Re-dedication of Sandbach War Memorial

100 years ago, on Easter Sunday,16th April 1922, the Sandbach War Memorial was unveiled and dedicated.

On Saturday 16th April at 3pm there was a re-dedication organised by the Royal British Legion using the same service as that used in 1922.

Sandbach War memorial

According to the Crewe Chronicle of April 22nd 1922, the dedication took place on the afternoon of Easter Sunday, April 16th.  Originally there were plans for Scotch Common to be turned into a memorial garden but this turned out to be too expensive.  Instead, £900 was raised through voluntary contributions for a 25 foot octagonal Eleanor Cross made of Portland stone with the names of the fallen on the eight panels.  Hundreds of people attended the unveiling by Lieutenant-Colonel John Kennedy of the Black Watch whose family were from Brookside Hall in Arclid.  The memorial was dedicated by the vicar of St Mary’s Church, the Rev. J. H. Armitstead and boys of the Holmes Chapel Training School (formerly Bradwall Reformatory School) sounded the ‘Last Post’ from the tower of St Mary’s Church.

Accessing the 1921 census at Manchester Central Library

On Friday April 1st I visited Manchester Central Library to spend some time accessing the 1921 census from Find My Past free of charge and here are some notes which I hope are helpful if you wish to do the same (and avoid paying £2.50 a time to access a transcript or £3.50 to access the original record).

  • It is now not possible to take your own computer and access the records from the Library network. You need to use one of the many computers available in the Library.
  • In order to access a computer, you need a Manchester Libraries card. There is an online form to complete which you can complete at home or when you get to the Library. You then need to provide ID showing your address (e.g., driving licence).
  • Your card will have a 14 character code and you will need to choose a 4 digit PIN. You need to enter both of these when you start to use the computer. You will be given 2 hours access time though if the Library is not busy you can ask for more. So, it is a good idea to do some preparation beforehand so you know who you will be searching for.
  • If you use one of the computers in the MLFHS (Manchester Local and Family History Society) section of the Library there is a helpdesk staffed by volunteers to help you if you need it. There is also an instruction sheet for accessing the 1921 census available from the Library helpdesk.
  • Once logged on you then see the Welcome Page and you need to click on Family History and Local Studies
  • This brings up the access to Find My Past which you need to click on (see attached sheet)
  • On the Find My Past page scroll down and access the 1921 Census.
  • In order to save your records, you will need a data pen (memory stick) or you can print out the record for 20p per A4 black and white sheet. Alternatively, you can e-mail it to yourself but ensure you have your password to access your email service.
  • To save a transcript as a pdf document go to Print and choose Save as pdf. To save a record you can download it and then save it but I found it easier to choose Print and Save as pdf as before.

Richard Vickery April 3rd 2022

Englesea Brook Museum – 250th anniversary of birth of Hugh Bourne

 In 2022 Englesea Brook Museum will be leading the celebrations of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Hugh Bourne, one of the founders of Primitive Methodism, a movement of particular relevance to Cheshire as it grew out of a series of meetings held on Mow Cop, and Cheshire from then on continued to serve as its spiritual base.  

Also a launch event for the 2022 celebrations which is to be held at the John Rylands Research Institute and Library in Manchester, with Barbara Easton VP, Professor David Bebbington and Dr Jill Barber.  More information on this event will be available nearer the time on our website at

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

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.

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 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!)