Sunday 16 June 2024


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

June 19th (Father's Day) 2022

June 18th (Father's Day) 2023

June 16th (Father's Day) 2024


  1. On Facebook Geraldine Williams said:

    I wonder if my Dad, Frank Twiss, worked with yours? He was really an electrical engineer who worked at Cerebos for a while after his electrical business in Wheelock Street closed down. He then went on to work at Hack Green, attached to the RAF, and took a posting to Aden where he and Mother lived for several years.

    Dave Roberts It would be nice to think so, wouldn't it?

  2. As a child in the late 50's I can just remember my Dad taking me to see my Granddad (Harold Johnson) at work at Cerebos. He worked in a room similar to that pictured with dials and switch gear down each wall. I never found out what his job was.


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