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Thursday, 4 August 2011

SEDDON'S CHIMNEYS 1971

Another colour slide taken from our privileged vantage point at no 33 King Street on a dismal day in 1971,  probably a few days before this one. The chimneys are all that is left of the Pepper Street Works and they only have a few days to go before demolition. When the very last one was felled (and it was, literally, felled, like a tree  - more on this later) the garden of no 33 took on something of a carnival atmosphere with neighbours calling round for cups of tea and sandwiches. Among those present, I recall, were Alice Moreton from Pool Head Farm, and Mr and Mrs Jack Rose from across the road.
The chimneys were felled not by dynamite or even by the immortal 'Fred Dibnah method' with pit props and a bonfire, but by the simple expedient of hacking away at the base with a sledgehammer until the whole structure weakened and crashed to the ground (the sledgehammer wielder having got out of the way as best he could - Health & Safety anyone?).
In Middlewich ('Images Of England', Tempus Publishing Ltd) Messrs Curzon and Hurley have some great photographs of the last days of these chimneys (pages 125/126). Unfortunately Brian has chosen to label one of the Pepper Street chimneys as 'the last salt works chimney in Middlewich', which it wasn't - the Brooks Lane chimneys lingered on a little longer, but that's a small point. In fact, if we want to be pedantic, we could say that the 'last salt works chimney' in Middlewich is still in situ and still in use at the British Salt works.
Slightly more worrying is the quirk which leads the book to call Pepper Street 'Pepper Street Lane'.
Also in our colour photo is the field behind no 33's garden which, remarkably, still survives as an open field, despite several scares over the years. If anyone ever does succeed in filling it with houses the superb view of the town centre we enjoyed for all those years will be gone for ever. Let's hope it never happens

FOR A DRAMATIC SHOT OF THE LAST OF THE PEPPER STREET CHIMNEYS IN ITS DYING SECOND SEE THIS POSTING

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