Chairman Sue Johns greeted members at the recent Middlewich U3A meeting and announced new beginners’ programmes in line dancing and card craft starting in September.

Guest speaker for the meeting was Mark Bevan with a talk entitled The Real Downton Abbey of Cheshire. The long-gone Oulton Hall has been home to Oulton Park race course since 1953.

Oulton Hall was the home of the Grey-Egertons. In 1891, Sir Philip Egerton became 12th baronet and married an American heiress from Baltimore. They had twin sons and a daughter.

Both sons joined the army in 1914. Philip, the eldest and heir, joined the Cheshire Yeomanry and Roland joined the Welsh Fusiliers. Roland was killed early on so Philip quit the Yeomanry to join a serving regiment. He was wounded and invalided out but returned to France and was killed in October 1918, leaving the direct line shattered. Sir Philip left the house and leased the estate in the 1920s.

A fire destroyed the Hall in 1926 and six staff died. When Sir Philip died in 1937, the Baronetcy passed to a distant, 92 year old relative.

In 1939 the estate was developed as an army training camp. The hall was finally razed in1940, when two German bombers returning from a raid in Liverpool dropped two bombs on it.

Mid-Cheshire Motoring Club took on the Oulton Park Estate under the auspices of the RAC, creating a race circuit using the military roads. On August 8,1953 the first race meeting took place and when it was opened to the public on October 3, 1953, 40,000 people turned up. The rest, is history.

The next social morning will be on Monday, September 8, when Jai Liu will give a talk on Tai Chi. Please contact Sue Johns on 01606 834900 or 07903783129.

Susan leicester