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The on-line collection

We are not a museum; and we certainly don't aim to build a collection that ends up being stored away out of sight.  But telling Lymm's story at the Heritage Centre will be enlivened by including objects, artefacts, models and replicas as well as video, photographs and oral history.  We also aim to put together boxed handling collections for schools to help them cover a range of topics. 


Lymm Cross- Original Watercolour 1840s

On loan from Alan Williams 

This is a very interesting and revealing find. It may be the most  reliable pre-photography image we have of Lymm. It was probably painted in the late 1840s.  The artist, Ann Turner was obviously well to do as she had the means to travel to places like Lymm before the arrival of the railway.  The village has a much more rustic feel though the Fleece is in place and the wall and gate to the left were to survive for at least another 100 years.   

Manchester Ship Canal Memorabilia 

The Manchester Ship Canal was one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th Century. It passes through the parish of Lymm and while there is no dock it has nevertheless had a major influence on the village.  The arrival of the navvies in the 1880s, the building of temporary shanties to accommodate them, their uneasy  integration into village life, the boundary changes that  gave a little of Lancashire to Cheshire,  the new high level Warburton Bridge, Statham Jetty and the thousands of trippers it brought to the village and of course Lymm became identified forever as "south of the canal" with all that implied.   These two items celebrate the opening and the first year of the canal. The Helvetia - pictured in the glass plate was hired by Warrington Corporation to carry its dignitaries at the canal opening on New Year's Day 1894. 

Manchester Ship Canal Memorabilia 

The Manchester Ship Canal was one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th Century. It passes through the parish of Lymm and while there is no dock it has nevertheless had a major influence on the village.  The arrival of the navvies in the 1880s, the building of temporary shanties to accommodate them, their uneasy  integration into village life, the boundary changes that  gave a little of Lancashire to Cheshire,  the new high level Warburton Bridge, Statham Jetty and the thousands of trippers it brought to the village and of course Lymm became identified forever as "south of the canal" with all that implied.   These two items celebrate the opening and the first year of the canal. The Helvetia - pictured in the glass plate was hired by Warrington Corporation to carry its dignitaries at the canal opening on New Year's Day 1894. 

Goldbeater's Work Case 

On Loan from Alan Williams 

What connects Lymm with Buckingham Palace, The Palace of Westmisnters, Westminster Abbey, .. the clue is in the battered case.

GOLD ! or more accurately Gold Leaf. or to be even more precise Wrights of Lymm, Gold Leaf .. One of Lymm oldest and most important industries came to Lymm in the early part of the 20th century having transferred from Manchester. Wrights of Lymm was and arguably still is THE premier supplier of gold leaf for a host of important projects around the world. 
The box by the way is an original Wrights work case.

Oughtrington & Beechwood Estates

Sales Catalogue  

on loan from Don Smith 

Just take a look at this then read the story..

It was the end of the Edwardian era . but in Lymm it was also arguably the end of the era of the "Lord of the Manor" .. incredible to think it was only 100 years ago. The Dewhursts , cotton magnates had lived at Beechwood Hall - roughly where Lymm rugby team now play - in a grand house for 50 years - You can still see the entrance gate on Crouchley Lane. 
They invested a huge amount in the village, provided land for the Grammar School, built roads, Built St Peter's Church in Oughtrington, served as magistrates..provided land for the council offices. At one time they owned 1,500 acres of land in Lymm and Oughtrington ( including Oughtrington Hall).. but today all that remains is that arch on Crouchley Lane and a sadly dilapidated family grave at St Marys . .. They are not even remembered by a Dewhurst Close or a Dewhurst Park .. 
What they did leave us was an incredible snapshot of the village in 1911 when the whole estate was put up for auction.. You can see an extract of it here. The whole catalogue is over 100 pages. Several copies survive. We are grateful to Don Smith who has a given a copy on loan to the Heritage Centre - The whole catalogue is over 100 pages... You can flick through part of it here. This is just a rough version. As part of our application to Heritage Lottery Fund we are looking to digitise and share potentially thousands of images like these for all to see and enjoy.

