Wednesday 10 August 2011


This is Seabank which, for the uninitiated, runs from Kinderton Street, alongside the Kinderton Hotel and down to the River Croco. In reality it is a continuation of Kinderton Street and the modern day road which curves off to the right heading for the Town Bridge is a diversion, albeit an ancient and well-established one. As we've pointed out before the route via Seabank was the original road from Kinderton to Middlewich. On the bend in the canal and river (close to the white garage) can be seen the blue brick base for the footbridge which we talked about here. The building above the garage is an early incarnation of Andersen Boats' workshop in Wych House Lane which runs down from Lewin Street from the right of the picture. To the left you can just make out that there were, at this time, houses on the right hand side of Seabank, below the car park. Above the left hand cottage, the two remaining chimneys of Seddon's works in Brooks Lane can be seen. The date of this slide is 1973 so, without wishing to labour a point, we can see that none of the chimneys in Pepper Street, which disappeared two years earlier, can have  been 'the last salt works chimney in Middlewich', whatever type of chimney we are talking about.
This area, unsurprisingly, was at one time very prone to flooding and one major flood occurred in the 1950s when people in these cottages had to escape via upstairs windows and across yard walls to reach safety in Kinderton Street*. No one will be surprised to hear that houses in Booth Lane suffered at the same time due to long standing drainage problems which have only recently been addressed.
There is a similar, black and white, photograph taken around the same time as this one on page 118 of Middlewich  - Images of England by Brian Curzon and Paul Hurley (Tempus Publishing 2005) and I'm afraid that we once again have to take Brian to task for dating the scene as 'during the late 50s'. This has to be incorrect as, in the photograph in the book  and in this one,  there is no sign of the Wych House Lane salt works which didn't close until the 1960s.
The origins of the name 'Seabank' are obscure. Brian Curzon surmised that it may have originated in the trade in salt between Middlewich and the sea via the Trent & Mersey Canal, but this seems to be stretching things a bit. And there is evidence that 'Seabank' predated the canal by a long way. An earlier version of the name is 'Saybank', but its origins seem to be lost in the mists of time.
* Middlewich 1900-1950, Alan Earl

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