In The Shadow of The Tower

In The Shadow of The Tower we look at different aspects of the History of Wallasey. Some interesting stories, news and facts as well as fascinating people.


Man Who Sank A Cruiser

Above is a photograph of Ian Fraser, the Wallasey V.C., and his frogmen, at the reopening of the New Brighton Bathing Pool on Saturday, 17th May 1947. Ian won the V.C. in 1945 for a gallant and successful midget submarine attack on a Japanese cruiser. A demonstration of an attack on a ship was given in the pool, the operation being followed with keen interest by a large crowd. Left to right: The Mayor (Alderman B.C. King), Ian Fraser, V.C., Brian Fraser (his brother), Bob Francis, and the Baths Manager, Mr. C. Mitchell. Ian passed away on 1st September 2008. Part of the New Brighton promenade is named in his honour.

It is also worth mentioning that two Wallasey men took part in the British Commando raid on St. Nazaire in March 1942. The Wallasey men were former Commando Sergeant Fred Holt, of Wallasey Road (son-in-law of Mr and Mrs Wildgoose of the Boot Inn) and Mr. Leslie Whelan, of Leander Road. Both were amongst the 127 survivors of the raid who were taken prisoner and spent the rest of war in German prison camps. Fred passed away in 1964, aged 49. Leslie died in 1979, aged 63.

A Throughfare to Birkenhead

Belvidere Road, now an important thoroughfare, was at one time only an accommodation road for the farm run by Harold Littledale in Mill Lane. Mr. Littledale was son-in-law to Sir John Tobin, who lived opposite to the first named in Liscard Road, his house being reached by a carriage drive situated about where Chatsworth Avenue now is.  Sir John was a great benefactor of St. John’s Church. He was Mayor of Liverpool in 1830.

In 1880, when Warren Drive, which up till then only came as far as the west of ‘Stonebark’, was extended, it was intended to carry on the road in a direct line to Belvidere Road. This was to be continued across the farm fields to Mill Lane and then along to link up with Gorsey Lane (then also an accommodation road)  to Duke Street and so on to Charing Cross, Birkenhead. Owing to the owner of a piece of land about Broadway Avenue raising opposition the scheme was stopped. Houses were built facing Warren Drive, on Grove Road, and the direct road was prevented.

Development Of The Town

The great development of Wallasey arose first in 1884. A year before a merchant in the cotton trade of Liverpool failed to attempt to “corner” the market. His failure was very serious to many in the trade, and Mr. Littledale, who, as I mentioned above, farmed most of the land in Wallasey, decided to close up his farm and sell some of the land. It so happened that the Ferry Committee had decided on giving 10 minute ferry service to Liverpool from Seacombe in place of the quarterly-hourly service.  An astute gentleman, Mr. David Benno Rappart, saw the opportunity of providing houses for people occupied in the city and living in the suburbs of Liverpool who wished to come home for a mid-day meal and get back in the hour allowed.  Liverpool was expanding north, east and south, and the slow trams prevented this being done.  At the same time the Ferries Committee decided to reduce the contract fares to a very cheap travel.  Mr. Rappart purchased the land between Brougham Road and Clarendon Road, and after just a few years the whole of the houses built thereon were let as speedily as they were erected. A considerable number of families came from Everton and formed a Social Club in the Egremont Institute, Tobin Street.  The migration of these settlers has been most interesting as their movements were invariably towards the north end of the town, probably as they felt their feet and found the crossing of the river was not as they formerly imagined before they came to Wallasey, and because their improvement financially enabled them to live further from their place of occupation.

New Brighton Shell

In April 1972 two schoolboys saved the lives of possibly many visitors when they found a live shell only fifty yards from the New Brighton pier.

Keith Winstanley, aged 14, of 9 St. George's Mount and John Curphey, 14 of 16 Balmoral Road, both pupils of Wirral Grammar School, were on the beach one Thursday afternoon when they came across a barnacle-encrusted 15-inch naval shell. The boys even sat on the bomb for a rest!

The Bomb Disposal Unit arrived from Liverpool, and the shell was safely blown up off Harrison Drive. The bomb was thought to be a wartime relic, possibly from a sunken ship.

Safe to say it wasn't quite the sea-variety shell they were looking for!

Battle of the Brickworks

In the early 1870’s a brickworks was established on the river front to exploit the valuable clay bank lying between Tobin Street and Maddock Road, a company being formed for the purpose.

