The Ringway Estate, Neston

Architect S. Colwyn Foulkes made a name for himself designing council houses. He believed council houses needed a second room for children to do homework and for entertaining. He also wanted houses facing lawns instead of roads. He built an estate at Colwyn Bay, and before Neston Urban District Council committed itself to the design, a delegation went to see the houses in Colwyn Bay. The councillors were impressed with both aspects of the scheme. The architect was given the contract, and around 1960 he built similar houses to those in Colwyn Bay.

People living in the huts (the former Navy base) had to have a council house. In order to build, the Council had to remove the huts, which were damp and cold. Their occupants were competing with others for Council houses. Some people at Clayhill were in prefabs, which were state of the art housing with fridges. There was a meeting of the people who lived there on how to manage rehousing. It was a heated meeting, but it achieved an amicable solution.

The houses in Colwyn Bay have cast concrete figures over the doors, and in The Witterings and The Birches, in Neston, the architect designed figures from The Walrus and the Carpenter, from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and The Owl and the Pussycat, by Edward Lear. Some of the householders have painted the figures, and some have added witty modern figures.

In 2010 local historian Susan Craggs produced a leaflet with colour pictures of some of the figures (taken with permission of the residents). These notes are based on that leaflet, and on recollections by Reg Chrimes. A much fuller account can be found at http://www.nestonpast.com/the-ringway/