Thursday, 30 April 2020

1984 LEWIN STREET LORRY CRASH

Photo courtesy of Joan Smith
by Dave Roberts

From the collection of  the late Frank Smith of Ravenscroft, courtesy of Joan Smith and Bill Eaton, come these photographs of the  aftermath of a dramatic traffic incident in 1984.

Bill has sent us this note to accompany the images:

'Frank's notes for these photographs say:

In a heavy morning mist a heavy goods vehicle ploughed into three cottages on Lewin Street.
A child in the front bedroom of one of the cottages woke early and was taken to a room at the rear of the
building shortly before the crash happened. The damage was so bad that all three cottages later had to be completely demolished.
Frank also drew attention to the decorative brickwork over the windows of the right-hand cottage (below)'

Photo courtesy of Joan Smith

Note, to the centre right of the top photograph,  Dave Costello's Angling Centre which was, at that time, still in use as St Paul's Methodist Chapel.

In a small town like this, so beset with traffic problems and with such relatively narrow streets, the wonder is not that something like this could happen, but that it hasn't happened more often.

The cottages destroyed in this incident were replaced not long afterwards by modern housing.

Facebook Feedback:

Andy Kendrick I remember that crash in 1984, and the old cottages. Shame they were lost. But it's nice to see the old St Paul's as it was. I used to go to Sunday School there. Happy memories


Rachel Walklate I have shared this link with the lady who I think was 'the girl taken from the front room to the back'.


Geraldine Williams I didn't know about the crash. I assumed that the cottages were just demolished as part of Middlewich's regeneration. My paternal grandfather was born and brought up in one of the cottages in the late 1800s.


Denise Appleton We had just moved out of one of those cottages months before the accident, but Reg Hunt was still living there.


Robert Sheckleston I remember the crash. Reg Hunt and his partner Thelma lived there. Thelma worked on the salt-floor at RHM Foods.


Susan Nugent I seem to think Mollie Wilkinson lived in one of those cottages. I'm sure she had her first daughter then. I'm sure someone will know.


Mark Joyce That was all down to a Ken Elsby's truck. My Auntie and Uncle used to live in one of those cottages


KathAndBarryWalklate This was my sister's house. It was early in the morning when the lorry ran into the house next door and took half my sister's house with it. She had a six month old baby which she had not long taken out of her cot before it was full of bricks from the wrecked wall. She was very lucky. That little baby grew up to be Nikki Wilkinson who had the Turnpike at one time.



UPDATE 30th April 2020:

When this Diary Entry was used as part of our 'Middlewich Diary Revisited' series in April 2020 Nikki Wilkinson, who was indeed the baby involved in the crash, herself posted the following stunning account of what happened on that fateful night when she was just a baby. We've reproduced it here with her permission - Ed

I was apparently about 8 months old. Obviously I don’t remember it actually happening but have been told the story many times. 

I only got to see the damage and how lucky I was, because of this story popping up. 

Across from these cottages is now the accountants business, if you notice there is a bend in the road there.

My dad, for whatever reason, had parked his car across the road on the bend the night before. Due to the bad weather and it being a grey/silver car, the lorry driver didn’t see it until the last second and swerved to miss it.

Unfortunately it meant he lost control and hit the gable end of the first cottage and ploughed through the other 2. We lived in the middle one.

As you can see on the picture, the front bedroom wall is completely missing. This wall fell on top of the drivers cabin and killed him instantly.

My cot along with a nursing chair was against the window of this room and ended up with the wall in the cab. 

Not long before the crash, I had woken wanting a feed. My mum was breast feeding so my dad didn’t stir.

She went to get me and was so tired that she decided to take me back to her bed and fell back to sleep with me feeding.

The lorry then hit and my dad woke and went running to the front room. He was hanging through the wall space on his belly pulling the rubble out of the cab screaming my name.

He didn’t know I was safe.

If my mum had decided to feed me in the chair, we both would have died.

I now live on the same road again by the narrow path next to D&D autos.

