Thursday 28 November 2013



 Come and have a browse!
Some lovely gifts from over 30 stalls.
Light refreshments served on the night.
A raffle will be held with all  proceeds 
to the  Mayor's Charities 



JUNE 2012 - NOVEMBER 2013

The Artisan Market, pioneered successfully  in Wilmslow, proved to be equally successful in Middlewich during a trial period which took place on June 30th, July 28th and August 25th 2012. Response from local traders and shoppers was overwhelmingly in favour of the market  continuing after the trial period and, at the beginning of September, after negotiations between Cheshire East, Middlewich Town Council and the market's organisers, it was announced that  the intention was for the market  to become a permanent feature of the Middlewich shopping scene.
In  February 2013 the local press reported that the Town Council were planning to buy the right to close the road each month so that the market could go ahead.
This move would also benefit other events such as the FAB Festival and the annual Christmas celebrations.
Here's a link to the Guardian's report:
If you'd like to make a comment about the Artisan Market please use the 'comments' feature after this diary entry, or e-mail us at

 Please note that your comments, if appropriate, will be included in this diary entry

The market is organised by a highly professional group of people, working in association with Middlewich Town Council, and means that  for the first time ever, traffic is excluded from Wheelock Street for the duration of the event.
It's being seen by many as a much needed 'test' of the capacity of our main shopping street to function as a pedestrianised area, something which has been proposed for Wheelock Street many times over the years, but never before tried outside the worlds of conjecture and theory.
It also, of course, gives Middlewich a rare chance to function as a 'market town' in the true sense of the word.
The First Artisan Market in Middlewich 30th June 2012
Geraldine Williams captured the atmosphere and bustle in Wheelock Street as the Artisan Market came to town and proved that Wheelock Street is a natural venue for an event of this kind

Middlewich people were full of praise for the first market:

'...It was packed. I spent lots of money in our ordinary shops as well. Great occasion. I can't wait until the end of July now...' (our italics - Ed)

'...It was great to see the town so busy, and it was nice to see no cars allowed up the street for a change!'

'...Stalls all the way up the street! About time we had something decent in Middlewich!'

'Pleasantly surprised. I'm looking forward to the next one. Loads of olives, garlic, breads and cheeses and the atmosphere was brill. I'll definitely be making it a monthly thing.'

'It was very busy, even when it rained!'

'...A Resounding Success!'

'...really enjoyed this. I hope we have more in the future.'

'Everything looked ace. And the food was great!'

'We thoroughly enjoyed the market today.'

'I've never seen so many people on Wheelock Street on a Saturday! Plenty of stalls and a great choice of merchandise. Marvellous!

'The Artisan Market was great, and it was  nice to see so many people out and about. I hope its success will prompt more events like this in the future!'

'Some fab food on offer, and it was nice to see so many people out and about'

'Well done Middlewich!'

'I really enjoyed the Artisan Market today. I got the nicest goats cheese ever!
Let's have more events like this in Middlewich!'

'...Stalls all the way up the street!' - Paul Greenwood photographed the market from the Bullring end of the street, after the rain which failed to dampen anyone's enthusiasm.

The scene in The Bullring during the second Middlewich Artisan Market on July 28th 2012

Local reaction to the second Artisan Market on July 28th:

' husband loves the market. he has stocked up on his beer, scotch eggs and hot sauce. He can't wait for the next one...

'Again I loved the Artisan Market. It brings Middlewich to life. I stocked up on the goats cheese!'

'Fabulous! Nice to see the local shops joining in and taking advantage of the extra people in town on Saturday. Just what Middlewich has needed for years!'


'Well organised, and well presented. A pleasure to shop there, and what a boost for the existing traders!'

'Loved my first visit to the Artisan Market and picked up some truly fabulous cooking sauces, some hot some not, but well worth a visit. I can't wait for the next one. Nice to see all the car parks full for this event and another good thing is that the vendors offer 'try before you buy'. Well recommended.'

'We went to the last Artisan Market and have never seen the main street so busy. The atmosphere was great, with so many people browsing and buying. We spent money in the market, and in local businesses, as did many others. This idea is the best that Middlewich has offered in recent years and we look forward to visiting regularly for special and unusual goods. This is something that could become a regular special event which would revitalise the town centre. The local traders that we spoke to had nothing but good things to say about their trading on the day. We loved it and will definitely come back next month!'

'We loved it, and spent more than we should have! The chicken was very tasty and the cheese not good for me when I'm trying to diet!'

'About time Middlewich had something good coming to its town!!
The market is fab, never seen the high street so busy. Fingers crossed it stays!!'

Photos of

The third Market, on the last Saturday of August 2012 proved just as popular as the previous two, and Geraldine Williams took this sequence of photographs which give some idea of the quality and variety of goods on offer:

Local reaction to the third market on August 25th:

'Another fantastic market today!'

'Well done Middlewich! A great atmosphere and it was good to see some of the Wheelock Street shopkeepers entering into the spirit by setting up outdoor displays of their own goods.'

