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A great resource providing a better understanding of a changing community

How and why did Lymm grow ? 

Why did the types of businesses change ? 

Who were the "gentry" ?

How does looking at early directories help us understand Lymm today ? 

Lymm did not feature at all in the early Trade directories of Cheshire e.g Cowdray 1789 or Pigot's 1822 which tended to focus their attention purely on market towns. It is not until 1829 that Lymm first appears in its own right; around the time that the shift from agricultural settlement to  "trade" village was taking place with the rapid growth of the fustian cutting trade.

1853 was another landmark date with the opening of the railway station and the gradual influx of a new middle class which also brought a growth in a more varied retail trade , glassware, milliners haberdashers etc .

An interesting aspect of all these directories is the inclusion of the Gentry/ Private Residents  listing at the start of each one; a fascinating insight into the "class system"  which still dominated village life in most places, especially those that were still predominantly rural. There was no attempt to list all inhabitants ..but simply those who were worthy of mention. Gentry/ Private Residents  typically included estate or significant landowners, especially those for whom their land provided an income,  members of the clergy, anyone with private means and members of certain professions e.g. lawyers and doctors; certainly NOT shopkeepers or tenant farmers.  The list probably equated quite closely at first to those who were eligible to vote ( having excluded the ladies of course). 

An extract from one of the early Trade Directories. They appear to have been very thorough though spellings could be a little eccentric .. Oatrington ? 

"Jugs of Broth"

An extract from "The Winter's Tale"  a story of Lymm in Winter. The film was made in 2001. Grace, who had lived in Lymm all her life was  92 at the time.  She talks about one experience of the different social classes in Lymm around 1918 - in particular the "gentry". 

courtesy of Neal Leah

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