‘From Station to Station’: Joan Leach’s Walk

Brook Street Unitarian Chapel, Adams Hill, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 8DY
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Joan Leach MBE, known to one and all as Mrs Knutsford, was the town’s popular historian and author of many books who founded The Gaskell Society in 1985.

Joan Leach was a Knutsfordian through and through, and one of the town’s most popular ‘Extraordinary Women'. Largely self-taught, her knowledge of Knutsford and those who lived there was unrivalled. She wrote several books about the town including 'Knutsford: A History' and 'Looking Back At Knutsford' and helped to create the town’s heritage boards.

She is probably best known for being an expert on the life and works of Elizabeth Gaskell, who was married and buried in the town. She founded The Gaskell Society in 1985 and thanks in great part to her enthusiasm the popularity of Mrs Gaskell rose greatly when branches of the Gaskell Society set up in London, Bath, York and even Japan.

Joan Leach used to hold regular walks around the town and, in her honour, members of Brook Street Chapel and the Gaskell Society will be leading three costumed Joan Leach Walks around the town, starting and finishing at Brook Street Chapel where Joan’s ashes are interred beside the grave of Elizabeth Gaskell.

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