Christmas Lights Switch On

Knutsford Christmas Market 2022 A Huge Success

Knutsford’s favourite Christmas Market kicked off the festive season last weekend, with a packed two-day celebration on 3rd and 4th December.

 

Over 130 stalls filled Princess Street and Silk Mill Street both days, selling a variety of artisan products ranging from homemade art and crafts, locally brewed beers and alcohol, festive bakes and lots of exciting gift ideas.

 

Thousands attended the event which also featured the Santa Parade on Saturday, supported by Knutsford Hosts and We Are Knutsford. Santa paraded up King Street and Minshull Street alongside City of Chester Brass Band and Travelling Light Circus performers before arriving in Canute Place ready for the big Switch On.

 

The Mayor of Knutsford was joined by his cadet, Jamie, and Santa Claus to light up Knutsford for the festive season at 6pm, followed by a headline performance from Small Horse & The Plan.

 

Santa also visited lots of children during the weekend at his Grotto, which was kindly supported by and in aid of CAFT. Children also enjoyed rides from John Collins Funfair, who were open all weekend on Princess Street car park.

 

Sunday saw live entertainment from Get Back Band and Knutsford Beats, both of whom were busking to raise money for various charities.

 

Alex Brown, Events Officer at Knutsford Town Council, said: “This was our busiest Christmas Market yet – we were thrilled to see thousands enjoying the market and entertainment throughout the weekend. It was our first full Christmas Weekend since 2019 following the pandemic and poor weather conditions last year, so it was fantastic to finally bring back the event in full this year. We hope everyone had a great time welcoming in the festive season in Knutsford!”

 

The festivities continue this weekend with the Mayor’s Christmas Crib Service on Saturday 10th December at 4pm outside the Lost and Found, where the Mayor and local churches will bless the town crib, followed by brass music, Christmas carols and mulled wine and mince pies courtesy of Knutsford Catenians! A Christmas Remembrance Service follows at Knutsford Cemetery Chapel on Sunday 11th December at 4pm, where residents can remember those who have passed this year.

 

If anyone would like to provide feedback on this year’s event, you can contact enquiries@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk or call 01565 653 929.

A black and white photo of the Edward VII Coronation bonfire in Knutsford

From the archives: A Coronation Bonfire

The Town Council holds an archive of documents containing a wealth of local history and, thanks to the work of two dedicated volunteers, the archives are being sorted and catalogued for the first time.

Jenny and Mary attend the council offices each week to sift and sort the various files and we are keen to share the information they unearth. This article was prepared by them for the Friends of Knutsford Heritage Centre newsletter when they found an old photo showing men on a stack of hay?

When King Edward VII ascended to the throne after the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 towns and villages began planning extravagant celebrations for his coronation, which was planned for June 1902.

Many towns, including Knutsford, built large bonfires. This photo (which has been skilfully enhanced by Peter Spooner) shows the bonfire on the heath. The men standing on each tier are allegedly the town councillors of the time. You can clearly see a small silver crown near the top and the initials ER.

A black and white photo of the Edward VII Coronation bonfire in Knutsford

Knutsford’s bonfire and celebrations are mentioned in George Payne’s ‘A History of Knutsford’, published in 1904:

“On June 26, 1902, the loyal people of Knutsford, besides having a bonfire which measured 52 yards in circumference and was 44 feet high to the floor of the cabin placed on the top, which was itself 10 feet high, had what was quite appropriate, a sanding competition, in which twenty three cottages and tradespeople entered. Most beautiful and artistic designs adorned the street and pavements in front if the houses, and a number of prizes were awarded, the judges touring the ancient streets in a motor car.”

It was also mentioned in other publications, including the Dundee Evening Post, July 1902, which described different bonfires around the realm, accompanied by this illustration and description: “Of quite a different shape was the bonfire at Knutsford, containing 100 loads of stuff. At the base it was 16 yards in diameter, and the blazing properties were heightened by the addition of many barrels of tar.”

The coronation day was set for 26th June 1902 and guests were invited from all over the world. However, the King suffered appendicitis a few days beforehand and developed peritonitis: unless he postponed the
coronation and had an operation immediately he would die. The King, though hugely reluctant, finally relented, and 9th August was chosen as the new date. By then he was much recovered and the service proceeded as planned.

