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KP2016

Not everyone liked Richard Harding Watt!

Belle Epoque towerNikolaus Pevsner said about King Street: “It is an attractive street, though without highlights, unless one is prepared to call the Gaskell Memorial Tower and King’s Coffee House of 1907-1908 a highlight.”

Designed by Richard Harding Watt, Pevsner calls the tower “a remorseless imposition of crazy grandeur on poor Knutsford”.

Describing Watt’s style he said: “It is at best a parallel to Barcelona at the same time. Stonework is heavy, fenestration random, and motifs may be Italian, Spanish or just Watt.”

The Pevsner Architectural Guides

Nikolaus Pevsner
Nikolaus Pevsner

The Pevsner Architectural Guides were begun in 1951 by the architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner (1902-83) with the aim of providing an up-to-date portable guide to the most significant buildings in every part of the country, suitable for both general reader and specialist. The success of the volumes covering The Buildings of England led to the extension of the series to Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Each volume provides an introductory overview of the architecture of the area, followed by a descriptive gazetteer arranged alphabetically by place. Whilst cathedrals and their furnishings, great country houses and their parks form the grand set pieces, the books demonstrate the enjoyable diversity of architecture in the British Isles in accounts of rural churches and farmsteads, Victorian public buildings and industrial monuments. A continuing programme of new editions keeps the series up-to-date with new information on older buildings and recent architecture while maintaining the tradition of Pevsner’s own succinct accounts. Each book has over 100 photographs, mostly specially commissioned, numerous maps and plans, a glossary and indexes.

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KP2016

Knutsford Heritage Open Days programme is out!

Programme 2016The full programme for Knutsford Heritage Open Days organised by the Knutsford Promenades Community Association is now available and being distributed across the town and Cheshire.

Download your own copy to help you plan your full visit.

Knutsford Heritage Open Days programme 2016

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KP2017

Knutsford The Old Croft

The Old CroftThe Old Croft, Legh Road, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 8NR

Richard Harding Watt (1842-1913) was an amateur designer and wealthy glove merchant who transformed the townscape of Knutsford with a series of eccentric buildings which are of considerable importance.

Legh Road contains a remarkable series of his houses, of which the Grade II The Old Croft is of particular interest as RHW lived there from 1895.

Richard Harding Watt used professional architects to realise his plans, and The Old Croft was designed by the architect John Brooke, who with Edwin Hall also co-designed the Manchester Royal Infirmary.

Richard Harding Watt added the tower (to designs by W. Longworth) in 1907.

Watt developed his ideas and the extraordinary range of villas he constructed on Legh Road reflect his Moorish and Italian influences, freely mixed in his totally unique and eclectic style.

This is a rare opportunity for visitors to see some of the interior, exterior and garden as a guided tour.

Opening Times

  • Thursday 7 September: Tour at 15:30-16:00; 16:15-16:45; 17:00-17:30

Booking Details

Pre-booking: Required
Email: theoldcroft@knutsfordproms.co.uk
Booking opens: 11 August 2017
Booking closes: 4 September 2017

Access

This is a private family home. Pre-booking is essential. Visitors should wear appropriate footwear suitable for indoors and walking across the gardens (no heavy boots/stilettos). In the advent of adverse weather, the site visit may be cancelled. Please note that there is no parking on site.

Additional information

Max 10 people per tour/session.

Steven Spielberg used Legh Road as a setting for Shanghai in his film ‘Empire of the Sun’

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KP2017

Knutsford Marble Arch

marble archMarble Arch Cottage, Marble Arch, King Street, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6HD

This is one of the most iconic buildings in Knutsford, and the blue plaque outside proclaims “This was once a coaching inn, thought to have been known as The Mermaid. It then became The Angel before the inn’s removal to the opposite side of the street in the early Eighteenth Century.”

It was The Angel until about 1710: the mounting block can still be noted. In Cranford, Lord Maulever stayed here while visiting Captain Brown.

It is a Grade II* listed building with a central arched entry leading to the rear yard.

It is a private home, so this is a unique opportunity to enjoy a guided tour of parts of the interior and exterior.

Opening Times

  • Thursday 7 September: 12:00-15:00
  • Saturday 9 September: 10:00-12:00

Booking Details

Pre-booking: Required
Email: marblearch@knutsfordproms.co.uk
Booking opens: 11 August 2017
Booking closes: 4 September 2017

Access

This is a private family home. Visitors should wear appropriate footwear (no heavy boots/stilettos). Pre-booking is essential. In the advent of adverse weather, the site visit may be cancelled. Access to first floor is via stairs only.

Additional information

Max 10 people per tour/session. There is no parking on site.

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KP2017

The Belle Époque

Belle Epoque towerThe Belle Epoque, 60 King Street, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6DT

Richard Harding Watt (1842-1914) was a local philanthropist and idealist with a passion for building, who made his fortune from glove making in Manchester.

The Grade II* Gaskell Memorial Tower and King’s Coffee House was designed by Richard Harding Watt with assistance from W. Longworth, and was opened in 1907. Harding Watt responsible for the town’s eclectic Italianate buildings and this development is one of his iconic designs.

As originally built, it had the triple function of being council offices, a coffee house, and a memorial to the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, a former resident of the town, known as Gaskell Tower which incorporates two depictions of her and the titles of her novels are inscribed.

The building is owned by Knutsford Town Council and is used as a wedding venue and restaurant, The Belle Epoque. Features include two pillars derived from the original St Peter’s Church in Manchester and the Art Nouveau character remains, with the fireplaces and the Mediterranean Roof Garden.

The Belle Epoque team will be providing an informal tour of the building.

Opening Times

  • Thursday 7 September: 10:00-12:00

Booking Details

No booking required

Additional information

Watt wanted to commemorate the novelist Mrs Gaskell, who had lived in Knutsford and based some of her works on the town, in particular Cranford. The building was opened on 23 March 1907 in the presence of one of Mrs Gaskell’s grandsons. A plaque was placed on the tower on 29 September 1960 on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Mrs Gaskell’s birth and proclaims: “THIS PLAQUE WAS PLACED HERE ON THE OCCASION OF MRS GASKELL’S 150th BIRTH ANNIVERSARY, SEPT 29th 1960 AND TO RECORD THAT THIS TOWER WAS ERECTED TO THE MEMORY OF MRS GASKELL BY MR RH WATT IN MARCH 1907”

Website

www.thebelleepoque.co.uk/

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KP2016

Expert set to give insight into King Canute’s Knutsford visit 1,000 years ago

Professor Richard Morris1
Professor Richard Morris

AN archaeologist with strong links to Cheshire will explain Knutsford’s Viking past as part of the celebrations to mark 1,000 since King Canute’s visit to the town.

As Knutsford is celebrating 1,000 years of history since Canute famously came to the town and forded the River Lily, the Knutsford Promenades Community Association has announced a keynote lecture will be given on ‘Cheshire and the Viking World’.

Professor Richard Morris OBE is presenting this illustrated lecture, which is hosted by The Tabley House Collection Trust.

Professor Morris is a highly respected archaeologist, historian and author who has worked at the Universities of York, Leeds and Huddersfield, and has been director of the Council for British Archaeology and a Commissioner of English Heritage. He is a Trustee of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Richard Morris chairs The Blackden Trust, a charitable organisation involved in historical and archaeological investigation and care of the late-medieval home of novelist Alan Garner, in Cheshire.

“Cheshire played an important part in the Viking world which stretched from Dublin to Russia,” said Sarah.

“His talk will be a fascinating insight into Cheshire’s history and we’re grateful to Professor Morris, The Blackden Trust and Tabley House for making this unique event possible.”

George KG
From left, Brendan Flanagan and Richard Milkins, Cheshire East, Sarah Flannery, Richard Clare, Clare & Illingworth and George Osborne MP

Meanwhile, the Knutsford Heritage Open Days organisers are encouraging people to join in Canute’s Crossing on Saturday, September 10.

Led by the Danish consul Christian Wewer, the artist Russell Kirk and the Chester Vikings, the event will represent 1,000 years of Knutsford’s history since 1016 by following in Canute’s footsteps and crossing the River Lily.

Once on the Moor all participants will help artist Russell Kirk create a piece of community art made by 1,000 hands in homage to the 1,000 years. Entertainment will be provided so the afternoon will be a fun event for all ages.

“We’re encouraging people to do their own crossing between now and September and share their photos with us and the Knutsford Guardian,” said Sarah.

Chef Raymond Blanc with Sarah Flannery
Chef Raymond Blanc with Sarah Flannery

“The response so far has been great – chef Raymond Blanc was particularly enthusiastic when he did the crossing and was very supportive of our project and fascinated by Knutsford’s heritage.”

Tatton MP George Osborne took time out of his schedule to head down to the Lily on Friday, July 8 to cross the river with Promenades organisers and members of the Knutsford business community,

Send your Lily crossing selfies to knutsford@guardiangrp.co.uk.

From Knutsford Guardian

Book your tickets for Cheshire and the Viking World lecture

Find out how you can be involved in Canute’s Crossing

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KP2017

Knutsford St John’s Church

St John'sSt. Johns Parish Church, Church Hill, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6DH

St John’s Church new was commissioned under the architect John Garlive -the man who designed Booths Hall for Peter Legh. The church was built in Georgian style using local brick with stone dressings and consecrated on 24th June 1744.

The Church was recently re-ordered bringing the building back to its original style makingthe most of the beauty in its simplicity.

It now has a thriving cafe, a wonderful organ, 8 functioning bells and an unparalleled view of Knutsford from the top of the Church tower.

