Blacon

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Blacon
Blacon is located in Cheshire
Blacon
Blacon
 Blacon shown within Cheshire
Population 13,495 (2001 Census) [1][2]
OS grid reference SJ385675
Unitary authority Cheshire West and Chester
Ceremonial county Cheshire
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town CHESTER
Postcode district CH1
Dialling code 01244
Police Cheshire
Fire Cheshire
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament City of Chester
List of places
UK
England
Cheshire

Coordinates: 53°11′33″N 2°53′28″W / 53.1926°N 2.8912°W / 53.1926; -2.8912

Blacon is a large suburb in Chester, England, containing a mixture of private homes and substantial public council-built properties which are made up of houses, flats and bunglows for those less able. At one time it contained one of the largest council housing estates in Europe,[3] but this estate is now owned, run and maintained by the Chester and District Housing Trust in partnership with Cheshire West & Chester Council.

Geography[edit]

Chester Cathedral viewed from Blacon.

Blacon is situated adjacent to the Welsh border and is located on a hill, one mile to the north-west of, and overlooking Chester. The village is built on what was previously farming land and is surrounded by open countryside. Blacon has views across to the city centre of Chester and to the Welsh hills some twenty miles to the west. Other nearby places include Saughall to the north, Newtown, Chester to the north-east, Upton and to the east, the village of Mollington.[4]

History[edit]

North Blacon (Blacon Hall)[edit]

The Parade Shops in Blacon

Blacon was originally known as Blakon Hill and was owned by the Marquess of Crewe.[5] The Parish of Blacon cum Crabwall was formed in 1923, and on 1 April 1936, under the Cheshire County Review Order, 1936, most of the parish was transferred to Chester County Borough.[6]

It was a small farming village community until major building work by Chester City Council began in the early 1950s. Most of the older and original estate, was built in the ten years to 1960; though further parts were added on the old army camp site in South Blacon, in the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. 'The Parade' Shops, built in 1954 in north Blacon, are an example of Chester City Council building.

Blacon Camp (Blacon Lodge)[edit]

The British Army[7] maintained an army camp in south Blacon, from just before, to just after, the Second World War. A mixture of wooden and 'Nissen' huts were occupied by soldiers until the late 1950s; and the army firing range was still in evidence until the Chester City Council 'tower block' buildings of the mid-1960s. This part of (South) Blacon is referred to as 'The Camp' by local residents.

Community initiatives[edit]

The Blacon Together Pathfinder was established in 2001 as part of the first round of Pathfinders[8] and subsequently the Blacon community took part in many initiatives, led by the government's Neighbourhood Management Pathfinder Programme,[9] and a number of projects have been established by, and for, Blacon residents.[10]

Progress to improve the estate continues apace, with work done by the Blacon Community Trust[11] in partnership with the Chester and District Housing Trust forming 'The Blacon Alliance'.

Policing[edit]

Blacon is home to the new headquarters of the Western Division of the Cheshire Constabulary.[12]

Schools[edit]

Primary[edit]

  • St. Theresa's Catholic Primary School
  • J H Godwin Primary School
  • Dee Point Primary School
  • Highfield Community Primary School
  • The Arches Community Primary School

Secondary[edit]

Former[edit]

  • Bishop's School
  • Charles Kingsley Secondary School for Girls [13]

Places of worship[edit]

There are several places of worship in Blacon to cater for Christian and Asian/Muslim faiths. Holy Trinity-Without-The-Walls is the Church of England parish church. There is a Shah Jalal Mosque on Clifton Drive to the south of the suburb.

Blacon Cemetery[edit]

Blacon Cemetery was laid out in 1940, during the Second World War, when two plots, in Sections A and H, were set aside for service burials.[14] The cemetery's first interment took place on 20 December 1941.[15] The cemetery contains in all the war graves of 461 Commonwealth service personnel, including an unidentified Royal Air Force airman, and 97 war graves of other nationalities (86 of them Polish servicemen from various hospitals in the area) that are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The plot in Section A was a Royal Air Force regional cemetery for air personnel from bases in Cheshire and neighbouring counties, while members of other armed services were buried in Section H.[14]

