A Cranford Walk Around Knutsford, Past and Present

(6) Royal George (Past and Present)

The Royal George is depicted in several of Mrs. Gaskell's works. The Cranford ladies met 'at the door under the carriage way' to see the magician, Signor Brunoni perform. They went to the 'cloakroom where Miss Matty gave a sigh or two to her departed youth as she adjusted her pretty new lace cap before the strange, quaint old mirror'. In Wives and Daughters Roger Hamley came and went on his travels by the 'Umpire' and 'Bang up', names of actual stage coaches which called at the George.

In the house opposite the Royal George, Mrs. Gaskell's cousin Sir Henry Holland was born in 1788. He was a famous society doctor, present at Prince Albert's death and friend and doctor to six prime ministers. He was also a great traveller. Mrs. Gaskell wrote in a letter 'Dr. Holland has been at Moscow since you saw him and is at Knutsford on his way to Algeria'; he was then 64.

Besides being a noted coaching inn 'The Assembly Rooms' were in this building, they had been paid for by the subscriptions of the gentry and probably inspired awe in the young Elizabeth as they did in Edward Wilkins ("A Dark Night's Work" Chapter 1) he "had been at many splendid assemblies abroad but still the little old ballroom attached to the George Inn in his native town was to him a place grander and more awful than the most magnificent saloons he had seen in Paris or Rome". Earlier the author explains that "into those choice and mysterious precincts no townsperson was ever allowed to enter; no professional man might set his foot therein; no infantry officer saw the interior of that ball or that card room".


The Old Coachway

The George Yard


Knutsford Page Map of Knutsford

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