Visitors will be allowed to climb the tower but should note there are 88 steps and the ascent is not for the fainthearted!

Opening Times

  • Thursday 7 September: 09:30-14:30
  • Friday 8 September: 09:30-14:30

Booking Details

No booking required

Access

Visitors wishing to climb the Church tower should note there are 88 steps up a narrow spiral staircase and the hatch opening to the top of the tower is quite narrow.

Website

www.stjohnsknutsford.org.uk/

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KP2017

Knutsford The Ruskin Rooms

Ruskin RoomsDrury Lane, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6HA

Richard Harding Watt (1842-1914) was a local philanthropist and idealist with a passion for building, who made his fortune from glove making in Manchester.

Drury Lane is a remarkable development in Free Style built under his patronage. The use of white-painted render, curved windows, heavy stone lintels and door surrounds, and clay pantiled roofs, provide this group with its special character.

The Ruskin Recreation Rooms were built as reading rooms and a fire station and a blue plaque on the exterior records:

“A ‘Welcome Club’ for officers of the American Third Army was opened in this building by General George S Patton Commanding Officer on 25th April 1944 prior to participation in the Liberation of Europe June 1944 to May 1945″.

Visitors will be able to walk up the original stairway and enjoy the view from a room on the top floor.

Opening Times

  • Thursday 7 September: 13:00-15:00
  • Saturday 9 September: 11:00-13:00

Booking Details

Pre-booking: Preferred
Email: marketing@fpb.org
Booking opens: 4 August 2017
Booking closes: 4 September 2017

Access

The Ruskin Rooms are currently used as commercial office premises. Visitors will need to be able to walk up a long staircase. There is no parking on site.

Additional information

Event contact over the festival: Ian Cass.

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KP2017

Knutsford Booths Hall

booths hallBooths Hall, Booths Park, Chelford Road, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 8QZ

Booths Hall was the seat of the Legh family for more than 600 years until it was sold in 1917.

The original hall, built as a moated timber framed quadrangular house at the beginning of the 14th Century, was rediscovered during an archaeological dig in 1973 and the site lies adjacent to the wood.

In 1745 the current hall was built by Peter Legh. It was subsequently enlarged by his grandson Peter in 1845 to the design of Edward Habershon. The mid-19th Century garden and mid-18th Century planting to the front of the hall still survives.
Booths Hall is surrounded by parkland which is mostly farmed. Many of the parkland trees have survived and a new office and laboratory buildings were added in the 20th Century.

Booths Hall is currently used as serviced offices.

During the guided tour visitors will be able to see the secret passageway that links the cellars to the Oak Room. Originally used by servants, it was never intended to be a ‘secret’ despite its disguised entrance.

Opening Times

  • Thursday 7 September: Tour 10:00-10:45 *FULLY BOOKED*
  • Friday 8 September: Tour 10:00-10:45

Booking Details

Pre-booking: Required
Email: julie.ault@bruntwood.co.uk
Booking opens: 1 August 2017
Booking closes: 4 September 2017

Access

Booths Hall is used as serviced office space so business activity will be taking place as usual. Meeting rooms may be in use and unavailable to view. There are no lifts, only stairs for access so a good level of mobility is required to move around the Hall (only ground floor is accessible for wheelchairs).

Additional information

Max 20 people per tour/session. There is a business cafe on site that can be used by visitors.

Website

bruntwood.co.uk/media/1607/booths-park.pdf

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KP2017

Knutsford The Old Laundry

The Old LaundryThe Old Laundry, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6HA

Richard Harding Watt (1842-1914) was a local philanthropist and idealist with a passion for building, who made his fortune from glove making in Manchester.

The Old Laundry is part of a remarkable development on Drury Lane in Free Style built under his patronage. Built 1899-1902 on the site of the former tannery and dye works, and originally used as the old laundry, workshop and workers’ cottages, the use of white-painted render, curved windows, heavy stone lintels and door surrounds, and clay pantiled roofs provide this group with its special character.

The Old Laundry is 4-storeyed with an open upper storey, with a high entrance arch and wide segmentally-arched entrance with wooden main and side gates with Art Nouveau-style iron work.

Visitors will have a unique opportunity to enjoy a short guided tour of parts of the interior and exterior.

Opening Times

  • Saturday 9 September: 11:00-13:00

Booking Details

Pre-booking: Required
Email: theoldlaundry@knutsfordproms.co.uk
Booking opens: 11 August 2017 09:00
Booking closes: 4 September 2017 17:00

Access

The Old Laundry is a private family home. Visitors should wear appropriate footwear (no heavy boots/stilettos). There are lots of stairs and the tower is extremely narrow. Pre-booking is essential. In the advent of adverse weather, the site visit may be cancelled.

Additional information

Max 6 people per tour/session.