Tuesday 31 January 2017


The Middlewich FAB Festival is back this June, and here are the dates for your diary...

Find our more at the Festival's new Facebook Page:


Thursday 26 January 2017


Watch the film here, or click on the Youtube link (below)

by Dave Roberts

Middlewich Show 1937 is just one of a small collection of films made in the 1930s by the Mid-Cheshire Amateur Cinematography Society, with members based mainly in Middlewich and Northwich. Prominent members were my Dad, Arthur Roberts, and my Uncles Bill Oakes and Clifford Ridgway.
Also involved were the Eachus Brothers, who ran a photographic shop in Northwich. In fact one or two of the Society's films were donated to the NW Film Archive by the Eachus family and now sit on the shelves alongside our own donated films.
Up until the early 1980s the 16mm films were in the possession of Uncle Bill who then lived at 'Three Willows' in Mill Lane off Nantwich Road (a beautiful house with a terraced garden sweeping down to the River Wheelock, just downstream from the weir we were looking at in this diary entry)
Occasionally, on high days and holidays during my childhood, someone would get hold of a 16mm projector and we'd all be able to see something of our local area as it was in the 1930s, and what our relations and their friends looked like in their younger days.
When Uncle Bill's wife, Winnie, died he decided to move to Knutsford and, while clearing his house, asked if there was anything I'd particularly like from the large pile of 'junk' destined for Middlewich tip.
Believe it or not, among the 'junk' was the collection of 16mm films we'd enjoyed occasionally for many years.
Thus I was able to save them for posterity.
The films then entered a 'second life' as a Middlewich attraction. I used to borrow a 16mm projector from the High School and show them at various venues around the town in aid of charity.
This, of course, was long before the days of DVDs. Even video was only then coming into fashion and there was no practical way these films could be shown in public other than in the traditional way, 'live' with a projector.
A very nerve-wracking enterprise, I can tell you.
Even in those days the films were getting on for fifty years old and becoming increasingly frail with each passing year. 
Any old-fashioned film projectionist will tell you that a film can only be shown so many times before you start to have problems, with broken splices, torn perforations, scratches and burned-out frames (where the film has stuck in the 'gate' and been melted by the heat of the lamp).
So, eventually they had to 'retire' before they fell to pieces altogether.
Local historian Allan Earl, who knew all about the films, approached me and asked if I would be prepared to donate them  to the North-West Film Archive at Manchester University where they could be conserved and looked after properly.
A name had to be found for the collection, and we dubbed it The Roberts Collection, that being as good a name as any, and Allan took them to Manchester so they could live out their well-earned retirement among the rest of the North West's filmed heritage.
Part of the deal was that two VHS video copies of the films should be made; one for our family, and one for the Middlewich Heritage Society.
Those low-quality videos are the source of the films from the Roberts Collection you see on Youtube today. One day we hope to be able to show them to you in better quality in the form of DVD files.
Incidentally, in the days when ITV, in the form of Granada Television, used to produce regional programmes for the North-West, theywould phone occasionally to ask for copyright clearance for sequences from these films for use in  a programme called The Way We Were, narrated by Stuart Hall.

You've been very patient, so now here is our main feature:



A couple of years ago I was approached by the British Film Institute asking for permission to include Middlewich Show 1937 in their online Britain On Film series which features films from all over the country depicting daily life in Britain through the years. The institute also refers to this series as 'the National Archive'
And that is how our town came to be included in this fascinating online archive and how you can enjoy this particular film, at least, in something like its original quality.


(Higher quality)

Please click on the blue link (above) to see the film

(Note: The strange, arabesque illustrations at the very start of this version of the film were bits of old scrap 16mm film fished out of a bin at Granada TV in the 1970s)

First published 16th July 2011
Revised, expanded and re-published 26th January 2011

Monday 16 January 2017


The Way We Were: A MOM Night poster from the early 2000s

Dave Roberts writes...