I often wonder if lightning will strike twice!!

A very dangerous road to live on.

When the papers printed the story, they mis-heard Nichola and printed my name as Baby Jessica. 

Nikki Wilkinson
29th April 2020

Originally published: 8th June 2012
Re-published 9th March 2014
Expanded and re-pub;ished 30th April 2020


Editor's note: This Diary entry was re-published not because of any additional information or updates, but because of the unfortunate comment added by an obvious internet troll which added nothing but gave local people and those who really know the town a chance to tell us what they think. As is our invariable custom, we immediately deleted the actual comment. Suffice it to say that it described the town as 'soulless and horrible', a description so manifestly unfair that, just before consigning the comment to oblivion, we canvassed opinions from people who really know the town to see if this wind-up merchant's views had any currency. The short answer is a resounding 'no'.
In case you don't know, an internet 'troll' is a sad, lonely, and ultimately irrelevant individual whose sole source of enjoyment is making fatuous comments on websites and blogs in order to 'wind people up'. Which can only work on those with a  feeble intellect similar to that of the 'troll' him/herself. Those who know and love this town would never get drawn into a pointless argument with such a weird individual. Nice try though.
As expected local people and people who have left the town and miss it very much were quick to jump to the defence of Middlewich. We've published some of the feedback from Facebook below (comments pertaining to the original subject matter - i.e. the 1984 lorry crash - have been added to the feedback at the end of the article, above), and it's also well worth taking a look at the comments on the page itself (including the original sad and misguided comment from someone who didn't deign to give us his/her name).
I think it was the use of the word 'soulless' which rankles with most people (although calling somewhere 'horrible' is hardly likely to endear anyone to its inhabitants), because soulless is precisely what this town is not.
 It's suffered terribly in the past from the ravages of industry, bad town planning and maladministration and, despite all that, has managed to pull itself up by its bootstraps and turn itself into a lively and pleasant town to live and work in.
No one denies that there's a long way to go, but people here have the enthusiasm and determination to make sure that what Dr Johnson described as 'a mean old town' is a place to be proud of.

New Facebook Feedback:

Lisa O'Toole I think this is a lovely town, full of history.

Susan Nugent If they don't have anything nice to say, well they shouldn't say anything at all. I love this town.


John Wood  Nothing wrong with Middlewich. Great little town for live entertainment and a great festival I never miss.


Gill Bowker Whoever wrote this clearly doesn't live in a town which pulls together in times of need, which has helpful neighbours and people to stop and chat to wherever you are in the community. Yes, Middlewich may not be to everyone's liking, but it does me and my family just fine, thank you.


Steven Doyle I have lived in Middlewich now for six years and it is anything but 'horrible and soulless'. Like every town Middlewich has its problems and undesirable people but, putting that aside, I cannot fault this place which has become home to me. I came to this town as an outsider and was made very welcome from the start. I think the town has a lot of character and lovely people living in it. Friendly, welcoming and helpful. I have the friendliset neighbours, who are more than I could wish for in terms of being good and helpful. It could never beat my home in Ireland, but it certainly gets second place in my eyes and is my home now. I love it here.


Sharon Barnard My view is that this anonymous person is an arse and that is all!


Richard Emblen As a Londoner who moved here nearly ten years ago all I can say is Middlewich is like heaven on earth. Appreciate it!










THE ORIGINAL LONG LANE CANAL BRIDGE


by Dave Roberts

We're indebted once again to local photographer Bill Armsden who found this remarkable image while he was looking through some family photographs.
In fact, Bill thinks it may well have been taken in the 1960s by his mother, who died recently.
We're calling it 'remarkable' not because there is anything particularly special about the photograph itself, but because it depicts a lost feature of our town - the only bridge on the Shropshire Union Canal's Middlewich Branch (within the town boundary at least) to have been destroyed and replaced by a modern concrete structure.
Nearly all of Middlewich's canal bridges have survived through the years, the only exceptions being the most famous of them all, the Town Bridge, which was replaced by a modern structure in 1931 and the Turnover Bridge, drastically altered in the 1960s, both on the Trent & Mersey. 

