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Knutsford is a town and civil parish in the unitary authority area of Cheshire East and the ceremonial county of Cheshiremarker, in North West England. It is located about (12 mi) south-west of Manchestermarker, (25 mi) east of Liverpoolmarker and (11 mi) north-west of Macclesfieldmarker.

Knutsford is situated on the Cheshire Plainmarker, between the Peak Districtmarker in the South Penninesmarker to the east and the Clwydian Rangemarker in the Welsh mountains to the west. The area is famous for its beautiful countryside and pretty towns and villages. Knutsford is a popular destination for eating out, with plenty of restaurants and bars. Knutsford's proximity to Manchestermarker has helped it become an attractive commuter town for wealthy Manchestermarker business men and women.

At one end of the narrow King Street (also known as Bottom Street) is an entrance to Tatton Parkmarker. The Tatton estate was home to the Egerton family, and has given its name to Tattonmarker parliamentary constituency.

Knutsford sees itself as the pre-eminent town within the constituency, which includes the neighbouring communities of Alderley Edgemarker and Wilmslowmarker. Former Parliamentary representatives include the distinguished BBC war correspondent Martin Bell, who stood as an Independent in 1997 to defeat the disgraced former Conservative Party MP, Neil Hamilton.

History

Knutsford was recorded in the William the Conqueror's Domesday Book of 1086 as Cunetesford ("Canute's ford"). King Canute (Knútr in Old Norse) was the king of England (1016 - 1035) and later king of Denmark, Norway and parts of Sweden as well. Local tradition says that King Canute forded the River Lilymarker, which was said to be dangerous there, though other reports say it was the Birkin Brook at or near Booth Mill. The English Place-Name Society gives the name as being derived from the Old English for Knutr's ford or possibly hillock ford.

Later variations of the town's name are Knotesforde (1281), Knodesford (1354), and Knyzteford (1398).

Some, however, believe the name means 'neat's ford', a crossing place for cattle.

Knutsford was the place in which General George S. Patton, shortly before the Normandy invasionmarker, delivered a speech perceived to be critical of the Sovietsmarker, and which nearly ended his career.

In 2005 Knutsford was named as the most expensive town to buy a house in northern England, followed by nearby town Altrinchammarker. There is an extremely large range of house prices in Knutsford, currently varying from approximately £100,000 to £2,000,000. The big difference in house prices creates social divide in the town. This is a problem Knutsford has in common with the nearby towns of Altrinchammarker, Wilmslowmarker and the nearby village of Alderley Edgemarker.

Governance

As of April 2009 Knutsford is under the new unitary council of Cheshire East.Knutsford was in the Borough of Macclesfield until March 2009. Prior to 1974 there was a Knutsford District Council which was based at the town hall; which is now a furniture shop.

Transport

Road

Knutsford has excellent access to the motorway network, with junctions to the M6 (Junction 19) and M56 (Junction 7) motorways. However, this can also have disadvantages as the A50 which runs through Knutsford town centre follows a similar route to the M6 between Warringtonmarker and Stoke-on-Trentmarker, this means that if the M6 is closed due to an accident or roadworks then a large volume of traffic transfers to the A50 and causes major traffic jams in Knutsford.

Rail

Knutsford is served by Knutsford railway stationmarker which is situated on the Mid-Cheshire Line running from Chester to Manchester (via Altrincham). The station was built in 1862 by the Cheshire Midland Railway. The CMR was absorbed into the Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC) in August 1867, this entity continuing to serve Knutsford until nationalisation on 1 January 1948. The train service to Manchester became slower when the Manchester Metrolink trams took over the CLC direct line between Altrincham and Manchester, with the diesel multiple unit service being re-routed via Stockport to Manchester Piccadillymarker.

Currently there is an hourly service to Altrinchammarker, Stockportmarker and Manchestermarker to the north and Northwichmarker and Chestermarker to the south-west, with extra trains to Stockportmarker at peak times on weekdays. On Sundays there is a 2 hourly service to Chestermarker and a 2 hourly service to Southportmarker via Manchestermarker, Boltonmarker and Wiganmarker. The number of weekday peak trains to Manchester was cut back in December 2008, which has resulted in an online petition to reinstate those services.

Bus

Knutsford is not well served by buses. The only routes with a regular service are Knutsford to Macclesfieldmarker (hourly), Knutsford to Altrinchammarker via Wilmslowmarker (hourly) and Knutsford Town Circular (half hourly). There is also a Northwich-Knutsford-Altrincham bus approximately every two hours and a Lower Peover-Knutsford-Lymm-Warrington bus on Tuesdays and Fridays only.