Vast numbers of bricks were made and a large export trade arose. Flats would lie alongside the river wall and the bricks were wheeled to the side and dumped in.  Many persons walking along the narrow river wall would stand and watch the work going on but there was always the danger of accidents.

I have already covered the saga of the “Battle of the Brickworks” and clicking the link will cover the story as told in the local newspaper at the time but let’s cover the subject here. In December 1877, the company at last decided to stop this encroachment, and they erected a barrier to prevent passing people from encroaching on the works.  The Local Board met and resolved to defend the rights of the public. The Fire Brigade, under Captain Leather, was ordered to demolish the barrier. This was done on a Wednesday in December, 1877, and the chairman of the Works Committee, Mr. Henry Skinner, announced in the Council that “the barrier, at the moment, was floating down in the neighbourhood of the lighthouse at New Brighton”.  But, even while he was speaking, another barrier was being erected. On Thursday the Fire Brigade again turned out and demolished it. But on Friday all night the brickmakers were at work and a very formidable barrier stood up against further attack. Huge beams had been thrown across the way, and spiked railings which could not be cut by axes or saws kept the attackers off the premises.

At 1 pm on Saturday a great crowd assembled at the foot of Tobin Street. The Fire Brigade, reinforced by a number of civilians, prominent among them being brickmakers who were opposed to the machine-made brickmaking, assembled in full force. Large axes were handed out to anyone willing to work and they marched to the brickworks entrance. Then the attack direct commenced.  The tide was a high one and came well up to the wall. Two Liscard men, Jim and Bill Carney, well known “hard cases”, commenced to attack the outer edge of the barrier, which overhung the river. All at once there was a shout and both of them were in the river. The defenders had a pole with a hook at the end. This they pushed through the spaces in the barrier and hooked the hackers into the river. They were soon fished out. Then big cross cut saws were brought into action to cut the baulks of timber. After some time, the defenders opened a hot water attack on the fire brigade. They had run pipes from the boiler along the top of the barrier about eight feet from the ground. These were pierced with holes, and when the water was turned on it was scalding hot and flew in all directions. A rush back too place, but the wily defenders had dug a trench about four feet deep, filled it with wet puddle clay, covered it with dust, and as the authority rushed out of the steam and water many sank up to the middle in the trench.  Meanwhile, the attackers were getting on, until the defenders, who had prepared a lot of quarter bricks, began to hurl them. Thereupon the police, under Inspector Hindley, dashed in and arrested two of the directors, one of whom was Mr. Thomas Valentine Burrows, who afterwards lived to become alderman of the borough, Mayor, and had the honour of receiving King George V and Queen Mary when they came to open the Town Hall in 1914. Two of the workmen were also arrested for throwing stones.  This was done to preserve order, and the matter was settled summarily on the Monday following by a fine. The result was that an arrangement was made between the Local Board and the Brick Company which preserved the right of way along the wall to the public.

Some years after the “Battle” there was an incident involving a young man named Henry  Mayall, who lived in Church Street and was a member of the Egremont Institute. He was a well known long distance runner who went for a run late one evening along the shore and wall. At that time the wall was about three feet wide and much worn by constant traffic. There was no railing, so anyone who slipped might fall into the river or shore on one side, and on the inside the clay had been excavated six to eight feet and one could easily break a limb by falling there.

Next morning young Mayall was found dead on the shore. His legs had been broken from the fall and he drowned by the tide coming in over him. He was unable to crawl to safety and no one was about at that time of night.

As a number of accidents had happened before because of the unfenced wall there was great anger from the community so the Local Board was asked to take action to fence the wall. The clerk said that nothing could be done as the wall was the property of the Liverpool Dock Board and private.

But there were some persistent people behind the agitation, notably Samuel Boyd and Josiah Maximus Hawkins, a member of the Local Board for Seacombe. An interview took place with the chairman of the Dock Board, and ultimately permission was given to fence the wall and fill up and level  the inside on condition that no damage was done to the structure of the wall.

This was done between Tobin Street and Maddock Road, and the public flocked down on Sundays and holidays. It was so appreciated that the Local Board extended it on to the Seacombe side between Tobin Street and Elmswood Road.

This was of course the beginning of our present day promenade and we should remember it was the work of Boyd and Hawkins who made the Dock Board adopt the scheme.

