Monday 4 June 2012


On the evening of 4th June 2012, as the nation celebrated The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Cliff Astles was out with his camera on top of the old ICI lime beds in Middlewich looking out towards the surrounding hills.
Those thin pin-pricks of orange light on the skyline in Cliff's superb panorama are beacons lit to celebrate the occasion on the hills near to far away towns and villages.

Here's the explanatory note as supplied by Cliff himself:

Stockport is on the left, Macclesfield and Congleton in the centre, and Biddulph to the right.
If you look closely you can see SEVEN bonfires lit on the Pennines behind these Cheshire (and Staffordshire) towns. Several of these places also staged firework displays to accompany the fires.
The photograph was taken between 10 and 10.30pm.
A historic sight, and something we won't see again for a long time.
The first bonfire to be seen was the one on Mow Cop near Biddulph (see below)
Cliff Astles

Mow Cop seen from Middlewich - 4th June 2012
Editor's note: Cliff refers to these beacons as 'bonfires', although some of them at least - like the Middlewich Beacon, and the one on Mow Cop - were actually gas-fired flames. If anyone can enlighten us as to which were beacons and which traditional bonfires, we'd be very grateful.

...on the 4th June 2011, far less romantically, the Salt Town Site's 'Middlewich Diary' section was taking the first of several looks over the last year at Southway - in this case as it was in the early 1970s, before the coming of the Gateway Supermarket.
The Middlewich Diary proper was, by now, less than a week away...

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