The society magazine “The Queen’ reported at length on regional coronation festivities and in the issue
published a week before the delayed coronation in August, Knutsford gets a special mention:

“There will, no doubt, be many places which will repeat the note of joyousness sounded for June 26 last, when Aug. 9 brings, as we all devoutly hope it may bring, the ceremony that was then postponed. Flags are a possession that can be hung at any moment, and bonfires can be reconstructed, but they will not be either the flags or the bonfires that were prepared when the nation was at the height of loyal expectation.

The little Cheshire town of Knutsford was no whit behind others in its demonstrations of joy; all the customary preparations had been made to honour the King, and another form of decoration, which unfortunately does not show in the photographs, was employed to adorn the pavements of the street. This is the old custom of “sanding”; all the shopkeepers ornament the stone pavement in front of their shops with arabesques, crowns, mottoes, etc. in sand. It is done by putting the sand into a funnel and letting it out in a fine stream, rather in the manner in which a cook ices a cake. The skill that some of them attain is wonderful.

I do not know if the gentle ladies [of Cranford] ever went to any such exciting thing as a bonfire; I imagine they would have thought it slightly improper, but if ever there had been a festivity of that description in their days, certainly Peter, the wicked Peter, who owned to having shot a Cherubim, would have assisted at its making. The photograph somewhat spoilt by the iron railings shows how the bonfire looked the day before the expected Coronation; afterwards, when we lit our bonfires in gratitude that the King was out of danger, this one burnt beautifully, though it canted over in a wonderful way before it was finished, immaculate as it looks here in its resemblance to a gigantic cake.”

Christmas Remembrance Service

Knutsford Town Council and the Town Mayor Cllr Mike Houghton would like to invite members of the community to join a Christmas Remembrance Service.  The service aims to provide an occasion for families and friends to remember those who have been interred at Knutsford Cemetery in the past year.

We hope this service will have a relaxed and special atmosphere. Christmas songs will be performed by Knutsford Beats. Readings and poems will be shared with our guests and delivered by Reverend Nigel Atkinson alongside Nicola Marshall and David Briggs from Knutsford Together. Tea and biscuits will be served afterwards.

The service will be held at 4.00pm until approximately 5.00pm on Sunday 11th December 2022 at Tabley Hill Cemetery Chapel.

If you would like to come along then please respond to Amy Leech by 9th December, by email amy.leech@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk or by phone on 01565 653929.

Christmas Parking for 2022

Shoppers are encouraged to ditch the Trafford Centre and Amazon and take advantage of free parking in Knutsford this December.

Three of the town’s car parks will be free from 10am on Saturday 10th and Saturday 17th December – Silk Mill Street, King Street and Princess Street.

Sandra Curties, Town Centre Manager at Knutsford Town Council said “Knutsford boasts an amazing array of independent shops selling unique gifts for friends and family.  The shop windows are second to none, and in these difficult times we urge people to shop local and support our wonderful town”.

In addition, on December 15th Knutsford Town Mayor Mike Houghton, alongside Ian Cass of the Forum of Private Business will be visiting Knutsford shops to judge the best dressed Christmas window and handing out certificates and the coveted to the top three.

Uncovered bicycle parking is also available all year round at King Street car park near Tatton Perk, at Drury Lane and King Street near St John’s Church and the Town Council is working to provide a covered cycle shelter at Silk Mill Street for 2023.

Press Contacts:        Sandra Curties,

Sandra.curties@knutsfordtowncentre.co.uk

01565 653929

Photo Credit:           Sandra Curties

Vincent Lazzerini of The Cheeseyard

A lady in a santa hat holds some leaflets

Santa in the Shop

Children are being urged to look out for Santa this Christmas, as he has been seen hiding in shop windows: Santa in the Shop is returning for the second year and will run throughout advent – from 1st to 24th December.

The Santa in the Shop trail encourages families to find a Santa hidden in twelve of Knutsford shop’s Christmas windows.  Entry forms can be picked up from Knutsford Library, Market Hall, Council Offices, and selected shops. When completed, the form can be dropped off at Santa’s special post box in Little Waitrose. All correctly completed forms will be entered into a prize draw with the winners announced in early January.

