It’s Lymm best loved annual event and yet little was known or has been written about its origins.

Now, finally, local authors Alan Williams and Alan Taylor have turned their attention to Lymm May Queen with their latest book “When May Was In June”.

“We know that everyone loves this very special day in Lymm’s calendar but so little is on record about those early years that we wanted to share its full story right back to how and why it started.” explained Alan Williams who is also chair of Lymm Heritage Centre.

“It got under way in the Victorian age which was also a time of enormous growth and change in the village, so alongside the development of May Queen we have retold local stories from the newspapers for each year.

"Being crowned as May Queen was an enormous honour for a young girl and would typically have been the highlight of her young life. Many of them, 12 to 15 years old were already working girls, typically fustian cutters. The contrast between the daily grind of up to t12 hours cutting cloth and being part a procession of horse drawn carriages filled with page boys, maids of honour and courtiers would have been immense. These were lavish affairs and a huge spectacle put together by what was still a relatively small village.”

The book charts the stories behind the event, starting in 1888 right through to its relaunch after World War Two in 1948.

The original “Bands of Hope Festival”, as it was then known, drew partly on traditional walking days like Warrington’s but also other local celebrations like Knutsford May Queen.

Warrington Guardian:

It was set up by local churches and intended as a temperance entertainment, a distraction for young people from the evils of alcohol. But the plan quickly misfired as the event’s popularity saw thousands pouring into the village by train, boat, bicycle and charabanc, many of them heading straight for the pub.

May Queen’s popularity is reflected in the number of photographs that were taken in those early years, most of which can now be found in the Lymm Archive,

Alan Taylor, one time chief photographer of the Cheshire Guardian group has worked his magic on many of them, restoring old postcards and pictures and in some cases colourising them, to add a whole new dimension to these nostalgic mementoes.

There are more than 120 photos and illustrations in the book, not just of May Queen but also of village scenes and daily life.

Altogether it’s a fascinating piece of social history that sets early May Queen in the context of its time. Oh, and that unusual title, “When May Was in June”: When the event was set up it was decided that as Knutsford had already “bagged” May Day itself, Lymm’s festival would take place during Whit week.

This was often the main workers’ holiday week of the year when Lymm would attract the most visitors. But of course late Easters meant that almost half of Whit weeks were in June.

The book priced at £12 is available at Lymm Heritage Centre (Thursday to Sunday 12 till 4), Lymm Post Office or online at All profits go toward the running costs of Lymm Heritage Centre.