These days you can't take a few steps in any town in the kingdom without stumbling across a pub featuring an 'Open Mike' night. Most pubs try the idea out at least once, with varying degrees of success. Middlewich, of course, is not immune to the Open Mike Night phenomenon ('Mike', by the way, is the correct form, rather than 'mic.' Mike is the accepted abbreviation for microphone in the music industry, whereas 'mic' is a technical abbreviation used by engineers), with practically every local hostelry having a go at one time or another.
Well, we were the first, in Middlewich at least, back in the early years of this century.
Middlewich Open Mike had its origins in the Salt Town Poets' 'Poetry & Pints' nights at the Kings Arms, the Newton Brewery, and - most enduringly - the Boar's Head.
We noticed that there was in increasing amount of musicians coming along to our P&P Nights and decided to formalise the situation and call the evening 'Middlewich Open Mike Night' or 'MOM Night' for short
Our MOM Nights were a great success over the years, running regularly on the third Wednesday of every month, with regular 'specials' for the Folk & Boat Festival and the FAB Festival.

And now here's news of a revival, for one night only, of those halcyon days, with the MOM Night Reunion!

Here's a word from none other than Professor Parsons....

Mike Parsons writes...

Dear all,

Having spoken with one or two who can remember the original 'Middlewich Open Mike (MOM)' Nights, we thought it would be nice to have a 'Celebratory Reunion' for old times' sake, in which we could get together as old friends and once again enjoy

sharing each other's company and music.

As a result of this idea, I am happy to inform you that on the evening of Wed. 18th. January the back room of the Boar's Head has been reserved for just such an occasion and you are all cordially invited to come along and help make it a really fun evening. If you could also please help to spread the word (as there are those for whom I do not have contact details), that would be great.

So, please do not be shy or slow to shake off those Winter blues; do not let modesty (or anything else for that
matter!) forbid. 

What else could rival the X Factor tour other than the combined billing of the likes of Andy (the Voice) Roscoe; Wolfy; John (Biker JC) Capper; The Legendary Dave Roberts; Davian Reel; Lake, etc. and our other renowned comrades who (with your help) we still need to trace and bring along on the night.

Old friends; new contemporaries, all welcome!

The evening will be hosted by Chris & The MGs.

See you on the 18th; hope you can make it!


Sunday 8 January 2017


Our town's much admired community spirit really came to the fore in early January 2017, leading directly to the creation of the MIDDLEWICH HELPERS Facebook Group.

Laura Lucas writes:
It is agreed that Facebook has many down points, however tonight I have witnessed something great: A man posted a comment on the Middlewich Community site regarding a man who was homeless and is residing under the bridge.
The whole of the community has come together to provide him with essentials to get him through the cold nights before he is rehoused,hopefully on Monday. We spoke to him for a while and despite his current situation and health implications his spirit and fight is phenomenal! I truly believe that this will get him through this hardship!
Tonight has shown, not only that there are still people out there who are genuinely decent human beings,but also that there is always a reason to smile and appreciate what and who we have in our lives.No matter how big or how small this may be! 

7th January 2017

Find out more:


Friday 6 January 2017



On Tuesday 24th January, from 7pm until 9pm, Middlewich's Royal British Legion Club in Lewin Street  will be opening its doors so that potential users of its comprehensive facilities can see what the club can offer.

Jackie Latham writes:

During this open evening we're taking the opportunity to showcase our venue, so why not come along and see just what we have here, particularly if you're looking for a venue for your big occasion?
We also welcome any local business which may want to get involved: for example, cake-makers, beauty experts, hairdressers, wedding party arrangers - anyone at all in and around Middlewich who has a service to offer. Please message me to book a free table.

Wednesday 4 January 2017


For 2017, the Middlewich Rose Fete has moved away from its links with the FAB Festival to become yet another separate  event for Middlewich - the Middlewich Rose Fete and Children's Festival! 

DIrect Facebook Page link:

The Festival itself takes place on
20th May 2017

Sunday 1 January 2017



The Middlewich Charity Shield

Always the very first Middlewich Event of every year, the Annual Middlewich New Years Day Treasure Hunt is competed for every year by hung-over Middlewichians, and the prize, since 1992 at least,  has been  the much-coveted Middlewich Charity Shield.

Traditionally the team which wins the shield each year sets the questions for the following year but in 2017 things are a little different.

Melody Smith has volunteered - for one year only - to set the questions for the 2017 Treasure Hunt and would like to know a little more about the event, and in particular, its history.

The earliest date on the shield, which is  dedicated to the memory of Christina Wakefield, is 1992 when, as can be seen from the list of winners below, 'R&P Jackson' were the victors.

