Ashton and wife Mary, who were the grandparents of the well-known Sutton undertaker Isaac Ashton, were the occupiers. Mary Ashton became a licensee of the Bowling Green.

NORMANS ROAD / LANE (off Helena Road) - Probably named after William and Mary Norman. In the 1851 census Mary aged 73 is described as a widowed house proprietor resident in Normans Lane. The street (or streets) predates by some years the naming of other roads in the St.Helens Junction district that bear male Christian names and so it is likely that the surname of the couple was adopted as the street’s name. Part of Normans Road became part of Houghton Road in 1899.

OLGA ROAD (off Marina Avenue, near Sutton Park) - Named after the Grand Duchess of Russia. However there were two such ladies and it’s not certain which one the street was named after. Olga Constantinovna (1851 – 1926) was a member of the Romanov dynasty, who became Queen Olga of Greece and was the grandmother of Prince Philip. There was also Olga Alexandrovna (1882 – 1960), who was the youngest child of Emperor Alexander III of Russia and younger sister of Tsar Nicholas II. During the later years of her life, living in Denmark and then Canada, she was known as the ‘last of the Czars’. The street name was chosen by builders A. J. Kenwright of Robins Lane, who mainly picked street names with Royal connections for the houses they built near Sutton Park.
“Olga

Olga Road in Sutton part of the ‘Kenwright estate’ prior to the completion of the road - Contributed by Ann Pigott

“Olga

Olga Road part of the ‘Kenwright estate’ prior to the completion of the road

“Olga

Olga Road in Sutton, St.Helens

ORVILLE STREET (off Station Road) - Named after Orville Wright, who with brother Wilbur, built the world’s first successful airplane and in 1903 made the first powered human flight. The adjacent Wilbur Street is named after the other brother and both streets are believed to have been built just before WW1.

PEASLEY CROSS LANE - This was so-named because roadside crosses used to be placed on highways so that travellers could stop and pray for their safe journey. 'Peasley' refers to the position of the cross and is derived from the Old English words ‘pese’ or ‘pease’.
“Peasley

133 to 143 Peasley Cross Lane in 1959, half-way up the lane towards Sherdley Road with the Post Office to the left

“Peasley

133 to 143 Peasley Cross Lane in 1959, half-way up the lane towards Sherdley Road

“Peasley

133 - 143 Peasley Cross Lane in 1959

PHILIP GROVE (off Marina Avenue, near Sutton Park) - Named after Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The name was chosen by builders A. J. Kenwright of Robins Lane, who mainly chose street names with Royal connections for the houses they built near Sutton Park.

POWDER WORKS YARD / AVENUE (rear of the Farmers Arms pub near Normans Road - no longer exists) - It appears to have been an unofficial name and first appears in the 1881 Census as ‘Powder Works’ and then between 1891 and 1911 as ‘Powder Works Yard’. It was a narrow lane running up from Normans Road that opened out into a yard at the back and originally housed workers from Bickford’s Powder Works, from which it took its name. Bickford’s were a safety fuse manufacturer who used powder within their fuse design. Consequently in the 1939 Register the street is referred to as Fuse Works Yard with three properties (nos. 2, 4 & 6) shown. It was later referred to as Powder Works Avenue and in 1957 the three houses were earmarked for compulsory purchase and demolition, alongside some properties in Normans Road, Pye Street and Bold Road. The actual powder works / fuse manufacturers closed soon after WW1. You can find out more about Bickford’s Powder Works here.

PUDDING BAG (off Monastery Lane - no longer exists) - This was the local name for the cul-de-sac containing Woodcock Street and Railway Terrace that was enclosed in a triangle composed of two sides of railway lines. It had a single opening that served as a means of ingress and exit; like a narrow-necked muslin pudding bag with an opening at just one end.

PYE STREET (near Normans Road - no longer exists) - It was built in the early years of the 20th century and makes its first census appearance in 1911 with three properties numbered 1, 3 and 5. It was probably named after the Pye family who owned some houses in the area and may well have built those in Pye Street. In 1957 the three houses were earmarked for compulsory purchase and demolition.
RADLEY PARK (off Lowfield Lane, Lea Green) - A housing estate built in 2016 / 2017 on the former Lea Green Colliery site by St Modwen Homes of Birmingham. It is seemingly named after James Radley, who originally owned the mine and in 1873 became the fourth mayor of St.Helens. More here.

