Wednesday 14 December 2022

The Journey of a Local Studies Donation

Earlier this year we received a fantastic collection of photographs of Crewe in the 1890s, kindly donated to us by one of our volunteers, Susan. We thought this blog would be a great opportunity to showcase the collection, as well as thank Susan for her donation, and to highlight all the staff and volunteers involved with the donation and cataloguing process.

First a bit more about the photographs, and why Susan decided to donate it to us. Richard Baxter Booth was a Crewe dental surgeon, and this photograph collection was compiled by him in the 1890s.

Susan says “I found the album for sale on eBay, and Baxter Booth’s granddaughter has been shown the images; her father, Walter (Baxter Booth’s son) was also a dentist and keen photographer. This is album number two; number one is lost unfortunately. Baxter Booth’s dental surgery was in the row of buildings on Crewe Market Square that was replaced by Marks & Spencer, it was the last one on the left on the corner of what is now Queensway. After his marriage he lived at Oaklands in Haslington; he was an active member of the Crewe Cycling Club, the Crewe Alexandra Cricket Club, and Crewe Golf Club. All the images are 'Kodak no. 2' prints”. Baxter Booth had previously lived at Fields Farm, Haslington, rented from the Crewe Estate.

Once we had received the collection and Susan had completed our donation form, the photographs were passed to one of our conservators, Angela.

Angela says, “The original binding had completely failed, so the loose album pages were cleaned with a plastic eraser and placed into custom made polyester sleeves and then put into an acid free folder. These preservation measures will protect the album pages and photographs when they are being handled and also protect them from dust and any fluctuating environmental conditions they may encounter.”

Next, the collection was looked at in more detail by our Local Studies Librarian, Heather. She tells us, “The collection was added to CALM, our collections management system, so that it could be found by staff, researchers, and members of the public online. CALM generated a unique 6-digit reference code for the item, 231804. It was also given a class number of VPH96, which helps to locate the item in our visual collection. Here I am storing the collection away in one of our strongrooms, in an archive box, and where temperature and humidity levels are monitored.”

Another of our volunteers, Helen, was tasked with looking at each individual photograph and indexing it onto a spreadsheet.

Helen says “I am currently a volunteer working on the photographic archives at Duke Street, finding out any extra information about the subjects of the photographs and then entering all the information onto a spreadsheet. These spreadsheets, such as the one I worked on for the Richard Baxter Booth collection, will allow the public to access the information online, widening public access to the contents of the archives.”

This should help any researcher interested in the collection to find the exact photograph most useful to them. Helped by Susan’s knowledge of the area at the time, and of the photographer Richard Baxter Booth, this task is now complete. Please speak to a member of staff if viewing this spreadsheet would be helpful to your research.

We have not yet digitised the whole collection, but a selection of our favourites are featured below. The album contains scenes and events in Crewe, such as the Crewe Flower Show and a football match, as well as buildings (the Mechanics Institute, Town Hall, pubs, churches), and also features the residences of other doctors/medical men in Crewe such as Dr Atkinson’s residence “Mirion House” on Earle Street. The photographer also used his friends, family, and pets as his subjects.

The next step will be to have more of this fantastic album digitised and available on the Cheshire Image Bank website. 

If this blog has inspired you to consider donating an item or collection to us, then we would love to hear from you. Please do contact us first, as we can then check that the item fits with our collection policy and is not something we already have. You can get in touch with us via our website, telephone 01244 972574 or email  

All of these photographs and more are available to view at Cheshire Record Office in Chester.

Friday 2 December 2022

How did Cheshire care for people with learning disabilities years ago?

A story from our collections that starts and finishes in the Knutsford area over the course of three hundred years. It is an important part of the story of how communities have tried to care for people with learning disabilities through the centuries.

In 1647 William Barlow from Cranage presented a petition, not the kind with hundreds of signatures, but in effect a request to the county court held at Knutsford for a decision on who should care for his nephew. The document below tells us that William Barlow was a poor man and could no longer maintain the eight-year-old boy with disabilities who had been left in a shippon (an old word for an animal shed), in Sandbach after the death of his father. The decision at the bottom of the court record is tricky to read but instructs ‘The parish to keep the child’. This is the 'old' poor law in action, in 1601 local communities had become officially responsible for people who couldn't support themselves.

