Wednesday, 1 November 2017

MURGATROYD'S BRINE PUMPS - The last of their kind

Trial of a Submersible Camera in the Brine Shaft 

The Trust will be carrying out a photographic survey of the Murgatroyd Brine Shaft using a submersible camera mounted on a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). A trial was carried out on 26th Oct to assess the clarity of the brine, and the quality of pictures which might be obtained.

For the trial, a camera and light were mounted on a hand-held pole lowered into the shaft. The pole was in sections, allowing the camera to be lowered to an approximate depth of 12m from the pump room floor.

There was a surprising quantity of suspended material and all objects in the shaft were covered with an accumulation of silt. Because of the long pole, it was not possible to accurately control the camera position, which accounts for the odd angle of some of the photos. Had the camera been mounted on an ROV, its position could have been more accurately controlled.

However, visibility was adequate to locate and observe items in the shaft. Any silt disturbed cleared quickly, allowing closeup views to be obtained. 

The trial lasted approximately one hour, during which several interesting objects were located and examined. A video record was made of the trial, from which a number of stills were taken - one of which is shown here..

The quality and clarity of the original video is better than the quality of the stills, and it is considered that a survey using an ROV would give sufficient information to assess the condition of the shaft and rising mains.


Sunday, 16 July 2017

MURGATROYD'S BRINE PUMPS - The last of their kind

A sonar survey was carried out in March 2017.

This showed, amongst other things, that the lower, narrower shaft is not centrally placed but is to one side of the upper, wider shaft.

The upper shaft appears to be in good condition but the lower shaft has had a fall of material from the north-east side which has filled the lower portion of the shaft and is probably the reason why some of the pump risers appear to have fallen down the shaft.

The Trust is now in the process of organising a camera survey of the shaft to determine the work that will be needed in phase 2 of the restoration, if any, to stablise the shaft.

A more comprehensive report is available here

For the history and details of the shaft please see here.

Saturday, 6 May 2017


St Michael’s Church Venables Screens project wins National Lottery support
St Michael and All Angels Church in Middlewich, with the help of Middlewich Heritage Trust, has received £7,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting Venables Screen conservation project. This project is part of Phase 2 of the Church’s Restoration Project, Phase 1 of which is currently underway.

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project focuses on two oak screens painted with heraldic shields dating back to the 13th Century. These rare survivors were commissioned by the Baron of Kinderton in 1632 and 1633 and were painted by William Smith supervised by William Dugdale, Norroy King of Arms. 

The screens were removed from the Barons chapel in 1850 and placed in the Bell tower, where you’ll find them today, in quite poor condition. These unique screens are important, not only for genealogy and heraldry, but also local history and the story of the Norman ‘barony’ in Cheshire; as such they have a highly significant value to Middlewich.

This HLF funded project will produce a Conservation Management Plan which is required before any restoration work on the screens is undertaken. It provides an opportunity for local people to discover the origins of the Venables, exploring their family connections whilst learning about the conservation of historic objects and the preservation of the screens and their history. The plan will also determine their eventual siting in the church after restoration.

Middlewich Heritage Trust, on behalf of St Michael’s Church will work with volunteers to help them to learn about conservation techniques and to develop research, recording and communication skills; contributing to the Conservation Management Plan.

We are looking for volunteers to Work with professionals to gain a deeper insight into this previously under-researched part of the Town's history, and to pass that learning onto others.

Interested?  email


Friday, 24 February 2017

MURGATROYD'S BRINE PUMPS - The last of their kind

We are now preparing for Phase 2 of the restoration and have just received the results of a timber survey of the gantry legs which shows the work that will need to be carried out to restore the gantry

An ultrasound survey of the brine shaft is scheduled for mid March, after which we will have the necessary information to prepare a bid for the works that will need to be completed. 

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