INDEX

INDEX

Friday, 22 February 2019

CHESHIRE FM - GET YOUR COMMUNITY GROUP CONNECTED!


GET YOUR COMMUNITY GROUP CONNECTED TO CHESHIRE FM BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK:
CHESHIRE FM COMMUNITY


John Evington of Cheshire FM writes:

Promote your voluntary group or organisation! We'd love to come and record a short piece with you for our test broadcasts. Just follow the link and complete the form:

CONNECTED COMMUNITIES OPEN DAY 22nd FEBRUARY 2019 (ARCHIVED)





Beverley Cope writes:

Want to do something different and find out who provides help, support and activities for you and families?

Our 'Connected Communities' launch event is taking place in the Victoria Hall between 11am and 2pm TODAY.

It's FREE and includes free hot dogs, cakes and hot/cold drinks.

We have 20+ organisations taking part so come and have a chat with: Change Grow Live, Cheshire East Carers Hub, Everybody Sports, the New Leaf Project (Groundwork). Healthwatch,CVS and many more! 

You can get your blood pressure tested for free, join in activities for children, see the Performing Dance Academy and meet the Middlewich Fairy Queen.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

BRUNNER MOND MEMORIAL GARDEN CONSULTATION


A reminder about the Brunner Mond Memorial Garden consultation at Middlewich Library. Saturday 2nd March 9.30am to 1.30pm. See the concept designs from Karen Calnon, learn about garden designs, suggest and input ideas!


Monday, 18 February 2019

DIRTY OLD TOWN...


'A mean old town without any manufactures but, I think, a Corporation'

- Dr Samuel Johnson


'Of the three wiches, Middlewich is rather a hag, unredeemed, uncouth and disfavoured...'

- J.C. Walters, 'Romantic Cheshire' 1930

by Dave Roberts

Vicky Walker has kindly given us permission to publish this series of photographs, originally posted  by her on Facebook and taken over a period of forty-three years. They show a section of Lewin Street, as seen from Middlewich church tower, as it  slowly changed from  being  part of a grim, grey smoky industrial town to a much more pleasant - if traffic-choked - area of the Middlewich we know today. We've included several links to past Middlewich Diary entries which will show us something of the buildings which once stood in this historic part of the town. -Ed.


1957. Probably something of a revelation to people who have only known Middlewich in comparatively recent years. The building in the lower middle of the photo is the Church of England Infants' School. Beyond that is the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, and then Seddon's waggon repair shop which incorporated Middlewich's first Catholic Church. The original cross from this building is preserved in the entrance porch of the current St Mary's Church in King Street.



Between the school and the chapel and fronting directly onto Lewin Street is the building which was, at one time, Dawson's record shop and ended its days as a hardware shop called 'Square One'. It's hard to discern whether this building was a shop at the time of the photograph. It may well have been two cottages. To the immediate left of the school and chapel can be seen three chimneys belonging to Seddon's Wych House Lane salt works.



 Bottom left, the building with the smoking chimney is currently Peter Forshaw's funeral parlour. At the time this was Les Gibbins' Newsagents shop.
But it's in the background that we can see something of the dirty old town which was Middlewich at the time.
To the right is  ICI Middlewich in Brooks Lane, the site of which is now mostly occupied by Pochin Ltd. This works was dedicated to the production of alkali, as were many other such works in the area, including those at Northwich and Sandbach. The square building to the right is part of the limestone crushing apparatus. Railway trucks full of limestone were hoisted to the top of this tower and tipped, the limestone falling into the crushing machinery below.



This tower was situated immediately behind the King's Lock pub, across the Trent & Mersey Canal from Booth Lane and the Avenues. The constant noise from this machinery has been described by one local resident as 'frightening'. 



On the left can be seen a jumble of salt works chimneys.
The taller ones belong to Seddon's Brooks Lane salt works, and the smaller ones to Murgatroyd's salt works.



In 1957 all these icons of industrial Middlewich had just ten years of life left in them: the ICI works closed  five years later in 1962; Murgatroyd's salt works, which started operations in 1889, closed in 1966 and Seddon's Brooks Lane works (along with the works in Wych House Lane and Pepper Street) in 1967. 



The land in between Lewin Street and Brooks Lane was, at this time, pasture land. Nowadays you'll find the houses of the Maidenhills development, closing the gap between Lewin Street and the Trent & Mersey Canal, there.