ROBINS LANE - One of the oldest streets in Sutton. It has been suggested that its name was chosen because of the rural nature of the district at that time but this has not been confirmed. In the 1841 census there were only 6 properties in Robins Lane but this had become 31 by 1861 and 53 by 1891.

ROLLING MILL LANE (off Watery Lane) - Named after the Rolling Mill factory that opened in Watery Lane in 1860. The lane originally accommodated many of the factory's Welsh workers and was known initially as Copper Works Row. More here.

ROSE AVENUE (off Kent Road, near Sutton Park) - Like the adjacent Margaret Avenue, the short street was named after Princess Margaret (1930 – 2002) with Rose being her middle name. The street name was chosen by builders A. J. Kenwright of Robins Lane, who mainly chose names with Royal connections for the houses they built near Sutton Park.

ROUGHDALE AVENUE Sutton Manor (off Walkers Lane) - Named after the Roughdale Brick & Clay Company which was established around 1860. It closed in 2008 under the ownership of Ibstock Brickworks. The brick company took its name from four fields called ‘rough dales’ on the western side of Chester Lane on which it sited part of its works. These were identified as such in the will of Katherine Hawarden that was dated 1718/19.

SANDRINGHAM DRIVE (off Eaves Lane and Marina Avenue, near Sutton Park) - Named after Sandringham House in Norfolk, which has been owned by the Royal family since the 1860s. The name of Sandringham Drive was chosen by builders A. J. Kenwright of Robins Lane, who built some of the early houses in the street. They mainly picked street names with Royal connections for the houses that they built near Sutton Park.

SCORE & SCORECROSS - From around 1800, the main track through the Sherdley Hall estate and park has been referred to as the 'Score' or 'Hughes' Score'. The derivation is from the Old Norse word ‘Skor’, which means ditch. So it’s likely that the path originally followed a ditch. There is an alternative explanation in that in medieval times the word score referred to a strip of grazing land. In an article published in the St.Helens Newspaper (1/4/1938), it stated that 'the score, open to pedestrians, is, perhaps, the only rural walk to be found inside the St.Helens boundary.'

Left: Entrance to the Score into Sherdley Park from Elton Head Road; Right: Scorecross

Entrance to the Score into Sherdley Park from Elton Head Road and Scorecross

Entrance to the Score footpath from Elton Head Road and Scorecross sign

With much of the estate agricultural and with Sherdley Park privately owned by the Hughes family with limited access for the public, the score was an important right of way for Sutton folk. With no apparent signage on the paths to remind visitors of the track's past, the aforementioned Scorecross dual carriageway, which extends the A569 from Marshalls Cross Road, plays two important roles. The highway both connects Sutton with the St.Helens Linkway and motorway network and serves as an important reminder of the heritage of the nearby track. Perhaps 'The Score' could also be added to the signs that direct visitors into Sherdley Park.

SHERDLEY PARK, SHERDLEY ROAD & ELL BESS LANE - In a St.Helens Reporter article of 1966, Sherdley Park was described as being the 'lung of the borough' of St.Helens (30/7/1966). The Sherdley estate has also been at Sutton's epicentre for hundreds of years, with the Lord of the Manor's residence traditionally being Sutton Hall, prior to the Hughes family taking over the estate.

The Sherdley name is one of the very oldest in Sutton with the Sherdley family traced back to 1303 when they were recorded as freeholders of Sherdley Hall, its orchard and gardens. In those fourteenth century years the family name was variously spelt 'Sherdilegh', 'Sherdelegh' or 'Schardeley' and simply refers to pasture-land. The first element of Sherdley is believed to be derived from the Old English for 'sceard', which means a gap in an enclosure. As most of the district in those days was moorland or moss, land that could be used for pasture was considered to be a valuable asset.

