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Ask Joan
Joan Leach is a local historian, a volunteer at the Heritage Centre, a founder of The Gaskell Society, and much more besides.

Dear Joan, I am researching my family history and wonder if you might have any information concerning my GGGrandfather(George Irlam born in Manchester about 1810) who was a Chimney Sweep in Knutsford from before 1851 until he died in 1871 and was buried at St John the Baptist July 14 1871.

He was married 3 times that I know of to(1)Keziah Brown a tinkers daughter age 65 on May 30 1850 at St Johns(2)Caroline Thomas at Rostherne St Mary's on July 18 1853 and (3) Mary Burns on Nov 25 1861 at St Johns. GGrandfather also George Irlam was born of this last marriage and baptised in St Johns on May 17 1862.

They were recorded as living at the quaint address of "back passage to the moon" which I believe was on Market Place in the 1851 census and latterly they lodged in Market place(1861 census) I would appreciate any information you might have on George the chimney sweep.
Arthur Earlam

Joan answers:

Chimney SweepArthur,

I'm sorry to say that I have not picked up any information on George Irlam and family. I note he was the only sweep in the 1861 census of Knutsford so must have been a busy man. I suppose the poorer folk would sweep their own chimneys.

I see he is given as Knutsford born. The market place had many lodgings. The back passage would be 'to the moor' not 'moon' - sorry to take the picturesque name!

Joan Leach