Latest News

March 2021


Frodsham Castle Park

Castle Park, Frodsham – one of the images included in the ‘My Cheshire’ online exhibition-More below!


Welcome to our latest edition of the Cheshire Archives and Local Studies e-newsletter. We are supporting celebrations of the first ever ‘Cheshire Day’ and also appealing for help with an underground mystery!


Cheshire Day! 

Cheshire Day banner with countryside and hills

We are supporting celebrations for the first ever Cheshire Day. It’s a social media event where we are being encouraged to share everything we love about Cheshire, any hidden gems on our doorstep and what we are looking forward to! You can help spread the word by using #CheshireDay.


The 30th March was picked as it is the day when the earliest surviving full text of the Cheshire Magna Carta was issued- 30 March 1300. The Earls of Chester held immense power within the county and were effectively kings in their own right with the power to run their own courts, raise taxes and control local matters. The issue of the charter was a much less embittered and antagonistic affair than the Runnymede Magna Carta and you can read all about our very own charter at the following links:

The county with its own Magna Carta

The Magna Carta of Cheshire

See one of our gems below! - It’s a 16th century picture of Earl Hugh d’Avranches presiding over his ‘parliament’.

Earl Hugh d'Avranches in his parliament

Document Ref: ZCX/2


Searchroom Re-opening

We are pleased to announce that from Tuesday 13 April the searchroom will be re-opening again with a limited appointment only service. As before Christmas, we will be open Tuesdays and Fridays and will be taking appointments for morning or afternoon slots. All documents must be ordered in advance and social distancing measures will be in place. Full details can be found on the Visiting Us section of our website.

We will continue to review opening arrangements as Government and Council advice develops over the coming weeks and months. Future arrangements will be announced on our website, through the Newsletter and via social media.


Women’s History Month: Women of Cheshire

Newspaper article - "A living wage for factory girls at Crewe".

You can go all the way back to 907 to find mention of the first significant woman in Cheshire History. Aethelflaed, Saxon Lady of Mercia was responsible for the rebuilding of Chester in 907. A little too early to appear in our records but we did find plenty of other women that made it onto our list! We asked Twitter who we might have forgotten and were reminded about Ada Nield Chew.

Women making barrels

For Women’s History month we took a look back at the stories of women who appear in our records. From formidable businesswoman, Elizabeth Raffald to activist Ada Nield who campaigned for the ‘living wage’ at the Crewe Clothing Factory, Compton Bros. From Florence Gleave one of the ‘canary girls’ working with TNT at ICI Brunner Mond Chemical Works in Northwich to a mother of 33 children. There are lots of amazing stories to discover in our latest blog. 


An underground mystery- we need your help

Cheshire Life- Exploring Beeston's ancient well

We recently answered an enquiry from the Sandstone Ridge Trust who are looking at Beeston Castle Well as part of their ‘Beneath the Ridge’ project. They are looking to track down any photographs or images of the Beeston Well exploration of 1935-6 and we offered to help. Some photos appeared in Cheshire Life in 1937 and you can see one of the pictures above but we are hoping that there may be some more out there in the local community.

An investigation of the well in the 1930’s was led by a team of scientists from ICI’s Winnington Hall Club and other ICI staff. Debris was removed from the well leading to the discovery of underground passageways leading off from the main shaft of the well.


At Cheshire Archives we hold a collection of records detailing the exploration gathered by Alec Irvine who was one member of the team. Others were RO Gibson and EW Fawcett (who was involved in the creation of Polyethylene at ICI Winnington in 1933).

Can any of you help? Do you know of any family members that may have been involved in this exploration? If you can help with photos then please contact us on


Parkside Project needs your help!

Our popular volunteering project needs your help! You can help us work on our Parkside Asylum project from the comfort of your own home.

Volunteers are shown a page relating to a patient who was admitted to Parkside Asylum in Macclesfield and are asked to provide answers based on the notes. Head to the project home page to learn more about the background of the project, the background of the asylum and to volunteer with us – no sign up required.

This work will provide researchers with a detailed overview of Parkside and allow for in-depth research using the data created.  


Walk Through History

Our #WalkThroughHistory social media feature recently took us to Sandbach, featuring the shop of Mary Frost, milliner at 34, High Street. Miss Frost is listed in the 1910 Kelly’s Directory of Cheshire under Milliners (pictured below) and the 1906 edition, but not in 1902, which helps us date the image to the early 20th century. Why not step back in time and view your local area via the Cheshire Image Bank

Mary Frost in Kelly's Directory


c08060 now and then photos of Sandbach

A walk through history along Sandbach’s High Street (image ref: c08060)


A Pub in Parkgate

Take a look at our February blog A Pub in Parkgate and get inspiration for carrying out your own local history research from home using our online resources! We take you through using the Cheshire Tithe Maps website, using digitised trade directories, the Neston Borough Building Control Plans Database, and the Cheshire Image Bank, all using the example of The Boat House in Parkgate (image ref: c01231).

c01231 The Boat House in Parkgate


‘My Cheshire’ online exhibition

What does Cheshire mean to you? ‘My Cheshire’, a joint project between CWAC Libraries and West Cheshire Museums brings together photographs and inspiring words from Cheshire residents into an online exhibition, celebrating our area. To take part and view the images visit the My Cheshire website. Below is Waverton Gorse by Kate Harland.

Waverton Gorse woods and shrubbery by Kate Harland

Once upon a spinning wheel, many spindles ago, the world stopped turning for a year or so.

The girl took to wandering and loved to explore the green lanes and byways close to her door.

She savoured the old names of woodlands she crossed, the spinney, the rough, the garth and the moss.

In covert, common, waste and gorse, she built strongholds of calm on forested floors.


Staff news

Cheshire's archives a story shared logo


Dan Edmonds community engagement officer

Daniel Edmonds joined us this month as Community Engagement Officer and will be working with us as part of our ‘Cheshire Archives: A Story Shared’ project, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. As we develop our plans for two new history centres in Chester and Crewe, Daniel will be working alongside different community groups to find out how we can make our collections, expertise, and space work for them through a series of consultations and pilot activities.

Daniel completed a PhD in History at the University of Manchester in 2017. Since then he has been working on a variety of heritage and public education projects, including the ‘Radical Read’ (a series of learning resources on the history of youth-led protest movements) and the ‘Galkoff’s and the Secret Life of Pembroke Place’ exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool. He is also writing a book on the history of international trade unionism for workers’ educational programmes, and in his spare time enjoys growing vegetables and creating abstract paintings.


We would also like to welcome Tara Greening back from maternity leave. Tara started back earlier this month in her role of Archives Operations Officer.



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!