In the past it was common for one bus operator to run most or all of the bus routes in Knutsford. This was once Crosville who ran buses across Cheshiremarker and North Wales. Then later Star Line Travel, who were based in Knutsford and at Manchester Airport. Star Line Travel were taken over by British Bus t/a North Western Road Car Company, then later became part of Arriva Group. Star Line Travel's Knutsford depot has been closed which makes running bus routes in Knutsford an unattractive proposition for Arriva, who no longer serve the town.

Current bus operators in Knutsford are Northwichmarker based Birtles, Chapel-en-le-Frithmarker based Bowers, Oldhammarker based Swans Travel and Winsfordmarker based Town and District Travel and Wrexhammarker based Vale Travel.

Airport

Manchester Airportmarker the busiest in the UK outside the London area, is near the town, but there is no direct bus or train link to the airport. Given the position of the town and the placement of the runways (especially Runway 2, which opened in 2000), the town thus suffers from the effects of aircraft noise throughout the day and night, with the east of the town (the less affluent area) worse affected. However, noise limits for aircraft are under normal circumstances lower between 21:59 and 05:59 (the times were 21:59 and 06:59 when Runway 2 was first opened.)

Manchester Airportmarker is unpopular with residents of Knutsford and surrounding villages not only because of aircraft noise, but also because National Trust woodland in the village of Styalmarker was destroyed to make way for the second runway. Also the number of jobs which Manchester Airport claimed would be created by its expansion was a gross overestimate. In the 1980s Manchester Airport protested plans to build a skyscraper at Parkgate Industrial Estate, which was not directly under Manchester Airport's flight paths at the time, possibly because Manchester Airport wanted to have the option of a second runway.

Some Knutsford residents, like many in North Cheshire, still refer to the airport by its original name of "Ringway Airportmarker", named after the hamletmarker that was originally on the site where the airport opened in 1938. However, the airport has since expanded significantly since.

Economy

Knutsford town centre has a large number of restaurants and pubs, coffee shops, boutiques, antique shops, and art galleries, and consequently attracts visitors taking a day out.

Until 2007 there were very few big name shops in Knutsford. 2007 saw the opening of a new street in the town centre on the site of a former hotel, known as Regent Street. Some residents were disgusted by the new street as it saw some big name shops such as Waterstones and Starbucks arrive in Knutsford (Knutsford traditionally has had many small independent shops). Some residents were also unimpressed with the shop fronts. Surprisingly the developers agreed that the shop fronts could have been better and blamed Macclesfield Borough Council for refusing planning permission for a better design.

Knutsford has a large supermarket, the Preston based Booths Supermarkets, and two smaller Co-op stores (one on Princess Street and one on Parkgate Lane.) Tesco used to have a small shop in the town centre, which closed many years ago. Tesco had hoped to open a larger store on the edge of the town on Mobberley Road. However, Mobberley councillors were unhappy with the idea as they thought it may result in more cars travelling through the village of Mobberley. Aldi now plan to open a superstore in Knutsford in 2010.

Barclays has a large campus site at Radbroke Hall on Toft Road just outside of Knutsford, employing several thousand staff in IT and support functions, although numbers have reduced in recent years.

Eurocamp was founded in Knutsford, but has since relocated to Hartfordmarker.

LabWare Ltd. famous for its Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), has its European Headquarters located in Toft Hall on Toft Road.

Living Ventures, which owns chains such as The Living Room and Gusto (formally known as Est Est Est) is based in the town.

AMEC NNC, was created from the progressive amalgamation of the five consortia that were formed in the 1950s and 1960s to build the UK's commercial nuclear power stations. The company was a principal contractor in the design and build of all the UK's Magnox, AGR and PWR nuclear power stations together with one in Italy and one in Japan.

Bestech Systems Ltd., an engineering software company, has its customer service and training centre located in the centre of Knutsford.

TT Games the award-winning creators of the Lego Star Wars video games are based in Knutsford.

Knutsford is also home to small business support and lobby group the Forum of Private Business (FPB), which has been based in the town since its inception in 1977.The not-for-profit FPB campaigns for the interests of small businesses and also provides a number of support services and other benefits to its members.The FPB, which employs around 30 people in Knutsford, is based in Ruskin Chambers - an unusually exotic-looking building built by Richard Harding Watt in 1901 and named after poet John Ruskin.