An enlarged version of part of the above photo, but showing a little more of the ICI works, to the right. A much degraded image, looking rather like a Turner painting. But it's still possible to see from this image just how smoky and dirty industrial Middlewich was at this time. This is the 'lovely little town' which people remember - or think they remember - from this period.
Frank Smith's photo of the area in 1983 will make the layout  a little clearer.




1986. Time has moved on, and Vicky Walker has taken advantage of one of the Middlewich Church Tower open days which occurred from time to time to show us Lewin Street as it was when all those buildings - the salt works, the waggon repair shops, the Infants' School, the Methodist Chapel and Square One had all been razed to the ground. 

Middlewich Library which was built a surprisingly long time before all this demolition took place, is the square building to the right.

Most of the ICI works is long gone, but a few tall buildings linger on as part of Pochin (Contractors) Ltd.

The pasture land which will eventually become Maidenhills is still unspoilt.

On the left Gibbins' Newsagents has survived, under different ownership.

2000. Another trip up the church tower has given Vicki the chance to picture Lewin Street looking a lot more like it does nineteen years later. 

On the extreme left is just a small part of the gardens and car parks surrounding the Salinae Centre. Bottom right is part of the library roof.

The main difference, though, is the filling in of all that pasture land by the houses of Maidenhills. Part of the land between Maidenhills and the canal has been preserved as the 'Three Locks Trail'.

SEDDON'S WORKSHOPS 1972

Here's an interesting group of buildings in  Lewin Street, and a photo which will take some explaining. The original slide caption says 'council buildings', indicating that this was part of the MUDC depot (it will have connected with the council's yard which had an entrance on Town Wharf next to the BW warehouse). Originally this was Seddon's waggon repair workshop, associated with the Wych House Lane works behind it. Here all kinds of repair and maintenance work was carried out for Seddons where 'everything was done in-house'. On the right hand side was a long building, or series of buildings, opposite Middlewich DIY, which ran down the length of Wych House Lane and part of which is reputed to have been Middlewich's first Catholic Church. To the left, out of shot, are the Wesleyan Chapel, 'Square One' and the C o f E School. as seen in a previous slide. We're standing outside the then brand new Middlewich Library and the site is, of course, occupied now by the Salinae Centre and its associated gardens.





Facebook Feedback (11th May 2011):

Colin Derek Appleton I don't remember anything of these buildings, but I do remember the building that is just creeping into view on the right hand side of the frame, it was a couple of terraced houses and yearsleys clothes shop

Dave Roberts
That's right now replaced by flats called 'Halfpenny Court'.

Geraldine Williams There certainly was a Catholic church in Wych House Lane and a stone cross from the building is now mounted in the porch of the present St Mary's Church.


First published 17th July 2011
Re-formatted and re-published 18th February 2019


Tuesday, 12 February 2019

MIDDLEWICH HERITAGE TRUST SURVEY




Here's your chance to let Middlewich Heritage Trust know what you'd like to see at a future Middlewich Museum based on the preserved Murgatroyd's Brine Pumps

Kerry Kirwan writes:

Please can you pass this link on to anyone who is interested in heritage! It only takes two minutes to do; there are seven questions in all and everyone's input will be  very valuable to us in  getting people’s feedback and, we hope, support for our project.
Just follow the link and take part.



Thank you!



MIDDLEWICH HERITAGE TRUST SURVEY

(Revealing Murgatroyd's Brine Pumps)

Find out more about Middlewich Heritage Trust on their Facebook page:

Middlewich Heritage Trust

MURGATROYD'S MODEL FINDS NEW HOME

Photo; KERRY KIRWAN
In January 2014 this model of the Murgatroyd's Open Pan Salt Works in Brooks Lane, Middlewich,  was  removed from the Weaver Hall Museum (previously the Salt Museum) and brought back to Middlewich ready for the day when it can be put on permanent display in its home town and help to tell the story of salt making here.

Two of the people who helped dismantle the model were Bill Eaton and John Duncan, and the project was managed by the Town Council's Heritage Officer, Kerry Kirwan. 

For a while the model was on display in the Town Hall, but lack of space has meant that it has now had to be placed in storage.

The obvious place for the model would, of course, be the Murgatroyd's Pumping Station site which would mean that the miniature salt works could be displayed close to the site of the original full-size works.

Although the latter days of open pan salt making in the town were dominated by the three Seddon's works in Pepper Street, Brooks Lane and Wych-House Lane, Murgatroyd's works, also in Brooks lane, continued operating right up until 1966 and had the distinction of remaining under the same ownership throughout its life.

