Sunday, 29 July 2012

Olympic Celebration - King's Church

I've just had a very energetic and enthusiastic morning.  Merv and Ann at King's Church made be very welcome.  King's Church will be running a games themed holiday club in August for local children.  They know they will have around 70 children taking part.  Today was their opening ceremony.  They had kindly invited me along to light their torch and declare their games open.

All of us in Frodsham owe a debt of gratitude to the army of volunteers who do so much for the community.  I was very taken by the enthusiasm Beccy and her colleagues at King's Church showed today.  I can't imagine any child attending the holiday club will be allowed to be sedentary for more than a few minutes.  They will return home accomplished performers and be able to perform all the moves to 'On your marks!'

They'll also become founts of Olympic themed knowledge.  The three Olympic 'factoids' today were:
1 - the first Olympic games were held in 776BC;
2 - the cross at King's Church was erected by Frodsham's own Olympic torch bearer Joe Beswick
3 - Merv - has not competed in any Olympic Games!

If you want to know more about their Holiday Club here is the link: 

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Twelfth Night - Grosvenor Park in Chester

My wife and I were invited to attend a performance of Twelfth Night at Grosvenor Park, Chester tonight.  It was an excellent, entertaining and musical performance.   The temporary theatre was constructed so as to resemble the open feeling of the Globe in London.  The open space gave the actors a very large stage on which to perform and also gave them ample opportunity to mingle and interact with the audience.

The audience sat on cushions or in their own garden chairs.

I'm sure we'd welcome something similar if it came visiting Castle Park!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Should the 40mph limit be extended on the A56 near Helsby - have your say?

CWaC has publicised today a proposal to extend the 40mph limit along the A56 near Helsby.  The pink portion on the plan below shows the existing limit just before the speed camera and Helsby High School.  The green portion on the plan shows the proposed extension of the 40mph zone.
Should you wish to make any representations on the order you'll need to read the following notice.  Please note you only have until 24 August to make your comments.

The costs of making any Traffic Regulation Order and changing the signage will have to be met from Cllr Lynn Riley and/or my member's budgets of £10k each per annum.  The order will cost around £2,000 - most of which is taken up in the legal costs associated with making the order - and not in erecting an 40mph aluminium sign!

Notice is hereby given that the Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council proposes to make an Order under Section 84(1) and (2) and Part IV of Schedule 9 to the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and of all other enabling powers.
The effect of the Order will be to extend the 40mph speed limit on the A56 from a point 20m south of Woodhouses Lane, Frodsham for a distance of 298m in a north westerly direction.  

Full details of the proposal are in the draft Order together with a plan showing the extent of the proposal which may be examined at Winsford Area Highways Office, Cheshire West and Chester Borough, Planning and Transpot Service, Phoenix House, Clough Road, Winsford, CW7 4BD; the One Stop Shop, Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council, Wyvern House, The Drumber, Winsford, Cheshire, CW7 1AH between the hours of 9am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
If you wish to object to the proposed Order, or to any provisions contained in it, you may do so in writing specifying the grounds on which it is made, to the undersigned quoting reference TRO 501 by 24 August 2012.
1 August  2012

Richard Flood
Area Highways Manager
Cheshire West and Chester Council
Winsford Area Highways Office
Phoenix House
Clough Road

Farewell 'Homefront' - come back soon?

Well the filming of the first series of 'Homefront' comes to end this week.  The production crew and actors are going to brave Main Street, Frodsham on Thursday - but once the market has closed.  Whilst there have been a couple of complaints about the disruption caused during the filming the overwhelming response has been very favourable.  The production company hopes that they will be commissioned to produce a second series.

CWaC believes that this production is the largest TV production so far produced in the Borough - and I for one am pleased that it puts us firmly on the map along with some of our iconic locations such as the Bear's Paw, St Laurence's Church - and not forgetting our historic arch in front of the Army Cadet building.  Other locations have included Amore, Macs and Lusso Salon.

