On the 13th instant, one William Higginson, of Culcheth, near Leigh, having charg’d a Gun with an intent to shoot at some Crows, sat down at his Door with the Gun upon his Knees, in order to do something at the Flint, when it accidentally went off, and by recoiling against his Groin, bruised him so much that he died the next Morning.
Leigh Chronicle & Weekly District Advertiser Friday 21st September 1900
TRAP ACCIDENT AT CULCHETH – A horse and trap belonging to the late Mr. Whiston, of Croft, was standing in the goodsyard at Culcheth Station on Saturday afternoon when the horse got startled by an engine, and it suddenly set off down the yard and got on to the main line, down which it ran to Lowton St Mary’s Station before it was stopped. Fortunately no trains were running at the time, The trap was smashed and the horse cut.
Kendal Mercury Saturday 7th December 1839
FATAL RAILWAY ACCIDENT - WARRINGTON Monday Night - A sad scene took place at the Railway station, in this town, this afternoon. The Birmingham train from Manchester brought a young woman, to all appearance in a dying state, who had been run over by the train as it passed the Kenyon Junction, on the Liverpool and Manchester line.
Her left leg was hanging sadly mutilated from her body, one of her shoulders was dislocated, and her head considerably injured. The shrieks she uttered on being lifted out of the carriage will not be readily forgotten by those who heard them; she was evidently suffering the most intense agony.
The moment the train stopped, every assistance was rendered by Mr Rutter, the agent at the station, and the other persons employed there. The sufferer was conveyed to the Patten Arms Hotel, which adjoins the station, and by the time she was got up stairs, Mr Hunt, surgeon, and Mr. Robson, the house-surgeon to the Warrington dispensary, were in attendance.
On examination, it was found that the wheels of the engine had passed along the left leg from the centre of the thigh down to the foot, and that the limb was crushed to a complete mummy.
Amputation was immediately resorted to. The operation was performed by Dr Hunt. The poor woman was insensible during the greater part of the operation; she gradually sunk, and did not survive longer than a quarter of an hour after it had been performed...
From inquiries made since the accident, I learn that the deceased was a hand loom weaver, named Johanna Sankey, of Croft, in this county. She was an interesting, good-looking girl, in the 23d year of her age.
The engineer in charge of the train states that the deceased ran across the rails at the Kenyon Junction just as the train was passing, when it was not more than a few yards from her; that the engine knocked her down, and the whole train passed over her. He stopped the engine immediately, and no medical assistance being at hand, it was deemed advisable to bring her on to Warrington, after a ligature had been applied by a passenger to the bleeding and fractured limb.
She had been to Liverpool to nurse a sick brother, filling the situation of porter at Blezard's liquor vaults. Her brother, it seems, had sufficiently recovered to permit of his removal to Croft, and accordingly they both came to the Kenyon Junction by the first train, leaving Liverpool at a quarter before twelve o'clock.
A spring cart was waiting to convey them to Croft from the station, and just after her brother and his luggage had been got into it, she found that he had left his stick on the opposite side of the rails. This led to her untimely death. She ran towards the stick but had scarcely advanced five yards when the Birmingham train came up and killed her, as a'ready described.
Harold Houghton was born in 1890 in Croft when his father, Thomas, was 31 and his mother, Mary, was 28. He had four brothers and four sisters. In 1911 he lived at The Old Noggin Inn, Risley with his parents, his brother and two of his sisters He worked at the Albion Ironworks in Leigh. On 2nd September 1914 he joined the 5th Rifle Brigade, A Company, 2nd Battalion On 24 March 1915 he died of his wounds from the battle of Neuve Chapelle, aged 25. He was buried at Croft Unitarian Chapel, the grave stone stating ‘He Died for his Country’s Honour’.
Private George Daintith
When George Daintith was born on 24 February 1892 in Culcheth, his father, Thomas, was 25 and his mother, Mary, was 21. He was christened at Newchurch on 17th April the same year. His mother Mary passed away in 1906 and his father remarried in 1907. He had seven brothers and two sisters. In 1911 he lived with his father, stepmother and four of his brothers at The Old Noggin Inn, Risley.
In April 1915, he joined Kitchener’s Army, enlisting in the 1st King’s Liverpool Regiment. After about a year’s training he was sent to the Front and was attached to the 251st Company Royal Engineers. He was killed in action on June 25th, 1916, in the ‘great push’ near Albert.
Captain Hansen, R.E., in expressing his sympathy with his parents said: ‘Your son met his death on the night of June 25th while doing his duty, and I cannot speak too highly of his behaviour on this occasion, and ever since he joined this Company. I cannot say how deeply I felt his loss to my section, as he was one of my best men and could always be depended upon. He was a typical example of a true British Soldier, and died doing his duty to his King and Country and so great a cause. Your son was buried last night, and I have taken steps to have a cross placed upon his grave.’ A memorial service was held at Newchurch Parish Church on Sunday 23rd July 1916. George is buried in Cambrin Military Cemetery. Harold Houghton’s parents had a stone erected at Croft Unitarian Chapel in Harold’s grave space saying 'Private. George Daintith. In memory of Harold's comrade of the Liverpool Regiment, killed in France 25/06/1916'.
Lance Corporal William Whittle
When William Whittle was born in 1889 in Culcheth, his father, William, was 29 and his mother, Ellen, was 21. He had two brothers. In 1911 he lived and worked at Oakwood Farm, Risley with his parents and brothers. He died on 14 June 1918 in France at the age of 29 and is buried at Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille. He is remembered on the family grave at Croft Unitarian Chapel, the stone stating ‘Duty Nobly Done’.