See: TOWN BRIDGE circa 1914

          THE TURNOVER BRIDGE

The replacement of this particular bridge happened during that curious and mercifully short-lived era when the car was king and, in the rush to make everything easier for the motorist, a historic canal bridge which had been serving the community since 1829 could be sacrificed.
Or am I being too harsh? Was there, in fact, a problem with the original bridge which would have cost too much to put right, making the concrete replacement the better option?
I certainly can't remember there being any public outcry over the destruction of the old bridge (which there certainly would be today if anyone suggested destroying such an iconic structure).
Does anyone know the circumstances of this drastic change to the SUC landscape?
Was it simply a question of the need for a  a wider road, which couldn't be accommodated by the old bridge?
Housing development in the area around the 'new canal' over the years has, of course,led to an increase in road and pedestrian traffic on the roads leading from the town to these outlying estates. The St Ann's Road Bridge, for example, survived, but with an additional pedestrian footbridge. Was it simply that the Long Lane bridge couldn't be adapted to the new traffic conditions and thus had to go?
Whatever the reason for the change, it comes as a bit of a shock to see the modern bungalows on the other side of Long Lane, which still look very much the same today, with this long-gone bridge in the foreground.
And look at the steel and concrete 'stile', to the right of the bridge, which I'd always thought was put there when the new bridge was built.
Is it the same 'stile' which is there today? It certainly looks like it.

Facebook Feedback:

Geraldine Williams I think the photograph must have been taken a little earlier than Bill thought. My parents moved into one of the new Chris Earl houses bordering the canal in Hubert Drive no later than 1959 and there would have been gardens where the photograph has been taken from. I well remember the scramble down that path from the bridge to the canal - it's a wonder no-one ended up in the water! Bill Stoneley lived in the first bungalow.

Dave Roberts Yes. I should have mentioned that Bill says that he thinks his mother took the picture from the bottom of their garden in (I think) Hubert Drive.

Geraldine Williams I suppose it was a shame that the original bridge had to go but I can remember when Long Lane was just a dirt track and when you consider all the housing that was eventually built - Long Lane North and South, the extended Hayhurst Avenue/Rolt Crescent area etc - even if the bridge was sound it would never have been wide enough to take the traffic and, more importantly, provide safety for pedestrians. The steps created down to the canal were an added bonus of course!


Facebook Feedback (April 2018)

Paul Smith (to Ron Evans) I'm guessing the coving stone I saw in the mud must have come from this bridge. I wonder what me Aunt Dol would have made of all this hoo ha?

Ron Evans (to Paul Smith) Paul,The surface of Long Lane used to be clinker cinders from some local factory and was replaced periodically! If you fell on it you could look forward to deep grazing which took ages to heal.
Used to have a smoke under that bridge on the way to school.....courtesy of Barry Jones whose mum gave him five fags every morning.....is he still in Middlewich?
Our Doris moved into her house in Long Lane in 1962!


First published 11th April 2014
Re-formatted and re-published 11th April 2018
Updated and re-published 30th April 2020

Monday, 20 April 2020

KING STREET 1940s

(originally published in May 2012 as 'King Street 1930s'

We believe this image to be out of copyright. If you own the copyright, or know who does, please let us know
by Dave Roberts

We're a little undecided as to whether this particular photo comes from the 1930s or the 1940s.
The car is no real clue, of course, as the Second World War meant that cars from the 1930s and earlier  were kept on the road during and after the war rather than being replaced, so we can't be sure of the date of this car's manufacture and how long it was on the road for.
The two houses on the right are numbers 44 and 46 King Street and were both built in the early 1930s by my Grandfather and Grandmother  and 'Uncle' Harry Shore. There was (and is) a third house to the right of these - no 42 - which belonged to the Costello family.
We still have a number of documents relating to the building of these houses and they will be finding their way onto the Middlewich Diary in the fullness of time.

