A (BRIEF) HISTORY OF KNUTSFORD TOWN COUNCIL

Knutsford Town Council was formed in 1974 as part of a local government reorganisation. Under the new Local Government Act 1972 urban district councils were replaced with new larger districts and where appropriate new parish councils were created for the towns. Knutsford Parish Council was officially formed in 1973 as a shadow council (now powers, and comprising the members of the KUDC). The Knutsford Parish Council resolved to be styled as a Town – and thus Knutsford Town Council was born and the title of Mayor of Knutsford was recreated.

The new Town Council was given little responsibility under this reorganisation, with responsibility for parks, markets, toilets, allotments and much more being placed under the new Macclesfield District Council (later given borough status). In the 1970s the council successfully argued that 60 King Street (then home to La Belle Epoque restaurant) belonged to the Town Council and not Macclesfield BC under a statutory provision that vested ‘parish property’ in the hands of the new town councils. At a similar time, Monkton Properties gifted Wallwood to the town and vested it in the trust to Knutsford Town Council.

Over the next 30 or so years, the Town Council’s role was  one of representing the townsfolk with other organisations and delivering few services directly. This began to change in 2011 when a drive from the newly formed Cheshire East Council (unitary authority established in 2009) and the new coalition government pushed for localism – more services to be delivered locally. This also coincided with austerity measures which meant Cheshire East Council had to carefully focus its spending.

Between 2012-2020 the council’s responsibilities grew greatly, taking on responsibility for town centre management, public toilets, markets, allotments and the cemetery. It also recruited a new Town Ranger and began undertaking responsive maintenance across the town as well as generally becoming more directly involved in a wider array of services as Cheshire East Council stepped back.

Annie Jayne Leigh

Annie Jayne Leigh
Chairman
1924-1926 and 1928-1929

KNUTSFORD URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL

Knutsford Urban District Council was created in 1895 in the final part of the major Victorian creation of modern local government. Knutsford was originally going to be governed by parish councils (for Nether Knutsford and Over Knutsford) under a Rural District Council. We hold a copy of the first resolution of the Nether Knutsford Parish Council held in December 1894 where it thanked the chairman of the Parish Meeting which elected the council and and noted it was being replaced with an Urban District Council.

Urban Districts were responsible for a large range of functions, and over its almost 80 years the KUDC oversaw the construction of the cemetery and chapel, a public library and hundreds of council houses. The council purchased land from Lord Egerton to create the Moor and it was also responsible for roads, sewerage, public health, the fire service and many other functions that are now under the jurisdiction of Cheshire East Council. The council was one of the first in the country to run its own cinema when it purchased the Marcliff Cinema in the 1950s.

The Urban District Council initially had offices in King Street in a building where Clare and Illingworth now is, before moving into part of the newly constructed Kings Coffee House (60 King Street) – the building still bears the name of the council and Richard Harding Watt, creator of the Kings Coffee House was a councillor at the time. When the prison closed, the council purchased the Prison Governor’s house for its new office in the 1920s.

The council’s seal was originally an image of King Canute stood fording a river, holding an axe. In 1955 to celebrate the council’s diamond anniversary the Nether Knutsford Freeholders paid for the council to have a coat of arms.

KNUTSFORD URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL CHAIRMEN

Term of OfficeChairmanTerm of OfficeChairmanTerm of OfficeChairman
1895-98R Longridge1938/39E Thomas1958-59J Walley
1898-02F Ashworth1939-40A Percy1959-60W Shaw
1902-09L Bentley1940-41W Shaw1960-61J Bancroft
1909-20J Cox1941-42E Waldron1961-63M Chorlton
1920-24M Penn1942-43J Norbury1963-64J Gledhill
1924-26A Leigh1943-44P Harwood1964J Kendrick
1926-28F Wildgoose1944-47F Johnson1964-65J Walley
1928-30A Leigh1946-47A Percy1965-66I Stevenson
1929-31W Johnson1947-49F Floyd1966-67R Shepherd
1931-32H Darlington1949-50A Percy1967-68G Butler
1932-33W Fisher1950-51E Thomas1968-69H Fish
1933-34F Jennings1951-52H Darlington1969-70M Chorlton
1934-35H Stell1952-54A Hart1970-71G Whalley
1935-36T Beswick1954-55F Floyd1971-72F Atkins
1936-37S Cake1955-57T Meachin1972-73D Page
1937-38G Mason1957-58J Gledhill1973-74H Glidewell

TOWN CLERKS

Knutsford has had 11 Town Clerks since the Urban District Council was established in 1895. Our first Town Clerk was appointed on 14th May 1895 with a salary of £40 per year. Our longest serving Town Clerk was Edward Morley, who served as the final Town Clerk under the Urban District Council and the first under the new Town Council.

 

1895 – 1923

Edward Ashworth

1923- 1929

Harry Culdecutt

1929-1946

John Yates

1947-1977

Edward Morley

1977-1986

Eric Yeomans

1987-1997

Alan Jackson

1997-2003

Gay Martyniuk

2003-2008

Linda Thomas

2008-2011

Matthew Jackson

2011-2013

Steve McQuade

2014 – 

Adam Keppel-Green