|We believe this image to be out of copyright. If you own the copyright, or know who does, please let us know|
This diary entry has been revised several times as I tried to reconcile what I thought I knew (and remembered) about Murgatroyd's Works with what is shown in this photograph from the Carole Hughes Collection.
|We believe this image to be out of copyright. If you own the coyright, or know who does, please let us know|
But the poster is titled 'Murgatroyd's Open-pan Salt Works Middlewich 1889-1966' and there is no indication that we are only looking at a part of the works.
So when was that large section of the works running along the railway line built, and when did it disappear?
Turning once again to Wych & Water and the invaluable series of maps showing the comings and goings of the various salt works in Middlewich over time, we can see that it appears in the 1898 OS map (dated as 1889) and is included in the 1909-14 and 1939 OS Maps.
So it must have been built some time between the years 1889 and 1898 and been closed some time after 1939.
It may well be that the remains of this part of the works was still there in the 1960s, but I can't remember them.
Another interesting point is this: what has happened to the network of railway lines which are shown on all the OS maps from 1898 onwards?
There were, from the late 19th century (possibly from the earliest days of Murgatroyd's), connections to the LNWR Sandbach-Middlewich-Northwich branch line, (via The Salt Siding from 1918), serving the ICI Mid-Cheshire Works and Murgatroyd's.
In fact the works (the part which survived until 1966) was, at one time, circled by railway tracks in a way which irresistibly reminded us of a model railway layout, as shown in this section of the OS map of 1907/8 (with additions to 1938):
The tracks in question must have been removed before 1966, possibly during the 1950s (Murgatroyd's were certainly using road transport during that period) or even earlier, leaving only the connection to the ICI Works, running behind the Scout Hall, across what is now 'Road Beta' and through the wrought iron works gates, which survive to the present day as part of Pochin's premises.
The ICI works itself was closed in 1962, but the rusting railway tracks lingered on for a few years after that.
Which puts the date of our main picture somewhere after 1939 and before 1966.
So what is intriguing me is this: was that vanished section of Murgatroyd's Salt Works still there as late as the 1960s?
When did it actually close down, and when was it demolished?
Geraldine Williams: See what you mean about the likeness to a model railway layout. It also strongly resembles the 'paperclip' pattern made by the planes when they are put 'on hold' at Manchester!
I was also intrigued by the 'Roman Road (site of)' shown on the OS map. Has this featured in any of the Roman Middlewich literature?
Editors Note: It appears that Newton Farm (later to be the site of Murgatroyd's Works) had well recognised Roman connections, and that may be the reason why Murgatroyd bought the site, possibly reasoning that the Romans must have identified a source of brine nearby. Follow the link to 'No 2 brine pump' for more on this from Kerry Fletcher's Middlewich Heritage site.
We're grateful to Kerry for the following additional information:
Just a couple of notes for you. The last salt lump at Murgatroyd's was produced in December 1966, Manchester Evening news came to take photographs of the last shift.
Demolition was in 1968 with the famous Common Pan Chimney coming down in April 1968.
The Open Pans were in operation for 76 years almost to the day, as the first salt lump was produced as the New Year of 1890 was seen in.
I don't know the exact year of when the railway side buildings disappeared, I'll find out for you but it must have something to do with the fact that the Common Salt Pans were last used in 1962-3. I have a picture of common salt being tipped into the wagons below from those buildings. As vacuum salt was being produced at the main factory I suppose those buildings wouldn't be required for anything.
I've discovered quite a few photographs taken around Seddons and Murgatroyd's, some taken by people who worked there, some publicity shots taken by local but now closed photography businesses, some by the papers and the aerial shots were by airview of Manchester or similar company. hope that helps.
Here's one of the photos mentioned by Kerry:
|Last 'Baggin' time' at Murgatroyds. Left to right: Jack Clarke, Tom Gallimore, Bob Peach, Bill Challinor. Photo Manchester Evening News (attrib.)|
SEE: BAGGIN' TIME AT MURGATROYDS
Re published 21st November 2019 (links updated)