UPDATE (29th JUNE 2013):

Facebook feedback on the first anniversay of the Artisan Market:

From Bernice Walmsley, Middlewich Town Mayor:

What an amazing day today in Middlewich! A fantastic turnout, great weather, brilliant and talented stalls and superb performance from Steven Doyle in the Bull Ring...already looking forward to next month!

Ruslyn Wood Creations Great day! Can't wait for next month!

Jonathan Williams (Middlewich Town Clerk): Yes it was a brilliant day, and the Artisan Market in Middlewich goes from strength to strength. I noticed that a lot of traders had sold out as they passed me and waved to me at the road closure. Some even used all five fingers!!! Well done to everyone who made the day such a success. Middlewich appreciates it.

The Artisan Market Thank you to you Jonathan, and to the Middlewich Town Council. The amount of time and effort you all put in for the event is amazing! Can't wait for the 27th July!

Jonathan Williams's all about working together, and a partnership which means so much to all of us. The Twitter messages are flying this evening, and it's a wonderful response to a fantastic day. So thank you too!
-a link to a story from our friends at the

Find out more at




This Diary Entry was originally published on 30th June 2012

Wednesday 13 November 2013




with COLIN from JUNCTION 18
Come on down for a great night and a sing along with an appreciative audience.

 Late Bar with Music up until 1am.


(from 2013)

Sunday 10 November 2013


Lest We Forget...


Photo courtesy of Frank Smith and Bill Eaton

This photograph and article also appear on our sister site, Middlewich Station

by Dave Roberts
This photograph recently found its way back to The Middlewich Diary by way of Bill Eaton, who was given a lot of material written and collected by the late Frank Smith of Ravenscroft, an early contributor to the Middlewich Heritage Society and its Newsletter.
Bill has been passing on various bits of material for publication on the Middlewich Diary and MRLC websites, rightly thinking that it would be of interest to readers of both.
I was intrigued when he emailed this photo to me, with my own handwriting on the bottom giving details of its origin.
Obviously, in the early years of the Heritage Society, when I was editing the MHS Newsletter, I must, at some point, have given Frank this photo for his records.
This would have been sometime in the mid-late1980s.
The somewhat dubious quality of the picture betrays its origins as a photocopy of an original photograph by Alan Wilkinson, who lived in Middlewich in the 1960s and is well known as a railway photographer and author.
It came originally from a book called The Stanier 8F 2-8-0 published by D Bradford Barton and the Stanier 8F Loco Society, and the originally caption for the photo reads:

'Saturday afternoon bustle on a Cheshire by-way.
Crewe South's recently outshopped 48505 (D44)
slows for a brisk tablet exchange at Middlewich,
heading the 12.25 Stanlow -Egginton Junction
tanks in January 1965.'

Railway enthusiasts will, of course, have little need for any explanation, but for the layman/woman, here are some explanatory notes:

The engine shown here is, as indicated, a Stanier 8F - a very common type of  engine on the Middlewich line in the 1960s and 1970s, when freight traffic was very heavy.
One very important type of traffic was oil, which came from Stanlow via the West Cheshire route from Helsby to Mouldsworth on the Mid-Cheshire line* and then via Northwich and  Middlewich  to Sandbach and (until 1971) along the Sandbach-Kidsgrove line  to the Stoke area without having to pass through Crewe.
The 'tablet exchange' is the handing over of the token which enabled the train to travel over the single line section from Northwich to Middlewich. The signalman can be seen with his arm out of the signal box window, ready to take the token from the engine driver.
Note the water tower on the left, and the familiar MIDDLEWICH sign on the signal box.
This sign is now in the possession of the MRLC Committee, having been retrieved from Uttoxeter.
Its story is told here.

* the official title of MCRUA's Middlewich sub-committee (the Middlewich Rail Link Campain), which aims to build a new Middlewich Station and introduce a new passenger service from Crewe to Manchester via Sandbach, Middlewich and Northwich, is the Middlewich & West Cheshire Committee.
The West Cheshire line has been lifted, but the trackbed is protected and we keep an eye on the route with a view to its possible re-instatement in the future

Very belated thanks to ERF Ltd for very much unauthorised photocopying facilities.

Saturday 9 November 2013


A reminder that the Service of Remembrance takes place tomorrow morning (Sunday 10th) at the War Memorial in Middlewich Town Centre.
Those taking part in the procession should assemble at the Royal British legion Club in Lewin Street at 10.15am.

Thursday 7 November 2013


Now that the nights are drawing in, and Christmas looms on the horizon, the season for  stories of weird experiences and inexplicable happenings is upon us.
Like every town in this ancient and haunted kingdom, Middlewich has its share of spooky places.
Hannah's Walk, for instance, on a frosty, foggy December afternoon when dusk is approaching can play fearful tricks on an over-excited imagination, and it's easy to let your mind wander and perhaps fancy you can just glimpse, out of the corner of your eye, the shade of poor Hannah rushing to her doom in the icy waters of the canal.
We've already mentioned Mill Lane and that restless and uneasy place where the little stone bridge passes over the old mill weir and an awful feeling of being watched can steal over one on the brightest of afternoons. Go there on a cold November day, with the frost on the ground and the first dustings of snow in the air, and the oppressive feeling that you're not alone is almost overwhelming. 
What malevolent force is lurking there in the deep and ceaselessly churning waters under your feet, waiting to drag you to your doom?
Not too far away, down Nantwich Road (or, if you prefer, down the River Wheelock and a short distance away from the aqueduct, the 'twin' of the one that takes Nantwich Road under the SUC Middlewich Branch) is 'Mystery Wood', between Nantwich Road and the old road to Middlewich Manor, and the new housing estates in what were once the Manor grounds.
It's the haunt of dog walkers and strollers, and children playing among its trees and pathways.
But does Mystery Wood also hold an ancient secret which might account for the strange experience which Malcolm Hough had there more than fifty years ago?
-Dave Roberts, Editor.

