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January-February 2021

A wintry scene in Alderley. Lake Vale, the home of Cheshire photographer George Davies in the 1880s (c13085)















A wintry scene in Alderley. Lake Vale, the home of Cheshire photographer George Davies in the 1880s (c13085)



Welcome to our first edition in 2021 of the Cheshire Archives and Local Studies e-newsletter. The winter months can be a good time to reflect on life and even more so at the moment! Forget the pandemic and the gloomy weather for a while and browse through the pages which we hope will reassure you and inspire you to try some new things and learn some new skills while you are at home. 


Searchroom remains closed

Our searchroom remains closed to the public at the moment due to the lockdown restrictions. Any changes will be posted on our website and be announced on social media. Our copying, enquiry and research services are still open as normal but there may be delays as we have fewer staff working in the building. Just to let you all know to look out for some changes and improvements to our online shop during February.


Health and Wellbeing Week 25-31 January

Ancestry collage with photos and drawings

As part of Health and Wellbeing Week taking place online this year with Cheshire libraries, our Research Consultant, Brett, has put together a handy video looking at how to start tracing your family online using Ancestry Library Edition, what sort of records you can expect to find, and how to avoid potential pitfalls. Finding ways to keep learning is one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing and you can make a start by watching our video on our YouTube channel from 4pm on Friday 29 January. Other free online wellbeing activities are also available and tickets to bookable events can be accessed here.



Medieval Deeds

Medieval Deed written on parchment in Latin with a wax seal DCH_J47_1

Since 2016, we have been working with a small and skilled team of volunteers collaborating online to interpret Latin documents. Latin skills are becoming increasingly rare and having a simplified version of what a document contains in English can speed up a researcher’s work immensely.

This project focuses on medieval deeds in our collections. These documents are handwritten and it can be difficult to read what the words say, even before the word can be translated. Therefore, strong palaeography skills are required to interpret them.

During the last few months, we have focused on uploading the completed work to date, to Cheshire Archives & Local Studies catalogue. To see them all in one place you can go to our Trello page. Gaps show work-in-progress and these will be filled as the project progresses. Please note that Google Chrome is the recommended browser for displaying these pages.

Feel free to test your knowledge using these completed deeds and if you think you have what it takes, please get in touch as we would love to have extra help for the project.

Trello home page


Walk Through History

Our #WalkThroughHistory social media feature recently took us to Wrenbury, featuring the railway station crossing and Salamanca Inn. What an unusual name! Luckily a Twitter follower was on hand to remind us of a number of pubs in the area named after the 19th century military actions of Stapleton Cotton, 1st Viscount Combermere.

Why not step back in time and view your local area via the Cheshire Image Bank

Walk through history photo of now and in the past of Wrenbury


Six months of Mystery Image Mondays!

Our #MysteryImageMonday social media posts have now been regularly running for six months. They have generated a lot of interest and conversation, and the most popular tweet so far was posted on 30th November 2020. The three images on this occasion were Wilmslow station (c06718), a Fodens bus pictured at Brereton (c06558), and a train from c1930 (c06714). Transport does seem to be a popular theme!

Three photos of mystery images relating to transport- a train station, train and Fodens wagon.

73 mystery images have now been tweeted, and of these, 64 went on to be successfully identified. Many include Cheshire places and buildings not previously covered by the current Cheshire Image Bank collection and are now available to view online, such as Gibbet Mill at Great Saughall (c13383), Delamere Church of England Primary School (c13385), the weir in Holmes Chapel (c08852), and Hale Cemetery (c08809).

However, there are still some images which are puzzling us. Do you have any information regarding the image below which might help us with identification? Do let us know!

Group of men outside of office building.


Life in Lockdown: Your Stories Shared

Do you have any images of life in Cheshire during the current lockdown? If you would like to share them with us please visit the Life in Lockdown: Your Stories Shared page on our website.

Three crochet rainbows. Image credit: L. Shuttleworth

Image credit: L. Shuttleworth


Discover history on your doorstep

Our latest blog explains how to get started using our Cheshire Tithe Maps Online website to explore the history of your house, a plot of land or another place of interest. We will show you how to find out who owned a plot of land, how to view 19th century Ordnance Survey maps, or to search for a person or plot you are interested in.

Tithe map website screenshot


If you are interested in exploring historic maps and mapping further, we have a Walk Through History video available on our YouTube channel.


Staff news

We are once again hosting two students from the Archives and Records Management course at the University of Liverpool. Helen Welch and Ruth Nichols are with us for a two- week placement and are helping to improve the listing of our Parish Council collections. Unlike previous experiences this placement will be entirely virtual! They will be combining information from our paper lists and our online catalogue helping to create a complete catalogue of these important and frequently used records.  


Spot the difference!

Can you spot ten differences between the two images of Chester on the next page? This beautiful example is a map of Chester in 1581 by Braun and Hogenburg. 

a map of Chester in 1581 by Braun and Hogenburg

a map of Chester in 1581 by Braun and Hogenburg




There is plenty more on our home page to help inspire you! Go to: Cheshire Archives and Local Studies  and then follow links to what we hold to learn more about our collections. Reminisce over photographs of Cheshire in years gone by on our Image Bank or see how your local area has changed over time on the Cheshire Tithe Maps site at: Cheshire Tithe Maps Online


Please continue to stay safe and we will be back in touch soon!


And before we go the all-important answers to our Spot the Difference…  


a map of Chester in 1581 by Braun and Hogenburg