The three war graves at Croft Unitarian Chapel
War Graves at Christ Church, Croft
Gunner Samuel Yates
Royal Garrison Artillery. Died on 9th July 1920, aged 42. Son of Samuel and Mary Yates; husband of Lizzie Hankin Yates, of Longford Cottages, Longford, Warrington.
Private William Clarke
South Lancashire Regiment, transferred to as Private 584377, Labour Corps. On 19th December 1918 he was admitted to the Military Hospital, Warrington with influenza and pneumonia. He passed away at 16:50 hours on the 26th November 1918. His history was of being unwell after he was gassed by mustard gas in France four months prior and he had chest trouble ever since. He was the son of John and was the husband of Bertha, remarried to Andrews, of Little Town, Croft. He had two children, Thomas and Vera.
Newchurch War Graves
PRIVATE F FAULKNER South Lancashire Regiment Died 16th March 1918
SERGEANT CYRIL WHITTLE Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Died 23rd April 1944
PRIVATE JOHN CLARK PICK Manchester Regiment Died 31st May 1940
PRIVATE JOSHUE RICHARD CLEWORTH King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) Died 25th November 1918
DRUMMER G LOCKE Leinster Regiment Died 8th May 1920
PRIVATE ARTHUR MONKS Royal Army Service Corps Died 18th January 1921
GUARDSMAN HUGH ARTHUR WOOD Welsh Guards Died 29 August 1921
St. Oswald's War Graves
PRIVATE W B MIDDLETON Leicestershire Regiment Died 29th March 1921
SERJEANT JOHN BUCHANAN Royal Army Medical Corps Died 27th October 1918
An Account of the Culcheth Cottage Homes, Written by Rev. Plant in 1928.
The Salford Board (of Guardians) purchased an estate at Culcheth, six miles from Warrington, an unspoiled country district in the healthiest part of South Lancashire in the parish of Newchurch.
The estate, of 46 ¾ statute acres, was purchased in 1899 for £4500. In 1903 the Board erected a group of cottage homes for the accommodation of 288 children and a staff of officers. The building costs were £61, 211 and furnishing an extra £2500.
No pains were spared to make the Colony complete in every way, and the result amply justifies the thoughtful foresight and unselfish labour spent on the project by the members of the Board at that time.
The Colony consists of 22 semi-detached and two detached cottages to accommodate 12 to 14 children in each; a hospital designed in wards to accommodate 32 patients; a detached home for the nursing staff, connected to the hospital by a covered way, and a detached house for the Superintendent.
The object in view when planning this Colony was to provide for the destitute children of Salford – ‘a home away from home’ – a home in the heart of the country, amid ideal surroundings, and away from the overcrowded and often squalid neighbourhood that most of them had known from infancy. The staff and children attend at the Parish Church each Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m., and the rector who is Chaplain of the Homes, prepares them for confirmation, teaches in the day school twice a week, arranges their Sunday School and children’s services, and looks after their spiritual life generally.
Map from 1913 showing the Culcheth Cottage Homes
In each home are placed not more than 12 children, whose ages range from 2 – 15 years, in charge of a Foster Mother (and in the case of some boys Home of a Foster Father and Mother). Each child has its own separate bed, its own private locker, and its own private toilet utensils.
Uniformity in the Homes is avoided as much as possible, and the Foster Parents are encouraged to exercise their individuality, and while conforming to the general rules of the Colony, to conduct their Homes naturally and spontaneously.
The children attend school until the age of 14 and during this time have every opportunity of physical training, both by definite instruction, and by organised games – special attention being given to swimming, for which a large and handsome bath has been erected.
When a child passes 14 it leaves school, and while remaining in the Colony spends its school hours in one or other of the industrial shops, each of which is under the control of an experienced tradesman or tradeswoman, and where it receives careful tuition, and acquires practical knowledge.
For the girls there are provided a sewing room, well-equipped for all dressmaking, and which supplies the Colony with most of its garments, linen and hosiery, a laundry that affords training in the use of machinery, and in all branches of laundry work, and in addition the Homes themselves furnish tuition in cooking and all domestic duties.
The boys have the choice of the Shoemaker’s Shop, in which all the boot repairs are executed, and a large proportion of new work is undertaken, The Joiner’s shop, in which all renewals of, and repairs to woodwork for the Homes are made; the Bakehouse which supplies the Colony with its bread and cake, the Plumber’s and Engineer’s shop, which provides the Colony with electric light and with water and heat; the Painter’s shop, which is responsible for all decoration and re-glazing on the Colony. Gardening is taught to both boys and girls.
In addition, every boy has the opportunity of joining the brass band. The numerous centres of activity, together with the large mixed farm, makes the Colony practically self-contained, and it is a rare occurrence to see any outside tradesmen at work in the grounds. The value of the training is shown when the children leave the Homes, and almost without exception they do well and make headway.
The Homes as an orphanage closed about ten years after this was written (1938) and became Newchurch Hospital.
In 1989, there were concerns for the future of the hospital:
Newchurch Hospital, Culcheth HC Deb 23 March 1989
Mr Hoyle - To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the future of Newchurch hospital, Culcheth, Warrington; and if there are any plans to close it.
Mr. Freeman - Newchurch hospital is in the process of retraction as patients are gradually transferred to care in the community schemes. As the numbers of patients reduces consideration will have to be given to the best way of caring for those remaining. We are not, however, aware of any plans to close Newchurch hospital. (Source: parliament.uk) UPDATE: 11/04/2022
Former staff member Helena Campbell has contacted me with the correct closure date of March 1993. The site was designated a protected conservation area in 1993. In 1995, permission was granted for conversion of the buildings into private dwellings.
Cheyvonne Bower is a local historian with a passion for the past. A member of Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society and The Society for One-Place Studies.