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History of the Centre of Little Neston

Farms
It is in the last sixty years that Little Neston has become a built up area. For most of its recorded history the village was centred round a number of farms. The late 19th century picture below shows White House farm and the Green.


In 1913 White House Farm was over 113 acres and its land was the area between what is now Gorstons Lane and the Wirral Way.  Other farms were Ivy Farm with 93 acres, Rose Farm with 66 acres, Rock Farm with 70 acres and Mellock Farm with 10 acres.  The farm buildings were all close to the village centre and some have been converted to houses and shops. The land cultivated by these farms was distributed over a wide area of Little Neston.

Little Neston Methodist Church
The Church was built in 1872 and the sandstone came from a quarry nearby at the top of Newtown. The Church and hall behind it cost £645. The foundation stone is part of an old fireplace in the hall and the opening services were held on 6th October 1872.  The morning and evening services were led by the Rev W. Hall from Chester and in the afternoon by Captain Ward. He lived at Wood Park on the High Road. 


















The picture shows one of the two streetlights in Little Neston, the other was outside
the Royal Oak.  It also shows the narrow porch which was replaced in 1968.



The Royal Oak
The Royal Oak was originally a thatched L shaped building.  The thatch was a fire risk and there was a fire in 1871 which damaged the roof. The building was saved as the water works in Lees Lane had recently been opened and there was enough water to put the fire out. However the fire of 1901 destroyed the building and some cottages which were on what is now the car park.


Birkenhead Breweries built what is the current Royal Oak soon afterwards  The stone in front of the Royal Oak is granite and was found during building work in Badger bait in 1885 and moved to the Green. The Council Threatened to break it up about 1930 as part of a road scheme but Lord Leverhulme saved it and had it taken to Thornton Manor. The stone is still a feature of the Manor Gardens.

Cottage Hospital
During the First World War there was a Red Cross hospital in what is now the Civic Hall. The funds left over were used to buy Dee View which is the large sandstone house in the picture. It was converted to become Neston War Memorial Hospital which was opened by Lord Leverhulme in June 1920. It had 11 beds initially and was extended later on with a ward at the side. The picture also shows the village institute which was demolished in 1928. Later on the new ward was built behind it. ‘
Patients were looked after by their own doctors and the nursing staff of a matron, five trained nurses and two probationary nurses.


Until the National Health Service was started in 1948, people had to pay for their own medical care.  A bed in a public ward cost 15s a week. People could take out insurance by joining a local friendly society. Behind the hospital was a large garden with greenhouses. This was used to produce fruit and vegetables for the patients and staff. Mellock Close has been built on this site The hospital closed in 1964 and during its time it created strong local pride and support for it. 

by Edward Hilditch