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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.


I am the granddaughter of the first May Queen, Annie Sarah Pollitt. Is it possible that there are any photos of that time. I know that Granny worked at then Swan Hotel as a house maid. I am so thrilled to see it in print.
Muriel Stevenson

Joan answers:
First Knutsford May Queen

Recently I mentioned the Tatton Club and its history from the building as a Baptist Chapel to the club today. The chapel builder, about 1840, was Joseph Jackson who owned the property and land through to King Street, then in 1947 Mrs Jackson sold it all to Lord Egerton.

Mrs Jackson's daughter tells me that her grandmother, Annie Sarah Pollitt, was the first Knutsford May Queen and later landlady at The Feathers in Canute Place. This small inn was closed down by the licensing authority in 1907, because it decided that twenty two pubs for a population of 5,172 was excessive: there were protests from tradesmen, clergymen and medical men who signed a petition to keep it open.

Mrs Jackson was a woman of irreproachable character and had been in the house for 30 years; Edwin , her husband had died 12 years earlier but five children were still at home including one daughter who was an invalid.

In an attempt to clean up the town, pig sties came under scrutiny, but it was said that Mrs Jackson's were well looked after and no-one minded them. I remember the stone slab walls. I have not yet managed to link the Jackson families.