As populations grew and moved around for work and economic and social conditions changed people who couldn’t look after themselves had no choice but to enter the institutions that were the solution offered by the new poor law – workhouses. In the census record for Knutsford Workhouse in 1881 which is just a snapshot of who was there on one night, out of 159 inmates 15 are identified as people with learning disabilities, the majority from birth, they are men and women of all ages, none with usual occupations, so perhaps unlikely to leave.

By the end of the nineteenth century, Victorians were looking to solve society’s problems with the same zeal for science that they had applied elsewhere. Darwin’s theory of natural selection led to the thoughts behind the failed so-called science of eugenics, named from the Greek words that mean ‘good birth’, and in 1913 an Act was passed to separate people with learning disabilities out of other institutions and society and into colonies.

In Cheshire the first home in England for the permanent care of children with learning disabilities, the Sandlebridge Colony, was opened at Warford near Alderley Edge in 1908. It was later renamed the Mary Dendy Home after its founder. Mary Dendy had observed children with learning disabilities excluded from education and on the streets of Manchester. Her record-keeping survives with us and suggests that she certainly considered what conditions might be inherited and had the intention of keeping young men and women permanently apart for life. But realistically could she have raised the funds to open the home without embracing the solution that had captured the popular imagination? And what of the people she wanted to look after – before medical treatment or therapies that would have helped some, was a safe place in the Cheshire countryside with meaningful activities around food production and looking after each other not a better outcome than the alternative? It is impossible to put ourselves entirely in other people's shoes from the past, but what we can do is voice people's stories who are talked about in the records to try and understand more.

The All Our Stories project has researched the lives of some of the children who Mary Dendy kept records about, including boys who ran away to serve in the First World War, and one of these is Harry Hetherington. He arrived at Sandlebridge from Salford in 1906 after the death of his mother and younger brother, he ran away and enlisted to fight in the First World War and was discharged with a gunshot wound to his right wrist, in 1922 he had found work as an attendant at Belle Vue Zoo in Manchester. He later married and died aged 76. Of course, not all stories are so hopeful, there is a moving account of what it is like to encounter these records on the Warford history site.

In the spirit of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 2022 we hope that the stories told in the archives in a hundred years' time about today are a departure from the past and demonstrate 'the active participation of persons with disabilities in their full diversity, and their full inclusion in all decision-making processes.' António Guterres, United Nations

Thursday 17 November 2022

Cheshire Railways: Third Stop - Maps and Plans

"A map says to you. Read me carefully, follow me closely, doubt me not… I am the earth in the palm of your hand."
If this quote from aviator and adventurer Beryl Markham is to be true, then Cheshire Archives holds huge swathes of Cheshire’s earth, and beyond, in the hundreds of maps and plans in our railway collection. Plans of tracks, stations, bridges, tunnels, foot bridges, signalling, derailments, engine sheds, schools, goods yards, waiting rooms, lines that were built, lines that were never built - even the Station Master’s bathroom in Bebington. 

Over the last few years lots of work has been carried out to list, organise and repackage these plans to make them available for the public to view. So join us in this exploration of Cheshire’s railways and hold the earth, or at least some of it, in the palm of your hand.

First stop - understanding the plans

For some of the plans it is clear why they were made and what they are trying to show. The plans of Runcorn Bridge, for instance, are easy to understand. They show the bridge from various angles and different sections and elevations, and it doesn’t require knowledge of railway engineering to appreciate them. 

Other plans are more complex. The estate plans of lines with lots of handwritten annotations are difficult to understand. Was the line built, or not? What is the date? Sometimes a date is clearly stamped, but it is obvious that these were working plans and the annotations were added over years or even decades. But take from them what you can. The estate plans are full of wonderful details outlining ownership of parcels of land adjacent to the lines. They can include details that may not be found between census records, Ordnance Survey maps or other well-used family and local history records. 

The plans were made for many different reasons.  Some reasons are clear - such as to plan the construction of a bridge or the planning of a railway line - but for other plans it is less clear what the purpose is for. In listing and organising the collection, we have tried to make it clear on our catalogue what information can be taken from them - even when the purpose of the plan is less clear. As with all archives, the information contained within them can far exceed the purpose for which it was captured.

