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Remember When: Traffic gridlock was not a problem in the mid-1800s!
A SUPERMARKET giant may be building a new store on Brook Street at the moment, but this picture shows what the busy road looked like in the mid 19th century.
In a series of new features planned for the Guardian, ‘Remember When’ looks back at old Knutsford and the villages in the surrounding area.
This week Mary Gracie, a volunteer at Knutsford Heritage Centre, shows one of her postcards, right, that features the junction at the bottom of Hollow Lane and Brook Street.
Mary said: “The church spire in the distance belonged to the Congregational Church, built 1865 and demolished 1940.
“I don’t claim to be an historian, but occasionally a postcard or its message prompts me do a bit of research into the people or places concerned.
“The single storey cottage on the left has been demolished to widen the junction.
“I have a very dark photo postcard of the cottage with an elderly lady in a shawl and bonnet standing at the gate.
“On the reverse of the card in childish lettering someone has written ‘Nettle Beer House. Mrs Spilsberry at the gate.’ “I wonder if Mrs Spilsberry made nettle beer, like ginger beer, for the children?
“In the 1851 census I found a Sarah Spilsbury and husband, Thomas, living in King Street.
“His occupation was silk weaver, and in the 1861 census there is a Sarah Spilsbury living with her husband Thomas in ‘Macclesfield Road, Knutsford’.
“In 1881 the address is given as Brook Street and she is listed as a widow, aged 64, living with her sons Thomas, a railway porter, and Henry, a labourer, and the 1891 census has her as a widow, aged 72, so she was born around 1818.”
If you would like to know more about a certain picture or want to show readers what ‘Old Cheshire’ used to look like the Guardian wants to hear from you.
Send your pictures by e-mail to james.wilson@ guardiangrp.co.uk with the subject title ‘Remember When’, or by post to 3 Theatre Court, London Road, Northwich. You can drop pictures at the Guardian surgery in the Heritage Centre on Wednesdays at 10am.