Gateacre Society Walk Notes 1977-1988
including Rose Brow & Oakfield Avenue

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In 1977 The Woolton Society in conjunction with The Gateacre Society walked through the centre of Gateacre discussing the history of the roads, buildings and features that make up the fabric of the village. This year The Gateacre Society invite you to a second excursion. The area we have chosen - along Grange Lane, up Oakfield Avenue, by Cuckoo Lane to Rose Brow and then down Gateacre Brow - contains a wide range of domestic building types. For those who did not see Gateacre Chapel last year, we will revisit this - perhaps the most important building.

Introduction. The story of Gateacre is quite different from the story of Much Woolton, though part of the area we are considering lies within the old township of Much Woolton. But the greater part lies in the township of Little Woolton, and it looks as if the two Wooltons have been separate since before Domesday. Much Woolton early developed the nucleus which, shifted a little north, we know today as Woolton Village. Little Woolton never had such a nucleus; it was to the east an area of rich farming land with scattered farmsteads, westwards higher heath and common, When, towards the end of the C17 (?) a hamlet did begin to develop, it was clustered around the crossroads on the old road from the ford at Hale to West Derby, Old Swan and Liverpool. The line of this road, Mackets Lane, Halewood Road and Grange Lane, seems to be very old, and (if the identification of Wibaldeslei in Domesday Book with Lee Park is right, the 'T' junction and Belle Vale Road could have been here for a long time - the track which became Gateacre Brow probably began as the way to the common grazing lands.

Maps from the latter half of the C18 show a loose cluster of buildings around the crossroads, and by about 1816 we know from watercolour sketches in the Binns Collection that the 3 pubs were established. The Childwall and Woolton Waste Lands Inclosure Act of 1805 brought the remaining common land (about one sixth of the area of the township) into private hands, and on Gateacre Brow especially the making of small allotments defining the frontage resulted in land becoming available for building. In 1838 the National School was built, by 1840 a brewery was established (on Clegg's factory site) and the 1841 census figures of the whole township show a population of 969, more than double the 1801 figure (in the same period Much Woolton's population had multiplied by five.) Andrew Barclay Walker (Walker's Warrington Ales) came to Gateacre in 1851, began the rebuilding of Gateacre Grange, and for the first time the village came under the influence of a rich landowner.

continued . . .


These Walk Notes were transcribed in 2011 from the original (1978) mimeographed typescript.
Please notify
the Gateacre Society of any errors and omissions which may be found, so that
they can be recorded above for the benefit of future researchers.

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Page created 4 Jan 2012 by MRC, last updated 4 Jan 2012