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

Tuesday, 24 July 2018


The new path tracing the outline of the fort and the main internal roads is now complete.

Gates which enable wheelchair users to access the site have been installed.

The next step will be installation of new interpretation panels here and at various places in the Town

Watch this space!

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

Friday, 29 June 2018


Work has started on the War Memorial in the Bullring at Middlewich.  The work, being undertaken by Maysand Ltd, a team of skilled and experienced stonemasons. will clean the memorial and will upgrade previous repairs.

When the cleaning and renovation is complete, the names of the following men who died as a result of their service in the First World War will be added:

BROOKS . W . W . O
HATTON . R . T .
KIRK . J . H .

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


Work has started at the site of the fort at Harbutt's Field. The outline of the fort can be seen in the geophysical image (right - click on image to enlarge).

The work will create a better footpath (see right, below) that marks out the Roman Fort in the landscape so that people can see the scale of the site. The gates at Kings Street will be replaced to create a better entrance for people to access the field and the interpretation boards will be replaced with updated panels.

Each board will have a QR code so that people with smart phones can watch the roman fort film and listen to the narrative whilst walking the streets!

The project is being delivered by a partnership between Middlewich Town Council, Middlewich Heritage Trust, Cheshire East Council and Groundwork as part of the Saltscape Project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A team of metal detectorists, led by Colin Sharratt, is checking the spoil for finds that may be unearthed.

New leaflets and new webpages will be produced over the next few months  Thanks are due to everyone who was involved in the Roman Consultation last September for your views which have been incorporated in this scheme.

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