But did this epic New Year trawl around the town actually start before 1992? 

Both we at the Middlewich Diary and Melody Smith would love to hear more of the history of this cherished Middlewich Institution.

If you can help, please email us at:

or visit our new, dedicated, Facebook Group at


(administered by MELODY SMITH)

The list of past winners makes interesting reading. 

The term 'usual suspects' springs to mind, with names like 'Poniznik + Bruce, 'S Bailey & T Hough' , 'Bic's Team', 'The Shaws', 'Stitched Up' and many others making up a virtual 'Who's Who' of the Great and Good in Middlewich.

If you were a member of one of these illustrious teams and have memories - happy or otherwise - of taking part in the Treasure Hunt, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

The chosen charities for 2017 are St Luke's Cheshire Hospice and St Michael & All Angels Church repair fund.

The Boar's Head Hotel in Kinderton Street - starting point for the Treasure Hunt every year


1992 R&P Jackson
1993 M&C Lowe, R&P Jackson
1994 Poniznik + Bruce
1995 Worthington family
1996 Wood 'n' Teas
1997 Worthington family
1998 S Bailey & T Hough
1999 Plonkers 2
2000 Year 2K
2001 Plonkers 2
2002 The Shaws
2003 Whott
2004 The Shaws
2005 The Young Ones
2006 Whott
2007 Hough & Bailey
2008 Middlewich Masons
2009 Stitched Up
2010 Otherwise Engaged
2011 Bics Team
2012 Dirty Monkeys
2013 Dave DE & Dozy Kids
2014 Chips
2015 DE & Dave
2016 (no name supplied)
2017 Chubby's Christmas Chickens

Dave Roberts

UPDATE (31st December 2016):

Prize list for the hunt and raffle:

Boars Head- Meal for 4
Narrowboat Inn – Meal for 4
The White Bear Middlewich – Meal for 4
The Big Lock Pub Middlewich - £10 Voucher (also doing soup at the end of the hunt at 3.30pm)
Andy Boyle Photography – £30 family portrait voucher
Willow Bell – 4 beautiful mugs
Tims Gents Hairshop – hair cut by Jenny
Tracey's gel-ous nails and beauty – voucher
Razor Sharp – voucher for gent’s hair cut.
Charlotte Rose Florist - voucher
Cups and Cakes – Lunch voucher
Temptations – Jar of sweets
Morrisons, Middlewich – Delicious hamper with prosecco


by Melody Smith

The New Year's Day Treasure Hunt, with its prize, the Middlewich Charity Shield, was started in 1992 by Terry and Christina Wakefield, who used to run a disco and catering company  and were actively raising funds for local causes and charities in Middlewich.

Tragically, in 1993, a year which proved to be very difficult for Terry and his family, Christine had a fatal fall in her home.

As a mark of respect, and a reflection of her work in the community, Terry dedicated the recently established shield to Christina's memory.

He continued to run the treasure hunt until 1998 when he left Middlewich and moved to the Wirral to enjoy a new life with his current wife.

I recently spoke to terry by telephone, and he was very pleased to hear that the tradition has stayed strong in Middlewich and that the annual event has continued to be an institution within the community.

He still has links here and visits occasionally.

His daughter has requested that, when the shield is full and needs replacing, she would like to keep it.

UPDATE (1st January 2017:

Here are the results and scores for the 2017 contest:

Chubby's Christmas Chickens 43
Red devils 41
Bayar Lederhosen  40
Jones and Riddell  40
Whot 40
Bet you…. 39
Chips 38
Jacob's Barmy army 38
Rab C and pals 38
Regan's rangers 38
3D-UK (Dee and Dave) 37.5
Fab Sam 37
Northern Soul 37
Hotspurs 36
Humphries clan 36
Descendants 35.5
Scraffey's Gang 33
The Cobblers 32
Hardy 32
Rolley's ramblers 32
Christina's Crusaders 31
Rocking dollies on tour 29
Chopp's champions 27
Morgan 27
Bunged up but breathing 25
Knights of old 23
Redheads 22
Brendan and Jack 18
losers 18

Middlewich Charity Shield 2018

First published 12th November 2016
Updated & re-published 30th November 2016, 5th December 2016
31st December 2016 and 1st  January 2017