A BLUE plaque has been unveiled to honour a ‘forward thinking’ Knutsfordonian.

Spinster Marjorie Hurst bequeathed properties she inherited to be used as almshouses ‘for the deserving’ of the town.

Using part of a family fortune believed to have been made through the cotton trade, her aim was that the poor and needy should have affordable accommodation in the road which connects Knutsford's two main streets.

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Mayor Cllr Peter Coan said: “It was an honour to unveil our new blue plaque honouring the legacy of Marjorie Hurst with the trustees and residents of the charity that bears her name.

“Through Marjorie’s philanthropy, Knutsford has a charity providing housing to those who might otherwise not be able to afford a home of their own.

“What a forward thinking Knutsfordian.”

Knutsford Guardian: People gather to watch the unveiling of the blue plaquePeople gather to watch the unveiling of the blue plaque (Image: Knutsford Town Council)

Cllr Coan and former mayor Valerie Young JP MBE, the longest serving trustee of the charity, cut the ribbon to unveil the new plaque.

The Charity of Marjorie Hurst provides almshouses for older residents of Knutsford and owns a row of flats and cottages on Silk Mill Street.

The plaque was installed following extensive research by Jenny Collis, of Knutsford Heritage Centre, into the origin of the town centre almshouses and the life of Marjorie Hurst.

Rick Dallimore, chairman of trustees, said: “We knew very little about Marjorie Hurst and how she established the almshouses.

“So we are delighted with the research put in by Jenny Collis and the support from the town council in providing the plaque which is now there for everyone to see.”

Knutsford Guardian: A blue plaque has been unveiled to honour Knutsford philanthropist Marjorie HurstA blue plaque has been unveiled to honour Knutsford philanthropist Marjorie Hurst (Image: Knutsford Town Council)

Marjorie was born in 19882 and spent much of her life looking after her parents and as a result she never married.

Her father, Frederick Hurst, had been the manager of the Union Bank on King Street.

Elderly residents, then schoolgirls, recall a tall, elegant woman who would always say hello.

One former resident said of her: "She was the sort of lady with a standing about her and someone you looked up to.

“She would tell us to call her auntie Marjorie "

It was through the line of her maternal grandfather that Marjorie inherited property.

In her will she left property and money upon trust to the then Knutsford Urban District Council with the bequest that the dwellings she owned on Silk Mill Street be used as almshouses.

The properties include one bedroom flats and two bedroom cottages.

Initially the almshouses were provided rent free to the occupiers, but over time the dwellings fell into disrepair.

In the 1980s, the town council received permission from the Charity Commission to charge residents a weekly maintenance contribution provided that a separate new trust was set up.

The Charity of Marjorie Hurst was established.

In the 1990s, the trustees secured a housing corporation grant to renovate the four remaining cottages and to build six flats that exist on Silk Mill Street today.

The Charity of Marjorie Hurst is managed by a board of five trustees.

For more information visit marjoriehurstcharity.org.uk