bravest street in Britain
Millions of British soldiers flocked to the colours, to fight
in the First World and from every city, town and village they made
the supreme sacrifice. Yet there was not a single community anywhere
in the land to compare with Chapel Street, Altrincham.
This was undoubtedly the ‘bravest street’ in Britain!
In 1914 Chapel Street comprised sixty Coronation Street-style houses,
with gas lamps, backyards and outside lavatories. Life here was
about large families, lodging houses, grinding poverty and a rough,
tough existence. The menfolk were tailor-made cannon fodder for
the trenches of hell in France.
And so it came to pass. From Chapel Street’s sixty houses
an incredible 160 men enlisted. Their wives, mothers, sweethearts
and children watched them proudly march to war – they promised
to be back by Christmas!
They were not, of course, and by the time of the Armistice in 1918,
thirty were dead.
Chapel Street had, indeed, paid the supreme sacrifice.
In 1919 a memorial was unveiled in Altrincham, paid for by residents
of the town. It was near to All Saints Church, at the entrance to
Chapel Street, and King George V sent a personal message:
’His Majesty is proud to think that a roll of honour has been
subscribed for, and will be unveiled as a record of the patriotism
and fighting spirit so prominently displayed by the people of Altrincham.’
Today Chapel Street is no more – it was demolished years ago,
to make way for a car park.
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