These properties in Sherdley Road c.1930s were considered unfit for habitation and pictured prior to their demolition

Properties in Sherdley Road c.1930s pictured prior to their demolition

Houses in Sherdley Road c.1930s

As well as the 300 acre park, the Sherdley name is remembered today through the nearby Business Park in Scorecross plus Sherdley Park Drive, Sherdley Caravan Park and Sherdley Road. The latter until 1902 was known as Ell Bess Lane and Ell Bess Brow, which was named after the Ell Bess inn that was once kept by an Elisabeth Seddon. She was given the nickname of 'Hell Bess', because of her prowess in dealing with rowdy drunks that caused trouble on her premises! At some point the pub took on the former licensee's nickname, then the streets followed. There was also a Hell Bess Farm which was listed in the 1849 Ordnance Survey map and located a few hundred yards west of the inn.
The Hell Bess inn was located close to Dobsons Lane, which connected Hell Bess Brow and Lane with Sutton Heath Road. By the 1870s, the streets and pub had dropped the initial letter of 'Hell', probably through objections from clergy. After the streets were renamed Sherdley Road in 1902, the inn continued the Ell Bess name until it closed around 1960. However, the Ell Bess monicker was retained by a garage that took over the site, prior to relocating to the old Sutton 'Bug' cinema site. For over thirty years, Sherdley Caravan Park has housed traveller families on the old Ell Bess inn site. Dobsons Lane, incidentally, is now part of modern-day Sutton Heath Road.

SMITH STREET (off Peckers Hill Road) - Named after railwayman John Smith who is thought to have arrived in Sutton in 1826 and who was a great benefactor to St. Anne's RC Church. The street was previously known as Paradise Row, Convent Row and Fenney's Lane.

SNOWDON GROVE (off Kensington Avenue & Sutton Park Drive) - Named after Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, who was married to Princess Margaret from 1960 to 1978.

SPENCER GARDENS (off Robina Road, near Sutton Park) - Named after William Vose Spencer, who worked in the Sherdley Estate Office from 1912 to 1956. he leased the land and paid ground rents to the family. The name of Sandringham Drive was chosen by builders A. J. Kenwright of Robins Lane, who built some of the early houses in the street. They mainly picked street names with Royal connections for the houses that they built near Sutton Park.

ST. MICHAEL’S ROAD (off Lea Green Road) - Named after the imposing St. Michael's House which was situated between Walkers Lane and Lea Green Road. It was built in Elizabethan times and had its own moat. More here.
Sutton Oak School sign
SUTTON OAK - Over the years Sutton Oak has lent its name to a school, flower shop, engine shed, Welsh chapel, railway station and a mustard gas factory! Although locals referred to the latter as the 'Poison Gas Works' or the 'Magnum', its correct name was Sutton Oak Chemical Defence Research Establishment, often abbreviated to just Sutton Oak.

Its name is derived from large oak trees that were situated on the triangle of grass at the junction of Lancots Lane and Sutton Road. It was locally known as
Sparrow Park and there also used to be a street called Oak Tree in the vicinity which is mentioned in the 1841 census. 31 stone builder John 'Bally' Whittaker became licensee of the Oak Tree Inn in or near Ellamsbridge Road around 1880 and he also lived at Oak Cottage.

Sutton Oak School sign
SUTTON ROAD - Sutton Road is so-named, as along with Marshalls Cross Road, it has long served as a major artery into Sutton. It connects Worsley Brow to Parr and St Helens town centre via Jackson Street, as well as to Peasley Cross. Major buildings in Sutton Road have included Sutton Police Station, the Sutton Oak Welsh Chapel, the Wesleyan Methodists Chapel and Sutton Pumping Station / Waterworks. For many years the Sutton Road Prize Band provided entertainment at events and festivities.

The Sutton Road pumping station / waterworks was a notable building on the corner of Oak Street and was opened c.1878

The Sutton Road pumping station on the corner of Oak Street was opened c.1878

The Sutton Road pumping station

SWAINE STREET (no longer exists) - This first makes an appearance in the 1891 census and was named after the family who founded the original Sutton Heath Pottery early in the 19th century.

THIEVES LANE (connects Marshalls Cross Road and New Street) - See entry for Eaves Lane above.

THORNHAM AVENUE (off Marshalls Cross Road / Marshalls Avenue) - Named after the demolished Thornham Villa, which first appears in an OS Map of 1908 and was situated near Sherdley Colliery.

TUNSTALLS WAY (off Clock Face Road - opposite Clock Face Hotel) - Named after the nearby Tunstalls Farm which was listed on the 1849 OS map and still exists. During the early 20th century the farm was known to locals as Beesley's.