Queen for a Day - 1926 May Queen Coronet 

Donated by Mr & Mrs Potts Stockport

On the 21st of April 1926, on the day the future Queen Elizabeth II was born in Mayfair, a fourteen year old girl in Broomedge near Lymm– Winnie Yearsley, was making her daily deliveries of milk – pushing two large milk-cans hanging off the handlebars of her bicycle round the neighbourhood.
She would be returning home in the evening to the tiny cottage where she and her family lived in a row of six dwellings that shared one cold water tap. There was no bathroom and only a communal toilet but soon there would be one very special item to grace the mantle over the open fire for Winnie had been chosen as that year’s Lymm May Queen. 
On the day, Whit-Thursday 1926 Winnie was the star of the show –being taken around the village in a coach pulled by six horses and with eight attendant maids. 
It was a day the family never forgot. Her father was so proud that for many years the crown was on display in a glass dome at the family cottage. Winnie’s life continued to be hard with periods in domestic service working fourteen hours a day and at the local salt works. When her parents died she continued to treasure the crown and the memories it held and when she too passed on it disappeared into a family loft. 
But now in the very week that we celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday and on the 90th anniversary of Winnie’s five minutes of fame as village "queen" the crown has been rediscovered in that loft and donated for all time to Lymm Heritage Centre.  

The Mort Family Scrapbooks  

On Loan from  Jamie MacDonald & Margaret Taylor 


Before TV, before most people had radios even, we "surfed" the newspapers and cut out what caught our eye and made scrapbooks. Maybe local news, travel, sport. The vast majority of these books were consigned to the bin many years ago but we are very fortunate that the Mort family held on to theirs..with clippings from as early as 1907 right up to the 1940s. There is lots of general material giving a flavour of the times but every now and then a little gem that tells of local life in Lymm at the time. We will publish some of these seaparately as an on-line scrapbook that you will be able to leaf through but here's an introduction. Thank you to Jamie McDonald at the Lymm Hotel and to Margaret Taylor for sharing these with us. We in turn will be making these available for all to view as part of the Heritage Centre project. 

Victorian Watch Key 

On loan from Alan Williams


The Victorian/Edwardian equivalent of the fridge magnet or key-ring was the watch key. They were cheap to produce and an opportunity for a shopkeeper to promote himself. This rare surviving local example was for John Brearley, watch and clock maker of Eagle Brow who by 1910 had moved to Booth's Hill.

Victorian / Edwardian Moustache Cup

On loan from Su Williams

The moustache cup was specially designed to protect a gentleman's carefully waxed moustache and to prevent it getting it wet and therefore drooping! It is a good example of piece of late Victorian /Edwardian tourist ware possible purchased from Brazendale's the local china and glass dealer. 


Every Picture Tells a Story 


Donor Unidentified 


These images arrived with us via a third party.  They are of a  spread of years and locations. As people are good enough to share their collection, so we will share with you. The donor attributes the oldest picture - of the cross - (top left) to around 1860. There was certainly a PRESTONS - Chemist and Druggist on the trade directory for 1857 and 1864 but Prestons was gone by 1871 so they may be right which would seem make it one of the very oldest vies of the village. Click on the image to leaf through this collection. We have seen some of the images before but its always good to shre them again.   


 Lymm May Queen Programme 1926


Donated by family of May Queen Winnie Yearsley,  Stockport 


Documents like this offer a fascinating insight into the lives of people in the village 90 years ago for dozens of businesses. Go and collect your bike from the repairers and on the way home pop in for a cowheel or tripe supper. Some interesting businesses too. A Pharmacy that is also a Wine & Spirit Merchant, A hairdresser that is also a tobaconnist ! You can leaf through the whole programme for yourself Just CLICK  HERE    


 Commissioners' Report on child labour in the fustian cutting industry 


Available free on-line


This remarkable report from 1863 offers an amazing insight into the lives and working conditions of child fustian cutters  seen from all sides. From the local minister and school-teacher, to the fustian masters, to some of the youngsters aged 9 and up  who were put to work for twelve hours a day or more.  There were over 100 children under 13 years of age employed in this way in Lymm at that time. 

We may sometimes get "nostlagic" for the past. But this report paints a grim picture of the reality of life by our standards  for working people and their children in the mid-Victorian  era in Lymm.  The Heritage Centre will aim to tell the story of people like these to help us better understand what life was really like for people in all walks of life.  

