Thursday, 23 June 2022

MIDDLEWICH'S CIVIC INSIGNIA

THE SEAL OF THE URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL OF MIDDLEWICH 1897
 Middlewich Town Council


by Dave Roberts,

The Civic Insignia of Middlewich, by which we mean the chains and badges of office worn by the Mayor and Mayoress (or Mayor's Companion) and the Deputy Mayor, are quite magnificent and bear comparison with those found in any other small town.

The Mayor's chain and seal has been in continuous use, year after year, since 1897. The badge worn by the Mayor's Companion (formerly the Mayor's Consort) is of more recent vintage, having been gifted to the former Middlewich Urban District Council in 1954. In 2019, the first year of Middlewich's Community Mayor, the badge took on a completely unforeseen and very personal significance for Lynne Hardy, the first Mayor's Companion. But more of that later.

It's a privilege to be able to show you, possibly for the first time ever, exactly what our town's insignia look like, and we're very grateful to the Town Council for allowing us to do this.


Middlewich Town Council
The chain and seal of the Middlewich Urban District Council was presented to the town by local industrialist and philanthropist Sir John Brunner to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897.
There is an inscription on the back of the seal recording this fact, but unfortunately our photographic skills do not permit us to show you a clear picture of it. Here's what the engraving, now somewhat worn by the countless suits, ties, waistcoats and dresses of past Council chairmen and mayors, actually says:
Presented to
The Town of Middlewich
by
SIR JOHN TOMLINSON BRUNNER, BART. M.P.
FOR THE NORTHWICH DIVISION OF CHESHIRE

In Commemoration of the Sixtieth Year of
The Reign Of Her Most Glorious Majesty

QUEEN VICTORIA

June 1897

Middlewich Town Council
The council's seal and motto, which was used on the Urban District Council's letterheads and documents until the council ceased to exist in 1974, is borrowed from the coat of arms of the France-Hayhurst family of nearby Bostock Hall.
The crest as used on Middlewich U.D.C. paperwork prior to 1974

The design was also used by the Middlewich Heritage Society in its early years, the society going to the trouble and expense of having a printing block of it made in those pre-computer days.



 Evidence of the family's influence in the town can also be found in the Parish Church.

Courtesy of St Michael & All Angels, Middlewich
The design was also used by the Middlewich Heritage Society in its early years, the society going to the trouble and expense of having a printing block of it made in those pre-computer days.

The coat of arms itself is now used on the sign outside the popular Hayhurst Arms pub and restaurant in Bostock.

Courtesy of THE HAYHURST ARMS

Virtus Semper Viridis translates as
'Virtue is always flourishing' or
'Virtue is always green'



When the Town Council came into being in 1974 it applied to use the seal and motto but this was refused on the grounds that the council which used it originally had, effectively, ceased to exist, meaning that the design had become the property of the Crown.

Many town councils, presumably being in the same position, decided to go to the expense of having new insignia made with the town council's name and newly created coats-of-arms on them, but Middlewich sensibly decided to carry on using the original UDC chains and badges, creating a pleasing sense of continuity and a link with the past. This policy also, of course, saved the council an not inconsiderable amount of money.

Obviously, though, the old design couldn't be used on council paperwork, hence the creation of the council's now familiar logo.




MIDDLEWICH HIGH SCHOOL

Eagle-eyed readers will, by now, have realised that the local High School badge
also has a familiar look to it


Middlewich Town Council


Here's the full chain and insignia, as worn by the Mayor. Bottom centre, just above the seal, is the Brunner crest. Does anyone know how Bibe Si Sapis translates into English?





UPDATE: We're grateful to Garnet Marshall, who is a member of the Brunner Lodge in Middlewich and tells us:

It's the motto from the coat of arms of the BRUNNER family. It translates to "if though art wise, drink"

Sound advice.





Middlewich Town Council

This will be familiar to anyone who has ever attended Sir John Deane's College, or its fore-runner, Sir John Deane's Grammar School. Sir John Brunner was a great benefactor of the school and the family crest is incorporated into the coat-of-arms still used by the college.



Courtesy of SIR JOHN DEANE'S COLLEGE

You'll notice that the college's version is missing the 'Red Hand' in the top left hand corner. During my days at SJDGS the hand was included in the badges on our blazers and there were always dark mutterings about some supposed connection with the Irish Loyalist movement, as the symbol was thought to be 'The Red Hand Of Ulster'. A simple misconception, it turns out. Sir John's red hand simply indicated that he was a Baronet. The school quietly dropped the symbol from its badge some time in the sixties, presumably to avoid such conjectures. To save any further confusion, the Red Hand of Ulster is a right hand, while the red hand indicating a Baronet is a left hand.

