he Black & White Picture Place

Old Photographs & Drawings of Chester

frodsham street

This interesting photograph of Frodsham Street just predates the redevelopments of the 1960s. The view seems entirely familiar to the modern Cestrian with the noted exception of the tiny cottage on the right- this is one of the few pictures we've seen of it.

The ornate building in the centre of the picture housed Dutton's art suppliers until the late 1990s, then becoming a camping shop. This closed in 2011 and the handsome premises are, for the moment, home to a charity shop. On its site was once a pub by the name of Horton's Vaults. The original building, which stood on this corner of Frodsham Street and the Kaleyards, in common with numerous Chester pubs around this time, was replaced by a much more ornate building which still stands today. Read more and see some pictures in our Lost Pubs of Chester chapters..

Frodsham Street has its origins in the Roman road which ran from the great fortress of Deva via Brook Street, Kilmorey Park Road and the Newton Hollows, eventually to the crossing the River Mersey at Wilderspool (Warrington) en route to Manchester ('Mamucium') and beyond.

It was long called Cow Lane because of the cattle that would be driven along it from the countryside to the cattle market on Foregate Street- the name remains with us today in Cow Lane Bridge that crosses the Shropshire Union Canal just behind the photographer. They say that the proverb about the "bull in a china shop" had its origins in this street- the passing herds would doutlessly have created chaos for the residents and shopkeepers of what was, at that time, a genteel neighbourhood and was one of the reasons that the market was eventually moved to Gorse Stacks, just across the canal. This, too, has long gone and its site serves as yet another car park.

cow lane 1953

The cottage is seen again in this view from 1953. Its site is open ground today, forming, along with the land occupied by the row of shops to the right (the 'House of Progress') and the stonemason's yard that once traded behind them, a car park serving the row of new shops and Chinese restaurant that was developed here soon after the top picture was taken. Below we see the same location during the Winter of 2010..

kaleyards today

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