Most of the present day houses and bungalows to be found on the right hand side of King Street, where the hedge is in our picture, weren't built until the early 1960s, but those on the left have an almost new look to them so were probably built in the 1920s. They could, in fact, be the reason why the picture was taken in the first place.

In the centre of the picture, next to the large tree, is the entrance to Harbutt's Field which was, many years later, to be identified as the site of a Roman fort, ensuring recognition of our town's part in the history of Roman Britain.

UPDATE: 20th April 2020:

When this diary entry was re-published and used as part of our   'Middlewich Diary revisited' feature during the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak, Geoff Williams contributed the following additional information. On the strength of this, we decided to change the title of this entry from 'King Street in the 1930s' to 'King Street in the 1940s'.


'The Fort was rediscovered after the photograph. It was known about long before that,. one of the Vernons from the Manor knew of it and C F Lawrence most certainly did, he named his house on Kinderton Street, the same as the more probable Roman name for Middlewich being CONDATE. I seem to recall (may have been in "Omerod's Cheshire") that the fort was a very good Bow shot from the Manor. It would have had to be a very good Bow shot from the Manor, perhaps not so far from the manor grounds. The diverted Roman Road did run down New King Street and underneath the grass bank on the right of the photo, where the grass verge in front of the pavement now is. The original Roman Road probably ran under your old house (No 33 King Street - Ed) and more directly to the Fort's southern gate. I seem to recollect being told that the 2 boys could have been my brother Maurice and his friend Jim Wooley, which would have made it the 1940's'.


(Geoff is a long-standing member of the Middlewich Heritage Society and the Middlewich Heritage Trust and has been involved in many projects in Middlewich over the years, including the Roman Middlewich Festivals and the Murgatroyd's Brine Pumps restoration. The comment below from 'Unknown' is also actually from Geoff who, for many years, has lived at number 24 King Street, which is just out of shot to the right of this photograph. -Ed.)


On the other side of the tree the road veers to the right and rises to cross the bridge over the Sandbach-Middlewich-Northwich railway line, descending on the other side towards the River Dane.
This stretch of road is relatively quiet now, and destined to become even quieter when the Middlewich by-pass is (eventually) completed.
It is, in any case, a deviation from the original line of the Roman  King Street which was originally along the line of what is now New King Street, running from the now closed off end of that Street, along the line of the hedge-row on the right to the entrance to Harbutt's field.
If you stand at that entrance today, and look back towards New King Street, the original line of the road is quite obvious.
What isn't quite so easy to make out is where the Roman road originally crossed the River Dane, but there may well have been a ford or bridge over the River quite a distance to the left of the present bridge.
The large wooden poles on the left of the picture are not telegraph poles, but components of the somewhat quaint and erratic system supplying electricity to King Street, part of which survives today, with copper wires strung high along the road and some of the wooden poles doubling as street lights (definitely not the kind of thing for Geraldine Williams' Middlewich Street Light collection, though).
During periods of high wind these copper wires would sway alarmingly, even snapping on a couple of occasions and lying in the road like thin dead snakes.
I remember phoning the Merseyside & North Wales Electricity Board (MANWEB to you) to tell them of one such occurrence, only to be treated with a lot of suspicion, as if I'd made the story up as a joke. Electrical cables flailing  all over the footpath outside my home was never one of my favourite subjects for humour.
And at one time there was a transformer slung high up on wooden poles at the entrance to Harbutt's Field and just opposite my Grandma's house.
One afternoon in the late 1960s we stood in Grandma's front garden and watched with great interest as this transformer started emitting huge blue sparks and, eventually, and spectacularly, burst into flames.
Oddly, though, Grandma's electricity supply was not affected.

