Friday 25 November 2011


We believe this image to be out of copyright. If you own the copyright, or know who does, please let us know.

by Dave Roberts
Today, courtesy of Paul Hough, we're able to go back to the 1960s to take in the view from the Town Bridge, looking in the direction of the Big Lock. We've seen some of the elements of this photo before from various different viewpoints, but it's nice to see them all together in this classic 1960s view.
Our house at Number 33 (originally 27) King Street was on higher ground, out of shot and to the right. Thus we had wonderful views of both salt works and gas works from the mid-50s until the late 60s, as well as views of the town centre and part of Webb's Lane.
The same house now commands views of 'The Moorings', which (eventually) took the place of Seddon's in the 1980s.
On the extreme left is the building which now houses the Town Bridge Estate Agents. 'EE ACES is just a small part of the words: JAYGEE FIREPLACES. This long single-storey building has been considerably smartened up for its new life in the property business.
To the right of that are those oh so familiar chimneys at Seddon's Pepper Street Works.
I think the works must still have been in operation at the time of the photograph, because I seem to recall that the gas-holders went a few years before the works closed in 1967, but there appears to be no smoke from any of the chimneys (what I at first thought to be smoke, I now think is either passing clouds or smudges on the original print), and the salt pans themselves (the location of two of them can be discerned by the inverted 'V' shaped structures in the centre of the photo) are not steaming. It may be that the photo was taken over a weekend when most of the pans were shut down for de-scaling and maintenance.
The bridge which took Middlewich's supply of town gas across the canal is a bit difficult to make out in the middle of this shot - its reflection in the canal is actually clearer than the direct image.
The houses on the skyline, which still exist, are in Webbs Lane.
And on the right can be seen Middlewich's main gas holder and, in front of it, the steel framework of the secondary holder (which, as we noted in 'Storm Over Seddons', eventually 'fell off' its framework and was dismantled)
The main gasholder  (sometimes erroneously referred to as a 'gasometer'), seems to be full of gas (by this time, I think I'm right in saying, gas was no longer made on the site, but the holders were still used to store gas produced elsewhere).
The gas holder acted like a huge telescopic bellows, the top, darker coloured, part moving up and down inside the lower part, rising and falling with the demand for gas.
On Sunday lunch-times when everyone was cooking roast beef and all the trimmings, the top part of the holder would disappear into the bottom part as all the stored gas was used up.
The small brick building which can just be made out behind the girders of the secondary holder still exists and has been given a pitched roof and the name 'Cheshire House'
Both Northwich and Winsford had much larger and more spectacular gas holders than we did. But then, they would, wouldn't they?

For a different view of the salt works and gas works see


The Paul Hough Collection
Ever since A Middlewich Diary first started, back in June, I've wanted to include some of the older black and white photographs which we've all become familiar with over the years, but didn't know where to source them from.
Recently I came across a whole collection of these photos, some familiar, some new to me, posted on Facebook by Paul Hough. I contacted him and asked for permission to use them on the Middlewich Diary. He explained how he came to acquire them:

They were scanned from a mate's photo album; he was the previous owner of Middlewich Auto Spares in Wheelock Street. A photographer was taking photos of his premises, apparently stables of yesteryear (Doctor's Surgery?) and sold him the prints. That's as much as I know about them. So I thought it was the correct thing to share them!! 

Which, of course it was. We're delighted to include these photos in our Diary and hope that, if you have any memories or information about the photos and the subjects contained in them you'll let us know.
Our thanks to Paul for giving us his permission to use this collection and an opportunity to delve even further back into the fascinating history of Middlewich. -Ed


  1. did there used to be a gas works owned by the baileys family, can any one remember

  2. Could the salt works be Seen from new king street or was that too far over? Only interested cos doing my family history some of my great aunties and uncles were born in pepper street until the family moved to new king street?


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