Life Before Moorfield Primary School
It is difficult to believe, but many years ago, the land that Moorfield Primary School and the houses of Nursery Close and Whalley Grove now stand on, was lush, open fields; a semi rural setting, a far cry from what we see today. The land was owned by a business man, Jack Whalley, a local market gardener.
Jack lived on Moorfield Road in a small house (number180) and at this time School Way, the road that now leads to Moorfield School, was nothing more than a cinder path that led to his small holding. At the time, the only buildings to be found on the land were Jack’s Barns and a house built during the Second World War to Air Raid Specifications, meaning it had to have a flat roof and thick concrete walls. This house still stands today and is now Number 2 School Way. Jack used the fields on his small holding to grow produce which he made his living from, selling them locally at the nearby Widnes market. Jack grew a vast range of vegetables such as cabbages, sprouts and potatoes as well as growing more delicate plants like tomatoes and flowers in his greenhouses. Although Jack used his land to make a living and provide for his family, he kept a part of it fallow and left it to grow into a wild meadow; a tranquil space containing a pond which local youngsters used to fish in.
Jack was the proud owner of two magnificent, working shire horses that he used to plough his fields with, in preparation for the crops he would sow. They were housed comfortably, at night, in barns which actually stood on the site that Number One School Way is now to be found. Jack loved his horses and although they were working horses, he took great pride in entering them into local competitions, and shows which were popular at the time.
When Jack eventually decided to retire, he sold his land at auction for the princely sum of £2000- a considerable sum of money at that time! The land was bought by two separate buyers: Dale Homes and The Local Council. Time inevitably brings change and major changes were definitely a foot for Jack’s peaceful idyll. Dale homes went on to develop the land into a residential area, being responsible for many of the houses that we see today on Nursery Close and Whalley Grove. The council however had different plans for Jack’s fields and didn’t build on them at all, instead they decided to use them as playing fields for local football and rugby teams, until finally in 1963 Moorfield School was built and opened in September of that year.
The information above was kindly given to us by Jack Whalley’s grandson Roy French and his wife, Jean, January 2014.