You can read it for yourself by clicking on the document cover.  





 Photographs- The Age of Steam


Donated by Keith Smith


There are surprisingly few good quality photographs of steam engines in Lymm so this recent donation by Keith Smith of photographs originally taken by Kenm Smith around the end of 1950s - early 60s are especially welcome. This one shows the level crossing on Whitbarrow Road near the station with children hanging fascinated over the gate. - Can't see that getting past Health and Safety today !!  THe sginal box is the same one as is shown three entries down from this one.

Bollington in East Cheshire has a complete on-line archive of 6,000 photographs. Wouldn't it be great to have something similar in Lymm. Take a look at the Bollington Archive here



Linen Bus Route Sign c 1962 


On Loan from Alan Williams

Photo by Alan Taylor


These days bus signs seem to be either digital or scrawled on a piece of card with a marker pen.  But back in the heyday of bus travel every bus was equipped with a roll of linen cloth that carried details of every possible route that bus might travel.  One of the jobs on arriving at the terminus was to wind the cloth on to show the return destination.


Lymm's very first bus service was in 1849. George Arnold grasped the four year "window of opportunity" between 1849 and 1853 when the railway had reached Altrincham but not yet got as a far as Lymm. Ironically the 90 minute journey then by horse-bus and train is probably not that much slower than the current day bus and tram journey. 

Oughtrington Quarry Billhead 1819 


On loan from Alan Williams


A single billhead describing a purchase of stone provides a direct link with the past and the construction of some of the area's most important buildings.  Stone from Oughtrington Quarry was used in the renovation and rebuilding of St Mary's including the pulpit. The church was reconsecrated in 1851.  

Before that Oughtrington stone was almost certainly used locally in the building of the Bridgewater Canal - in the 1760s. A walk in Helsdale wood today will still reveal remnants of the quarrying site. 

Funeral of Edward VII


Photo donated by David Taylor (Thelwall)

Newspaper and "Ceremonial" purchased by Lymm HIC.


Sometimes it is good to have the chance to link the local with the national. An event like the funeral of Edward VII was a huge occasion in London as can be seen by the ceremonial programme and that day's special edition of the Daily Mirror but we can also see how the event was marked here in a typical village with a demonstration of allegiance and respect  that was probably being repeated all over the country.  


Lymm signal box


Donated by Richard Buckley


This picture of Lymm Station signal box is special not so much because of the box itself but because we also see the signalman - Stanley Seed. This picture was probably take around 1945 when Stanley was due to retire after 40 years continuous service.  It was donated by an ex Lymm native who now lives in North Wales but who was delighted to have the opportunity to support the idea of the Heritage Centre .



British Legion Scrapbook


Donated by family of Raymond Massey 


The name of Raymond Massey is inseparable from that of the Royal British Legion - Lymm Branch. He was a key member of the team that raised funds and eventually helped to secure premises in what had been a temporary home for Barclays Bank while they knocked down the old bank and replaced it with the current monstrosity - but that's another story.

In the first two years after it opened it won the award as the top branch in the North West.  Raymond continued to be an avid supporter until very late in life.


So it is particularly poignant that in the very week in February 2015 that he died the local club died with him as it announced it would be closing due to falling membership and rising rents. 


It is to be hoped that a building that was originally funded by the community for the community  could remain open somehow  to the benefit of all.

Maybe as an Information and Heritage Centre ?  


The Mill & Gregson's Bakery 


Donated by Alan Taylor / British Newspaper Archive


The mill at the lower dam was once one of the most important buildings in the village standing on what is now the site of the sunken garden.  

The earliest ad we have found for the mill was 1771 when there were also two malt kilns to let. This ad is from 1785.


Much later the mill was owned by the Gregson family who eventually settled at Leckonby next door to what in now the Lymm Hotel.The Gregsons owned a  bakery on Eagle Brow and young Arthur -picture here shortly before the First World War was one of the delivery boys. 


It was a clearly a prosperous business - Thomas Gregson the son of the business was one of the very early local car owners. We know that for certain as his name  pops up more than once in the local newspapers on charges of driving while drunk in the first decade of the twentieth century. 



