A photographer, baker and yoga teacher tell Janet Reeder why they chose to settle in Cheadle and Cheadle Hulme.

Great British Life: Portrait of Paul Wolfgang Webster. PHOTO:Kirsty ThompsonPortrait of Paul Wolfgang Webster. PHOTO:Kirsty Thompson

Paul Wolfgang Webster

Photographer, owner Wolfgang Webster Gallery

I was born in Manchester but lived in Australia in the 1960s, then returned to England and when my mum and dad went back, I stayed in the North West.

In my second year studying photography in Manchester, I was invited to New York and introduced to the acclaimed American photographer George Tice, who basically taught me what I was doing wrong. I was really lucky to know him.

I came back to England, took a year off and bought a Hasselblad camera, then I finished my degree and was let loose in the world of photography. I did a project called Made in the North and my tutor said, 'you need to carry this on,' so, I wrote letters to 200 famous people from the North of England. At first, it was quite hard because they didn’t know who I was or what I was doing and I didn’t get any replies but as I began to photograph more and more people, the list started to grow. I did Joan Bakewell, Baroness Betty Boothroyd, Ken Dodd, Alex Ferguson... The list got bigger and bigger and after about four or five years people started to ring me up.

I’ve got five portraits in the National Portrait Gallery. The first one was Fred Dibnah (steeplejack and television personality), then the architect Ian Simpson, the physicist Brian Cox, model and businesswoman Debbie Moore and Barrie Rutter the actor who founded the Northern Broadsides theatre company.

I teach photography too,so when I thought about setting up an art gallery, I wanted it to include a space I could use for classes. Cheadle is ideal. Bramhall and Wilmslow are all in the vicinity so it’s a good place to settle and I’ve been here for about 15 years. People who have bought my pictures include Sir Alex Ferguson as well as various TV personalities.

I love to meet people and photograph them; it’s the ideal job.

Ken Dodd didn’t like the picture I did of him, which I had wanted to be quite a serious portrait. I asked him to sign the model release form but he said no – and that I'd made him look old. He was 88 so I said, 'you are old.' But as he didn’t approve of it, I had to go back and do it all again with his tickling sticks. Although that is what Ken thought of his own image, Johnnie Hamp, one of the most influential television producers of all time who had worked with Ken, saw that original picture and said, 'that is Ken Dodd. That’s how he is.'

I wrote to Alan Bennett and he sent me a little postcard back saying no, he wouldn’t do it. Then when I photographed Sir Nicholas Hytner at the National Theatre, he asked me if there was anybody I wanted to take pictures of who I hadn’t done and I said Vivienne Westwood and Alan Bennett. So he got me Alan Bennett and it was a fantastic day. I sat talking with him for about half an hour even before I picked the camera up. I have actually got his signed picture on my wall and beneath it there’s the postcard saying, 'I don’t want my picture taken'.

I sell other artists' work here too. We’ve got painters and illustrators. It’s a really nice mix and customers tell me it is unique because it’s all about northern art, which is a real compliment.

I offer private tuition for photography. I teach basic photography, portrait courses and product photography. I cover everything I’ve done in my lifetime. I also use the studio to take headshots for actors and models who want test shots.

I’ve just started a project called 365, which is 365 people that have been in my gallery – one for every day of the year. They are all in black and white, with David Bailey-style lighting. I’m still collecting the people – just normal people who come into the gallery and look interesting.

Wolfgang Webster Gallery,

4 Gillbent Road, Cheadle Hulme, Cheadle


Great British Life: Yvette Sanderson, yoga teacher, co-owner Yoga Sangha . Nicola Arbour PhotographyYvette Sanderson, yoga teacher, co-owner Yoga Sangha . Nicola Arbour Photography

Yvette Sanderson

Yoga teacher, co-owner Yoga Sangha

We were looking for a community that needed support to set up our Yoga Sangha. What I mean by that is a community with a wide variety of age groups. In Cheadle you have very young families, a lot of older people and everyone in between. We wanted to reach as many people as we could, so when my business partner Sophie (Richardson) and I started to look around different areas, we knew this was it. But when we began to search for a property it took us a long time because what we didn’t want to do was open up on the high street. We wanted to find a place that was the home of the community within Cheadle village and that is what we found at the Cheadle Institute. It came together 18 months ago but it was years in the planning.