Second stop - understanding the types of plans

Firstly, there are plans that were created by the Engineering Department. These include buildings such as stations, waiting rooms, engineering sheds and goods yards. They show what the building would have looked like externally and internally - often in great detail. They show measurements and exist in various scales. Sometimes they show the area around the building and its location in relation to the wider station plan. 

There are plans of bridges, tunnels, culverts and viaducts. These are very similar in detail to the plans of the buildings, but often include mile points that indicate their position on the railway line. Engineering plans also include inspection sketches and signalling with details of alterations to tracks, signalling, sidings and junctions. There are also many more varied plans of engineering works such as drainage, line widening, and track plans.

The second series of records are those created by the Estate Department. These are more complex and can be difficult to understand. They largely consist of plans showing the full line or a section of a line. In their most basic sense, they show the routes and the land around them. They are full of details such who owned the land adjacent to the line. This is great if you are researching a nearby property or piece of land, especially if no other mapping exists for that point in time. 

The plans are drawn to various scales but the most common are the 2 chains to 1 inch surveys (1 chain=22 yards). They can be individual plans of a section of a line, or can be many plans bound together in large unwieldly volumes. They are often annotated with details that sometimes can be easy to understand or sometimes complex and technical. They are often stamped with details of different railway companies and have clearly been used over many years. They have been listed on our catalogue with the start and end point of the line, with details in the description of the stations in between which are featured.

Third stop - understanding the scope

The lines didn’t stop at county boundaries and neither do the railway plans. As such, it follows that a lot of the plans go beyond the scope of Cheshire. There are many plans for neighbouring counties but also many from much further afield including lines in Ireland and Wales. The plans are listed in good detail on our catalogue, so a search for the place of interest should be easily found.

Final destination - the catalogue

The plans on our online catalogue are arranged under three sections; engineering plans, estate plans, and deposited parliamentary plans. The deposited parliamentary plans are a shorter series and compliment those deposited plans in our Quarter Session records (see QDP). Within each section they are sub-divided into types of plans such as ‘stations and buildings’, ‘line sections’ etc. Within each series they are listed alphabetically by place. A further guide is in progress that will allow researchers to identify which line a station or structure sat on and if we hold plans. Watch this space for further details on this.

The railways covered a lot of earth and the plans cover a large portion of this. Search our catalogue to discover the full extent and arrange a visit to the Record Office to hold them in the palm of your hand.

All of these items are available to view at Cheshire Record Office in Chester.  Part 1 of this blog is First Stop - The History and Part 2 is Second Stop - Employee Records.  

Tuesday 1 November 2022

Merry Movember!

Movember is an annual event, founded in 2003, to raise awareness of men’s health issues. It encourages men (known as ‘Mo Bros’) to grow moustaches during the month of November to raise money for male cancers and mental health.

Here at Cheshire Archives and Local Studies, we often come across photographs of gentlemen from bygone days who had impressive facial hair. So, in honour of Movember, here are some of our favourites: our Top Ten Mo Bros of the past!

At number 10, our countdown starts with a portrait from a Victorian photo album (ref: 231320). Taken around 1868, we think the moustache is an excellent finishing touch to this man’s smart uniform! 

In at number 9 is a group of businessmen photographed in Wilmslow in the 1910s (Cheshire Image Bank ref: c10067).  Apart from just one clean-shaven gentleman in the centre, it's a
n impressive range of moustaches - particularly in the back row!

Number 8 is an example of an early police ‘mug shot’. It is taken from police records of criminals charged and convicted in Chester in the 1860s and 70s (ref: ZDPO 2/15) and shows John Williams. He was sentenced to 14 days hard labour in 1870 for stealing an umbrella.

Number 7 is a portrait is of an unknown group, perhaps a family, from the 1890s (Cheshire Image Bank ref: c08811). It’s from our ‘Mystery Images Unresolved’ collection – can anyone help us identify the Mo Bro in the centre?

The image below is from document ZCR 86A/481, a folder containing portraits of staff and students at the University of Chester from 1857 to 1890. We aren’t sure who this man was, but his moustache has made it to number 6 of our countdown!

Number 5 is taken from a photograph album of the Second Cheshire Royal Engineers, also known as the Crewe Railway Volunteers, c.1895 (ref: 230725). Those without facial hair look younger – it may be coincidence, or could a moustache have indicated a more senior rank?