Victorian Mineral Water Bottle


Donated by Alan Taylor


Amazing what turns up at the bottle bank. 

Almost certainly sold by a local grocer and very likely to one of what were known then as "the gentry". 

It's not just our generation that got hooked upon the apparent benefits of mineral water.

This one is  German and  helda rather salty but apparently socially desirable mineral water. Produced for Georg Kreuzber, a wine merchant from Ahrweiler who in 1850s began bottling mineral water from the Apollinaris spring. By 1860 40,000 bottles had been dispatched across the globe. The refinery shut in 1878. 

The rather crude and imperfect incised stamp has a circular inscription 'Apollinaris-Brunnen  M-W'. Inside appears a boaty logo and below 'Georg Kreuzberg, Ahrweiler, Rheinpreussen'. 


Lymm's Grammar School Report Book



Donated by Peter Morley


In these days of print-outs and on-line information it is worth remembering that in 1954 you were given your report bookat it was expectedto  last you for your whole school career. 


The owner of this one, Peter Morley, was very much one of the "could do better" brigade. There's one on this page. I had a good few of those myself. 


There was no slaving over a report book for teachers as they worked through the night to find something insightful and meaningful to say about little Peter's term in English.  "Fair" sums it up succinctly; or to be more expansive like the Geography teacher "very fair". 

Do you have items that you have been hanging onto since school days that you don't know what to do with but can't bear to throw away ? 


We would like them and we will turn you into a piece of social heritage overnight ! 



Railway ephemera


On loan from Alan Williams


What do you do with an old railway ticket? toss it in the bin, throw it on the fire or just occasionally leave it in an inside pocket to be found years later when it emerges as a piece of social history. The bottom ticket is from July  1961 when the Lymm line was already on its last legs. (It closed in 1963 even before Beeching's axe fell) and they were no longer pre-printing tickets for each destination. The pull-out ads were a particular feature of tickets at that time. This one is even promoting an alternative form of transport though of course in the end it was the car that did for the railway.  



Lymm's Sporting Heritage


Donated by Alan Taylor


Lymm has a proud sporting history with long established rugby, tennis and cricket clubs. But there are many other teams that came and went. Many are now forgotten.  How many local political parties could raise a football team these days? This is Lymm Labour football team- sometime in the 1920s. The picture was taken outside  Lymm Labour Club near Lymm bridge. In those days, long before TV, local political parties were a focus of social activity. The local Labour party had a busy calendar with whist drives and other events almost every week.



The Local Rugby Results 1887


British Newspaper Archive 


In 1887 Rugby was still a very new game. The first international ever had only been played in the previous year. The scoring system was still in its infancy too making it quite difficult sometimes to see who had actually won. The schism between Union and League was still 10 years off in the future. 



Wesley Guild Leigh to Lymm Boat Trip


On loan from Alan Williams


A great example of early tourism to Lymm.  Leigh is 22 miles away by canal, and while there were no locks to navigate that would still be a journey af 6 hours each way based on today's speed limit of 4 mph.  One can only assume that they made better time than that if they were to have any time to picnic, It must have been quite a sight along a canal that was then almost exclusively filled with commercial traffic and the occasional packet boat.  



King George VI Coronation Programme 1937


donated by Chris Adamson 


Events of national importance have been celebrated at the cross for hundreds of years. CLICK HERE to read an account of the coronation of George IV.  Exactly 100 years after George IV's death George VI came to the throne and Lymm celebrated accordingly. 



Birth / Christening Mug 1832 


donated by Chris Adamson 


Found in the loft of the home of David Adamson and his son Chris on Mill Lane.  A little internet research reveals that this Thomas Oldfield was the son of Thomas Oldfield Snr who was the agent to the Bridgewater Trust on Burford Lane - perhaps at the Canal warehouse there. 

Thomas Jnr was buried in St Mary's churchyard in 1866 at the age only 34. - His brother died at 33.

When Thomas Oldfield Snr retired he was succeeded by one Donald Adamson which might explain how the mug  came into this household.

Whoever made the mug obviously did not know Lymm which became Lynn ! 



