Unitarian Chapel, Adams Hill, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 8DY

Joan Leach MBE, known to one and all as Mrs Knutsford, was the town’s popular historian and author of many books who founded The Gaskell Society in 1985.

Joan Leach was a Knutsfordian through and through, and one of the town’s most popular ‘Extraordinary Women’. Largely self-taught, her knowledge of Knutsford and those who lived there was unrivalled. She wrote several books about the town including ‘Knutsford: A History’ and ‘Looking Back At Knutsford’ and helped to create the town’s heritage boards.

She is probably best known for being an expert on the life and works of Elizabeth Gaskell, who was married and buried in the town. She founded The Gaskell Society in 1985 and thanks in great part to her enthusiasm the popularity of Mrs Gaskell rose greatly when branches of the Gaskell Society set up in London, Bath, York and even Japan.

Joan Leach used to hold regular walks around the town and, in her honour, members of Brook Street Chapel and the Gaskell Society will be leading three costumed Joan Leach Walks around the town, starting and finishing at Brook Street Chapel where Joan’s ashes are interred beside the grave of Elizabeth Gaskell.

Opening Times

Thursday 6 September: Guided walk 1030
Friday 7 September: Guided walk 1030
Saturday 8 September: Guided walk 1030

Booking Details

No booking required


The walk will take place around the town and will involve crossing roads, some slopes and some very narrow pavements.

Additional Information

Walk will take approx. 90 mins. Brook Street Chapel, the starting and finishing point, is a Grade I heritage site and the oldest place of worship in Knutsford. Elizabeth Gaskell, her husband William and two of their daughters are buried in the graveyard. Contact for the day: Beulah Cornes
Twitter @KnutsfordProms


The walks will start from the entrance to Brook Street Unitarian Chapel on Adams Hill. Brook Street Chapel is opposite Knutsford train station and across the road from Aldi.

Organised by

Knutsford Promenades