Covid stopped everything. The institute was built for the community, so it was the perfect place for us to land and the unit we have has become a centre of wellbeing. We have only recently learned a gentleman used to own it as a gym in the 1960s. From a yogic point of view, it all aligned. We were just about to sign the lease when I became really poorly and had to step back for six months but the landlady said, 'just come back when you’re well,' and it was still available to us when we were ready.

I had breast cancer but I’m one of those very, very fortunate people who found out early. What it did was to give me and Sophie a 'now is the right time' moment. When you’ve gone through something like that you realise time is of the essence and if you’re going to do something you need to do it right away.

I’ve always been very interested in health and wellbeing. My mother, when she was with us, was an open and spiritual person and I was fascinated from quite a young age about how the mind can be open to different things and how you can walk more than one path in life. I stepped on a yoga mat for the first time about 30 years ago and knew it would change my life.

If somebody comes into this environment with us, we hope we can give them just one thing to take away. It’s not about being able to touch your toes, it’s about everything that happens on the way down to touching your toes.

The way the place operates is that teachers come along, have their own space and build their own little businesses and communities here. We have holistic therapists, yoga teachers and sound therapists, who do massive events and the tiniest little relaxation events. We love it, and we are passionate about sharing it. One of the things we are trying to work towards is offering more services at no cost to people who really need them. My ambition is to start yoga breast cancer sessions so we can support people who are in pain emotionally and physically. I hold all the qualifications to be able to do that; we just need funding. We will find a way so we can reach a wider community of need. We’ve also started donation-based classes because there are people who can’t afford classes that can cost upwards of £10 an hour. We are now in a position where we can say 'come along and pay what you can'.

Yoga Sangha

Suite L2, The Cheadle Institute, Cheadle Green, Cheadle


Great British Life: Simon Warren of The Cheshire Bakehouse. PHOTO:Kirsty ThompsonSimon Warren of The Cheshire Bakehouse. PHOTO:Kirsty Thompson

Simon Warren

Artisan baker and owner, Cheshire Bakehouse

I have been in catering all my life and when I set up the Cheshire Bakehouse in 2018 in Cheadle Hulme, with my wife Susan I was confident that if it went pear-shaped, we’d be ok.

Of course, nobody knew what was about to happen back then but when Covid came along we were very quick to get a website up and running.

Now we are doing really well at the artisan markets, and we also do a bit of outside catering, weddings, corporate clients, that kind of thing.

I was in hotels and restaurants and later moved into business and industry catering before moving back up here from Surrey.

In my last job I was approached to open up at the new Alder Hey Children’s Hospital In Liverpool. We had kitchens and chefs on the wards and we did an Alder Hey children’s dining menu. It was a great experience but I knew I was coming to an end of working for someone else. I don’t want to get to 60 without trying something for myself. We started with savoury pastry rolls, and it’s just gone from strength to strength. It’s been a great journey.

I grew up in Manchester but moved away in 1989. My first job was at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hale Barns where I worked with a chef called Freddie Jones. He had come up from the south and taught me so much. When he moved to London, he asked me if I would go with him. After that I spent a year abroad. In 2013 Susan and I were offered contract catering positions and we decided to move back to the North West. The Cheadle area was number one from the very beginning because of the great schools and being near to family. Location-wise it’s very, very good. You’ve got Manchester Airport just minutes away; you’ve got Manchester close by and Stockport around the corner. The local transport is brilliant too. At the time I was executive chef of a company called BaxterStorey, covering the North and parts of Scotland going down to South Wales. We had to be close to the arteries of England so I could get up and go.

We live not far from Manchester Rugby Club and my son, Charlie, who was 14 when we moved up, was into rugby and football so he was straight into MRC. Schools were very important too and we’ve got some great schools here.

Nearby there is Abney Hall, Bruntwood Park and Happy Valley. Styal is a stone’s throw away.

Cheadle and Cheadle Hulme are the only areas I know that have a quality butcher, quality fishmonger and greengrocer. We’ve got the Church Inn and restaurants with every type of cuisine possible. It is a wonderful place to live. Surrey was lovely but when we moved here it was like coming home.