Lymm's First Telephone 


donated by Alan Taylor


Business advertisements in old programmes can tell many stories.  Remember when you started seeing web and email addresses on advertisements in the late 90s ?  In this much older advertisement E. Brown and Sons proudly proclaim their telephone number as 1!  It raises the question of how many people in Lymm would actually have been equipped to ring them.  Brown's seem to have had an eye to publicity. There is another story about them being among the first to use the Ship Canal to have a consignement of candles delivered from Manchester. 


Band of Hope Queens  1889-1896


donated by Alan Taylor


The Band of Hope was orginally formed to spread the message of total abstinence from alcohol. 

In Lymm the Band of Hope Festival started in 1889 with local churches taking it in turns to nominate the  Queen. 

By the turn of the century the event seems to have gradually been renamed simply "The May Queen Festival" and lost its Band of Hope identity.

It is ironic that within three years  the press were reporting  that  the main beneficiaries of the event were the local pubs as the event brought in so many visitors just looking for a good day out.

Bottom left is Miss J Clare who went on to crown the 1948 May Queen pictured lower down in this section.



Lymm May Queen Family Photo 1914


Donated by Hazel Warburton:


Framed and a good size - approximately 60 x 45cm the image has been colour tinted and is of the Whitelegg family. Particularly fitting that we should receive this exactly 100 years after the picture was taken and particularly poignant that it was just months before the outbreak of the Great War. An image of this size colour-tinted would have been an expensive item so it not surprising that it became a family heirloom.


By 1914 Lymm May Queen was an established  event. Large crowds came from out of the village arriving by train, horse-drawn charabanc and bicycle.  A great viewpoint for the parade was the upstairs window of the Temperance Hotel that stood on Church Road facing Elm Tree Avenue which advertised "Large Room for Cyclists"   (Photo c1903) donated by Mr Taylor,Thelwall.

Lymm - National Rally of Boats 1972 - Programme


On loan from Alan Williams 


By 1970 pleasure boating was starting to replace commercial use on the Bridgewater Canal but its future was threatened by the Dunham Breach in 1971.   The decision to hold the rally in Lymm the following year was, as the programme explained, "to focus public attention on the grave danger to through navigation and the Cheshire Ring in particular .. and to attempt to raise money to assist in the restoration ..." 


Many thousands attended the event though of course boats coming from Dunham direction were held up by the breach so a bus service was laid on for them so they could attend the whole event. 


1972 was also coincidentally the bicentenary of the death of James Brindley the original architect of the Bridgewater Canal 

World War One- Memorial Plaque 


Donated by 3rd Lymm Scouts 


This memorial plaque was put to one side during the clearing of the Old Scout HQ in 2014 in readiness for demolition and replacement by the new Maple Lodge. 

The poem ..starting "They shall grow not old" is from the Ode of Remembrance by Lawrence Binyon, first published in the Times as early as September 1914. 


It commemorates Patrol Leader Harold Cornes and two scouts, Arthur Clare and F. Leigh Warburton.  We would welcome any further information about these three people. The plaque is "signed" J. Russell. 


It was presented to Su Williams of the newly formed Heritage Centre group by Paul Fuller on behalf of 3rd Lymm Scouts at the opening of the new Maple Lodge Scout and Guide on Oct 5th 2014.  

Sunday School Plate
Lymm Parish Church  



Are you old enough to remember the time when almost EVERYONE used to go to Sunday School ? And every church and Sunday School for some reason had to have its own cups, saucers and plates. Surely they weren't worried about pilfering!  Let's say it was local pride.  This plate from Lymm Parish Church is a particularly fine, decorated example. Many were completely plain other than the name.  If you grew up in Lymm maybe you ate your picnic sandwiches off a plate like this ?


 Tell us about your Sunday School days..

Lymm Cross - Souvenir Cup.   


Donated by Alan Taylor


There is nothing new about visitor souvenirs as this delightful cup with the picture of Lymm Cross shows.  Visitors started to arrive from the time that the Bridgewater Canal opened and the packet boat service started in in around 1770.  There followed the railway, the bicycle and finally the motor-car. Even the Ship Canal carried passengers for a while and within twelve months of the completion of the Ship Canal there was a passenger jetty at Statham that notably brought 16,000 visitors to Lymm in just one weekend at Whitsun 1895.  They would have been grateful for the chance ot escape for one day from the industrial grime and pollution of Salford and Manchester. 