First published as 'King Street in the 1930s' 3rd May 2012
Revised and re-edited with additional information by Geoff Williams and re-published as 'King Street in the 1940s' 20th April 2020



Friday, 17 April 2020

MIDDLEWICH SALT COMPANY LETTERHEAD 1946

The Roberts Collection
Here's an interesting piece of Middlewich history in the form of a letterhead from the Middlewich Salt Co Ltd (incorporating Verdin Cooke & Co Ltd). The company was later to become part of Cerebos and had one of the earliest vacuum salt making plants in the country, as well as traditional open pan works. The letterhead itself repays closer inspection. From it we learn that the company's telephone number was Middlewich 117 (2 lines) and their telegraphic address was 'Witch, Middlewich'. Their registered office was at Willesden, London and this remained the case right up until the take-over by RHM Foods in the late 1960s.
The trade-marks are particularly interesting. For some reason stags have always been associated with salt (perhaps a simple matter of alliteration) and cruet sets containing stag salt and pepper shakers remain popular to this day.
Cerebos table salt, of course, still proudly displays the Royal coat of arms on its packaging: 'By Appointment To Her Majesty The Queen, suppliers of table salt and pepper, Cerebos, London'.
The other trade mark is based  on that old association which we've mentioned before between Middlewich and witches, and even includes a pun on the town's name in its 'Middle-Witch' brand.
This  heading comes from a letter of reference which my Dad, Arthur, obtained from the company in 1946 in order to get a new job at Benger's in Holmes Chapel.
This proved to be a costly mistake as he returned to his old job shortly afterwards having lost part of his pension entitlement.

UPDATE (28th October 2016)
Those three witches, of course, are too good, and too iconic, to be forgotten. This modest account of a long-forgotten salt company has, since the very start of the Middlewich Diary, been our most popular entry. So we've decided that an updated representation of them would be ideal to celebrate Halloween. Here's our special Middlewich Diary Masthead for October 2016.


UPDATES, APRIL 2020


FIRST UPDATE (16th April 2020)




Hello everyone - I am currently researching for a book on the history of Foden Ladies Football Club. I have written a two part article on early women's football in Mid-Cheshire.
Part one, which can be found on the link below, is all about the #Munitionette teams from Middlewich, Lostock and Winsford, who played against each other for various charities towards the end of the Great War. 

While you are on lockdown - give it a read and if anyone has any further information on the teams, know a relative who may have played then let me know, I would be interested to hear from you - enjoy 

Click on the link - bit.ly/3bWmcoa

Margaret Roberts

(adapted from an original post on the Middlewich Community Page)

SECOND UPDATE (17th April 2020)

I have a list of all the names of the women who played so if your Grannie/Auntie etc was a Munitionette at Electro-Bleach, Middlewich Salt, Verdin Cooke or Lostock then you never know - she may have been a footballer. I would love to be able to put names to faces.
Surnames include - – Ketteridge, Pollitt, Goodall, Coleclough, Stockley, Washington, Edwards, Collings, Siddall, Manley, Thomas, Oakes, Dillon, Johnson, Shaw, Sproston, Lucas, Moulton, Molyneux, Dickenson, Robinson and Harrop. I would love to chat to you if anyone can help. Many thanks.

Margaret Roberts.

(adapted from an original post on the Middlewich Community Page)

If you can help Margaret with this interesting project, please contact us at:



First published: 27th September 2011
Re-published: 28th October 2016
Updated: 30th October 2017
Updated, re-formatted and re-published 17th April 2020

Thursday, 16 April 2020

BEFORE THE MIDDLEWICH DIARY: RICHARD DEVANEY IN A KILT 1973

HERE'S ONE FROM MAY 2011




From Facebook, 13th May 2011


For Mr Ian Murfitt and all his other fans here by popular request is 

the  notorious 'Richard Devaney in a kilt' photograph, taken at the Middlewich Carnival 1973. Richard was one of the founders of the Middlewich Folk & Boat festival in June 1990.

If you look closely, you can see that Mr Devaney is also sporting some quaint kind of headgear, but we must stress that the sunflower is not part of it.


Mr Devaney does not wear giant sunflowers on his head (though we wouldn't put it past him).

