Cheshire is made of stories: The story of our very own Magna Carta, the story of the nation’s first named cheese, the story of shaping Britain’s industrial revolution and how salt built a county; the story of looking to the stars to discover the wonders of the universe; the stories of sporting greats, musical legends, and the stars of stage and screen; the tale of a girl falling down the rabbit hole to find Wonderland (aided by a mischievous cat); all have shaped Cheshire into a county we’re proud to be a part of.

We’re asking residents, businesses, organisations, and just about anyone who has experienced Cheshire, ‘what’s your Cheshire story?’. This could be anything, for example what you love most about Cheshire, your favourite Cheshire memory, why you love living where you do, your favourite places to go and things to do, what made you fall in love with Cheshire, perhaps you even fell in love in Cheshire. Across the county from Warrington and Widnes to Macclesfield, Tarporley and Chester, you can be a part of Cheshire’s story. To celebrate Cheshire Day and to inspire you, we thought we would share some fascinating Cheshire stories.


When Paul Simon was ‘Homeward Bound’

Cheshire is the birthplace of many musical icons. Bands and artists from Gary Barlow and Harry Styles to Ian Curtis and Doves started here and were, we think, inspired by Cheshire in some way. But someone for whom Cheshire was a little further from home can also claim a Cheshire story.

The legend goes that, whilst waiting for a train sitting on the platform at Widnes station, a young singer-songwriter named Paul Simon found some inspiration. While on tour in the UK in 1965 after a four-night run at the Howff Folk Club, Simon was left at Widnes to continue on his tour where he penned Simon and Garfunkel’s international hit ‘Homeward Bound’. Owner of the Howff Folk Club, Geoff Speed, with whom Simon was staying during his time in Widnes told The Guardian in 2001 that ‘We heard him writing the tune when he was staying at our house and then we dropped him at the station. He probably finished the song on the platform.” Whilst there is some speculation as to whether or not Simon wrote the whole song on the platform at Widnes, we like to think he was inspired by his time in Cheshire.

Visitors to Widnes station will find a plaque dedicated to this musical tale. The plaque, or plaques, have an interesting story as well. There had been earlier versions of the plaque, two of which were stolen resulting in Simon later asking for their return at a concert at the Albert Hall. Perhaps this is a testament to the station’s place as a destination of musical pilgrimage.

Widnes Railway Station


How an honesty box became a Cheshire staple

The Hollies Farm shops in Little Budworth and Lower Stretton are now de facto Cheshire staples. The family run sites champion fresh, local, and artisanal produce and offer gorgeous homewares, gifts and garden décor. Their luxury Forest Lodges welcome guests from far and wide on their adventures in Cheshire too. But The Hollies’ story starts from humble beginnings.

Back in 1959, Richard Cowap joined his parents at The Hollies house in Little Budworth while farming at a local farm. They set up a vegetable stand with an honesty box at the side of the road and the rest, as they say, is history. They began to sell more produce to meet demand and the business grew and grew with successive generations of the family.

You will still see Richard working in the grounds of The Hollies most days, tending to his plants, growing his pumpkins and Christmas trees, and of course keeping an eye on what his grown up children and 3rd generation of The Hollies Farm Shop family are up to.

Richard Cowap. Credit: The Hollies


How Cheshire created a mischievous cat

Mention Cheshire to someone from outside the county and they may tell you that they know two things we’re famous for: Cheshire Cheese and the Cheshire Cat. Of course, there’s a lot more to Cheshire than this, but the creation of Lewis Carroll’s mischievous Cheshire Cat is a fascinating Cheshire story.

Born and raised in Daresbury with his father the vicar of All Saints Church, Carroll would later leave the county, but Cheshire remained in his imagination as he penned Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The Cheshire Cat is one of the most beloved and well-known characters from the Alice series and this mischievous, grinning feline is Cheshire through and through. The phrase ‘grinning like a Cheshire cat’ actually predates Carroll and evidence of the phrase goes back as far at the 18th century. But where does the phrase come from and what does it mean?

