Saturday 29 January 2022



A link to the Middlewich Virtual Museum featuring thousands of images charting the history of the town from Roman times, through the long years of salt and food manufacture, to the present day. Presented by Middlewich Heritage Trust.


Wednesday 12 January 2022



FOR 2022


External Committee  – 8th February 2022

Internal Committee  – 10th February 2022

Full Council  – 21st February 2022

Meetings start at 7.15pm

Venues to be confirmed

For full and detailed information about our Town Council visit:

Monday 10 January 2022



MTC Heritage Officer Kerry Kirwan writes:

A new year and a new start. Middlewich's new heritage offering, Murgatroyd's Brine Pumps at Brook's Lane, will be open for it's first full year as a restored site and off the heritage at risk register. We are improving the site year by year, this year is no exception and if the funding bids go well, we'll be able to deliver more opportunities to the community. Watch this space...
Our 2022 dates will be circulated from this point forward, the open days are free entry and will remain so. If anyone wishes to book a group tour then please get in contact with me

Saturday 8 January 2022


As promised, here, for the benefit of those who couldn't make it to our first Middlewich Diary Quiz, is the picture round, kindly compiled for us by Cliff Astles from his own photo collection.
Everything here can be found within the environs of Middlewich (although one picture may just be outside the actual Town Council boundary).
To ensure that the  round wasn't too difficult, I asked Cliff not to tell me the answers when he first supplied the pictures, but to let me have a go myself.
Thankfully, I got them all right.

Dave Roberts,

Diary entry first published 26th June 2012

Re-published 8th January 2022

Tuesday 4 January 2022



Photo: Frank Smith/Bill Eaton

by David Roberts,

This is a companion photo to this one, almost certainly taken on the same grey, cold, winter day. This time we're facing in the opposite direction, looking towards the bridge carrying Sutton Lane over the Shropshire Union's Middlewich Branch which wends its way through ten miles of  pleasant Cheshire countryside to Barbridge Junction where it joins the main line of the Shropshire Union.

The Wardle Canal is behind us.

But thoughts of pleasant Cheshire countryside are far from anyone's thoughts as a group of men watch motor boats and buttys attempting to negotiate the thick ice in the canal in what must have been bitterly cold weather.

It isn't clear whether they are canal employees or just bystanders. The dog, though, appears to have lost interest and decided to go for a wander.

The buildings immediately to the left of the bridge are of interest. Like the earlier photo of Wardle Lock, this photo originated with Frank Smith. His description of this one is very short and to the point:

'Shropshire Union Canal, Middlewich. Looking West.

Sutton Wharf. The buildings in the background, to the left of the bridge were originally Washington's Tannery'.

The word 'formerly' is a little ambiguous. It's not clear from Frank's text  whether the buildings were still in use as a tannery at the time of the photo.

Sutton Wharf will have been to the left of the boats in the photo.

Many people will remember these buildings as Sutton Lane Engineering. They were certainly in use as such from the 1960s until the mid-1990s, in latter days erecting a long, low, metal industrial building in the place where the wharf once was.

This, together with the original tannery buildings, was swept away in 1996 when a start was made on building Water's Edge Mews on the site. The last of the houses on the site were built in 2002/3.
Road sign at the junction of Sutton Lane and Water's Edge Mews

Water's Edge Mews, January 2022

The area's industrial past is commemorated in the name of the two cottages which stand at the junction of Sutton Lane and Water's Edge Mews.

Looking rather in need of a little TLC, Tannery Cottages in January 2022
Water's Edge Mews can be seen to the left
Inset: The ornate nameplate in the centre of the two cottages.


A general view of the area from Sutton Lane Bridge in January 2022, with Wardle Lock and its famous cottage centre/centre right


Diary entry first published 4th January 2022

Sunday 2 January 2022



Photo: Frank Smith/Bill Eaton

by David Roberts

Courtesy of Bill Eaton, here's a photo from the collection of the late Frank Smith of Ravenscroft showing the working days of the Wardle Canal, which links the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union to the Trent & Mersey.

These days it's very much a part of the canal network's new role as a part of the leisure industry and sees many boating tourists passing through as they negotiate the 'Cheshire Ring'.

To help you get your modern-day bearings; if Wardle Cottage wasn't there, you'd very likely be able to see the Kings Lock pub (and the Kings Lock itself) at that time dwarfed by the massive ICI limestone crushing machinery and buildings.

Wardle Cottage, to the right of the photo was, of course, the home of 'Auntie' Maureen Shaw.

The Middlewich Diary has a collection of articles and photos of Maureen and her lock. Here are links to a few of them.





Frank's picture, though, shows Wardle lock and its environs in very different times. We've been trying to pinpoint the probable date of this photo and, because of something which Frank says in his own caption, we've been able to narrow it down to some time between 1929 and 1952.

We're wondering if the snow on the ground and the huge amount of ice in the canal, means that the scene pictured could possibly have been captured in 1947, a year which saw a very hard winter indeed and fits comfortably within our time-frame.

Here's Frank's caption, which he helpfully wrote on the back of the original photo:

Shropshire Union Canal, Middlewich

Looking East.

Sutton Wharf, Wardle Lock. The works in the background was ICI (formerly Brunner, Mond & Co). This closed in 1962.
The chimney served the finishing machines which 'roasted' the bicarbonate of soda at high temperature converting it into carbonate of soda.
The cloud of steam on the left of the picture is from the works shunting engine (not visible) named  

We're very fortunate indeed that that little shunting engine chose the very moment that the shutter was pressed to release its steam into the atmosphere, because Frank's sharp eye and encyclopaedic knowledge has enabled us to show you just what that diminutive engine looked like, and something of its history.

Photo: I.R.S. Richmond Collection/Alan Wilkinson

This photo was borrowed from 'Railways Across Mid-Cheshire' by Alan Wilkinson (Foxline Publications. ISBN 1 - 870119-66-5)

Alan writes:

All ICI's Mid-Cheshire works were shunted by diminutive Borrows well tanks, Dalton and Moulton arrived from Kerr Stuart in 1929. Moulton was scrapped in 1957 while Dalton went to Winnington in 1952. Dalton is seen (here) in the mid-thirties. Northwich crews endured many vicissitudes when transferring such 'mini powers' between works over main line tracks!

(Dalton was named after John Dalton, 1766-1844, the chemist, physicist and meteorologist)

Diary entry first published 2nd January 2022