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

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave your comments here. Please note that comments are moderated and, if they are particularly relevant, may be incorporated into the original diary entry.