Sandra Curties, Town Centre Manager at Knutsford Town Council said: “This is a sweet and easy trail for Christmas, a great way of exploring our beautiful town and enjoying the Christmas lights and festive windows.  We hope families enjoy spotting our little Santas!”

If visiting the town centre by car do not forget there is free parking on Saturday December 11th December and 17th December from 10 am in Silk Mill, King and Princess Street car parks.

Press contact: sandra.curties@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

Photo Credit: Sandra Curties

60 King Street with Bunting

Council to consider the sale of 60 King Street

At its January 9th meeting, the Town Council will consider a recommendation from its Assets and Operations Committee that the freehold for 60 King Street be put on the market.

The property was tenanted until 2019 when, due to insolvency of the tenant the lease was forfeit. Attempts to secure a new commercial tenant were unsuccessful due to the scale of the building and the renovation works that are required to launch a new business from the premises. This has been compounded by the unprecedented economic climate the UK has faced since COVID and prospective tenants have stated that they would not be willing to invest the sums required in a building for which they only hold a lease.

Over the last 18 months, the Town Council has explored the option of seeking heritage lottery funding to renovate and re-imagine the building as a hybrid community/commercial space.  Consultation to support this was undertaken earlier this year and identified potential uses which would be supported by the community. However, moving this forward would now require significant expenditure to develop a comprehensive funding bid with no certainty that the funds would be secured. On balance, the committee felt continuing with this approach presented an unacceptable risk to public finances and that alternative means of providing the facilities and services the community needs would be more sustainable.

The Town Council has received a number of informal expressions of interest for acquiring the freehold over the past three years and local estate agents Savills have advised a guide price for a sale in the region of £1.1m. Should the council resolve to sell the building an agent will be appointed, and a competitive marketing process commenced to secure the best sale for Knutsford.

Town Mayor, Cllr Mike Houghton said “The recommendation from our Assets Committee will be debated by the whole council in January when a formal decision will be made. In the interim we welcome the views of our residents which can be submitted to the Town Clerk or to any councillors”

Knutsford Together among this year’s recipients of Community Grant Scheme

Our community grant scheme was introduced with the intention of supporting local organisations, charities, and CICs that are actively supporting Knutsford and providing community services. The grants come in either the form of donations of up to £200, small grants of up to £1,500, or large grants over the value of £1,500.

This year, one of our beneficiaries is Knutsford Together, a new charity that understands that it isn’t always easy accessing the help you need or knowing where to look.  Knutsford Together are committed to ensuring that people in Knutsford are directed to the right services relevant to their situation and are encouraging people to sign up and become Local Connectors to help make this happen. Becoming a Local Connector only takes one hour of training!

Knutsford Together received a grant in kind of two laptops, which have already helped the day-to-day running of the organisation. Nicola Marshall, chief officer at Knutsford Together said: ‘’We are so grateful for the laptops that we kindly received from Knutsford Town Council. They’ve already proven invaluable since I joined Knutsford Together in July. It has enabled me to put together a directory of services that will be listed on our website as well as carry out day-to-day admin tasks. Going forward, they are going to prove even more vital in being used to signpost and connect members of the community to local groups and services as well as securely enabling us to case manage clients when we work with them on a one-to-one basis.’’

The Town Council aims to fund organisations and projects that provide improved services or opportunities for those aged under 18 or over 65; create or improve services and facilities benefiting a significant percentage of residents or which enhance the profile or reputation of the town. If you would like to learn more about our community grant scheme and see if your organisation could be a good fit, visit: https://www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/services/community-grants.

If you would like to learn more about the work of Knutsford Together or become a Local Connector, visit: https://www.knutsfordtogether.org.uk/.

Knutsford Christmas Market marks start of festive season in 2 weeks

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Knutsford and the town’s favourite Christmas event is just around the corner!

Knutsford Christmas Market marks the start of the festive season in Knutsford and it is just three weeks away until the event returns for its 10th market. The market will be held on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th December, featuring over 130 artisan traders on each day selling a variety of fine local goods.