Number 4 is another police mug shot (ref: ZDPO 2/27). It shows Thomas Cross who was sentenced to two months in prison in December 1871 for stealing leather. Read more about him in our blog from April this year, The Thomas Cross Affair: Hard Times in the Chester Leather Industry.

Into the top 3, this is an unknown group of men photographed in Ellesmere Port during the 1910s. An impressive selection of Mo Bros – can anyone shed any light on who they were?

At 2, we love this image of a soldier, taken from the same Victorian photograph album as our friend at number 10 (ref: 231320). Do you think he grew the moustache to match his bearskin hat, or did he choose a profession where the uniform matched his ‘tache?!

Finally, in first place is an image from our Cheshire Fire Brigades collection: it is a formal photograph of Winsford Fire Department (ref: D7474/59) from the early 20th century - a fine group of Mo Bros, we hope you’ll agree!

We hope you like this small selection. Do let us know if you have a favourite - and we wish you a Merry Movember!

All of these images and more are available to view at Cheshire Record Office in Chester.

Thursday 20 October 2022

Cheshire Railways: Second Stop - Employee Records

Cheshire Railways: First Stop - The History is available here.

When the railways emerged in the nineteenth century there was very quickly a need for workers to build, repair, operate and make the railways run smoothly. Engineers such as Brunel designed the railways, but who were the people that kept the lines in operation?

In Ellesmere it was platelayers such as James Bagnall that inspected and maintained the lines, or in Birkenhead it was shunters such as Thomas Bayliss that took on the dangerous work of connecting and disconnecting engines. Porters such as Alfred Pryce Jones carried travellers’ luggage in Spital, and gatewoman E Alford operated the level crossing in Minsterley. There were many, many more jobs on the railways such as ticket collectors, signalmen, waiting room attendants, guards, foremen, lamp lads, breaksmen, station masters and many more besides.

All these jobs created records: staff registers, wages books, record cards, accident report books and workmen compensation books. It is rare that employee records survive in business collections because they were routinely destroyed when they were no longer needed by the company. Thankfully, in our NPR railway collection many have survived that contain priceless information on the people who worked on the railways such as James Bagnall, Thomas Bayliss, Alfred Pryce Jones and E Alford. The records are in no way complete and coverage is patchy, however, if you had an ancestor who worked on the railways then read on, we may well hold some of their records.

The history of the railways is one of company mergers and shared lines and therefore to find the records of your ancestors you need to know which railway company they worked for. They may have worked for two companies in the case of the London & North Western and Great Western Joint Railway. Each company also had many departments and job roles, so it is also useful to know the type of job your ancestor may have had. The staff registers that survive cover the following companies: London & North Western and Great Western Joint Railway, Cambrian Railways, London & North Western Railway, Great Western Railway, North Staffordshire Railway (latterly London Midland and Scottish Railway), Crewe Engineering Works and Earlestown Wagon Works.

These registers cover railway staff working over a large area including Cheshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire and nine counties in Wales. The information within them provides a summary of each railway employee’s career, the actual details varying slightly between one register and another. The registers were compiled from the late 1860s up to c1920 although many staff were in service earlier, some from the earliest years of the railway line itself (1840s).

In the case of the Cambrian and Great Western registers further details are provided of those staff who remained in service after 1920, usually restricted to wage or salary statements, and some of these extend into the 1950s era in British Rail days. Of the several railway departments the registers held here include employees in the coaching and traffic departments, those dealing with operations such as Porters, Signalmen and guards, and also salaried staff which include management and clerical workers such as Superintendents, Station Masters, booking and other Clerks. Among the other grades represented are Agents, Ticket Examiners, Left Luggage Office Staff, Van Drivers, Slip Boys (Horse Boys) and Weighing Machinemen. Seaman working on the River Mersey at Birkenhead - masters, mates and firemen - are featured, as well as waiting room attendants, gatekeepers and cleaners.

Two databases have been compiled as an index to these records. One covers the railway staff registers 1869-1950 and one covers the Crewe Railway Works c1890-1928. Other records not covered by the index can be searched on our online catalogue. Have a search and see what you can find - we may have a record of your ancestor that adds that crucial detail to your family history!

Look out for Third Stop - Railway Plans - coming soon!

All these records and more can be viewed at Cheshire Record Office in Chester.

