A Village Link to a Different Time: The Barrymore Institute.

The society has been fortunate in having access to two ledgers relating to the Barrymore Institute.            
One was the Accounts Ledger from 1908 onwards (with the occasional gap) and one the Minute Book from 1930 onwards.  

It is worth noting that the year 1908 was an Olympic year, not without its own struggles. The venue should have been Rome but the eruption of Vesuvius in 1906 had meant funds had had to be diverted to disaster relief and so London became the alternative home for the games. (They lasted over six months incidentally. Rome would finally host in 1960, a lot having happened between the two dates!)

It is unlikely Weaverham will ever have to host such a sporting event but perusal of the previously mentioned ledgers can give an insight into what life in 1908 was like, including what passed for recreation and leisure for some, as well as insights into other aspects of society in the soon to be ended “Edwardian Age”.

The following extracts, or “gobbets” as historians sometimes refer to them, provide some interesting and intriguing details.

The first shows some of the receipts for 1908, prominent names associated with the village and the local area among them. To highlight three entries, members’ subscriptions are shown, also the enthusiasm for billiards, maybe less so for bowls. The “Smoking Concert” was a popular (and recurring event) which may seem out of tune in the current climate but a little research will reveal what kind of event it was and that it still has currency.

(Hint: Liverpool Medical Students)

This next shows fairly typical expenditure of the day but also that ladders didn’t come ready made in the village.

The caretaker of any institution is important and here is his salary for the year, although the corrections may indicate some confusion over this. Bearing in mind different sources come up with different answers, as an example, £23.00 in 1908 would be equivalent, according to one official government source, to a purchasing power of £2,838.18 today. The same source suggests average earnings were £70.00 annually. Mr. Johnson was clearly able to supplement his earnings with his Bowling Green work, Joseph of that name, of course!

Moving on to 1909, billiards remain popular but subscriptions are down. An unfortunate student would at this point be asked to suggest reasons. “More research is needed” will have to do for now.

Having checked Billiards or Snooker are not yet Olympic Sports these two items of expenditure may suggest unkindly that had they been Weaverham would not quite have been at the required standard to participate just yet. More likely, just a very well used facility. Better than “more research needed”?

Other entertainments are also listed over the years, proving how well used the Institute was and not just for its members.

To finish on this little snapshot of one part of village life, two extracts of contrasting fortunes. In 1909/10 the caretaker’s earnings have increased, and would be equivalent to £3,208.37 today in purchasing power. Other sources have this figure as lower. Inflation was deemed to be 0.00%

By 1915 matters are changing.

(These sources will be returned to in future to give further insights into village life.)

Acknowledgements: Mr. R. Heaton

Meanwhile, just to remind you, our next Zoom meeting is on

Tuesday 13 July 2021 at 7.30 pm – details are below, and we look forward to seeing you all. 

For our final Zoom meeting this summer, we have David Hearn talking about the vital role that was played by the City of Liverpool during the Battle of the Atlantic, a battle which lasted throughout the whole of World War II.

We also hope that you will be able to join us in person when our meetings resume on Tuesday, 14 September 2021 when we plan to be back at our usual venue, the Weaverham Primary Academy. We have a wide ranging selection of speakers for 2021/22and we start in September with Professor Ian Morison describing how astronomers have increased our understanding of the universe.

Jacquie Williams, Chair and the Committee

Please see our 2021/2022 speakers on our Programme page


Weaverham History Society promotes the study of and interest in history and archaeology with particular reference to Weaverham and the surrounding area.

The Society meets at Weaverham Primary Academy, Northwich Road, Weaverham, Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 3BD.

Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month and we invite a guest speaker to talk to us on a topic of historical or archaeological interest, though sometimes the subjects range further afield.  You can see what’s planned on our Programme page.

Membership is £15.00 per year with renewals in September. Payments can be made by BACS sort code 09-01-29 a/c 26685458. Meetings are free to members of the Weaverham History Society, children and students. Visitors are requested to pay £3 at each meeting.

We also organise highly enjoyable visits to local places of interest in spring and summer usually by coach from the village and we seem to have started a tradition of having a yearly canal boat trip as well. The Society normally invests in the services of Blue Badge guides on our visits.  We also have a very enjoyable Christmas event every year, the talk commonly having a seasonal flavour.

We have articles on a range of topics, mainly about Weaverham, but also covering the surrounding areas. Although not a dedicated family history group, we do have some information on local families, and are always interested to hear from you.
We are continually developing our Archives and we have an array of items (objects, maps, and photos).  We are always grateful to receive any contributions.  

As we expand our new website you will be able to see some of what we have by visiting our Weaverham Archives page.

The Weaverham History Society also has a Facebook page.

We launched this website in January 2016, but while we move things across you can still find the old website at http://history.weaverham.org.uk/index2015.htm

The Years Turn.


“In the New Year, never forget to thank your past years because they enabled you to reach today! Without the stairs of the past, you cannot arrive at the future!”
Mehmet Murat ildan

The above quote by a Turkish writer reminds us how much the past has played a part in any community’s life. As a new year begins, it may be that the past year will be seen as one of further lows and highs in life’s journey. Weaverham itself has had its share of these:


The Battle of Britain 10th July – 31st October 1940

 80th Aniversary 2020

Never was so much owed by so many to so few

Following the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk and the fall of France, Germany planned to gain air supremacy in preparation for the invasion of Great Britain.  The Luftwaffe began with an air and sea blockade targeting coastal shipping, convoys and shipping centres but on 1st August 1940 they were directed to achieve air supremacy by incapacitating RAF Fighter Command.  Within days this led to them not only targeting airfields but also aircraft factories and infrastructure.

The Battle of Britain was the first military campaign fought entirely by air forces and the bravery of RAF pilots of Fighter Command flying Hurricanes and Spitfires supported by ground crew led to the defeat of the Luftwaffe forcing Hitler to abandon his invasion plans.  The Battle of Britain was fought over Southern England and was later to be followed by the Blitz (starting with a bombing campaign over London and later targeting other major cities in the country such as Liverpool).

The Battle of Britain saved the nation from invasion and we have to thank the many pilots of the RAF as well as those from other countries who fought so bravely and, in many cases, sacrificed their lives.

Read more here.

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