Frodsham will double as the fictional garrison town of 'Leysham' in a drama that centres around the lives of four women living in the town's army quarters.  The series will be broadcast this autumn.  I'm sure we will all be glued to it spotting the various locations!

The cast includes Claire Skinner, Nicola Stephenson, Clare Higgins and Antonia Thomas and has been written by Sue Teddern with Jan McVerry.

Filming outside St Laurence's
Clare Higgins acting!

Lights, camera, action

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Union of South Africa visits Frodsham

Well its all happening at Frodsham Station this weekend.  The Union of South Africa steam engine visited Frodsham today as part of its Crewe-Holyhead excursion.  Frodsham is one of the places to see the loco as it takes on water here.

I've always wanted to photograph an iconic steam engine crossing the viaduct so I went into the fields above Ellis Lane with a telephoto lens and then, having snapped from there I went down to the station to take some photographs there.  It was wonderful to see the station packed out.

The train was one of the longest I've seen in Frodsham.  It was interesting to see the train was banked by a diesel engine 'Swift.'  I can assure you I've not been recording numbers!   And for the record - I am not a train spotter!

Enjoy the photographs.

Update - I made the tactical error this morning of only having a telephoto lens with me.  So I took my standard lens out tonight and photographed the return into Frodsham.  It was actually much darker than appears in the photographs - the clue being the headlight!

Union of South Africa approaching Frodsham

On the viaduct

'Swift' brings up the rear

sorting the tender 

Frodsham station thronged

The water tanker

Over the bridge


Back at 9:10pm

Union of South Africa No 60009 in BR Brunswick Green

Once again standing room only on the platform - as she takes on water from the tanker on the right hand side.



Sublime to the ridiculous - disappearing in a cloud of diesel fumes!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Frodsham Station and the Halton Curve

Today was a momentous day - not only was it the annual outing around the Halton Curve - but it was also a chance to see inside refurbished Frodsham Station House.  Many thanks to Janet and her colleagues at NCRUG and to Northern Rail and Network Rail for facilitating the trip.

A record 95 passengers made it 'round the bend' as part of our annual reminder to Network Rail that there would be a demand for rail services making it round the bend in both directions connecting Frodsham and all points further west such as Chester and North Wales to the main line running into Liverpool.

It was an early start - the service passed through Frodsham at 8:07am. The journey was something of a slow service - it seemed to take an age to draw into Runcorn's mainline station - perhaps revealing the state of the track and signalling which does not permit a return journey! 

One of the unnecessary anomalies when travelling on the rare Frodsham - Liverpool South Parkway service is that it costs more to ask for a ticket to the Parkway as opposed to Liverpool Stations!  Anyway please, Network Rail - put in the investment - restore the curve for two-way operations and a frequent service - and we promise we will use it!  Please find the reputed £12m to do the job.

We made the trip back to Frodsham in a 1951 single decker Crosville Bus.  We had a couple of dramatic moments - the first being when the fully laden bus began to move forward without a driver at the Parkway.  We then had an impromptu diversion as the 1951 equivalent of sat nav (in other words the driver's sense of direction) led to a 3 point turn - proving the bus did have a reverse gear!

Once back in Frodsham we had a tour of the refurbished station building.  The building isn't quite refurbished yet - but it is nearly there.  Network Rail and the contractors have done a sympathetic job and have attempted to restore the building using original materials and techniques where they can.  This has included using lime mortar and even finding old brass fittings to restore the old safe.

Some of the historic gems we learned included the discovery of a brick lined well shaft within the courtyard and learning that in Victorian times the building was jacked up and moved back some 9 feet - perhaps associated with the installation of the platforms.

Network Rail has divided the building into two units and are looking for commercial uses to occupy them - however the division between the units can be taken down should the need arise.

Waiting for the Parlt train
All aboard

Liverpool South Parkway
The Crosville bus

Frodsham Station
The courtyard
View from the over bridge

Cllr Sara Wakefield and an old toilet wall!
Jamal leading the guided tour

An office of the future?
A room with a view

This safe has been restored - old keys and tickets were found inside


Original plans