There are numerous theories around this, from the cats of Chester being particularly happy at the abundance of rats, to Cheshire cheese being moulded into the shape of a smile. Probably the strongest theory is that Cheshire, as a dairy county, had plenty of milk and cream – perfect for the opportunistic cats of the area. So, a Cheshire cat would be a particularly happy cat and could smile smugly after indulging on the delicious dairy on offer here!

You can find out more about Lewis Carroll and his life in Cheshire at the Lewis Carroll Centre at All Saints Church, Daresbury: Visit lewiscarrollcentre.org.uk

All Saints Church, Daresbury


The musings of a Cheshire travel writer

Like many of us, Jenny Schippers enjoys a good adventure. Jenny and the family would take trips to far-flung corners of the UK and beyond. Until March 2020.

But Jenny, like many of us here in Cheshire, found an opportunity to apply that wanderlust a little closer to home. During lockdown, as Jenny writes, “the weather was incredible; long sunny days stretched out ahead of us, yet we had an inability to venture further than our local neighbourhood. ‘Walks from the door’ became a personal challenge; I searched OS and Google maps for green spaces, local footpaths, and nature reserves. It’s fair to say, in those early days of restrictions and closed playgrounds, we covered miles discovering our very own corner of Cheshire. And this is where a little seed was planted; an idea formed to document this unprecedented time in our lives and possibly inspire others to explore where they lived too.”

It became Jenny’s mission to share Cheshire with the world through her writing and content creation: “I believe it’s time to shine a light on what’s right under our noses and has been the whole time. Cheshire is undeniably diverse and beautiful.” And this passion for Cheshire has led to Jenny, alongside business partner and co-creator Amanda Cope, to create Scope Out Cheshire. Scope Out create inspirational content to take their audience on a trip with them through Cheshire and support Cheshire businesses with content creation, social media strategy and management. Find out more about Scope Out at scopeout.co.uk and on social @scopeoutcheshire

Jenny Schippers and family

So now you’ve heard some inspirational stories, what’s your Cheshire story?  Go to cheshireday.co.uk for more information and inspiration. Cheshire Day is 30 March, so make sure to share your stories on social media using #CheshireDay. Plus, if you submit your Cheshire stories via the Cheshire Day portal, you will be in with a chance to win some unmissable prizes.

Related

The Hollies Farm Shop - Little Budworth
Farm Shop
The Hollies Farm Shop - Little Budworth

A family business since 1959, The Hollies began as a vegetable stand on the side of the road selling homegrown produce with an honesty box.

The Hollies Farm Shop - Lower Stretton
Farm Shop
The Hollies Farm Shop - Lower Stretton

The Hollies second site at Lower Stretton was opened in 2007 and is conveniently situated near Warrington.

The Hollies Forest Lodges
Self-Catering
The Hollies Forest Lodges

Nestled in the heart of the Cheshire countryside, you will discover The Hollies Forest Lodges at Little Budworth. 6 luxurious forest lodges are tucked away in a pine forest, making a perfect secluded staycation.

All Saints Church and Lewis Carroll Centre
Church / Chapel
All Saints Church and Lewis Carroll Centre. Photo credit: suburbandk

Birthplace of the author of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. The Church has fine examples of Jacobean carving, a ‘Green Man’, Victorian stained glass, and a memorial window to Lewis Carroll.

1 Comments

Comments

  1. Wence1996
    This post truly captures the magic of Cheshire! It's not just a place, it's a tapestry woven from countless stories, big and small. From the historical significance of the Magna Carta and the industrial revolution to the whimsical charm of Alice's Wonderland and the local legends, there's something for everyone in Cheshire's narrative. Geometry Dash World is one-button play, but it will push your skills to the limit. Annoyingly addictive, this game will keep you coming back for more punishment. Play now at: https://geometrydashworld.online

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