Middlewich Heritage Trust

The Trust’s purpose is the preservation and promotion of the heritage of Middlewich as a resource for the benefit of the residents of Cheshire and of the wider public.

Regular activities of the Trust include open days, tours, talks and school sessions, involvement in heritage projects and celebrating the salt and canal culture of our town. We produce booklets, leaflets, trail guides and look after two websites: www.middlewich-heritage.org.uk and www.middlewichvirtualmuseum.co.uk

It is the intention of Middlewich Heritage Trust, with funding partners Historic England, Heritage Lottery Fund and Association of Industrial Archaeologists, to restore Murgatroyd’s Brine Pumps site as a heritage, tourism and educational resource for the town.

Murgatroyd’s Brine Pumps are a scheduled monument on an historic Middlewich industrial site which has significance as one of the last remains of Cheshire’s large salt industry. It has local significance as the shaft is the first ‘find’ of rock salt in Middlewich and of the brine stream that had fed the town for 2,000 years.

This project will seek to preserve, repair and restore unique elements of National Importance including the gantry, shaft and pumps by using a combination of professionals, retired engineers and volunteers which will see an ‘at risk’ industrial building turned into a usable educational and visitor resource.

Murgatroyd’s Brine Pumps is the last remaining part of Murgatroyd’s Salt and Chemical Works (1889-2010). They have a story to tell of open pan salt making in Cheshire and the first developments of the new and emerging chemical industry. The pumps are the only complete and in-situ ‘wild brine’ pumps left in the UK with an original hand-dug timber-lined shaft and gantry, both dated 1889. The assets are housed in an early 20th century brick building on a piece of land that is of geological and geographical interest.

Volunteers will be able to get involved in the conservation work on the two rare John Thom pumps from Manchester. Because of their rarity and historical design, the pumps are of great significance to experts.

Overall the site is in poor condition as identified by its ‘heritage at risk’ status. The project is not just built heritage. There is a large Murgatroyd archive covering 19th to the 21st centuries, amounting to over 3,000 documents, maps, drawings, photographs, oral interviews, film, artefacts etc. This archive will be digitised and published on line, where it will make a significant contribution to the national archive for researchers into Britain’s industrial past.

Kerry Kirwan

Heritage Development Officer

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