The frontagers along the land between Seacombe and New Brighton met the Local Board very fairly, and one condition only was placed on the land transferred that no vehicular traffic should be allowed between Seacombe and New Brighton.

As a result, the land between Manor Road and Holland Road was developed by Mr. Rappart and a very large increase of rateable value was added to the rapidly growing town.

The next development was on the Mainwaring estate between Liscard Road and Poulton Road, while in other parts property was springing up all round, six and seven hundred houses being built annually. 

Jumping On and Off the Boats

Did you know that at one time passengers were permitted to jump on and off the ferryboats instead of passing across the gangway? This caused accidents, as people frequently fell into the river. This, of course, created delay to the boats, as the people had to be rescued, and dislocated the service. The ferrymen were a gallant lot and won many medals for rescues. One man, Tom Walker, saved about 20 lives, and Joe Molloy, afterwards a captain, also saved many.

The Board at length decided to stop this jumping and engaged half a dozen policemen from the Chief Constable of Cheshire to travel on the boats and take the names of offenders. As usual, there was opposition to this excellent intention.

The first day of the plan was put into operation and a number of men, headed by Mr. Mills, of Creek Side House, stood deliberately on the Seacombe Stage till the gangway had been withdrawn, and then stepped aboard. A policeman asked for their names and addresses. Summonses were issued, but when they came into court the Magistrates’ Clerk (Mr. Kent) asked under what bye-law the Board was acting.  As there was no bye-law, the prosecution failed and the summonses were withdrawn.   The Board, finding the officers were useless, asked the Chief Constable to withdraw his men, but he refused as he had engaged other men to take their place. The result was that the policemen had to travel on the boats with nothing to do but smoke and play cards.

Birkenhead also had problems with passengers jumping on and off the ferryboats. The Corporation obtained a bye-law to prevent it. As usual there was opposition but after further deaths the passengers adhered to the bye-law without complaint.

The Old Fire Brigade

I have already made mention of our fire brigade so maybe a few more details of their early history. The Fire Brigade was a volunteer organisation with Captain Leather as the chief officer. The men were mostly plumbers, and men engaged in the building trade, who understood the work. The arrangements for calling them ne together, and their tools, were somewhat of a “Dark Town” order. The reel, the sole one in the town, was kept at the Water Tower in Mill Lane. On an alarm of fire, one volunteer had to run to a cottage which stood opposite the Tower and get the key, then run and open the door of the Tower, and pull the cord of a small bell standing at the very top of the Tower. If anyone heard the bell there was a shout of “Fire!” and interested people rushed to the Tower. The reel was dragged out, two sturdy men got in the shafts and a rope about 40 feet long was fastened to the shaft. What firemen had arrived by this time climbed on the reel. All others who could get a hold on the rope, and away they went, shouting and whistling, and picking up other fire fighters on the way.  The horses were supplied by Gibbons’ Stables of Liscard, which later became site of the old Capitol Cinema.

Keenans Cottage in Mill Lane is where HArry Keenan, the caretaker and holder of the key for the Water Tower, lived. This thatched cottage was demolished c1912.

Snow Balling at Seacombe

Something a little different! When the shipbuilding yard of Messrs. Bowdler and Chaffer at Seacombe was in operation, it frequently happened that, when the snow was on the ground during the winter months, work was stopped. The men, having nothing to do, used to assemble in Victoria Road (today Borough Road), near the junction with Demesne Street and Abbotsford Street, and wait for persons making for the boats. These they would pepper with snowballs, and, in some cases get the people down on the ground and put snow down their necks. This went on for several years. Yet the authorities put no stop to it. Eventually in the winter of 1872 or 1873, one morning, a burly, powerful man, was just approaching the above named junction, when he saw a young clerk on the ground, and a number of men filling his neck and trousers with snow.  He rushed forward and told them to let the young fellow up, and not to be so cowardly. They immediately turned upon him. There was no police about, and the magistrates in their carriages had been snowballed as they passed long to the ferry. The burly man put his back to the wall and used his stick to advantage. He saw one man aiming at him, and as he threw, the stick hit him on the hand and broke two fingers. Another man got a blow on the head which knocked him down and others bolted up the entry between the old Abbotsford Hotel and Mr. Andrew Davidson’s, undertaker, establishment.

