Cheshire ( CHESH-ər, -eer; archaically the County Palatine of Chester) is a county in North West England, bordering Merseyside and Greater Manchester to the north, Derbyshire to the east, Staffordshire and Shropshire to the south, and Flintshire and Wrexham County Borough in Wales to the west. Cheshire's county town is the City of Chester (118,200); the largest town is Warrington (209,700). Other major towns include Crewe (71,722), Runcorn (61,789), Widnes (61,464), Ellesmere Port (55,715), Macclesfield (52,044), Winsford (32,610) and Northwich (19,924).
The county covers 905 square miles (2,344 km2) and has a population of around 1 million. It is mostly rural, with a number of small towns and villages supporting the agricultural and other industries which produce Cheshire cheese, salt, chemicals and silk.
The River Weaver flows in a curving route of just over 50 miles (80 km) anti-clockwise across the west of Cheshire from a source in the Peckforton Hills. Improvements to make the river navigable were authorised in 1720; the work, which included eleven locks, was completed in 1732. The navigation was completely reconstructed between 1870 and 1900, with the original locks being replaced by five much larger ones. The major trade was salt.
The Anderton Boat Lift (pictured), near Northwich, links the Weaver with the Trent and Mersey Canal some 50 feet (15 m) above. Opened in 1875, it remained in use for over 100 years. It reopened after renovation in 2002 and is one of only two working boat lifts in the UK. Many other structures are of historical importance, including the Hayhurst swing bridge and Northwich Town bridge, believed to be the earliest swing bridges powered by electricity. Dutton Horse Bridge is one of the earliest surviving laminated timber structures.
In the news
3 April: East Cheshire NHS Trust requests donations of medical scrubs on Twitter for Macclesfield Hospital.
17–19 March: The Storyhouse theatre in Chester, the Lyceum Theatre in Crewe, and The Brindley theatre in Runcorn all close for a temporary period.
18 March: Cases of novel coronavirus are confirmed across Cheshire, including Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Warrington and Halton.
13 March: The Queen's planned visit to Crewe and Macclesfield on 19 March has been postponed owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
10 March: Unilever announces that it plans to close its washing powder plant in Warrington, threatening more than 120 jobs.
25 February: Cransley School in Great Budworth closes for a week to reduce any possible risk of novel coronavirus spreading after pupils returning from a holiday in Bormio, northern Italy had respiratory symptoms.
18 February: Stanlow Refinery at Ellesmere Port is one of two British plants to share a government grant to begin manufacturing hydrogen as a low-emission industrial fuel.
21 January: Halton Transport, which provides bus services in Runcorn, Warrington and Widnes, has entered liquidation after making losses of £620,000 in 2019.
16 January: A stretch of Chester's Roman walls collapses due to excavations from adjacent building work.
The output of Chester-based architect John Douglas (1830–1911) included a diverse range of non-residential works. The majority of his works were in Cheshire and North Wales. His architectural styles were eclectic, but as he worked during the Gothic Revival period much of his output incorporates elements of the English Gothic style. He is probably best remembered for his incorporation of vernacular elements in his buildings, especially half-timbering, but also tile-hanging, pargeting, and decorative brickwork in diapering and tall chimney stacks.
In addition to numerous churches, Douglas's non-residential works included a great variety of buildings such as schools, shops, offices, hotels, public houses, banks, model farms, cheese factories, a gentlemen's club, a public baths and a public convenience. The Eastgate Clock in Chester, a memorial of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, is perhaps the best known of the smaller commissions he undertook. Other examples include memorials, a canopy over a well (pictured), a temporary triumphal arch, a garden ornament and an obelisk.
Alan Mathison Turing (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was a mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and computer scientist. He was influential in the development of computer science and providing a formalisation of the concept of the algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, playing a significant role in the creation of the modern computer.
During World War II, Turing worked at Bletchley Park, Britain's codebreaking centre, devising techniques for breaking German ciphers, including the method of the bombe, an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine. He later worked at the National Physical Laboratory, creating one of the first designs for a stored-program computer, the ACE. He joined the University of Manchester in 1948, developing software for the Manchester Mark 1.
Turing's homosexuality resulted in criminal prosecution in 1952. As an alternative to imprisonment, he accepted chemical castration. He committed suicide at his home in Wilmslow in 1954. In 2009, Gordon Brown officially apologised on behalf of the government for Turing's treatment, and in 2013, Turing was granted a royal pardon. The Bank of England announced in 2019 that Turing's portrait will appear on the £50 note.
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Selected town or village
Runcorn is an industrial town and cargo port in the borough of Halton. It stands on the southern bank of the River Mersey where the estuary narrows to form Runcorn Gap, spanned by the Silver Jubilee Bridge (pictured) and the Mersey Gateway. The Manchester Ship Canal runs between the town and the Mersey, and is joined by the Bridgewater Canal.
The earliest reference to the settlement is in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as Rumcofan, meaning "a wide cove or bay". A small, isolated village until the coming of the Industrial Revolution, various industries developed in Runcorn during the 19th century, in particular, soap and alkali manufacture, quarrying, shipbuilding, engineering and tanning. Only the chemical industry remains important, and diversification has been driven by good access to the transport network. A new town was built to the east of the existing town in the 1960s and 1970s which, together with later developments further east, has resulted in the population doubling to more than 60,000.
In this month
We got to Chester about midnight on Tuesday; and here again I am in a state of much enjoyment ... Chester pleases my fancy more than any town I ever saw. I told a very pleasing young lady, niece to one of the Prebendaries, at whose house I saw her, "I have come to Chester, Madam, I cannot tell how; and far less can I tell how I am to get away from it."
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