Ohm, company making professional sound systems is also located in Knutsford, Parkgate industrial estate. http://www.ohm.co.uk

Religion

St John the Baptist's Church, Knutsford
Knutsford has two Anglican churches, St John the Baptist and St Cross; a Roman Catholic church,St Vincent's; a Methodist church, a Unitarian church and a Gospel church. Knutsford is located in the Church of England diocese of Chester and in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Shrewsburymarker. The nearest Baptist church is in Altrinchammarker and the nearest United Reformed church, Polish Catholic church and Salvation Army are located in Northwichmarker. There are no non-Christian places of worship in Knutsford.

Education

Knutsford has six primary schools (one of these is a Catholic school and another is a private school.) Knutsford also has a high school: Knutsford High Schoolmarker which also has a Sixth Form. Some secondary school pupils from the town travel to schools in Hartfordmarker, Holmes Chapelmarker, Halemarker and Macclesfieldmarker. Some sixth formers from the town travel to colleges in Northwichmarker and Timperleymarker. Macclesfield College run some adult education courses in Knutsford and Age Concern run computer courses for the over 50s at Knutsford Library (as well as other libraries in Cheshire).

Sports

Knutsford has a variety of sports teams including:rugby union, cricket, hockey, tennis,Netball,squash and football.

Knutsford Hockey Club plays its home games at Knutsford Leisure Centre and are based at the Crosstown Bowling Club on Chelford Road. This 100 year old club runs 4 men's teams, a ladies team, a mixed team and a badgers team. The Men's 1st XI play in Division 1 of The North West Hockey League

Knutsford Cricket Club plays its home games in the Meller Braggins Cricket League at Mereheath Lane.

The home ground of Toftmarker Cricket Club is located at Booths Park, Chelford Road. The Cricket Club gets its name from a neighbouring civil parish where the original ground was located when the club was established in 1928. Toft play in the ECB Premier Division of the Cheshire County Cricket League It won the National Village Championship trophy at Lordsmarker in 1989.

Knutsford Rugby Club was established in 2004, and is supported by players from Sale Sharks. It was promoted a division within its first season. In the 2008 season, both its 1st XV and 2nd XV gained promotion in their respective leagues.

Knutsford Ladies Netball club. The club trains at Knutsford leisure centre and plays its matches in Warrington.

Knutsford Football Club. The home ground is at Manchester Road. The club operate two Saturday teams. The first team in the Mid Cheshire League and the second or A team in the Altrincham and District League. Two Associated Veterans teams also operate on Sundays in the Cheshire Veterans League. The official club website is www.knutsfordfc.co.ukThe club was formed in 1948 when men returning from the war wanted to form a team in the town to play in the newly formed Mid Cheshire Amateur League. Without a ground to play on a local farmer offered them part of his land on Manchester Road on the outskirts of the town. Lord Egerton of Tatton, on one of his occasional forays outside the park, saw that football was being played on land which belonged to his estate. The generous farmer Mr. Whittaker was hauled before Lord Egerton at Tatton to explain why he had offered the land without first seeking his permission. After a short telling off the His Lordship agreed that football could be played on the field and then gave Mr. Whittaker some other land to make up for the loss of that field.Since then the club has been a mainstay of the Mid Cheshire League and has never been relegated from the top division. The Club now harbours grand ambitions to move up the Football League ladder.

Culture and community

There are many events in and around the town each year including the May Day festivities, The RHS Flower show at Tatton Parkmarker and the Cheshire County Show in the parish of Tabley, near Knutsford.

The annual Knutsford Royal May Day festival is where hundreds of people parade through the streets, and the May Queen is crowned. During the May Day weekend there is also a funfair run on 'The Heath' (where the crowning of the May Queen also takes place) This is said to be one of the largest funfairs in the UK. There was controversy at the funfair in 2000 when a fault with the 'Hard Rock Café' ride led to a teenage girl being thrown from the ride and suffering a fractured skull. John Collins (the fair organiser) did not close the ride after the accident and did not offer the girl in question any compensation.

The Knutsford Guardian, established in 1860, is the only weekly paid for paper dedicated to covering the market town and its surrounding villages. The paper includes local news, sport and lively advertising platforms such as business pages, health and beauty, a what's on guide and weekly motors, jobs and property sections. The Knutsford Guardian is teamed with the Northwich, Middlewich and Winsford Guardian. The series is the premier paid for newspaper series in Mid Cheshire.

