The Hassall Family and the Acid Works by Joan Barton
Among the photographs chosen for !”Whitchurch Remembered” is one of a print of the town from the south-west, made in 1824. This shows a large building at the foot of the slope down from Newtown to the Canal which could not be identified. It was suggested that this might be the site of The Dairy House, now Goodwins, so an approach was made to the Directors of the firm. They kindly made documents available for study, including the will of Thomas Hassall, who died on 3 August 1859, leaving “The Acid Works in or near a certain place called Liverpool adjoining the Whitchurch Branch of the Ellesmere Canal, formerly the holding of William Perkins and then of William Moirey and Thomas Capper, and also the land called the Windmill Field adjoining the Turnpike Road to Wrexham”. The rent for this property, payable to the Lord of the Manor, Earl Brownlow, was 2/- annually, and the “fine” (renewal of the lease)
£2.2.0. (2 guineas)
The Hassall family must have been people of some substance, as the 1827 Rate Book shows Joseph Hassall of High Street as the owner of a house, Tanyard, Skinpits and malt kiln, valuation £36. On the 1841 Tithe map, a malt kiln is marked next to the “Acid Works”, which was in all probability the Tanyard as well.
In 1887, 13 acres of land for the Jubilee Park was bought by the Trustees from the Representatives of the lat Thomas Hassall for £1,250.
In 1918, a special Court Baron was held at Dodington at which William Lee Brookes was admitted tenant to “all those two messuages or dwelling houses with the out-buildings, garden and appurtenances thereof near Scotland Street in a certain place called Liverpool in Dodington” and also of “The Acid Works situate at The Chemistry and adjoining the Canal, and of the Windmill Field, now in the occupation of Richard Sharps”.
Richard Sharps bought both the latter properties in 1920 and continued to use the “Acid Works” buildings as a slaughter house, in conjunction with the butchers business in High Street (established by his father, also Richard Sharps, in 1863). He continued to live in The Dairy House until his death in 1924. The Sharps family farmed the Windmill Field until the land was sold to the Council for housing developments.
One of the roads was named “Sharps Drive”. T H Goodwin bought the Acid Works and Dairy House in 1933.
Only “Liverpool Road” is left as a reminder of the old name for this part of the town.