WATERDALE CRESCENT (between Robins Lane and Gerrards Lane) - With the large-scale growth of St.Helens during the nineteenth century, the town's bureaucrats were kept very busy naming new roads and renaming existing ones. The latter seems to have reached its peak around the turn of the new century with a number of Sutton streets changing their monicker. The reasons aren't always clear but sometimes it was to avoid confusion with other similarly named roads in St.Helens. So around 1904, Sutton's own Church Street in Pudding Bag became Woodcock Street and Church Lane became Monastery Lane. Sometimes only sections of a road were renamed as was the case with Norman's Road in 1899, where part of it became Houghton Road.

The wonderfully named Ditch Hillock was restyled Waterdale Crescent in 1898, probably because streets were expected to be suffixed 'road', 'street' or 'lane', again to avoid confusion. It was eponymously named after the Waterdale Dam reservoir and Waterdale House, the home of the two
William Blinkhorns and later Alderman Arthur Sinclair, then Sutton Convent. Blinkhorn Snr. built Waterdale House during the early 1850s and Sinclair - the former secretary and superintendent of the St.Helens and Runcorn Gap Railway - moved in about 1878. Waterdale Dam, off Gerards Lane, is these days known as the Monastery Dam or St.Anne's reservoir.

Left: Waterdale House, home of the Blinkhorns, Arthur Sinclair & Sutton Convent; Right: Waterdale Crescent around 1910

Left: Waterdale House, which was home to the Blinkhorn family, Arthur Sinclair and Sutton Convent; Right: Waterdale Crescent pictured around 1910

Waterdale House home of Sutton Convent & Waterdale Crescent c.1910

During the 1890s, the Blinkhorns owned a number of properties in the area including a grocer's / off-licence at no. 51. In May 1893 James Smith became the tenant, purchasing the business from his father for £215. Smith seemed to have little head for business, however, and in 1897 was made bankrupt at Liverpool Bankruptcy Court. He admitted to the assistant official receiver, that he'd been insolvent since he began his enterprise and that he hadn't been keeping any books! A predecessor grocer / beerseller George Parr had also been made bankrupt in 1865.

The most well-known buildings in Waterdale Crescent were the church social centre, known as the
Blinkhorn Rooms and the Crystal Palace pub which closed in 1935. Much of the old Ditch Hillock / Waterdale Crescent has long been demolished and is much less populated these days. See Memories of Sutton articles: Arthur Normington? Who’s He? and Sutton Memories – I Remember by David Normington Gerrard for details of the shops and people in Waterdale Crescent during the 1940s and '50s.

WATERY LANE (connects Worsley Brow, Berry’s Lane and Cecil Street) - This is one of the oldest streets in Sutton, connecting Worsley Brow with Parr. Road nomenclature in centuries past tended to be based upon relevance to the location rather than a pretty name. If streets weren't given the name of a notable person or family who had lived in the area, they were named after something that was present. So Watery Lane was named after the nearby Sutton Brook and the regular flooding that it caused during winter. This was endemic in this low-lying area for many years during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Some houses had both their front and back doorways bricked up two feet high to prevent floods to the lower rooms.

Watery Lane in Sutton has often been prone to flooding due to its close proximity to Sutton Brook

Watery Lane in Sutton Oak has a long history of flooding

Watery Lane has been prone to flooding

In 1888 at a St.Helens Town Council Paving, Highway and Sewering committee meeting Cllr. William Kirkham said Watery Lane was “about the worst street or lane they had in the whole of the town”. He argued that the residents did not want anything elaborate, just “a good curb and a cinder path, and a drain, so that it would take the water into the brook instead of flowing into the houses”. Incidentally in July 1890 Kirkham was sent to prison for a month with hard labour, after taking off with his housekeeper and deserting his wife and children.

Rear view of 25, 27 & 29 Watery Lane c.1930 photographed by Jordan and Metcalfe and pictured prior to demolition