Coincidentally, Sir John Brunner died exactly one hundred years to the day that this article was written, on the 1st July 1919.

Around the Mayoral chain are fourteen medallions with the names and dates of Chairmen (and they were, as you can imagine, all men) of the Middlewich U.D.C. from 1897 until the end of the Great War and on into the mid-1920s. They read like a roll-call of (almost) every well-known Middlewichian name you can think of and are (running anti-clockwise):

HENRY SEDDON 1897-8, 1902-3

THOMAS HULME 1898-9

WILLIAM JONES 1899-1900, 1908-9, 1909-10

JAMES WILLIAMS 1900-1, 1910-11

THOMAS SUMMERFIELD 1901-2

GEORGE WILLIAMS 1903-4

EDWARD BAKER HARLOCK 1904-5, 1911-12, 1921-2

WILLIAM BOOSEY 1905-6

FRANK ALBERT LIDBURY 1906-7

JAMES SMALLWOOD 1907-8

CHARLES LAWRENCE 1908-9

JOSEPH POWELL 1912-13, 1924-5

JOSEPH ALBERT HULME 1913-14

OSWALD BARKER WHITEHEAD 1914-19


Middlewich Town Council

The Middlewich UDC Consort's chain of office and badge. From 2019 the term Mayor's Consort was replaced by 'Mayor's Companion' - though for the first year of the Community Mayoralty at least, most people seem to prefer the term 'Mayoress'. 

Middlewich Town Council

The Consort's insignia is of much more recent origin, having been presented to the Middlewich U.D.C. in 1954. And thereby hangs a tale...

The 'Mayor's Companion' (or Mayoress) for the first year of our town's Community Mayoralty, was my partner, Lynne Hardy.

Lynne originates from Huddersfield and has lived here for thirty years.

For nearly all of those thirty years her best friend was Ann Hough, a very well-known and well-loved Middlewich lady.

Sadly Ann passed away last October, and is very much missed by her family and her wide circle of friends including, of course, Lynne and I.

So imagine Lynne's feelings when we examined the civic treasures we've been looking at here, and she found that on the back of the insignia she would be wearing throughout the year were inscribed the words...
Middlewich Town Council


'Presented to the M.U.D.C.


by

MISS ANNIE HOUGH

of

MIDDLEWICH

1954'

A happy coincidence, to say the least, and there couldn't have been a better omen for the first year of this new and, we believe, unique type of Mayoralty.

But does anyone know who Miss Annie Hough was? Attempts to find out have all come to nothing so far and, for obvious reasons, we'd love to find out something about her. 1954 is, after all, within living memory. If you remember Annie, or know anything about her, feel free to contact us.

Finally, just a word about the terms used in this article. I am, as you'll have gathered, no expert on civic insignia, heraldry, family crests and coats-of-arms and the like. I've used the terms I thought appropriate. If you know better, please don't hesitate to get in touch and put me right.

There is, incidentally, one piece we haven't shown you, and that's the badge worn by the Deputy Mayor. We hope to add a photo of this in the near future.

I very much hope you've enjoyed this glimpse of our town's beautiful civic insignia.

With grateful thanks to:

MIDDLEWICH TOWN COUNCIL

DENISE FRENCH

NICCI ANTHONEY

JONATHAN WILLIAMS

A version of this article also appears on THE MIDDLEWICH YEAR

This version first published 1st July 2019
Revised and re-published 21st June 2020
re-published 24th June 2022

Sunday, 19 June 2022

DAD AT WORK AT CEREBOS (LATE 40s/EARLY 50s)



by Dave Roberts


This photo first appeared on Facebook, not as part of the regular 'Middlewich' series, but on Father's Day 2011 as a tribute to my Dad, Arthur Roberts, who was a foreman electrician at Cerebos Salt Ltd (later to become part of RHM Foods) from the late 30s until his retirement through ill health around 1969. Dad is pictured here in the generator room at Cerebos in (we think) the late 40s/early 50s. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the generator plant and its controls and, when he had to retire, was retained as a consultant and driven up to the works at weekends by Percy Wrench in the works van to check that everything was OK. The Cerebos generating plant was very efficient for its day, as the steam used to run the generators was not released into the atmosphere but recycled to provide heating and hot water for the whole factory, as well as for a very unusual salt pan which can best be described as a giant 'electric kettle'. The steam heated a giant element in the pan which, unlike the coal fired pans at Seddons and Murgatroyds, could be kept going for days and weeks on end, making it far more productive than most salt pans. A lot of the power produced, went to run the vacuum salt plant, fore-runner of the one now in use at British Salt which produces the greater part of the country's salt requirements.

