Sunday 10 March 2013


ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 16th September 2011 UPDATED 10th MARCH 2013 (see below)
This picture has, I realise, something of the quality of an old watercolour painting but that's because of the circumstances under which in was taken. It's a very rare photograph indeed, in that it was taken from the window of a train travelling from Middlewich to Northwich on the 26th November 1999. It was a rainy day and the rain and the speed of the train, plus the less-than-sparklingly-clean carriage window have given it a smeary quality which, I think, is quite nice.
(The whole series of photos showing the train journey from Crewe to Chester via Sandbach, Middlewich and Northwich will appear here at a future date).
The subject of the photo is something which was mentioned to me a while ago by Liz McGuinness of The Boar's Head. It's that derelict house close to the railway bridge in Croxton Lane which has intrigued and tantalized people for years.
Many people have enquired about it, with a view to, perhaps, buying it and turning it back into a desirable residence but their enquiries have always ended in  failure.
What is the truth behind this derelict house? Some say that it is owned by ICI (or whatever the current name of the company is) and they have always vetoed any attempt to rehabilitate it for mysterious 'commercial reasons'.
And, of course, some say it has a dark and disturbing past, but that's more M.R. James than Middlewich Diary territory.
One gruesome tale about the house I can confirm: When my brother Glynn was a serving police officer in this area, in the 1970s, he went there to investigate a report of a suicide, and found the body of some poor unfortunate hanging from the rafters.
In 2011 the house is still there but, it goes without saying, in an even greater state of dereliction. It is now probably beyond saving.
Does anyone know the history of this haunting ruin? No doubt the actual truth is very mundane and probably very boring. But it would be interesting to hear it.



This story from a 2009 edition of the Middlewich Guardian  sheds a lot of light on the mystery:


Facebook feedback:

  • Sherry Hill-Smith I too have looked at that house & wished I could rebuild it as it was. That was until about a year after I met & began working with someone whose husband  was found hanging from the rafters but I guess there must have been more than one incident of it - because this was in somewhere in the early 1990s - like 92 or near. Learning about that kind of cured me.

  • Dave Roberts Yes it must have, sadly, happened more than once, because Glynn had moved to Crewe by the 1990s, before his retirement and untimely death in, coincidentally, 1999. The really intriguing thing about this house is that it's still there after all these years. If it had been demolished it would, naturally, have been long forgotten.

    Geraldine Williams I always understood that there was a covenant on the house, preventing its sale, under the terms of the Will of some spinster member of the farm family, but that is obviously wrong. I do, however, remember the suicide that Glynn investigated. It was a young man who used to drink in the ICI Club

    • Dave Thompson: My Dad tried to buy this property 30yrs ago and I know others have tried. Another town gateway blighted by derelict property- should be a law against it!!

      UPDATE MARCH 2013:
      The saga of the Mystery House finally ended in March 2013 when the property was demolished. Here's a link to a report in the Middlewich Guardian. Note the comment following the story which adds another piece to the jigsaw.

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