In 1965 Chester Crematorium, built with garden of remembrance adjoining Section A, was opened. The original chapel was replaced with a new larger chapel that was built alongside it and opened in April 2013. The site of the older building, after its demolition, has been utilised as a memorial garden.[16]

Blacon railway station[edit]

Blacon railway station in the 1950s looking north-west to Shotton Steelworks
Blacon railway station in December 2006 showing cycle path/walkway and bridge in distance

Blacon station was served from Chester Northgate Station, Newtown, but was closed to passengers on 9 September 1968 as part of the 'Beeching Axe' for the economic modernisation of the British railway network in the mid-1960s.[17] Freight trains ran through Blacon until 20 April 1984, resuming as a single track line on 31 August 1986 before closing again in the early 1990s.[18][19]

Although the old station and railway line have gone, they have been replaced with a tarmac road surface, which now provides a cycle path, jogging track and a countryside walkway.[20] This amenity is accessed from the side of old Blacon station bridge; but its route can also be joined (just off) Chester's 'Fountain' roundabout, travelling via Blacon, and on to the North Wales countryside. Other joined routes can be accessed along the way.

In 2008, a volunteer group headed up by Stephen Perry in association with the Blacon Community Trust began to raise support for a major improvement of the Blacon Railway Station site. Improvements to date have included woodland sculptures, clearing and new planting of shrubs and trees and the planting of narcissi with much volunteer involvement from local schools and residents. The site is currently (as of November 2009) undergoing phase 2 of a major development to introduce pathways, fencing and special hard-landscaping features. The community trust placed a large train wheel mosaic consisting of pieces from schools and services local to the Blacon area.

Politics[edit]

Local government changes, April 2009[edit]

Chester City Council became defunct on 1 April 2009 due to structural changes.

Cheshire West and Chester (CWAC) is the newly established unitary authority area with borough status, in the ceremonial county of Cheshire. It was established in April 2009 as part of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England, by virtue of an order under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007.

Blacon formerly consisted of two Chester City Council[21] wards, each of which elected three councillors.

Blacon Hall ward[edit]

Population: 7,977 (2001 census)[1]

  • John Price, Deputy Leader of the Council, Labour
  • Judith Stainthorp, Labour
  • Norman Stainthorp, Labour

Blacon Lodge ward[edit]

Population: 5,518 (2001 census)[2]

  • Reggie Jones, Labour
  • Marie Nelson, Labour
  • Ethel Price, Labour

Cheshire County Council[edit]

Blacon had Labour representation on the former Cheshire County Council.

UK Parliament[edit]

Blacon, as part of the City of Chester constituency, is represented in the UK Parliament by Stephen Mosley, Conservative Party.

European Parliament[edit]

North West England

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "2001 Census: Blacon Hall (Ward)". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 6 October 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "2001 Census: Blacon Lodge (Ward)". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 6 October 2008. 
  3. ^ "Making Best Practice Stick", Commission for Rural Communities, CRC 38 / December 2006
  4. ^ Map of Blacon
  5. ^ Page 4 The 'Blacon Voice' December 2006 Issue #42
  6. ^ "Blacon cum Crabwall Parish Council", 1894-1936
  7. ^ The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment
  8. ^ Communities and Local Government, Neighbourhood Management and Social Capital, Research Report 35, Marilyn Taylor 2007
  9. ^ "Blacon Together", Pathfinder Portrait
  10. ^ Current Partnerships
  11. ^ Blacon Community Trust
  12. ^ Cheshire Constabulary, official site
  13. ^ "Chester City Council Departments 1958 to 1975". The National Archives London. The National Archives. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  14. ^ a b [1] CWGC Cemetery Report.
  15. ^ [2] Chester West & Chester Council website - deceased online page.
  16. ^ [3]Chester Chronicle report, opening of new crematorium, 4 April 2013.
  17. ^ Richard Beeching's report "The Reshaping of British Railways" was published in 1965.
  18. ^ "Station Name: Blacon". Disused Stations. Retrieved 6 October 2008. 
  19. ^ Oppitz, Leslie (1997). Cheshire Railways Remembered. Countryside Books. p. 111. ISBN 1-85306-458-0. 
  20. ^ "A Virtual Stroll Along the Mickle Trafford-Shotton Railway". 
  21. ^ "Council and Democracy". Chester City Council. Retrieved 6 October 2008. 

External links[edit]