Cheshire is a ceremonial county in the North West of England. Chester is the county town, and formerly gave its name to the county. The largest town is Warrington, and other major towns include Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Macclesfield, Northwich, Runcorn, Sandbach, Widnes, Wilmslow and Winsford. The county is administered as four unitary authorities.
Cheshire occupies a boulder clay plain (pictured) which separates the hills of North Wales from the Peak District of Derbyshire. The county covers an area of 2,343 km2 (905 sq mi), with a high point of 559 m (1,834 ft) elevation. The estimated population is 1,028,600, 19th highest in England, with a population density of 439 people per km2.
The county was created in around 920, but the area has a long history of human occupation dating back to before the last Ice Age. Deva was a major Roman fort, and Cheshire played an important part in the Civil War. Predominantly rural, the county is historically famous for the production of Cheshire cheese, salt and silk. During the 19th century, towns in the north of the county were pioneers of the chemical industry, while Crewe became a major railway junction and engineering facility.
The 60 listed buildings in Runcorn urban area include two at Grade I, nine at Grade II* and 49 at Grade II. Runcorn's earliest listed buildings, Halton Castle and Norton Priory, date from the 11th and 12th centuries and are now in ruins. The oldest standing building, the Seneschal's House, dates from 1598. Other early buildings include ones relating to stately homes, such as the loggia and ice house in the grounds of Norton Priory; domestic buildings, such as Halton Old Hall, and church-related buildings, such as Halton Vicarage and the Chesshyre Library.
The diversity of Runcorn's buildings increased during the Industrial Revolution. Structures such as Bridgewater House were associated with industry, while large domestic buildings such as Halton Grange were financed by the new wealth created. The enlarged town required new civic buildings and transport infrastructure such as the railway bridge (pictured) and the tide dock, while the needs of the growing population were met by structures such as Norton Water Tower. The most recent listed structure is the Silver Jubilee Bridge, constructed in 1961.
John Douglas (11 April 1830 – 23 May 1911) was an English architect, practising in Chester. Pevsner described him, without qualification, as "the best Cheshire architect".
Born in Sandiway, his father was a former labourer who rose to be a surveyor. He trained with Edmund Sharpe and Edward Graham Paley in Lancaster, and later practised with Paley. Other early influences included Pugin and the Cambridge Camden Society. He set up his own practice in Chester in 1860, working with Daniel Fordham, Charles Minshall and his two surviving sons. His early buildings were High Victorian; he later became an important practitioner of the half-timbered revival style.
Douglas' most popular works are the black-and-white buildings on Chester's St Werburgh Street and the nearby Eastgate Clock. Many of his works are on the Eaton Hall estate of the 1st Duke of Westminster, an important patron. He also designed churches, large houses and many smaller properties.
- ...that scientist Joseph Priestley is believed to have lived at Sweetbriar Hall (pictured), in Nantwich, and another scientist, Sir William Bowman, was born there?
- ...that although Arley Hall was in Jacobean style, its owner decided that its chapel should be in Gothic style?
- ...that her experiences with girls on the street led philosopher Bertrand Russell's "stern and gloomy" Aunt Maude to write Clubs for Working Girls?
- ...that the listed buildings in Lymm include three aqueducts, a cross, a water tower, a well, an icehouse, a pigeon house, a mounting block, a milepost and the stocks?
O! thou thrice happy Shire, confinéd so to be
Twixt two so famous floods as Mersey is and Dee.
Thy Dee upon the West from Wales doth thee divide;
Thy Mersey on the North, from the Lancastrian side,
Thy natural sister Shire; and link'd unto thee so,
That Lancashire along with Cheshire still doth go.
As tow'rds the Derbian Peak, and Moreland (which do draw
More mountainous and wild) the high-crown'd Shutlingslawe
And Molcop be thy mounds, with those proud hills whence rove
The lovely sister Brooks, the silvery Dane and Dove;
Clear Dove, that makes to Trent; the other to the West.
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