Facebook Feedback:

Liz Mcguinness Haha!! Love it!

Geraldine Williams
Was his headgear the prototype for Princess Beatrice's hat....??!!

Ian Murfitt A truly magnificent specimen.

Liz Mcguinness Yes it'll keep the kids away from the fire Dave!!

Angela Appleton
I remember babysitting for Richard Devaney when I was about 15, sure he had twins. They had a Jack Russell dog and everytime I moved it growled at me. The babies were crying and I didn't dare get up.


First published 13th May 2018
Re-formatted and re-published 16th April 2020








Tuesday, 7 April 2020

THE TURNOVER BRIDGE





by Dave Roberts

I suppose if you're not familiar with this local landmark you might think that the 'turnover bridge' is some kind of mechanical structure, like a swing bridge or a transporter bridge, designed to move traffic or canal boats from one place to another in a Victorian Engineering Marvel sort of way.
But no, the 'turnover' bridge' gets its name very simply from the fact that the road from Middlewich to Sandbach switches from the right hand side of the Trent & Mersey  Canal to the left at this point.
It's real, official, name is 'Tetton Bridge' and it lies in the middle of what was once an industrialised area.
From the 1770s until the 1960s it was just another of those 'hump-backed' canal bridges seen all over the area (although, being on a main road, it didn't have much of a 'hump'), until it was replaced by a more modern structure during a road improvement scheme.
Or was it?
Certainly it looks like a modern structure, particularly from the 'Middlewich' end. In fact, when you stand underneath it and look towards Middlewich, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the Town Bridge:
Looking at  the 'Sandbach' side of the bridge , however, it's plain that part of the structure, at least, has its origins in a traditional canal bridge:


This side of Tetton Bridge has the gracefully curved arch seen on many bridges in the area, albeit clad in ugly concrete. In front of the arch is one of the brine pipelines which criss-cross the area like a spider's web.
So is Tetton Bridge ancient or modern?
There's a clue in this notice, to be found on the 'Middlewich' side:

The 'sudden change in bridge profile' is a reference to the point where the new part of the bridge meets the old:
..and the sweeping arch of the old bridge is very evident. Also evident on the left is  damage to the brickwork where something has dealt the old bridge a severe blow.

So the 'turnover bridge' is actually an interesting amalgam of old and new.
The old bridge was never actually demolished, merely cocooned by the new bridge and hidden away from all except canal users.
From the road above, there is no hint of the interesting bodge-up which lies beneath:

Notice the sign on the right pointing the way down Tetton Lane to Warmingham where the brine for making Middlewich salt comes from.
Beyond the hedge in the background lies the site of Murgatroyd's Chemical Works (most recently operated by Brenntag, who  still have a presence at the Middlewich end of the site, including a Combined Heat and Power Station).
The area will change out of all recognition one glorious day when the Middlewich by-pass is completed and joins the Sandbach road at a point somewhere near the top of this photograph.

All the photographs in this entry, by the way, were taken on Wednesday 20th June 2012, one of the few warm and sunny days in  the wettest June in a hundred years.

Facebook Feedback

Paul Greenwood Fascinating entry, Dave. I've been going back and to over that bridge most days for the last thirty-four years, and never knew its secrets.

Geraldine Williams I can remember the old Turnover Bridge, but wonder what happened to the Middlewich-Sandbach traffic during the modifications? Must have been jolly if it was all diverted through Warmingham!

Dave Roberts I was wondering that, too, Geraldine. Possibly they  built the new part of  the bridge and diverted traffic over it while they were constructing the new roadway over the top of the old bridge?

Does anyone remember? -Ed

UPDATE (1st April 2018):

Ian Murfitt has pointed out that, though this may be THE Turnover Bridge, it's not actually A turnover bridge.

A 'turnover bridge', or 'roving bridge',  'changeline bridge' or even 'snake bridge' in usual canal parlance means a bridge where the towpath moves from one side of the canal to the other and the bridge is constructed in such a way that the boat horse can follow the towpath across the bridge without the hauling line having to be detached.