The police took action and summoned a lot of the offenders, and the magistrates inflicted fines of 40/- and costs on all. This put a stop to what had become a public nuisance.

Cymbals at the Council

Wallasey, like other places, has had some eccentrics on its governing body who have caused trouble and scenes at its meetings, but I doubt whether any place has had the unique distinction that Wallasey once had of a member using a musical instrument in defying the chairman’s authority. In the early 1870’s Mr. James Cowan, residing in Grosvenor Street, Liscard, and in business in Dale Street, Liverpool, was elected to the Local Board. He was in a good way of business as a hatter, for silk hats were always worn by merchants. James was convinced there was a lot of bribery and corruption in Board affairs. He was always raising questions that were out of order, and, of course, had to be stopped by the chairman.

On one occasion, in 1872, when the Board refused to listen to him, James exclaimed, “Well, if you won’t listen to me speaking, I will make you hear me.” Then, going to a table, he unfastened a large parcel which the members had been eyeing suspiciously all evening, and proceeded to clash an enormous pair of cymbals which he had brought with him purposely. He was then removed from the building.

James Cowan fell on bad times through neglecting his business for Board work and put his house in his wife’s name. The qualification for a seat on the Board was that a member had to be rated to the poor on an assessment of £30 per annum, or that he was worth £1,000. The next time the chairman refused to accept James nomination as he had no assessment qualification, and it was believed that he was not worth £1,000. James brought an action at Chester Assizes and Mr. Justice Lush decided in his favour, saying that it was absurd to think that a man not worth a penny could enter the House of Commons while a trumpery Local Board required a monetary qualification. He held that, as the Act did not state £1,000 in cash, a man might have a picture of heirloom which he valued at £1,000. James won his case with costs. Later he turned his attention to the magistrates. The qualification for a County J.P. was that he must be rated to the poor on an assessment, and James attended at the Session House, Liscard Road (later a cinema) and objected to certain J.P.s sitting. He was successful. Later two of the J.P.s had the assessment of the Cottage Hospital, Seacombe, and the Dispensary in Liscard Road placed in their names. When James attended at the Court to object he was ordered to keep silence under threat of committal for contempt of Court. It was held that the qualification was good though probably not bona-fide. However, the qualification was removed very shortly after.

James next escapade was to get himself nominated for the Local Board. The chairman refused to accept his nomination and also ordered that he should not be allowed to attend the counting of the votes. On the day of the counting James had been hiding across Church Street watching the public offices and the moment the doorkeepers had gone for tea he slipped across and went upstairs into the counting room where McAllister, the keeper of the building, heard the shout “Here we go again”.  A struggle emerged between James and McAllister. Eventually James was evicted from the building.

James was never again elected to the Local Board and passed away in 1921, aged 88. Such a colourful character! A full story as told by the newspapers can be read by clicking the LINK.

Wallasey Cricket Club

A few notes on the early years of the two most important clubs in the borough – Wallasey and New Brighton.

Wallasey C.C. is the elder of the two and should therefore come first, and it also bears the name of the ancient Village.

The club has had three lives. It originated first in a club which played down Leasowe Road, near the shepherd’s hut which stood on the pathway leading across the links, an ancient highway at the junction with Green Lane – another old road. The land was let to the club by Mr. Harold Littledale, who generally had about 200 sheep and a number of young heifers on it. He had a pitch made for the club. The two gentlemen who created the club were Mr. Horspool and Mr. William McElroy.  Two of the original members who joined on formation in 1867 were Mr. Will George and Mr. Thomas Westcott. Mr. Horspool was the first captain and Mr. John Hortley first honourary secretary.  The latter was the schoolmaster at Grammar School on the Breck, and about 1872 became Assistant Overseer and Poor Rate Collector for the Township of Liscard.

Later on Mr. James Harrison, of ‘The Laund’, laid out a pitch for the club on “Flynn’s Piece”, Grove Road, and Mr. Westcott became captain. This piece of land was public property on which the inhabitants were allowed to dig clay, and Major Walter, who lived at ‘The Grange’, objected to the public ground being used by a club, so he paid men to dig holes all over the pitch to prevent play.

The third venture was on the land on which the club now plays - The Oval, Rosclare Drive. Mr. John Braithwaite, a Yorkshire, who lived at the top of Gerard Road became the captain.  The land had been farmed by John Leicester, butcher, of Liscard, and he treated the club very generously, laid out a pitch, and charged little rent, which little was not always paid.

