History of Cheshire: the 18th and 19th Centuries

The exploration of Cheshire’s history continues into the 18th and 19th centuries. This was an important time in the development of Cheshire’s historical architectural structures. At the end of the 18th century, land enclosure and district reorganisations took place in Cheshire. Industrialisation was taking Cheshire by force and changing much of the architectural structures and infrastructure of Cheshire.

Industrialisation in 18th and 19th Century Cheshire

In addition to local industries, the industrialisation of Lancashire and Manchester mill towns saw many Cheshire farms abandoned. This happened has workers in Cheshire sought a better life for themselves and their families living in the newly industrialised towns. This mass movement and industrialisation caused lands in Cheshire to be absorbed into bigger estates culminating in 98% of Cheshire land belonging to only 26% of the population. For example, by 1870, Peckforton Castle was over 25,000 acres (100 km2).

Despite its disadvantages, industrialisation also bought many benefits to Cheshire’s infrastructure. Industrialisation in Cheshire led to the completion of the Trent and Mersey Canal in 1777. Additionally, innovations such as the Anderton Boat Life, lifted Cheshire to the status of a major county exporter of cheese and salt. Cheshire’s silk industry was also booming in Macclesfield, triggered by the completion of a watermill in 1744 by Charles Roe.

Industrial Wealth in 19th Century Cheshire

Cheshire continued its development as one of England’s wealthiest counties in the 19th century. Tatton Hall and Dunham Massey are just two examples of country houses that were developed during the period of industrialisation in Cheshire. The Egerton family extensively remodelled and renovated Tatton Hall between 1760 and 1820. Furthermore, the 17th century house at Dunham Massey underwent significant development and expansion during the 19th century. These are only a few examples of the development that industrialisation brought to Cheshire during the 18th and 19th centuries.