In 2007 Living TV's Most Haunted filmed two programmes at Tatton Parkmarker. Following that, a four day Halloween special based at Tatton Park was also recorded. Prior to that there had been reports of paranormal activity at Booths Supermarket (built on the site of a former prison), visions of a Roman Soldier on the A556 and paranormal activity at a residential address where someone had been murdered in the early 1980s. However, it is not believed that Knutsford has as many spirits as places such as Chestermarker and Yorkmarker.

The Japanese Garden in Tatton Park
There is a peculiar May Day custom, still observed today, of "sanding the streets" in Knutsford. The streets are decorated with coloured sands in patterns and pictures.

Tradition has it that King Canute, while fording the River Lily, threw sand from his shoes into the path of a wedding party, wishing the newly-wed as many children as the grains of sand at their feet.. The custom can be traced to the late 1600s. Queen Victoria, in her journal of 1832 recorded: "we arrived at Knutsford, where we were most civilly received, the streets being sanded in shapes which is peculiar to this town".

Knutsford was the model for Elizabeth Gaskell's novel Cranford. She lived in the town for some time, on what is now known as Gaskell Avenue, and she is buried in the Unitarian Chapel' graveyard. Many of the places and people described in her books can be identified as being based on places and people in the town. In 2007 the BBC adapted the novel and produced a popular TV series Cranford. Despite several references to Knutsford, including King Street and The Heath, the TV adaptation was actually filmed in Lacockmarker, Wiltshiremarker. The BBC did not consider filming the series in Knutsford due to the high density of restaurants in Knutsford. Notably, in 1987 Legh Road in Knutsford, designed by Richard Harding Watt, doubled for Colonial Shanghai in the opening scenes from Steven Spielberg's film Empire of the Sun.

Scenes from the George C. Scott film Patton were filmed in the centre of Knutsford, in front of the old Town Hall. The building was designed by Alfred Waterhouse, and it is now a furniture sale room.

Robbie Williams made reference to the town on his album Sing When You're Winning with the track "Knutsford City Limits". The lyrics describe a man who is offended by being branded "northern scum". The chorus is: 'London's got its gimmicks / and New York's had its minute / But Knutsford City limits / I'll never change".

Knutsford features in the novel Suspicious Minds by crime writer Martin Edwards, who was born in the town, and in his short story, 'The Mystery of Canute Villa'.

Notable people

Knutsford has been home to a number of celebrities including:







See also



References

Notes

  1. .
  2. Harvtxt|Dodgson|1970|pp=73, 74
  3. English Place Name Society Database at Nottingham University
  4. Cheshire East Council Timeline
  5. http://www.manchester-forum.co.uk/index.php/topic,2991.0.html
  6. Manchester Airport : Community Operations
  7. Knutsford Guardian - Residents wait for airport to pay out
  8. http://www.woodland-trust.org.uk/publications/publicationsmore/destruction.pdf
  9. Aldi buys store land in town centre (From Knutsford Guardian)
  10. http://archive.thisischeshire.co.uk/2003/12/23/158461.html
  11. LabWare Ltd. Official website. Retrieval Date: December 7, 2007.
  12. http://www.livingventures.com/contact-us
  13. http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=3733928
  14. Bestech Systems Ltd. Official website. Retrieval Date: February 1, 2008.
  15. http://archive.knutsfordguardian.co.uk/2007/6/7/290545.html
  16. Knutsford Hockey Club official website. Retrieval Date: 25 September, 2007.
  17. The North West Hockey League. Retrieval Date: 25 September, 2007.
  18. Knutsford Cricket Club Official website. Retrieval Date: 25 September, 2007.
  19. Meller Braggins Cricket League Official website. Retrieval Date: 25 September, 2007.
  20. Toft Cricket Club Official website. Retrieval date: 25 September, 2007.
  21. Cheshire County Cricket League Official website. Retrieval Date: 25 September, 2007.
  22. Knutsford Rugby Club Official website. Retrieval Date: 25 September, 2007.
  23. "The Old Town Hall", Knutsford. Retrieval date: 25 September 2007
  24. Allen and Appleyard Furniture Sale Room. Retrieval Date: 25 September, 2007.
  25. Edward 'Highwayman' Higgins was a gentleman by day and a thief by night, at one time residing at a town house on what is now Gaskell Avenue. Higgins was hanged for his crimes in 1767.


Bibliography



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