Cheshire Life 80th Birthday Party, Mottram Hall

Cheshire Publisher, Rhiannon Wragg, with Sales Manager, Jackie Allen, Editor, Louise Taylor and Mark

Cheshire Publisher, Rhiannon Wragg, with Sales Manager, Jackie Allen, Editor, Louise Taylor and Marketing and Promotions Manager, Kate Wilson cutting the birthday cake - Credit: Archant

Fantastic hot sunny weather was the icing on the birthday cake when Cheshire Life and friends gathered at Mottram Hall for a ‘Vintage Garden Party’ to celebrate the magazine’s 80th birthday

Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea - Credit: Archant

When the first issue of Cheshire Life rolled off the presses, King George V was on the throne, our own Queen was but an eight-year-old Princess Elizabeth, and Ramsay MacDonald was the Prime Minister.

It was May 1934 and Cheshire Life was a slim, 34-page black and white volume with only words on the cover, and not very many photographs inside. It cost sixpence (6d). Under the Cheshire Life masthead was a strapline, explaining its origins: ‘The official journal of the Cheshire Publicity and Industrial Development Council’. Beneath that, it declared: ‘Devoted to the interests and activities of the county of Cheshire’.

Inside are features about local historical stone monuments, salt production, farming, railway engines at Crewe works, motoring and expansion at Stanlow Oil Docks. There were only a few adverts. One offers for sale in Middlewich, ‘A charming detached residence, beautifully situated in lovely grounds of four acres’. The asking price? £2,000.

Today, the 80-year-old Cheshire Life looks rather different: a hefty full-colour tome packed with photography, editorial and adverts. But despite changes of style, size and ownership over the years, the magazine’s content and mission have stayed true to that original statement.

Higher Ground

Higher Ground - Credit: Archant

So, in the company of the High Sheriff of Cheshire, Mrs Susan Sellers, business contacts and good friends from all walks of Cheshire life, we staged a Vintage Garden Party celebration at Mottram Hall hotel, near Prestbury. And what a delight it was.

The sun shone fiercely as guests arrived and were greeted by smiling waiters offering sparkling Prosecco in vintage champagne saucers. Jolly music played by Higher Ground from Stockton Heath floated across the lawns as the crowd - resplendent in summer fashions - gathered and chatted by the side of a marquee. Sleight of hand card tricks performed by roaming magician Sam Hughes from Bramhall, were a talking point during the drinks reception.

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After a brief welcome from Matt Townley, Mottram Hall’s Resident Manager, and me, we stepped inside the marquee and the interior drew gasps of admiration. It was decorated in charming vintage style, featuring faded flowers, traditional English china crockery, gilded bird cages and a dark ceiling with twinkling stars.

Chefs and pastry cooks at Mottram Hall - which underwent a stunning £6 million refurbishment last year - served a delicious traditional afternoon tea: miniature sandwiches were soon demolished by the diners, as were delicate pastries, eclairs and mini sponges piled high on tiered cake stands. Countless pots of tea were served, as well as one or two alcoholic beverages...

Table centre

Table centre - Credit: Archant

Then it was time to cut the birthday cake - a pretty colourful confection created by Evey Cakes, Manchester.

After a rousing chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ led by crooner Russell Shaun, guests drifted back out to the lawns. Some had room for a cooling ice cream provided by Sunshine Events. Several enjoyed garden games of croquet, giant chess and jenga.

Russ serenaded with a few more songs and Higher Ground struck up tunes which got some guests up on their feet for a dance.

All too soon the sun faded and guests said their farewells...and asked to be remembered when we send out invitations for our 90th birthday celebration!

To the chefs, front of house staff and managers at Mottram Hall, and all who helped us to celebrate, thank you for making our day.

Cheshire Life turns 80 - in tweets and pictures

Cheshire Life would like to thank:

Higher Ground:

Cheshire Chutney:

The Sugar Tree:


Sunshine Events (ice cream):

Julie Perry Events (Russ Shaun):

Magician Sam Hughes:


Venue dresser: Alison at Lasting Memories

White House Crockery:

Hotel Chocolat:

Tipsy Water:

Evey Cakes:

Murad Skincare:

Orient Express/Northern Belle: