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Standish - Beeches

Name: The Beeches

Address: School Lane, Standish

The Beeches Hotel and Restaurant is currently closed and its future remains in doubt but it was originally the home of the Almond family and was built in the 1880's.  The Almonds were a affluent family who ran the local brewery, J.B.Almond's which was located further down School Lane next to the Wheatsheaf Hotel, both of which were demolished in 1985 to make way for a new supermarket.

The brewery itself was opened in 1870 by James Birkett Almond and the family also owned the whole row of terraces between the brewery and The Beeches to house their workers. The brewery was finally sold off in 1968 to Burtonwood Brewery in Warrington.

James Birkett Almond was the son of a grocer, William Almond and baptised in the parish church of St Wilfrid's. William and his wife Mary (Birkett) were originally from Pemberton in Wigan where they got married in 1832.

Marriage: 3 May 1832 All Saints, Wigan, Lancashire, England
William Almond - Wigan Parish
Mary Burkitt - Wigan Parish
    Witness: E. Almond; Thomas Winders; John Daglish; John Hopwood; Wm. Potter, Church Warden
    Married by Licence by: J.Paley Curate
    Register: Marriages 1830 - 1832, Page 232, Entry 695
    Source: LDS Film 1885692

By the 1840's they were living in Engine Row in Standish, to the North of the village opposite where the Shamrock Pub now stands.

Baptism: 14 Dec 1845 St Wilfrid, Standish, Lancashire, England
James Birkett Almond - [Child] of William Almond & Mary
    Abode: Standish
    Occupation: Grocer
    Baptised by: Geo Whitlock Curate
    Register: Baptisms 1834 - 1869, Page 154
    Source: LDS Film 1526140

James' father died in 1863, as can been seen on his probate record above. At the time of the 1861 census James was still living at home, 15 years old and working as a carter and agricultural labourer. Following William's death Mary continued to run the grocery business, now living on High Street to the south of the village centre and by 1871 James was working as a butcher with his brother Richard.

1871 Census
James married Jane Scotson at St John's church in Pemberton in 1874 and they lived close to the brewery at No.3 High Street at the time of the 1881 census below.  The business was still in its early stages then, as can be seen by the description of James' occupation, employing just eight men. 

1881 Census
Jane sadly died later that year and was buried on 8th October 1881 at St Wilfrid's. Twelve months later James remarried another local girl, Mary Ellen Richardson.

Marriage: 13 Dec 1882 St Wilfid, Standish, Lancashire, England
James Birkett Almond - Full Age, Brewer, Widower, Standish
Mary Ellen Richardson - Full Age, Spinster, Standish
    Groom's Father: William Almond, Grocer
    Bride's Father: William Richardson, Farmer
    Witness: Jane Richardson; William Richardson; George Stephens
    Married by License by: W. H. Brandreth Rector
    Register: Marriages 1880 - 1900, Page 27, Entry 54
    Source: LDS Film 1526141

Baptism: 9 May 1888 St Wilfrid, Standish, Lancashire, England
James Birkett Almond - 3rd son of James Birkett Almond & Mary Ellen
    Born: 7 Mar 1888
    Abode: Standish
    Occupation: Brewer
    Baptised by: J. F. Harris Curate
    Register: Baptisms 1885 - 1891, Page 43, Entry 341
    Source: LDS Film 1526140

1891 Map
The Almond family have certainly left their mark on the village and their name lives on, as evidenced from the below excerpt from the Shevington Heritage Trail.

1892 Map

Kelly's 1895 Directory of Wigan

1901 Census

In the early 1900's the Almonds whilst still owning the Beeches had moved from the property and upgraded to Standish Hall.  

James Birkett Almond Snr's probate record below confirms the extent of the family wealth when he died in 1908...£13.5 million in today's money.

1909 Map

JB Almond's Brewery and The Wheatsheaf Hotel

1911 Census

3rd Woodlands Hospital The Beeches Standish Wigan
'At the outbreak of the First World War,the British Red Cross and the Order of St John of Jerusalem combined to form the Joint War Committee. They pooled their resources under the protection of the red cross emblem. As the Red Cross had secured buildings, equipment and staff, the organisation was able to set up temporary hospitals as soon as wounded men began to arrive from abroad and the Beeches in Standish was one such building. 
The buildings varied widely, ranging from town halls and schools to large and small private houses, both in the country and in cities. The most suitable ones were established as auxiliary hospitals. 
Auxiliary hospitals were attached to central Military Hospitals, which looked after patients who remained under military control. There were over 3,000 auxiliary hospitals administered by Red Cross county directors. 
In many cases, women in the local neighbourhood volunteered on a part-time basis. The hospitals often needed to supplement voluntary work with paid roles, such as cooks. Local medics also volunteered, despite the extra strain that the medical profession was already under at that time. 
The patients at these hospitals were generally less seriously wounded than at other hospitals and they needed to convalesce. The servicemen preferred the auxiliary hospitals to military hospitals because they were not so strict, they were less crowded and the surroundings were more homely.'

At the time of James Birkett Almond Jnr's death in 1925 the business was passed to the other siblings of whom William, the eldest was still involved in the brewery.

When William Almond died in 1964 one of his beneficiaries was James Birkett Almond, the son of Leonard Richardson Almond.

Baptism: 30 Jun 1935 St Michael and All Angels, Swinley, Wigan, Lancashire, England
James Birkett Almond - [Child] of Leonard Richardson Almond & Sybil Eileen Nancy
    Born: 11 May 1935
    Abode: 14 Mesnes Road, Wigan
    Occupation: Bank Cashier
    Baptised by: E. Lisle Marsden, Vicar
    Register: Baptsms 1924 - 1946, Page 72, Entry 574

    Source: Original register at Wigan Archives

James was recorded on William's probate record as a brewer, almost certainly the last in the family line to be involved in the business. Following the takeover by Burtonwood Brewery they too were swallowed up by the brewing giants Marston's and company house records confirm that James Birkett Almond was a director of Marton's Estates Limited until 2000.

Appointment of Liquidators
Company Number: 06850320
Nature of Business: Operators of a hotel & restaurant
Type of Liquidation: Creditors' Voluntary Liquidation
Registered office: The registered office of the Company has been changed to c/o CG&Co, 17 StAnn's Square, Manchester, M2 7PW, having previously been School Lane, Standish, Wigan, WN6 0TD
Principal trading address: School Lane, Standish, Wigan, WN6 0TD
Liquidator's name and address: Jonathan E Avery-Gee and Stephen L Conn of CG & Co, 17 St Ann's Square, Manchester M2 7PW
Office Holder Numbers: 1549 and 1762.
Date of Appointment: 27 January 2017
By whom Appointed: Members and Creditors
Further information about this case is available from Andrew Walker at the offices of CG & Co on 0161 358 0210.

Spring 2019 saw the start of a redevelopment project at the Beeches with ambitious plans for an extended wedding and function venue. The plans are to create a restaurant for around 180 covers with a private dining room for up to 40 people plus two function rooms for 80 and 150 people for events.

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