by Malcolm Hough

I was 13 years old, and it was late July or early August, and it was just about dusk. 
Myself and three friends were playing in the woods next to the main Nantwich road in Middlewich, by the aqueduct that carries the Shropshire Union Canal over it.
 The wood's local name is “Mystery Wood”
 I knew adults who would not go in there after dark.
 It was a long narrow wood with spooky iron railings at each end, and with a stream running through it. That particular night it was still and very quiet, and we were joking about it being a spooky atmosphere, when all of a sudden a Sycamore tree of about  six or seven inches in diameter fell over.
 It was a perfectly still summer evening. 
We ran the long way home for about a mile or more, and only stopping outside of the British Legion club in Lewin St,  all of us out of breath. 
We were scared stiff. 
We did not talk about it that night and we went our separate ways home.
I remember, I left the bedroom light on all night. 
When we met up the next morning at our pre-arranged time, my friends all talked about the highwayman in a tri-corn hat, that they had seen pointing a gun at us when they turned around to see what was happening.
I saw nothing, as I did not turn around, I just kept running. 
It must be remembered that, in those days, we had no telephones, so no way of discussing the matter.
One thing I do know, is that I definitely saw that tree fall, and we were not near it at the time.
The area has now been partly developed, but most of the wood still stands.
It’s now named “Misty Wood” by the developers of the site, so I have been told by someone whose garden backs onto it.
I wonder why? 
© Malcolm Hough 2013

Editor's note: Note that Malcolm says that the wood is now named Misty Wood 'by the developers of the site'. We're wondering if this could be an explanation for the fact that some people call it 'Mystery Wood' and some 'Misty Wood'?
Could it possibly be that some publicity person at the development company was casting around for a little bit of local colour to put in the brochure and was told the local name for the woods? Could he have misheard 'Mystery' as 'Misty'? And did the people who bought the houses then start to use the name 'Misty' because of what it said in the brochure? Maybe the developers just thought that 'Misty' somehow sounded better than 'Mystery'. Just a thought.
In any case, to an older generation, this was never 'Mystery Wood' or 'Misty Wood'. It was just 'the woods'. If we called it anything, we called it 'Manor Woods'.

UPDATE 21st April 2020: On the other hand, Chris Jones writes:
I grew up on Rolt Crescent and spent a lot of time playing in mystery/misty woods and on the cow field. I knew it by both names in the late '70s and always presumed it was laziness or slang that shortened mystery to misty.

So that appears to blow our theory out of the water. And yes, shortening 'Mystery' to 'Misty' out of laziness or slang sounds plausible.

Wednesday 6 November 2013


We're back once again in Lawrence Avenue, that unadopted thoroughfare (or former thoroughfare)* which once connected Wheelock Street and Webbs lane, until the intervention of St Michael's Way split it into two dead ends called Lawrence Avenue East and Lawrence Avenue West.
Our Now and Then picture shows us once again that charming, almost rustic, scene  as the Avenue (then known as Lawrence Gardens) basked in the warm Edwardian sunshine, together with a shot taken in September this year which proves that, although places change over the years, they perhaps do not always change as much as we might think.
Our musings on this photo can be seen here.
In 2013 we can see that the doorway where the happy Edwardian family were standing all those years ago has been bricked up, the approximate edge of the former door being marked by the red and white No parking sign.

Something about the rather haphazard brickwork suggests that this was done not too long ago, probably in a bit of a hurry.
Quite possibly this was done as part of the conversion of the premises into a shop.
As late as 1937 this large building, on the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Wheelock Street, which is now a kebab shop and the premises of Brooks & Bostock,appears to have had large bay windows at the front. Was it originally a large family home, with servants' quarters at the rear, to which the bricked up door was an entrance?
The basic outline of the rear of the building is still very much the same, with its sloping lean-to roof leading the eye to the rest of the north side of Lawrence Avenue which, again, looks remarkably unaltered, externally at least.
The first house in particular, now the home of a dental surgery, appears to have weathered the years remarkably well.
Here's a larger version of the 'now picture':

*actually, even before the coming of the Inner Relief Road, Lawrence Avenue had not been a thoroughfare for many years. There were bollards at the west end of the road preventing access to vehicles from Wheelock Street.


Friday 1 November 2013



The 2013 annual Middlewich Cricket Club bonfire and firework spectacular took place on a cold, rainy and windy Saturday 2nd November.

In association with