In 1870 there was a Cricket Club in New Brighton which played on a piece of land in Albion Street, now built upon, and lying abreast of St. James Church. Several members of the Wilson family, who lived in Rowson Street at the corner of Virginia Road, also of the Skelsmerdine family, and others, were members. Jack Liversage, a well known figure in Wallasey, also belonged to the club, which ultimately fell to pieces.

Another club called the “Lingfell”, started in 1873, on land situated on the east side pf Halstead Road, Somerville It commenced in the following manner:- Four young men, Tom Hammer, Charlie Walmsley, James Owen and Dan McGrory, were talking one evening on the land where the Baths stand at Guinea Gap. The conversation turned on the absence of a cricket club in Seacombe or Egremont, and there and then it was decided to create one. Tom Hammer was elected captain. In 1876 the ground was required for building purposes, and that was the end of the club. Fortunately a Mr. Martin had come to live in ‘Winch House’ (now the site of Edith, Ethel and Florence Roads) and under his inspiration a new club was started. Many of the Lingfell players formed up again, which was called Egremont C.C.

Later, about 1880, the New Brighton Club was in a bad way, and as Egremont’s land was also to be built on, Mr. T.E. Edwards induced most of the best players to join New Brighton and the land in Rake Lane having been obtained.

Last Orders at the Marine Hotel

One of Wallasey’s oldest pub called time in 1992. Seacombe’s Marine Hotel, two former fisherman’s cottages, was a local landmark (known as Brassey’s) and dated back over 200 years. The small pub had a big heart and many of the regulars packed the place to hear the last licensee Pat Ruck cry the final “Time Gentlemen Please” on Saturday, 4th January 1992. She had run the Birkenhead Road cornerstone with Dad John Fielding for 14 years.  The riverside hotel was once famous for its American Bowling Alley and close by the ferry was a walkway known as Marine Parade, leading to the Marine Hotel, which ended a row of cottages.

The cottages were whitewashed and next to Brasseys there was an even smaller establishment known as the Ship Inn, circa 1888.

Only the Marine Hotel survived to the 1990’s and in 1992 the building was demolished to make way for a revised traffic lay-out and a roundabout.

Another drinking place to see demolished just four years later was the Grand Hotel in New Brighton which caught fire in the early hours of 7th August 1996. The heart of the blaze was thought to be a wooden staircase which climbed to the top of the three-storey building.   The building, which had operated as a nightclub since the 1960’s, was fortunately empty at the time.  More than 50 firemen from across the Wirral spent several hours tackling the incident.  Luckily Coasters next door was left undamaged though 50 people had to be evacuated.   

Icebergs on the Mersey

Some people on first glace of the picture published above may feel inclined to think it is a photograph of a scene in the Arctic regions. But is is simply one of a Wallasey ferry boat approaching Seacombe Ferry during the ice age of 1895.

During the winter of that year the River Mersey in its upper reaches became frozen over for about six weeks, and the ice got so thick that, it is reported, people had walked across the river in the neighbourhood of Hale. When the thaw came the ice broke up and drifted down the river in huge masses, and then floated up again, as the tide rose and fell, for several weeks. The captains of the boats had to watch carefully for these "bergs" and several of the boats lost paddle floats. Pieces of ice weighing tons were cast up on the shore between Seacombe and New Brighton and some even round by the Red Noses.

Stormy Weather

Our weather always seems to hit the headlines.  Storms have hit Wallasey on a number of occasions - the storm of 1990 would be considered by most the most destructive. On the night of Thursday, 26th February 1903 a destructive gale swept across Wallasey, Liverpool and surrounding district.  That night the gale was accompanied with torrential rain and vivid flashes of lightening.  The morning revealed a scene of desolation, many chimneys having been blown down, trees uprooted, huge advertising boards overthrown, shop windows smashed, and houses unroofed.

In one incident Miss Lizzie Pollard, of 58 Buchanan Road, Seacombe and Mr. Walter Howden, of 9 Massey Park, Liscard, were proceeding to Seacombe Ferry, with the intention of crossing to Liverpool, when as they passed opposite the Seacombe Railway Station the boardings at that point were blown down, and fell on the unfortunate couple. Both were taken to Victoria Central Hospital by ambulance and on arrival they were examined and it was found they both were severely bruised and shaken.

