Our penultimate look at lost buildings of Mid Cheshire is with a relatively recent one that had several uses, starting in 1939 and ending in the late 1980s.

Marton Camp near Whitegate was erected by Cheshire County Council as part of a national government initiative just prior to the start of the Second World War to create 50 rural residential camps to meet the educational and recreational needs of children from inner cities.

The camp was a series of army-style huts and thus was often mistaken for army barracks, although they were never used for this function.

They were located on Newchurch Common near the junction of Nova Scotia Lane with Sandy Lane - Sandy Lane is shown on early maps of the area as Donkey Lane.

Due to its country location, close to the Winsford to Cuddington railway line (from which you could travel far afield), it was subsequently a prime site to house war evacuees.

By 1940, children were brought there to escape the bombings of nearby cities such as Liverpool, and specifically the Bootle area.

Following a heavy bombing in 1940, some 290 children were evacuated to Marton Camp. In May 1941, further children were sent there after another significant blitz.

Teachers from the evacuated cities came with the children to ease the children into the lifestyle of rural mid-Cheshire.

For several years, it was a self-contained unit with accommodation and education provided.

Many advertisements appeared in North West newspapers, appealing for not only staff to teach the children but also as maids, handymen and cooks.

After the war, the county council used the premises for several activities, including a residential convalescent home.

It then stood empty until 1955 when Northumberland Council purchased the camp to use as a mixed secondary residential school for many of its rural community who lived too far from local schools to be able to commute on a daily basis.

Whilst it was very far from Northumberland, it was popular with parents wishing to send their children to a council-provided boarding school.

It was reputed to have a small farm, a hut used as a cinema to which locals from Whitegate and surrounding areas were invited on occasion, and a swimming pool. At its height in popularity, the school provided education for upwards of 200 pupils.

The school thrived until its closure in 1976, possibly as a result of the 1974 Education Act, when local authorities had to reorganise their educational services accordingly.

In July 1976, an advertisement appeared in the Liverpool Echo describing Marton Camp as a 26-acre campus currently used as a boarding school that had just been acquired from Northumberland Council by Bryn Alyn Community for the care of 'emotionally disturbed and culturally deprived boys'.

The advert requested applications for three teaching positions in remedial reading, woodwork, general science, domestic science, rural science, and mathematics.

The Bryn Alyn Community has since been the subject of a number of criminal investigations into child abuse with several prosecutions, although this focused on the main premises in North Wales.

In the late 1970s and into the 1980s, the camp had a number of uses, including a social place for the employees of ICL in Winsford, and it then became a nightclub called Marton Lodge, referred to in 1982 as 'Cheshire’s newest pub/restaurant'.

Eventually, the nightclub closed, and there was no further use for Marton Camp. In 1988, planning permission was requested for 13 bungalows to be built by Walter Lawrence Homes Ltd. 

So, Marton Camp was no more; it was demolished to make way for the development of this small prime residential estate known as The Paddocks, the rear of which can be seen on the right just off Whitegate Way when walking along the old railway track from Whitegate Station towards Cuddington.