Alice in Wonderland

Everything about Alice is extraordinary!

The link between Alice in Wonderland and Daresbury is well known.  The author, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was born in Daresbury on 27 January 1832 and lived in the village until he was 11 years old.  His father was the vicar of All Saints’ Church.  Charles was baptised on 11 July 1832 by Reverend George Heron, who was living in Moore Hall.  

The family lived in the old parsonage on Morphany Lane.  The site is well worth a visit and is now managed by The National Trust.  There is a pleasant walk there from Daresbury village.

Charles studied mathematics at Christ Church, Oxford and held the Christ Church Mathematical Lectureship for 26 years.  He became friendly with Henry Liddell (Dean of Christ Church College) and it is often assumed that he modelled his ‘Alice’ on Henry’s daughter, Alice.  The book was eventually published in 1865, under the pen name, Lewis Carroll.

To mark the centenary of his birth in 1832, Carroll enthusiasts from all over the world subscribed to a memorial fund, which resulted in a gift to All Saints’ of the stained glass window in the Daniel Chapel.

The books have been illustrated by many artists, one being from Moore.  Philip Gough lived at Moore House and did some illustrations during the 1940’s.

Alice, illustrated by Philip Gough

The quirky characters from the story are well known, with the Cheshire cat being particularly popular locally. 

‘Curiouser and curiouser’ said Alice and so it is to have at least seven Cheshire cats in one small village.  It is uncertain where the notion of the ‘Cheshire cat’ originated, but certainly not from Lewis Carroll.  The cat’s first appearance in literature is in a dictionary by Francis Grose in 1788.

I like the idea in Brewer’s dictionary which says that local cheese was moulded into the shape of a grinning cat and sold in Cheshire.  It was cut from the tail end and so the last part to be eaten was the grin.  Hence it became famous for disappearing and leaving just its grin.

Alice can be found across the world in books, pictures and sculptures.  Maybe this quotation from the story encouraged her to travel so widely!!!!

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?

The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.

Alice: I don’t much care where.

The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.

Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.

The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”

The Lewis Carroll Centre at All Saints’ Church, has an excellent display about Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and Alice in Wonderland.  Look out for the Cheshire Cat carved into the sandstone above the door.

The last village blacksmith, working in the smithy that is now home to the lawn mower workshop and Dormouse Café, was called Colin Dale.  He made the weather vane for the school just before he retired, with the cat at its centre.

The village has a fine sign at the junction of Daresbury Lane and the A56 and there is a grinning cat on Village Farm.

You will probably have seen the sculpture of The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in the Golden Square, Warrington.  Have any of you spotted Alice in other parts of the World? 

Alice in The Golden Square, Warrington

Have any of you spotted Alice in other parts of the World? 

You will find images of Alice in Daresbury and all around the world in our gallery