Poulton felt the full force owing to the exposed area. Many tiles were stripped from many buildings, and windows broken. The row of shops near Winterhey Avenue felt the full force of the hurricane. One shop had the tiles torn clean off, while the boundary wall at the rear was demolished.  Considerable damage was done to the American Steam Laundry, Poulton Road, the roof of the coach house being lifted completely off the building and deposited in the yard.

The extensive hoardings between Albemarle Road and Brougham Road were completely destroyed, and large portions of the woodwork were blown into Hood Street.

The windows of the Rake Lane Schools, Liscard, were so badly damaged that the children had to be sent home.

Further damage was done to the greenhouses of the Wallasey market garners and the plate-glass windows in Boots’ chemist shop, King Street, was smashed by the wind.

A large chimney stack on a house at the top of Falkland Road, was blown down on Thursday night, and crashed through the roof, doing considerable damage.

A much earlier storm struck the parish on the 7th and 8th January 1839 and was described as “terror-stricken”.  Many small boats out on the Mersey were pounded against each other or against the sea walls and sunk in the fury of the storm.  Many lives were lost, including women and children, on board the packet ships ‘Pennsylvania’ and ‘Lockwoods’. The 'Lockwoods' was an emigrant ship with 108 souls on board, most of whom were drowned. The steam tug 'Victoria' towed out the lifeboat, which was housed at the Magazines (Lane). After several journeys the tug and lifeboat 55 people were saved from the 'Lockwoods' (including a baby which had been born a couple of days before). Many of the drowned are buried at St. Hilary Churchyard. As soon as the hurricane abated the locals began to plunder the wrecks.

The hurricane caused much damage to the parish. Slates blew off the roofs, bricks and coping stones flew “like hailstones” and walls and even the sides of houses collapsed.  Dozens of heavy chimney stacks crashed through the roofs of houses, carrying bedroom and ground floors into the basements and caused the deaths of many people who were in bed or sheltering in the lower parts of houses.

Wallasey Baths

Question - Where was Wallasey's first open air public baths? Wallasey's first public baths was not actually the New Brighton Open Air Pool or even Derby Pool. In fact it was located at one time at the foot of Wheatland Lane, Birkenhead Road end. The old Bee Hotel use to be on the opposite side until it was demolished to make way for the docks. The tide used to come close up to it and an old sailing vessel was anchored there. The sea water was allowed to flow into it, and this was the original sea water bath of Wallasey!

From Correspondents

I receive many e-mails regarding Wallasey and will endeavour to eventually answer them if I can. One question I was asked was regarding Wallasey's Borough Surveyor Engineer, Mr W.H. Travers. After a little digging..

Mr. Travers first came to Wallasey as an assistant surveyor to the Local Board in 1889. During his assistant-surveyorship from 1889 to 1893 plans were made to extend what little promenade there was at the time to include a stretch between the north of Egremont Ferry to Holland Road. Mr. Travers then left to to take up a position at Wavertree but returned in 1897 and again took up promenade extension, this time from Holland Road to New Brighton.

Mr. Travers was to oversee many changes to Wallasey. He took the responsibility to demolish the 'Ham & Eggs Parade', on New Brighton front, he saw the reconstruction of many roads which were once just country lanes, he saw the building of a new fire station in Liscard that replaced the old premises in Platt Street. Other achievements included Earlston Library which included adding the new building to the old Earlston House by means of an archway. In 1907 Mr. Travers erected the Guinea Gap Baths as well as preparing the plans for the Town Hall. It is safe to say Mr. Travers had a finger in the pie of most of the work of public improvement.

By September 1923 W.H. Travers retired from his position.

And Finally...

Albert Terrace, Wallasey

The picture above is that of Albert Terrace which stood off Mount Pleasant Road. It was one of the many little courts and alleys of old Wallasey. It disappeared a long time ago.

In the picture can be seen the communal pump which stood at the centre of the terrace. A girl sits beside it and another peeps out from a doorway of a house on the right.

The Wallasey of these little girls was slow-moving and gaslit. It had a long way to go before the march of time was to catch up with it and change it completely.

Places like this may not have boasted any mod cons, but it had a real identity. It was not exactly picturesque, but it had a certain charm. What they had, and in generous measure, was warmth, vitality and friendliness. They were close communities, Their people cared about one another.