If you hold the copyright on this photo please let us know

This photo illustrates how the principle works: you can see how the horse could walk up the ramp on the right, cross the bridge and then walk down the ramp on the left without the tow-line ever having to be removed.

There are several 'turnover bridges' not far away on the Macclesfield Canal.

In other areas the problem was solved by splitting the bridge into two, leaving a narrow gap which the tow-rope could be passed through.

None of which has anything to do with Tetton Bridge. Although the road switches from one side to the other, the towpath doesn't.

So in this case the name 'Turnover Bridge' appears to be simply a local one denoting the place where the road crosses over to the other side of the canal.

Many thanks to Ian Murfitt.

UPDATE (7th April 2020)

Canal & River Trust volunteer Bob Shoosmith writes:
A very awkward bridge to negotiate in a boat due to the change of direction. I have taken many a C&RT "Tug" (a misnomer, as it pushes, not pulls) through there, and as they are fairly tall, it takes some careful negotiation at very low speed to avoid scraping the walls. You can see that some have also had difficulty when looking at the picture from the Sandbach side, and the very neat right angled chunk out of the brickwork on the right side of the arch.

Photo: Bob Shoosmith

For those who are not aware what they look like, this is a Tug & Hopper we brought down the T&M a couple of years ago. The tug is 30' and the hopper 40', so a total of 70' which is pretty much as long as you can fit into a lock, and definitely something to be carefully negotiated under Tetton Bridge.

Many thanks to Bob for this 'insider' knowledge - Ed.





First published 22nd June 2012.
Updated and re-published 1st April 2018
Updated and re-published 7th April 2020

7th APRIL 2020









Monday, 6 April 2020

SEVENTEEN MILES VIEW by GLEN LEIGH

Photo by Glen Leigh Photography
Sometimes a photograph is so striking that it just begs to be made into one of our Middlewich Diary mastheads. Such was the case with this astonishing image by Glen Leigh, who has contributed some excellent shots to us in the past, including some of passenger trains making their sedate way through the town.
Seventeen Miles View (a title taken from Glen's caption when he posted it on Facebook) is a stunning view across half of the Cheshire plain, taking in Middlewich church tower, the spire of St Wilfred's church in Davenham and, way out on the horizon, seventeen miles away, the imposing (even at this distance) bulk of the Fiddler's Ferry power station on the edge of the Mersey Estuary.
Glen hasn't told us (yet) where he was standing when he took the picture, but, from the angle of the church tower, we're guessing it was on top of the old ICI lime beds in Booth Lane.
There has some surmise as to how this effect was obtained. Is the image, perhaps, a compilation of two or three photos skilfully knitted together? Or is it, even more remarkably, just one single shot, taking in all those miles?
Glen lets us in on the secret:

To satisfy your curiosity guys this is just one photo, taken with an extremely long lens. The reason that far off distant objects appear close is due to lens compression (flattens perspective and bunches everthing up) which is the result of using long lenses...the further an object is away, the closer it appears in an image. 
Also the image was taken on the lagoons.....as to the precise location that would be a little more difficult to explain and very hard to see with the naked eye or wide lenses. Thank you for the interest


The photographers among us will be able to appreciate the technical skill involved in taking a photograph like this; the rest of us can only marvel at a composition many would have thought impossible.
An indication of the power of this photo, and the effect it had on us, can be gauged from the fact that from our seeing it on Facebook and  asking Glen for permission to use it, his sending us a high-resolution copy by email and the new masthead appearing took around twenty minutes.
Dave Roberts
Editor
26th March 2014

UPDATE (August 2017)

There was concern over the intervening years between 2014 and 2017 that the Fiddlers Ferry power station might be closed and demolished, making this photograph unrepeatable in the future. It's unlikely that when those massive cooling towers do finally disappear anything on remotely the same scale would be put in their place.
However, it has been announced that the power station will continue in use until at least 2019 to provide cover for the National Grid in the event of an exceptionally hard winter - something which by the law of averages is long overdue.

