Tuesday 30 October 2018



by Dave Roberts

As might be expected, the original Diary entry
 'Pepper Street/Lower Street Junction Early 1970s' has attracted a lot of interest since it was first published in 2012. 

We thought it might be worthwhile trying to illustrate how the old, longer, Pepper Street used to look and how it gave people coming from Webbs Lane access to the town centre. 

This photo is as good a place to start as any, particularly as it shows the houses which now constitute practically all of modern-day Pepper Street. Here's the original description of the photo as it first appeared on the Middlewich Diary.

Our favourite contributor, 'Anonymous', said, in relation to our original diary entry which featured this photo:

'This brings back memories. If you were to turn around and walk back towards Webbs Lane, there was an open space opposite Seddons Salt Works. We use to play football and cricket there.'

Well, we think the space to the right of our main picture, where the Reliant car is parked, must be the space in question.

This picture, taken in 1969 with our trusty Instamatic camera, is fascinating as it provides a link between the Pepper Street of those days,at the very end of the open pan salt works era and the Pepper Street of today.

The building to the right with the single chimney is interesting.

Previous MD feedback seemed to suggest that it was once The Lord Hood public house, but this is not the case.

Ken Kingston's Middlewich Hospitality (Middlewich U3A Local History group 2014) tells us that the pub, built in 1782, was closed and demolished in 1920, and replaced by a workshop and timber shed in 1929. These premises were themselves demolished just after World War II, so it appears that the waste ground itself was the site of the pub and its later replacement. What the building with the central chimney was remains a mystery.

Today's street is, as we've said, more or less just that short terrace on the extreme left. What used to be the roadway is now a slip road connecting Webbs Lane to St Michael's Way opposite the Vaults.

The large building at the end of the Terrace is Seddon's Salt Works offices.

Seddon's offices in Pepper Street in the 1920s. The still extant terraced houses can be seen behind the building.

 Beyond that is the salt works itself, by this time closed and awaiting demolition.

Here's what the other side of the street looked like:

To get to the town centre you walked towards the salt works, and then took a sharp right turn between the works and the building beyond the Reliant car to wind up in the Bull Ring. 

Middlewich's automatic telephone exchange, built in 1967 and now much expanded and fronting onto St Michael's Way, was in a small compound, just out of shot to the right.

Powell's Clothing Factory, connected with the company's retail premises in Wheelock Street, could also be found in the area, on land now occupied by St Michael's Way. 

It is this connection with the textile industry which has led to the new housing development next to the telephone exchange being given the rather fanciful name 'Spindle Whorl'. Put simply, a 'spindle whorl' is one of the many tools used by cloth weavers. It's a kind of flat disc with a hole in it. Spindle whorls are made from many diffferent materials and are very collectable.

Another development on the site, closer to Wheelock Street, has been given the more prosaic and, some might say, more appropriate name of 'Powell House'.

Powell's Tailors itself, once the smartest shop in the town, is now in a semi-derelict state after  Eric Alcock electrical moved out a few years ago.

Eric Alcock Ltd, pictured in 2012. The electrical goods firm's tenure of the former impeccably smart Powell's Tailor's premises did its appearance no favours at all, and now (2018) the shop is in a semi-derelict state and looks even worse.

Here's a bit more of 1969 Pepper Street, taking us further towards the town centre:

To get to the town centre today you have to take more or less the same route, but you'll be walking towards the entrance to 'The Moorings' rather than the salt works and, once you make the right turn, you have St Michael's Way, with heavy traffic heading to and from the M6, to contend with before you can reach the Bull Ring.

First published 2nd March 2018
Revised and re-formatted 30th October 2018


  1. The brick wall on the right belonged to the house that was on the corner of Pepper Street, Dewhurst's butchers was next to that going up Wheelock Street and next door to what was then the Brown's Vaults. The butchers and the house were what is now Vaults carpark. You can see this on the photo of the Bogota Boys at Middlewich.

  2. You're right, of course. Thanks for your comment, and I've corrected the entry. Do you know (or does anyone else reading this know) whether the house was part of Dewhurst's- i.e. did the people who ran the shop live in the house?

    1. Forgot to put my name to the above comment. I don't know who owned the house but when i was at school The Johnson Family lived in it and I went into it to visit my friend. One of the daughters might be about your age Dave. I think she was called Susan. Linda was the same age as me.

    2. I worked part-time in Dewhurst's in the late '50's. The house was nothing to do with the shop, it was a private residence.

    3. From what I can remember Dewhursts Butchers Shop was part (front left hand side) of the house that was on the corner of Pepper Street,then next along Wheelock Street was Browns Vaults.Do not believe that people in the large house on the corner of Pepper Street had anything to do with the butchers shop.

  3. Dave I don't know who that is on that bike but I do remember crashing on my bike into that wall against Vernon Coopers in the mid 1960's. This was when you 'allowed' to race around the streets unhindered by traffic!

  4. This brings back memories, if you were to turn around and walk back towards Webbs Lane, there was an open space opposite Seddons Salt Works, we use to pay football and cricket there, al little further along was the back entrance to Powells, again we used the wall for some kind of ball game, until someone complainted and PC Plod came along and told us all our rights, Ian Fox (Crafty) was bending down tying his shoe laces and got away with it, we, the reast of us had to go to the town Hall which in those days was next to St Michaels where my dad was fined £5, alot of money in the late 50's early 60's. getting back to the picture, Vernons at the bottom left and if you were to walk to the left there was a chippy, cant remember who owned it. Ill tell you something else too, at night it was a bit spooky walking up Pepper Street, and what a strange name "Pepper Street", As salt was produced there.

    1. GERALDINE WILLIAMS4 March 2018 at 13:15

      Was it Hough's Chippie?

    2. yes it was

    3. i remember the chippy stewart ryders mum work there

  5. In reference to the picture of SEDDONS Offices and the 1920? vehicle, and other point of interest and (if my memory is correct) to readers maybe that on the opposite side of the street was a space where football could be played. However, further away from the road was a number of "pitch painted" wooden sheds. I think I remember TAXIS belonging to REGAN's Taxis and CO-OP Taxis being parked in front of the sheds and were housed overnight in the sheds. We lived in Lewin street at the time and used to use Seddon Street as a way to the River Dane, where we would always go swimming in the summer holidays from school.( Well before it was too dirty to do this safely,1950's).
    Additionally, another point of interest would be if we ventured along the canal (Trent and Mersey)we could (if we dared),see the men working the Open Pans to make salt in the old way.However, if seen by the workers they would tell us to go away as it was quite dangerous along the canal with coal being off loaded for the pans, and salt being loaded into the canal boats.


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