The Saturday market runs from 12-7pm and coincides with the Christmas Light Switch On, which is preceded by a programme of live entertainment in Canute Place from 1pm, before the lights are switched on for the festive season by the Mayor of Knutsford at 6pm!

The Santa Parade will also be held on 3rd December, kicking off at 5pm from the bottom of King Street, up Minshull Street before heading into Canute Place and dropping Santa off at the stage ready for the switch on. The parade features live brass music from City of Chester Brass Band and performances from Travelling Light Circus LED light performers, followed by Santa in his sleigh!

Families can visit Santa in his grotto on Silk Mill Street from 12-4.30pm on Saturday 3rd and 11am-4pm on Sunday 4th December. The grotto is kindly supported by CAFT and Knutsford Hosts, and a suggested £3 donation per child will be donated to CAFT.

On Sunday 4th December you can enjoy live music on Princess Street from 12-4pm from Get Back Band Buskers and Knutsford Beats, all of whom will be raising money for various charities.

There will be an array of tasty street food options, bars selling cocktails, beers and mulled wine and coffee on offer each day to keep you fed and warm whilst you browse through the market. What better way to start your Christmas shopping?

For more information regarding the market, visit knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk or follow the event on social media. You can also call 01565 653 929 for more information.

An old postcard view of Heathfield Square

Residents invited to inform conservation area review

Residents are invited to have their say on a review of two of the town’s conservation arears.

Conservation areas are designated places of ‘special architectural or historic interest where it is desirable to preserve and enhance the character and appearance’ and five of the 77 conservation areas in Cheshire East are in Knutsford: Cross Town (designated in 2006), Heathfield Square (2006), Legh Road (1976), Town Centre (1989) and St John’s (1994). Following the commitment made in the Knutsford Neighbourhood Plan, Knutsford Town Council is leading a review of the five conservation areas in the town.

A key part of conserving a conservation area is having an up-to-date appraisal and management plan which ensures their special qualities are understood and their character and appearance are not compromised by development proposals and small-scale incremental change.

Work on the Legh Road conservation area appraisal and management plan was completed in 2021 and is awaiting formal public consultation from Cheshire East Council.

The Town Council is currently working with Donald Insall Associates to undertake a review of the four remaining conservation areas, starting with Heathfield Square and St John’s.

The Heathfield Square conservation area was last appraised in 2006 when it was created, this small area comprises Knutsford’s first council houses, built as ‘homes for heroes’ after the first world war. The St John’s conservation area covers the Victorian housing along St John’s Road, St John’s Avenue and County Terrace, as well as some of the houses on Bexton Road. There is currently no appraisal or management plan for this conservation area.

Residents interested in these conservation areas are invited to share their views at engagement sessions taking place on Saturday 19th November at the Town Council Offices. Two drop-in sessions are running from 10:30-12:00 and 12:30-14:00.

Work on the Town Centre and Crosstown conservation areas will commence in early 2023.

Radchester's garden ornaments market stall in knutsford market hall

Family-run business selling bespoke garden ornaments joins Knutsford Market Hall

Give your garden some personality and head on down to Knutsford Market Hall – as Radchester’s Garden Ornaments opened their doors last week (Tuesday 1st November).

They are a family-run business offering a range of unique products that are designed and handcrafted by themselves, from the Manchester Bee to Paddington Bear. So, whether you’re looking for a quirky gift idea or a full garden makeover, there’s something for everyone!

They opened their doors in Marton back in 2020 with the aim of bringing back that extra sparkle to your green space and have since dreamed of opening a local pop-up shop. Esther, the stall owner, said: ‘’Having grown up in Knutsford, I am familiar with the Town and hope to add to the already vibrant Market Hall and see some familiar faces along the way! It would be great to see some local support for the Market, which was a much-enjoyed trip on a Saturday morning as a child.’’

Starting from prices as low as £2, there are plenty of fun and affordable items. So, get your Christmas shopping in early and add a truly personal touch to someone’s garden this year!

The Market Hall is open from 8am – 4pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Shop local this winter and come and see the range of products the market has to offer!

For inquiries, call 01565 653929 or email enquiries@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

Address: Knutsford Market Hall, Silk Mill St, Knutsford, WA16 6DF.