Earthenware Jug
E. Brown & Sons Lymm 


Donated by Alan Taylor  


Before the days of disposable of plastic containers local shops expected to have their containers returned and carried their name to remind customers whilst getting some free advertising at the same time. Edwin Brown's  was a very successful local grocer with branches in Booth's Hill, Heatley and High Legh as well as Lymm. Always looking for ways to promote their business they once ordered 100 cases of a new type of candle likely to appeal to fustian cutters and had them delivered via the new jetty on the Ship Canal. 



Band of Hope, Rushbearing, May Queen
Church Fetes Programmes & Posters 
All donated by Alan Taylor 


Printed material such as event programmes offers a great insight into social history. As well as detailing for us the activities of the event the advertisements offer us a great insight into village life. 

At one time there were four bicycle shops in the centre of Lymm.  Future historians will no doubt be impressed by today's huge range of restaurants, hairdressers and estate agents. 


The oldest of all of these events was the Lymm Rushbearing poster of 1858 of which we have a facsimile copy.  It looks like a quite a celebration spread over four days - and this in a time before August Bank Holiday even existed (It was introduced in 1871). 


The Band of Hope event was the precursor of Lymm May Queen. 


There are other events of which the only surviving record now is in newspaper reports of the time. 

The Mersey & Irwell Regatta 1873-1878 attracted crews from all over the country including Cambridge and Eton.


There was even a short-lived annual "Athletic Sports" day at one time.  


Your Festival, May Queen, Transport Day or Dickensian programme is tomorrow's "collectable". 



Princess Mary's Fund Christmas Tin 1914 
On loan from Su Williams
The main emphasis of the collection will certainly be on Lymm related items but subject to space there should also be an opportunity to explore one or two topics that will have affected eveyone living in Lymm  One is the changing nature of our home life  over the last 100 years. Another is the impact of war - and in particular the two World Wars.   
The Christmas Tin is a poignant reminder of that optimistic prediction "All over by Christmas". The idea of the tin apparently came from  the seventeen year old Princess Mary but the tins and their contents were actually paid for by public subscription.  
For most men the main contents  were tobacco and cigarettes. Non-smokers and boys received a bullet pencil and a packet of sweets!  For nurses and other women in service there was chocolate. 
Over 700,000 tins were eventually distributed. 


A batch of  letters sent from Heatley & Warburton to emigrant family members in Tennessee 1880s
Donated by Eileen Taylor
The fascinating story behind these letters is that they were sent FROM this area to family members in USA where they were kept and passed down through the family before eventually being brought back in the late 1960s by a lady who sought and found the descendants of the original writers.  They are mainly concerned with family and maintaining a bond between branches of a family that had no hope of ever seeing each other again.   Most couples had many children and infant mortality, while distressing, was an event that most families expected to have to deal with at some time.  Here is an example ..
 Mr Maria Davies Station Rd Heatley July 28th 1884 writes
.."I have lost my eldest daughter Mary, she died 10 October 1883. She was 21 years of age and died of consumption.. She was a dear good girl and very happy when she died. We know she is gone to heaven which is a great comfort to us .. I had a baby about the same time and it died too"  
The author of the letter was 40 at the time. She had had 12 children  "I have buried 4"


Tradition ... May Queen Celebration revived after World War II
Donated  by Dorothy Greenhalgh 
The FA Cup and other major sporting events may have quickly got up and running after the war but towns and villages around the country had other priorities so it is was 1948 before Lymm's premier event was back in operation  again. It was a particularly auspicious year too as the May Queen  .. Dorothy Greenhalgh was crowned by one the very first May Queens of 1892 .. Mrs J Broadey.(or Miss J Clare as she was then see picture at top of this section.)  The only indication in the programme of the rude interruption by war is the mention of rationing such as the advert from Mr Jones the Butcher at The Cross thanking customers for their patience "during the still existing rationing period".  
The programme is generously filled with advertisements with everything from Metcalf's cafe at the Cross "A meal with us is as  good as at home"  to the Park Garage at Agden who promised to eke out your petrol ration by an extra 15% by the addition of REDEX. 
Many thanks to Dorothy Greenhalgh for two  albums  of pictures as well as the programme. 


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