UPDATE (April 2020)

The power station at Fiddlers Ferry, opened in 1973, finally ceased operations at the end of March 2020. According to Wikipedia the closure dates were as follows:Units 2 and 4 ceased generation on March 7 2020. Unit 3 ceased generation on 18 March 2020 at around 2 pm.

So anyone wanting to repeat Glenn's amazing shot will need to move fast.


First published 27th March 2014
Updated and republished 12th August 2017
Updated and re-published 6th April 2020

Sunday, 5 April 2020

OUR TOWN


'OUR TOWN'

A nostalgic look at Middlewich's salt town days in old photos,
with musical accompaniment by Iris Dement.
A Salt Town Production

Watch it here:



Or watch it on YOUTUBE(recommended)

YouTube Feedback:

Debs Johnson That was lovely!

Patrick Collins That's brilliant, Dave!

Pauline Butler Wow! That was an amazing watch! So many memories of old Middlewich - well done, Dave!

Catherine Wilson Aww...Really enjoyed watching that.

Celia Burt Memories! You can't beat them! Lovely song!

Philip Stephen Appleton Well worth watching...

Sarah Burrows That is brilliant. I really enjoyed it x

Lorraine Yearsley Wonderful! The sun won't set on Middlewich while we have Dave Roberts to keep it alive!

Susan Johnson Brilliant and well done, Dave!

Angela Healey Fab walk down memory lane!

Helen Beardmore Brilliant! Thanks! xx

Chris Thornton I don't come from this town, but I found it very enjoyable.

Barbara Cooper My Auntie Annie used to live in the middle cottage, and I slept over quite a few times with her when I was a little girl. Happy memories!

Gemma Louise Barthorpe Lovely.

Ann Appleton Yes, I can remember parts from when I was little.

Gillian Willox That was great - thank you!

Andrew Bebbington  Thank you!

Nicola Such What a great video. Some fabulous memories of Middlewich xxx

Mark Concar That's great. Well done Dave.

Fiona Boote Well, that's really brought a tear to my eyes. How you forget! I remember watching those chimneys fall. So very well put together, and I loved the song! very well done! x

Elizabeth Moreton Absolutely brilliant! Brought a tear to my eye. So many lovely memories. Thank you, Dave.

Lorraine Yearsley Great photos, great production, but English folk music would have been more to my taste.

Dave Roberts Mine too. But My Town sums up exactly what I had in mind for this video so well that there was no real alternative - at least, not one that I could find.
When I come across a song by an English group which expresses that yearning for the past, that sense of loss, and that intangible feeling that this town, however imperfect it may have been, was, at least Our Town; when I find a song that can recapture that lost (and quite possibly illusory) feeling of 'belonging' to a town half so well as Iris Dement's song does, I'll remake the video with an alternative soundtrack. Until then, though, I don't think this can be bettered.

Lorraine Yearsley Still a lovely memoir of Middlewich. Thanks!


Originally published 23rd August 2015
Re-published (with additional feedback) 23rd August 2016
Re-published 5th April 2020

Editor's note:

This was originally published in 2015, apropos of nothing in particular.

During the Covid-19 crisis in 2020 we felt it was appropriate to re-publish it along with the following Facebook message:

At times like these we want to feel close to home, and to cherish the familiar and the commonplace. And that, believe you me, is all this humble video is about.The last time we published this homage to our own little town's past we were astonished to receive a very grumpy message from someone who said he 'didn't agree with the sentiments'. There's nothing to agree with or disagree with. All we're doing is remembering how Middlewich used to be, within living memory for many of us. If you're a long standing Middlewicher (or Middlewichian, if you're posh) we hope you'll once again enjoy this trip into our past. if you're a relative newcomer, we hope you'll gain a little insight into just why some of us find the place so fascinating. Take care, everyone. - Ed.




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