Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Sandbach History Society would like to wish all members a Happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.

We hope you have enjoyed the talks and visits this year and are able to join us in 2022 for two more Zoom meetings, a visit to St Mary’s Church, Sandbach and two face to face meetings at the Town Hall. We would also like to hear your thoughts about the present arrangements and any suggestions for the 2022/23 programme.

Please send then to

Charles Tunnicliffe – Macclesfield Artist

Inspired by nature

Inspired by Nature celebrates what would have been the 120th birthday year of Charles Tunnicliffe, renowned wildlife artist born in Langley, near Macclesfield. From early December to Spring 2022, a range of events across the town and online will showcase his artwork, brought to you by Macclesfield Town Council, Cheshire East Council, The Silk Museum, LIT festival, Cheshire East Library, and Cheshire Archives and Local Studies. Details of all the events can be found online at Tunnicliffe120 – Macclesfield Museums

Sandbach Wakes September 1874

Stephen Minshull has sent us an image of a poster advertising the annual Gala which took place during the Sandbach Wakes (holidays) in September 1874. It was held in Gala Field on Wheelock Road though it is not clear where this was. Can anyone help us? The visit of the Prince of Wales that is mentioned is presumed to be the visit to Liverpool during this week which is mentioned in the Liverpool Post. We don’t think he actually came to the Sandbach Gala! The earliest mention of the Sandbach Wakes in newspapers is 1877. It appears that the local pubs did good business from visitors from the Potteries.

Sandbach Street Names

A local radio station contacted the Society last year to ask if there were any interesting stories behind the names of Sandbach streets. Sandbach street names seemed an interesting topic to research and I am currently building up a database. Examining up-to-date maps of the area (Sandbach, Elworth, Sandbach Heath and Wheelock) I have, so far, recorded 388 names.

Streets were given names over a long period, starting in the Middle Ages. Early street names might refer to the place of a market; a nearby tree or river; a geographical feature; the location of a tradesman; the name of a distinguished individual or a town to which the road might lead.

Sandbach has all these categories represented. For example the place of a market is indicated by Market Square but also inferred in High Street/Hightown. Geographical features figure in names such as Fields Drive, Sandy Lane; evidence of tradesmen can be found in Foundry Lane and Mill Lane. There are 32 street names indicating the location of important places, like Church Street and Station Road, and over 40 distinguished individuals are named. Foden’s is well represented with no fewer than 16 street names with Foden connections.

Sandbach Heath has a monopoly of streets named after tress and Elworth has most of the streets named after birds. In Ettiley Heath there is an estate given over to streets with literary connections.

It is interesting to examine the names given to the streets on the new housing developments. On the estate off Old Mill Road can be found the names of butterflies, as well as a reference to the former waterworks. The estates off Middlewich Road (Abbeyfields, etc.) have mainly rural names as well as a reference to a former holder of the Manor of Sandbach.

In Wheelock can be found street names with canal connections and those streets named after people commemorate those named on the war memorial. There are more names of an agricultural origin on the estate off Congleton Road but also a reference to the Skirmish of 1615 with Pipers Hollow.

Of the 10 most popular street names in England, (High Street being the most popular) Sandbach has 6.

Although Cheshire East Council has a department dealing with street names – putting them out for consultation after submission by builders/developers – it seems that they do not keep a record of the reasons given for the proposed names. It seems a pity to lose the background to something which is an important part of local identity and in my database I am attempting to rectify that situation by recording likely reasons for the naming of each street.

John Higgins


Can you help Cheshire Archives?

A message from Cheshire archives:

Uncover Archive Gems! We need you to test a prototype site and tell us about the experience before we can apply for funding to roll it out for lots more townships across Cheshire … book a session and if you have a qualifying postcode we’ll send you the links you need to take part. More info here Uncover Archive Gems Tickets, Multiple Dates | Eventbrite

Essential: you must currently live in Nantwich, Wharton, Sandbach, Bollington, Lache or Malpas. Desirable: you don’t really know our service very well! (If you do, you can still help – please ask your family, neighbours and friends who don’t know about archives … yet!)

Old News

Sandbach Neighbourhood Development Plan

Sandbach Town Council have been working on a new Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP). It is now out for public comment and the closing date is August 1st 2021. There is to be a public consultation meeting on Monday 26th July between 4p.m. and 8p.m. at the Town Hall. More information is given in the attached document.

How not to write Local History

In a recent BALH (British Association of Local History) talk about Self-Publishing the speakers, John Chandler and Dr Heather Falvey, also provided some advice about writing local history.   The advice is summed up well in the transcript of a talk given by Professor Finberg who was the first person to hold the title of Professor of Local History when he was Head of Department at Leicester University in the 1960s.  A link is given below:

Archiving Digital Records

This BALH talk was given by Ellie Pridgeon on May 2nd 2021 about archiving both society and individual digital records.  Now that almost all communication is electronic and very little is handwritten it is important that digital documents, photographs and important e-mails are archived.   Most digital documents are now “born digital” records rather than copies of paper records.

Ellie explained about “bit rot” which means that digital records in time will degrade and eventually some will not be readable.  This is especially true if the records are being regularly accessed and amended.  So important documents should be archived (and kept secure and not accessed) and a copy made which can be used.  Images should be retained in TIFF file format.

Ellie said that three copies of digital records should be kept: one on the hard disk of the computer, one in cloud storage (such as BT Cloud) and one on an external drive or data pen.  Depending on usage, data pens and hard drives have a life of around 5 years (and speaking from experience, it is important not to rely on a data pen).  Important e-mails should be archived outside of the e-mail system where possible; using the archive facility in (say) Outlook just stores them in a different folder on Outlook.  Important files should be stored as pdfs for example, and not as software-specific files.  Ellie gave the example of Photoshop files which can only be opened by Photoshop software.

Ellie then reminded us that web sites are transitory and may be removed and changed over time.  In order to keep an archive of web pages there are three possibilities:

Use Screen Capture software – this is built into Windows computers (using CTRL and prt sc will capture the screen so it can be pasted into Word for example.  Alternatively, there is the Snip and Sketch utility in Windows 10.  Apple computers have a similar facility.

Using the UK Web Archive ( – once  a year a large number of web sites are archived and can then be accessed when they are no longer available.

Using Web recording – this is a new facility whereby all the interactions with a website (including videos) can be recorded.  For example, the web pages relating to the 1418now website ( , the record of WWI centenary arts commissions (including the poppies artwork and the film “They Shall Not Grow Old”) has been archived in this way for posterity.