It’s a beau­ti­ful lo­ca­tion with an in­trigu­ing her­itage, no won­der visi­tors flock to this pic­turesque place Cheshire Life: Jan­uary 2019

Cheshire Life - - Towns - Janet Reeder John Cocks

One of the things that makes Lymm such an at­trac­tive lo­ca­tion is the canal, pret­tily dot­ted with colour­ful boats. It’s such a pretty lo­ca­tion that it’s hard to imag­ine that the Bridge­wa­ter Canal was the first com­mer­cial wa­ter­way trans­port­ing dirty coal from mines to the rest of Bri­tain and spear­head­ing the in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion in the process. Some­one who un­der­stands the at­trac­tions of Lymm’s wa­ter­way is Michelle Gil­body, the first ever fe­male chair­man of Lymm Cruis­ing Club, which started life in Oc­to­ber 1955 with just 17 ‘in­ter­ested’ peo­ple. Says Michelle: ‘The in­au­gu­ral meet­ing of Lymm Cruis­ing Club was held at the Old Num­ber Three pub. Eric Hurd and Fred Swait­hes were the founder mem­bers and Fred was elected as the first chair­man of the club.

‘Monthly meet­ings, held ever since, were set for the first Tues­day of the month, and the an­nual membership sub­scrip­tion was set at one guinea (it’s just a tad more nowa­days). There were 26 boats leav­ing Tim­per­ley to Wors­ley on the first ever open­ing cruise in 1956.’

Over the years Lymm Cruis­ing Club has es­tab­lished it­self in the vil­lage and takes part in events

such as the May Queen Fes­ti­val and Dick­en­sian Day, when Santa is seen to ar­rive at the club on the last of a con­voy of il­lu­mi­nated boats.

The club’s year be­gins in Fe­bru­ary which marks the end of Michelle’s three year ten­ure, dur­ing which she ad­mits she’s had to deal with a num­ber of chal­lenges, not least res­i­dents’ con­cerns about noise.

‘Although we were here first , we are all liv­ing to­gether here as one so it is a mat­ter of try­ing to adapt,’ ex­plains Michelle, whose own boat Ted is moored on the Lymm site near the club.

‘We try to get in­volved, for ex­am­ple Ted brought Fa­ther Christ­mas to the club. Lots of peo­ple come from quite far away, some live as far as North Wales but we are part of the Lymm com­mu­nity as well.’

Once peo­ple do visit the vil­lage they may find them­selves be­com­ing fas­ci­nated by its his­tory, which stretches back much fur­ther back than the In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion.

Luck­ily they can pay a visit to Lymm Her­itage Cen­tre, which has just seen its 10,000th vis­i­tor pass through the doors since it opened in June 2018 on Legh Street.

‘It’s been a suc­cess,’ con­firms Alan Wil­liams, chair and trus­tee, who ex­plains the cen­tre started life not just as a phys­i­cal build­ing but as an idea.

‘When you think about the Her­itage Mu­seum you think about the build­ing and noth­ing else but there are also all the ac­tiv­i­ties we do,’ he says.

‘We have an ed­u­ca­tion group, and an ar­chiv­ing group and that man­i­fests it­self in dif­fer­ent ways.

‘The thing about Lymm is it has an in­ter­est­ing her­itage and in com­par­i­son to come vil­lages has a very healthy pass­ing trade be­cause of the num­bers who come here. Hope­fully when they do come now they will come here and find out more about the vil­lage.’

One of the high­lights planned for 2019 will be an ex­hi­bi­tion in Jan­uary about the di­nosaurs

‘This was a crea­ture that walked the earth 250m years ago’

whch roamed Cheshire.

‘If you visit the cen­tre of the vil­lage there’s a big block of stone which has the foot­print of a di­nosaur,’ says Alan.

‘In fact it’s a chi­rotherium. This was a crea­ture that walked the earth 250m years ago.

‘‘The ex­hi­bi­tion will in­clude a full sized model of what the ex­perts thought it would look like, so we are start­ing right at the be­gin­ning of Lymm’s his­tory.

‘To most peo­ple Lymm starts with a men­tion in the Domes­day Book and re­ally takes off dur­ing the In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion with the first in­dus­trial canal.’

As well as ex­hi­bi­tions and an on­line col­lec­tion, the her­itage web­site in­cludes a fas­ci­nat­ing time­line de­tail­ing the his­tory of the vil­lage and in­for­ma­tion about lo­cal his­tory pub­li­ca­tions.

‘All over the county, towns and cities are wak­ing up to the fact that their cul­tural her­itage is an im­por­tant part of their iden­tity, which helps to pro­mote them,’ says Alan.

‘It’s also im­por­tant in the broader sense of help­ing to re­vi­talise the vil­lage cen­tre.’

Ch­ester-born Chloe Killen is help­ing to en­sure that Lymm high street is thriv­ing as she re­cently opened her CLK art gallery on Ea­gle Brow.

Since she launched in June she has held sev­eral events in the gallery and hap­pily re­ports that there’s a thriv­ing arty com­mu­nity in the vil­lage.

‘It’s a real cre­ative hub. ‘There are arts groups and lots of paint­ing classes. One of the artists we showed re­cently, Paul J Ben­nett, was ac­tu­ally from Lymm So­ci­ety of Artists, which is nice. He re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated the sup­port.’

It isn’t just lo­cal peo­ple who are en­joy­ing the new gallery as Chloe, who spent five years in Lon­don, be­fore re­turn­ing north ex­plains.

‘Be­ing here in Lymm means

that there are a lot of peo­ple walk­ing about and with the canal nearby and the boats it is some­thing of a des­ti­na­tion for visi­tors. It’s won­der­ful here, there’s so much go­ing on. It has a lovely com­mu­nity feel to it.

‘I also think there’s a huge de­mand here for spe­cial­ity busi­nesses be­cause I think visi­tors like to come to Lymm. They like to walk around have a cof­fee and browse. The lo­ca­tion is close to the mo­tor­way which is def­i­nitely a huge plus for us.’

Chloe has been in the art and in­te­ri­ors busi­ness for more than a decade, work­ing at an art pub­lish­ing house and over­see­ing a cou­ple of gal­leries while she was based in Lon­don. She also held a few pop up art ex­hi­bi­tions be­fore de­cid­ing to open CLK Art.

‘It’s con­tem­po­rary art as well as af­ford­able art with most pieces be­ing lim­ited edi­tions,’ she ex­plains. ‘I have artists who are based na­tion­ally, in­ter­na­tion­ally and re­gion­ally, for ex­am­ple the next ex­hi­bi­tion here is by Leigh Lam­bert,a New­cas­tle-upon-tyne artist. He has been seen as the modern Lowry be­cause his pieces are quite in­dus­trial and all tend to be monochrome, de­pict­ing lives gone by. The chil­dren and all pos­i­tive as­pects in the pic­tures are picked out in colour and peo­ple say they make them smile. He will be do­ing an artist ap­pear­ance and a book sign­ing on Sun­day Fe­bru­ary 10th.

“It’s a real cre­ative hub. There are arts groups and lots of paint­ing classes”

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