Below are links to some of the information on Murgatroyd's we have in the Middlewich Diary. 

Dave Roberts

SEE ALSO:

MURGATROYD'S SALT STORE ROOM


MURGATROYD'S SALT WORKS AERIAL VIEW

(includes notes from Kerry Kirwan)

PAN SMITHS AT MURGATROYD'S 1963


'BAGGIN' TIME AT MURGATROYD'S c1966


SALT WORKS BUILDINGS IN BROOKS LANE


MURGATROYD'S BRINE PUMPS (Middlewich Heritage Trust)

First published 11th February 2014

Updated and re-published 11th February 2017, 12th February 2018 and 12th February 2019.

Monday, 11 February 2019

MIDDLEWICH HISTORY IN MINIATURE



Illustration: Vintage Model Trains
There was a time when no model railway layout was complete without at least one of these.
It is, of course, a Hornby-Dublo Saxa Salt wagon, with its distinctive peaked roof.
Saxa Salt is still the country's leading brand of salt (although these days, the brand is part of  Premier Foods and its actual place of origin is never made clear).
Saxa was launched in 1907 by the Middlewich Salt Company, later to be absorbed by Cerebos, and was the core brand of both companies.
Nowadays, as explained on the Premier Foods website (link below), people asking for 'Saxa' are just as likely to be after sea salt, or rock salt or even 'low-salt' salt as ordinary table salt.
The younger element were always fascinated by the Saxa Salt railway wagons (Murgatroyd's and other salt companies used them too) resembling as they did, little 'houses' on wheels.
In fact, railway workers habitually referred to them as 'cottage tops'.
The 'house style' roof was there for a very good, and quite obvious, reason.
Salt had to be kept dry and the sloping roof was intended, just as a house roof is, to keep off the driving rain.
The wagons' roofs were covered in roofing felt, giving them even more of a look of a yellow garden shed on wheels.
Although these vehicles were very common in this and other salt districts, they were not unique to the trade.
They were also used for carrying lime and other powdered chemicals which needed to be kept dry.

PREMIER FOODS - SAXA

(link updated 11th February 2019)

P.S. The illustration above is borrowed from e-bay. A piece of Miniature Middlewich history could be yours for less than a tenner, if you're quick.

Following the publication of this diary entry, Chris Beard got in touch to tell us of a preserved example of the once numerous Saxa Salt wagons in Scotland. Here's Chris's photograph of the real thing.




 Find out more here


First published 11th February 2012
Updated and re-published 11th February 2019



CHESHIRE FM - A LOCAL STATION FOR MIDDLEWICH, NORTHWICH AND WINSFORD

CHESHIRE FM
A REAL LOCAL STATION FOR MID-CHESHIRE
Here's news of a very welcome development in the world of radio. Mid-Cheshire has needed its own radio station for many years now, and Cheshire FM aims to fill that long-felt need. Here you'll find links to the new station's test music feed on the World Wide Web and to a survey asking  what YOU would like to hear on the new station. Cheshire FM would like to hear from you! 

CHESHIRE FM TEST STREAM 
Listen in here. 

Cheshire FM would like to know what sort of music YOU would like to hear on the station.

CHESHIRE FM LOCAL RADIO SURVEY

What do YOU want from your new radio station?

SAXA SALT WAGON - THE REAL THING

Following our entry showing a Hornby Dublo model of a Saxa Salt railway wagon, here's  the real thing, as photographed by Chris Beard, who discovered it in a Scottish museum some years ago.
This picture shows one of these wagons as it would have looked prior to 1948, as evidenced by the fact that the return location for the empty vehicle is shown as MIDDLEWICH LMS (LNW).
The inscription above that indicates that the wagon is the property of THE MIDDLEWICH SALT Co Ltd (as, of course, does the SAXA SALT lettering emblazoned across the side).
It will be noted that the SAXA SALT lettering shown here is actually different from the lettering on the Hornby model. The 'S', in particular, appears to be in a completely different typeface.

Further evidence of the wagon's private owner status is in the words NON-POOL on the left, designed to prevent some railway yard foreman somewhere appropriating it for another use.
This would seem to be unlikely to happen anyway, due to the vehicle's high-profile yellow and red livery.
The Middlewich Salt Company features in this entry, which has proved to be one of our most popular diary entries, with the second highest number of  'hits' since we started in June 2011.
Many thanks to Chris for sending us the photo and for going to the trouble of tracking down the name of the museum where this restored wagon can be found. Here's a link.

First published 12th February 2012
Re-published 11th February 2019