Salt plants and electrical generators are, of course, run with the help of computers these days, but in Dad's day, all the knowledge was, literally, in his head. He taught himself electrical engineering in his spare time by correspondence course.





see also QUEEN MUM


First published on Facebook, Father's Day, July 11th 2011

Republished June 15th (Fathers Day) 2014

Republished June 19th (Fathers Day) 2016

Republished June 18th (Fathers Day) 2017

Also June 17th (Father's Day) 2018


June 16th (Father's Day) 2019

June 21st (Father's Day) 2020

June 20th (Father's Day) 2021

and Father's Day 2022

Thursday, 2 June 2022

THE JEWEL IN OUR CROWN: THE CORONATION CELEBRATIONS 1937

A fascinating record of the way Middlewich celebrated the Coronation of King George VI in 1937.

To celebrate the Queen's Jubilee in June 2012, we've restored the film's titles and set it to music, at the same time dedicating it to The People of Middlewich, Past, Present ...and Future.

Update 

2nd June 2022.

Ten years on, as H M Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Platinum Jubilee, we thought it  appropriate to re-publish this Diary entry.

WATCH IT ON YOUTUBE


First published 16th June 2012

Re-published  2nd June 2022


Tuesday, 31 May 2022

THE MIDDLEWICH URC PLATINUM JUBILEE COMMUNITY PROJECT

 

The very beginnings of a true Community Project in Middlewich. This triangular bed is the basis for a floral tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee in June.  The floral feature is being constructed at the URC in Queen Street, Middlewich. All building materials have been kindly donated by the local branch of JEWSON.


We'll be bringing you updates over the coming days and weeks as members of the local community step in to do their part and the  project develops.









Many thanks to:

Tim Rice of Jewson.

Middlewich URC.

The Middlewich Crazy Daisies:
Denise Appleton
Katie Mulhern

Special thanks to Kevin Appleton for his specialist construction skills.


Project Co-ordinator: Lynne Hardy

UPDATE

Thursday 19th May 2022


The 2nd Middlewich Brownies lend a hand with the project on Thursday 19th May. 


All hands to the paintbrushes!

Photos by LYDIA WILLSHIRE

The 2nd Middlewich Brownies, who are based at the nearby Queen Street Institute  came to help the community in painting the triangles with a mixture of yogurt and moss to soften the look of the materials. I have been reliably informed that, in a fortnight to three weeks, we will be growing moss on the sides of the triangles.

A big Thank You to the Brownies, and their leaders:

Gwen - Brown Owl

Linda - Tawny Owl

Lydia - Snowy owl

Emma - Fluffy Owl



Also many thanks to:






Liz, Morrison's Middlewich Community Champion, for donations of
packets of seeds and jubilee bunting to be coloured and made.

A terrific evening. Thank you girls. Hope you enjoyed splotching the triangles!

Lynne Hardy

UPDATE

Friday 20th May 2022



On Friday 20th May it was the turn of members of the  local Boys Brigade, which also meets at the Institute, to lend a helping hand. Willing volunteers helped put bags of builders sand, donated by Jewson, into the flower bed to form a basis for the compost and topsoil to follow.





Photos by STEVE DEWHURST

Lynne Hardy writes:
 

We had some tremendous help this evening from the Boys Brigade whose ages range from five to eighteen. Not only did the boys help with this community project they had a good time in the process, according to  Steve Dewhurst. The sand was donated by Jewson, Middlewich (special thanks once again to Tim Rice) Morrison's Community Champion Liz Lyons donated packets of cornflower seeds that the boys took home with them. 

Special thanks to:

Steve Dewhurst

Lyndsey Devaney

Alan Bourne

Next-door neighbour John
(for lending us his spade!)






For further information on the Middlewich Boys Brigade, please click here


 


Middlewich United Reformed Church website

UPDATE

Wednesday 25th May 2022


Almost there!

Our special jubilee flower feature is nearly complete, with the addition of compost and topsoil kindly supplied by Morrisons, Middlewich and Katie Mulhern of Middlewich Crazy Daisies.

The actual flowers will appear in the next few days.


UPDATE 

Tuesday 31st May 2022



Lynne Hardy writes:

This is the next step. Once all the planting has settled in, bushed and spread out and come into bloom you will all enjoy seeing it on the front of United Reformed Church. A special thanks to Brian Lowe of Spark Lane Nursery for his expertise and generosity. This has truly been a community project with local firms, people and organisations being involved.

 






Many thanks once again to all the many people who have contributed to this project. We will be bringing you updates as the flower bed fills out and develops.



First published 18th May 2022

Updated and re-published 19th May 2022,
20th May 2022, 25th May 2022, 31st May 2022