KNUTSFORDIANS are being invited to step back in time and discover the history behind one of the town’s ‘hidden gems’ this weekend.

Brook Street Chapel will be throwing its doors open to the public from September 12-14 to celebrate the annual Heritage Open Days.

Visitors will be welcomed to the Grade 1 listed building by chapel members and shown round the heritage exhibition, the chapel, Elizabeth Gaskell’s grave and the grounds.

“We want to celebrate the history and beauty of Brook Street Chapel and grounds with as many people as possible, as we feel it is unknown to many local people,” said Minister Jean Bradley.

“We have many visitors from all around the world to visit Elizabeth Gaskell’s grave and her place of worship, yet many local people are unaware of such a hidden gem in their own community.

“We think it is important to feel it is important to feel a pride in our town and in its history.”

As well as exploring the famous novelist’s final resting place, visitors can have a sneak peek at her life.

The newly-created Heritage Exhibition includes information about Elizabeth's early years in Knutsford, how it influenced her writing and her relationship with the families from the stately homes of Cheshire, including Tatton and Tabley.

The room is set out as an early Victorian parlour with artefacts, costumes, books and information boards, and a dolls house representing Elizabeth's home with Aunt Lumb in Knutsford.

Minister Jean added: “We are very pleased to have created our heritage exhibition, partly through Knutsford people who have kindly donated wonderful artefacts that once belonged to grandparents or other family members.

“Their generous offerings have allowed such historic and notable objects to be enjoyed, protected and carefully displayed for others to admire.

“If anyone has any old family items that they feel would be suitable, and wish to donate, we would be delighted to hear from them.”

Brook Street Chapel and Heritage Site will be open from 10am-3.30pm on September 12 and 13, and 12noon-3.30pm on September 14.

Normally, the site is open to visitors on Tuesdays and Friday mornings 10am-12noon and on Sundays from around noon for an hour. To visit outside these times, or to make a donation, call Minister Jean on 01565 754 465 or Beulah Cornes on 01565 651 808.