Rear view of 25, 27 and 29 Watery Lane c.1930 pictured prior to demolition

Nos. 25, 27 & 29 Watery Lane c.1930

In a letter published in the St.Helens Reporter on January 12th 1915, landlord E. Guest wrote:
 Every time there is a rainfall my property is flooded and I have lost two good tenants through having to wade in water in the houses: it has been three to four inches deep. Sir, this is not slum property. It is almost new, but if the Corporation allows these floods to continue I am afraid it will leave me with empty houses.
Watery Lane suffered badly from colliery subsidence, which increased the amount of flooding. At a meeting of St.Helens Council’s Heath Committee on October 10th 1917, Cllr. Abbott reported that the residents of the street were hiring a man with a horse and lorry to go round the houses and take the children to school. It was suggested at the meeting by Colonel Jackson, that a raised wooden footpath would be a solution. The flooding was cutting off Moss Nook from Watery Lane and the Mayor said that as long as the collieries extracted coal, the subsidence and flooding would continue. One of the worst floods took place in 1934. Then on August 29th after heavy rainfall, flood water entered Watery Lane houses to the height of tabletops in kitchens and it also flooded the base of staircases. The St.Helens Reporter (published 31/8/1934) dubbed it 'Day of the Great Splash':
 Furniture floated around living rooms. People living in the houses spent an anxious time as they watched the flood rising and many of them quitted their homes [from upstairs windows] by ladders.
Exasperated residents of Watery Lane complained to the newspaper how flooding was an annual winter event. Eventually the authorities put measures in place to deal with the problem, which included the straightening and deepening of Sutton Brook.

The corner of Watery Lane and nos. 23 to 25 Worsley Brow - which were subject to a compulsory purchase order - pictured in 1965

The corner of Watery Lane and 23 to 25 Worsley Brow in Sutton pictured in 1965

The corner of Watery Lane and 23 - 25 Worsley Brow pictured in 1965

WILBUR STREET (off Station Road) - Named after Wilbur Wright, who with brother Orville, built the world’s first successful airplane and in 1903 made the first powered human flight. The adjacent Orville Street is named after the other brother and both streets are believed to have been built just before WW1.

WILLOW TREE AVENUE / WILLOW TREE PRIMARY SCHOOL (off Leach Lane) - Named after Willow Tree Farm which was listed on the 1849 OS map. The farm was owned by the Hughes family of Sherdley Hall and on August 31st 1843, Ellen Hughes got a court order at South Lancashire Assizes to eject tenant Thomas Bradshaw. On October 19th 1886 retiring farmer Jane Appleton sold by auction her farm stock which included 11 head of cattle, 36 tons of hay, 50 head of poultry, 3 stacks of white oats from 9 Cheshire acres, 1 acre of turnips and 3/4 acre of potatoes. In 1893 farmer James Rylance was charged with shooting a little boy named Stephen O'Brien from Walkers Lane. The present-day 'Willow Tree Farm' was built in 1935 and used recently as offices.

YEW TREE AVENUE (off New Street) - Named after Yew Tree Cottage which was situated in New Street, in between the cricket club and Eaves Lane. The avenue was build by the Heward family in 1937.
Appendix 1: Sutton Street Name Changes
A number of Sutton streets from the 19th century and early 20th, no longer exist and others have changed their name. For the benefit of family history researchers and others, this section will list streets which have been renamed with date if known.
 Bold Road (part of) was renamed Abbotsfield Road in 1899
 Church Road was renamed Monastery Road in 1902
 Church Street (in Pudding Bag) was renamed Woodcock Street in 1902
 Ditch Hillock and part of Gerrards Lane were renamed Waterdale Crescent c.1896
 Gerrards Lane from Robins Lane to Worsley Brow were renamed Ellamsbridge Road c.1896
 Ellbess Lane (formerly Hellbess Lane) was renamed Sherdley Road in 1902
 Long Lane was renamed Reginald Road
 Mill Lane (part from Marshalls Cross Road to Rainhill Road) was originally Sutton Lane, renamed Elton Head Road 1902
 Normans Road (part of) was renamed Houghton Road in 1899
 Rigbys Lane was renamed Gartons Lane in 1902
 Thieves Lane was renamed Eaves Lane in 1902

Appendix 2: A - Z of Sutton Streets

Click Here to Download 'A to Z of Sutton Streets - 1841 to 1891’ - This document lists all of the streets contained within the 1841 - 1891 Sutton censuses.
Click Here to Download 'A to Z of Sutton Streets - 1901' - This document lists all of the streets contained within the East Sutton and West Sutton wards contained within the 1901 census.
Click Here to Download 'A to Z of Sutton Streets - 1911' - This document lists all of the streets contained within the East Sutton and West Sutton wards contained within the 1911 census.
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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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This website is written and researched by Stephen R. Wainwright ©MMXVII  Contact Me
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