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Magazine celebrates milestone birthday in vintage style

A county magazine celebrating its 80th birthday showed off its colourful past – despite beginning its existence as a dowdy, black-and-white publication.

It was May 1934 and the sixpenny Cheshire Life was a slim, 34-page volume with only words on the cover, and few photographs inside.

Under the masthead was a strapline, explaining its origins: ‘The official journal of the Cheshire Publicity and Industrial Development Council’ and beneath that, it declared: ‘Devoted to the interests and activities of the county of Cheshire’.

Inside were features about local historical stone monuments, salt production, farming, railway engines at Crewe works, motoring and expansion at Stanlow Oil Docks.

Pieces of eighty . . . . Archant Life North publisher Rhiannon Wragg, left, cuts the birthday cake along with sales manager Jackie Allen, editor Louise Allen-Taylor and marketing and promotions manager Kate Wilson

Fast forward to today and 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.

Business contacts and good friends from all walks of Cheshire life joined the High Sheriff of Cheshire, Mrs Susan Sellers, as the Archant title staged a vintage garden party celebration at Mottram Hall hotel, near Prestbury.

Guests stepped inside a customised marquee – 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 traditional afternoon tea with delicate miniature sandwiches , pastries, eclairs and mini sponges piled high on tiered cake stands. Countless pots of tea were served.

“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,” said an Archant spokesman.