Wednesday 12 October 2022

Cheshire Railways: First Stop - The History

On 22nd August 1890, Richard Jones started work as a Wheelwright at Crewe Engineering Works. His name, date of birth and first day of employment were recorded in one of the works' large registers along with the names of thousands of others who were employed at the works over the years. Over 130 years later that register and piece of history still survives, along with many more railway records available to be viewed at the Record Office in Chester. Over the last couple of years, staff and volunteers have been working hard to catalogue this huge collection to make it fully accessible so the story of Richard Jones and many others like him can be discovered.

The history of the railway in Cheshire starts in the first half of the nineteenth century when Chester attracted the interest of various railway companies. The Chester and Birkenhead and Chester and Crewe Railways were the first to open their respective routes in 1840. This was followed by the construction of the Chester and Holyhead Railways which fully opened in 1850. Many more companies and lines followed. By the time Richard Jones started work several of these companies had merged and many became part of London and North Western Railway. 

In 1923, under the Railways Act 1921, the majority of railway companies were grouped into four main companies. It was the London Midland and Scottish Railway and the Great Western Railway who between them covered the Cheshire area. In 1948, with the nationalisation of the railways, these companies became part of British Railways under the London Midland Region and Western Region.

In 1986 it was decided by British Railways that the important archive records that told the story of history of railway in Britain would be put into the care of County Record Offices. Determining which Record Offices to house them in wasn’t a simple decision. Railways don’t stop at county boundaries. It was decided that they would be deposited in areas appropriate to the British Rail Regions and of the big four companies that came into being following the grouping of 1923. It was also decided that records of companies absorbed before 1921 would be offered to the County Record Office receiving the records of the absorbing company.

Cheshire Record Office received records of the following companies: London and North Western Railway Company, Great Central and North Western Railways Joint Committee, London Midland and Scottish Railway Company - Central Administration, Western Division (North), Western Division (South), London Midland and Scottish and Great Western Railways Joint Committee. It therefore follows that the area covered by these records often exceeds the boundaries of the County of Cheshire.

Over the course of future blogs we will explore two of the main series of records in the collection; employee records and railway plans. These have great research potential for local and family historians in Cheshire and beyond.

Look our for the Second Stop of this blog - Employee Records - coming soon!

These records and more are available to view at Cheshire Record Office in Chester.

Thursday 29 September 2022

Joel's Record Office Resumé

This blog was written by one of our work experience students, Joel, who spent a week with us over the summer.  Thank you for your work Joel! 

Being at the Record Office for four days, I learnt a lot of different things, from research skills to conservation, as well as what goes on behind the scenes. The tour of the building right at the start of my time there really gave a good insight into the various jobs that happen in the archives, as well as allowing me to enter one of the strong rooms where all the records are kept. I also attended two Microsoft Teams meetings in which the new archive buildings were discussed and upcoming events were planned out. In total I worked on three big projects for the archives.

The first main project I worked on was looking at a scrapbook made by the various mayors of Chester between 1936 to 1979. Continuing where Archie left off, [Archie's Archives Experience blog can be found here] I looked at the entries made between 1947 to 1957. One of the most interesting things I found was that there was a great difference in the entries, including a letter relating to the death of King George VI, menus and table plans for luncheon at the Grosvenor Hotel, Christmas Cards, an invite to a Turner exhibition in the Town Hall, a programme for the presentation of new colours to the Cheshire Regiment and (perhaps most strangely) an invite to the 51st Annual Conference of the Llay Angling Society on Northgate Street. 


The randomness of these events is fascinating to me, and they give a really good indication of the duties undertaken by the mayor of Chester. The work on the scrapbook also gave me the opportunity to have a go at the conservation process and learn how the Record Office preserve their archived materials.

As well as the scrapbook, I was also given the chance to work with the Local Studies team. My work for them involved looking at photographs of Chester and seeing whether or not they were on the online image bank. For those that were not, I was given the task of creating online descriptions and catalogues for them. Some of these included photos of The Church of St. John the Baptist in Guilden Sutton, The Suspension Bridge by the Groves from the 1920’s, The Blue Bell on Northgate Street, King Charles Tower and Children in Fancy Dress from the 1910’s. Seeing how the city has changed over time (and how things have stayed the same) was really interesting to me.

The third and final of my projects was related to the Parkside Asylum, which was located in Macclesfield. The first part of it involved using Zooniverse, which gives you a case note to answer questions on. Though it was tricky to begin with (due to handwriting being difficult to read) I soon got the hang of it. After finishing the Zooniverse tasks, I began to look at Parkside case notes on the online catalogue in order to log the diagnosis of individuals (death, transfer, recovery etc) and to see if the case notes came with a photograph of the individual. Seeing photographs of real patients brought a greater connection between me and the work.

One of the highlights of the four days was the people working and volunteering at the records office, all of whom were passionate about what they do. They were also extremely helpful and happy to answer any questions I had or to talk to me about what they were all doing.

In the future, I wish to be a historical researcher for television, films, and video games, and I believe the skills that I have acquired at the Record Office will help me with this aim.

The documents and photographs Joel worked with are available to view at Cheshire Record Office in Chester. 

Thursday 8 September 2022

Cycling round Cheshire in the 1920s

Join the gang! We’re sharing one man’s love for eco-friendly transport in the 20s…the 1920s that is! We were recently donated a collection of 48 black and white photographs taken by a man called Robert (Bob) Leitch, as he cycled round the county of Cheshire with Rover Scouts. His companions included William (Bill) Lloyd and Harold Litherland, and now you!

We’re highlighting images from this collection, allowing you to view Cheshire through the eyes of these cycling chums one hundred years ago, including views of Lyme Park, Chester Cathedral, Chester Rows, Great Budworth, Mobberley, Siddington, Astbury, and Gawsworth, as well as panoramic views out across the Cheshire Plain.

Rover Scouting is the final stage in the Scouts’ Association, after Beavering, Wolf Cubbing, Scouting and Senior Scouting. Bob’s Rover Scouts can be seen here in Church Street, Great Budworth. The village pump can be seen on the right, the only source of drinking water for the whole community until 1934, when a piped supply was first connected. Can you spot the little dog edging in for a photobomb?

We’re not sure in what order Bob and his pals visited the Cheshire locations depicted in the collection, so we’ll start our tour with Chester and work our way further afield.

Here Bob has photographed Chester Cathedral west entrance from the top of St Werburgh Street where it joins Northgate Street. Pedestrians can be seen walking past the cathedral.

Two of the Rover Scouts survey the streets of Chester below them from the Rows. With the Rows and Chester Cathedral, Bob and his pals were visiting the same Chester tourist destinations in the 1920s that you can visit today in the 2020s. As well as the cathedral, Bob photographed several other religious buildings in Cheshire, some we have been able to identify, and others elude our Local Studies Librarian for the moment! Keep an eye on our twitter page (@CheshireRO) and our #MysteryImageMonday feature to see if you can help us identify any of these mystery locations.

All Saints Church, Siddington, is a Grade II* Listed Building, built on a site first consecrated in 1521. Originally all timber-framed, much of the building was replaced by brick in the 18th century. St Mary's Parish Church in Astbury is even older, dating from the 13th and 14th centuries. The spire which you can see here was struck by lightning and rebuilt in 1838.

As you can see, we have identified several images of Great Budworth, this seems a popular location with the Rover Scouts, so perhaps this is where they began or ended their cycling tour? Other destinations include Mobberley, and as far as Disley to visit Lyme Park, as well as pit-stops to admire the Cheshire Plain.

Lyme Park passed to the Leghs of Lyme by marriage in 1388 and stayed in the Legh family until it was given to the National Trust in 1946. The house dates from the latter part of the 16th century, with modifications made in the 1720s by Italian architect Giacomo Leoni and by British architect Lewis Wyatt in the 19th century.


We end our tour round Cheshire with a photograph of the group at an unknown location. They pause for a break from cycling on a grassy bank covered in crocus flowers, which tells us they were enjoying their cycling tour in spring.

Some of these images have been added to our Cheshire Image Bank, and we hope to add more soon as we continue to digitise and research the collection. We hope you have enjoyed this little tour - why not let us know your favourite places to cycle in Cheshire, or perhaps you’ve cycled round the same haunts as Bob and his buddies?

Lastly, if this blog has piqued your interest into what Cheshire was like in the 1920s, we have just curated a new Popular Collection on the Cheshire Image Bank called Cheshire in the 1920s which you might like to explore.

All of these images and more are available to view at Cheshire Record Office in Chester.