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

 

1901 Knutsford Guardian -  2 March
by

Joan Leach
 

Knutsford Literary Society enjoyed a lecture on The Poet, Thomas Gray and at their next meeting the subject would be Mahomet. The last meeting of the session was: 'An Evening with the late Sir Arthur Sullivan' given by G.W.Bebbington , the Parish church organist and choirmaster.

At the end of the month the AGM of Knutsford Literary Institute and Working Men's Library was held in the reading room. There was a record attendance as Rev G.A. Payne was voted to the Chair. He asked for more liberal support for this assett to the town. It had a well stocked library (gifts of books were welcome ) kept the daily, weekly and illustrated papers. There were rooms for chess, draughts and dominoes : all this for a penny a week. Richard Harding Watt regretted that business pressures forced him to relinquish the office of Chairman. He might have added that he was busy obtaining 'hundreds of signatures' in favour of the Pure Beer Bill!!

Rev Payne's book: 'Knutsford and Mrs Gaskell' was going into a second edition.

On 16 March, after several postponements for weather, Mobberley Ploughing Match was held with five classes, including ploughing double and single furrows and best ploughman under 20.

A Knutsford man was sentenced to one month's hard labour for stealing a pigeon from a loft on Moorside. It was found in his house cooked and ready to eat. He had been warned once.

The May Day Committee met at the Town Hall on 7 March and ballotted for Lottie Cragg as May Queen.

Left: Committee Notice 1894

Council business concerned the management of piggeries in the town, enforcing bye laws. There was a difference of opinion about those behind the Feathers in Canute Place; neighbours had signed a petition saying they had no objections. It was decided that properties in King Street should be numbered.

There was confusion between the fire bell and the work house bell so it was recommended that the latter should be tolled instead of rung.

The Feathers Knutsford

Many older Knutsfordians will remember these cottages (above) - The Feathers was closed down about 1910 . I remember a strong wall at the back ,made of upright stone slabs which must have housed the pigs.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer was believed to be considering the imposition of a cycle tax. There were now 2,000.000 cycles but such a tax would not yield a great sum and would be as unpopular as the dog muzzling order.

Murder at Marthall John Hyland , a 21 year old farm labourer was accused at Chester Assizes of killing Martin Mullin at Marthall on 9th February.A group of farm labourers left The Egerton Arms aand were nort drunk but Patrick o'Connor truned round and saw the prisoner strike Mullin and the face and kick him when he fell. The others pulled him off as he said: 'I gave him what he wanted and have a good mind to go back and finish him'. He died three days later. The two men had an old grudge. Hyland was sentenced to five years for manslaughter.
 

 

 

 

 


 

The Royal George Hotel & Thomas Hurst
by

Joan Leach
 

Local history research is very much like doing a jigsaw puzzle when pieces suddenly connect to make the picture clear.

I was asked recently by Mrs Rands of Evesham if I could tell her anything about her ancestor Thomas Hurst who had been inn keeper at The Royal George. Now that name was familiar to me and I already knew that he had married the daughter of the previous owner of the Royal George, Thomas Hooley, who had been there when Queen ( then Princess) Victoria visited it in 1832; that was when the inn became The Royal George but you can still see George and the Dragon decorating the archway. I also found his grave in St John's church yard.
left: The Royal George c.1922

Checking the family in the 1861 census I found that the eldest son in 1861 was 16 year old Frederick Hurst, bank clerk. I had 'met' him before, when researching the life of Trumpet Major Smith who withdrew some money from the Union Bank before committing suicide; Frederick Hurst gave evidence at the inquest. I found more details of Frederick from the burial inscriptions of St John's where his (now missing) grave stone recorded his residence at 'The Coppice' which is on Tabley Road. He died in 1942 at the advanced age of 97.

By a strange coincidence, looking at a Knutsford Guardian of 1939, I found him mentioned as the long time President of the Bowling Club on Green Street; and that he had been a great sportsman in his youth. At the Club was a framed copy of a programme, including The Slasher, staged by the Knutsford Gentlemen Players in 1871, with Frederick Hurst listed as Treasurer.

I had a cutting from the paper ready to send to Mrs Rands when I found at The Heritage Centre the very same framed poster just donated!! Where has it been since 1939? What a coincidence!! I have also been able to copy Frederick Hurst's obituary in March 1942. The Hursts are not entirely forgotten in the town for Fred's daughter Marjorie left money in trust and houses on Silk Mill Street for housing the needy. I still hope that some older residents may add to my knowledge of the Hurst Family.