Saturday, 8 June 2019

MURGATROYD'S BRINE PUMPS - The last of their kind

Thanks to Crane Direct and our contractor Quadriga, the 1889 gantry has been successfully lifted out to be restored at B & R Fabrications. Made possible by our main funders Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the  Association for Industrial Archaeology

Footage can be seen at

The footage had to be recorded portrait instead of landscape because of the height of the gantry. Because Youtube does not permit rotation of uploads it is best watched on VCL Media.

For more information, or to contact the Trust, please email

Monday, 27 May 2019

MURGATROYD'S BRINE PUMPS - The last of their kind

Scaffold now erected, inside and out, so that the gantry can be lifted out and taken off-site for restoration

For more information, or to contact the Trust, please email

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

MURGATROYD'S BRINE PUMPS - The last of their kind

Moreton's Contractors have now indstalled drainage, levelled the area surrounding the brine pump house and constructed a footpath.

We are now ready for contractors to erect scaffolding and to remove the gantry for renovation.

While the gantry is off-site the contractors can carry out the necessary work on the gantry foundations and the head of the shaft and volunteers can begin to work on the equipment within the building.

For more information, or to contact the Trust, please email

Saturday, 27 April 2019

MURGATROYD'S BRINE PUMPS - The last of their kind

Phase 2 site clearance

Volunteers at Murgatroyd's clearing overhanging trees and vegetation the area South/East of the pump building. Lots of dead trees, low branches, and saplings to take out; the area is already looking more spacious!

Drainage can now be installed, the area around the building levelled, and a pathway constructed. The spoil will be re-distributed as a start on forming an area which will be used for habitat studies..

May will see the gantry (1889) being removed for conservation, the well head timbers replaced and the pumps begin their restoration.

If you would like to be involved with this project, please email

Friday, 2 November 2018

National Lottery support for Middlewich and the Great War Centenary

Middlewich Heritage Trust has received a National Lottery grant of £9,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War: then and now programme for a project - ‘Middlewich and the Great War Centenary’.

After community consultations the Trust decided to run a series of events and learning opportunities that best shared our heritage and new understanding of the Great War. The project will focus on

  • learning opportunities for schools and our community, 
  • a reprint of the Roll of Honour, 
  • development of a town trail,
  • development of web pages for the Trust's web site, and
  • development of a remembrance garden.

For Remembrance Day the Middlewich Roll of Honour, a document produced by the Urban District Council that listed serving personnel, their achievements and the fallen, will be reprinted. New research showed that the list was not complete; this has now been cross-referenced and re-typed. This research led to the unveiling of the 14 additional names the town's war memorial.

We will produce a trail leaflet to tell the story of Middlewich during the war, sharing families' memories and research, and using photographs and documents which have been acquired.

School groups are encouraged to contribute some art and written work for the project; this in turn helps teachers and pupils to learn more about Middlewich history through the stories of people involved and actions at particular key locations. The Trust has teamed up with the Royal British Legion, Middlewich Branch and is busy delivering school sessions leading up to Remembrance Sunday.

We will also be designing webpages with maps, documentation and images sharing the journey of our researchers as they uncovered the stories of WWI in Middlewich.

Finally our aim is to produce a permanent remembrance garden at the ICI Brooks Lane memorial with an opening event in July 2019, the centenary of the UK-wide peace celebrations. Local people and schools will work together with a designer to produce a garden design that reflects our Great War story.

Commenting on the award, Kerry Kirwan, Heritage Development Officer said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players; it means so much to have the opportunity to commemorate such a traumatic period in our town’s history. We owe so much to these people, even one hundred years on. Through this project we connect our modern-day community to the various local stories and events of the past that not only shaped our town but the country as a whole.”

For more information, or to contact the Trust, please email

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Murgatroyd’s Brine Pumps receives funding support

 Middlewich Heritage Trust has received funding support from Historic England of £163,000, the Association for Industrial Archaeology of £17,000 and thanks to National Lottery Players, the Heritage Lottery Fund of £52,000 for the Restoration of Murgatroyd’s Brine Pumps.

Other funding support has also been granted through Middlewich Town Council and Middlewich Heritage Society as well as donations from the public to the Middlewich Heritage Trust bringing the total funding to £238,000

Murgatroyd's Brine Pumps are a scheduled monument on an historic Middlewich industrial site, and are the only intact pumps left in Britain that are located over an original hand-dug shaft. The site has historical significance as one of the last remains of Cheshire's large Salt Industry. It is significant locally as the shaft was responsible for the first 'find' of rock salt in Middlewich. It also tapped in to the brine stream that fed the town for 2,000 years. The site is currently on Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ Register.

Thanks to support from the funders, the essential repairs will include:

  • Removal and restoration of the timber gantry
  • Stabilisation of the well head, shaft and associated timber and fittings
  • Removal of the pump buckets and rods within the shaft, salvaging what remains of the pump buckets and rebalancing the pumps to a safe position
  • Rebalance the pump beams; securing one in a safe position and modifying the drive of the other to   enable it to rotate slowly.
  • Recovering the submersible pump and conserving it for exhibition within the pump house.
Community restoration project

Overall the site has great historical value. Middlewich Heritage Trust’s aim is not only to restore but also to develop the site allowing volunteers, students and apprentices to work alongside professionals in the process. The end result will be a heritage site that the wider public can visit to learn about its significance to the history of Middlewich and Cheshire. This creates a community restoration project which will see an 'at risk' industrial building turned into a usable educational and visitor resource, creating opportunities for volunteers to learn new skills.

We also have a comprehensive technical and social archive of the site and its workforce from 1890 to 1977 which volunteers will help to make accessible to the wider public by digitising the records and creating a dedicated website.

Commenting on the award, Kerry Kirwan Heritage Development Officer said: “We’re delighted that we have received this support, thanks to our grant funders, National Lottery players and the general public. Murgatroyd’s brine pumps are a unique and important heritage resource, it’s great to know that we have a chance to preserve them and turn the site into a useable resource that creates opportunities for learning”

Charles Smith, Principal Heritage at Risk Advisor at Historic England said: “We’re pleased to have offered a grant of £162,750 towards the repair of this important part of Cheshire’s salt heritage. The brine pumps used to be one of the largest employers in Middlewich, and we’re excited about Middlewich Heritage Trust’s plans to get people involved with the site once again, sharing skills and working with volunteers”.

Middlewich Heritage Trust

The Trust’s purpose is the preservation and promotion of the heritage of Middlewich (including buildings, artefacts and archives) as a resource for the benefit of the residents of Cheshire East and of the wider public.

Historic England

We are the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England's spectacular historic environment.

We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we've come from as a nation.

We care passionately about the stories they tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife.

The Association for Industrial Archaeology

Britain was the first industrial nation and for the last three centuries industry has had a major influence on the society, environment and landscape in which we live; it shaped the country and its remains provide a link with the past that can also serve the future. The AIA is the national organisation for people who share an interest in Britain’s industrial past. It brings together groups and individuals with an interest and expertise in identifying, recording, preserving and presenting the remains of the industrial past.

For further information, images and interviews please contact:
Kerry Kirwan, Heritage Development Officer, Middlewich Heritage Trust: 01606 833434.:
If you would like to be involved with this project, please email

Saturday, 28 July 2018


The interpretation boards are being installed at Harbutt's Field and around the Town.

If you would like more information about this project, or about Middlewich Heritage Trust, please email