A Letter from Nantwich

January 2010 | edited and updated March 2015                                                                 

After a range of names, The Cat is back








The Cheshire Cat on a sunny winter's afternoon in 2010.

ONE of the things about living in a place for a while is that you see things change. Buildings are knocked down and what replaces them can be good or bad, depending on your tastes.

   Or buildings stay as they are but the name is the latest.

   One in particular is The Cheshire Cat in Welsh Row. And after a series of different names it is now known by the original one. I am very pleased to see that it has been renamed to the name by which Ihave always known it.

   A banner put up on the building in 2010 was headed "Feline Groovy!" and declared: "The Cat is back". I'm not too sure about the new logo (above) but you can't have everything.

   As times changed, the Cat was transformed from a restaurant to a nightclub called Korky's (after a character in a children's comic, Korky the Cat) in 1972, and then it was known as Curshaw's.

   In later form it was a "cafe, bar, eaterie and rooms" Currently (2015) the board outside the building has had the word "rooms" blacked out, although the


website - www.thecatat.com/nantwich - declares it is a Hotel, Restaurant and Bar.

   The building stood empty for four years between its time as a nightclub and when the three Schofield brothers - John, Paul and Mark - changed it into Curshaw's.

    I remember it as the place where Nantwich Players held a dinner on the Monday after a successful production in the Civic Hall. The cast and the backstage team assembled and there were speeches.

   In a room behind the dining rooms - all low ceilings and with a black-and-white theme - there was a larger room, called The Barn, where dances were held.

   Over the front door of the hotel is a plaque - one of several placed on buildings of interest - by the Rotary Club of Nantwich (with the help of Nantwich Civic Society) to mark 75 years of the movement. This one records that the building began life in the early 17th century as three cottages and was converted in 1676 to almshouses for six widows by Sir Roger Wilbraham, "moved by the death if his wife and sons".

    The story goes that there were two widows to each almshouse and that there was a line drawn down the middle of each house to designate the area that was to be occupied by each widow. One


extra thing I found of interest about the Cat's website was that it refers to Salt Dabbers but it is not clear whether that means the people or if it refers to an implement used in salt production (something like a salt pat?). I haven't heard of either version before.


lAnother Nantwich building that returned to its original name is The Talbot in Oat Market which dropped its trendy name of The Frog and Ferret. Unfortunately, with the advent of the No Smoking rule in public buildings the original view of the front of the pub has been somewhat obscured with a raised area and a marquee for drinkers who have to go outside to smoke. The name was restored in September 2007.     

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