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

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

MURGATROYD'S BRINE PUMPS - The last of their kind

Heritage Open Days - 10 & 11 September 2016

The open day events were well attended with approximately 120 persons attending the guided walks and/or visiting the brine pumps site.

Thank you to all who attended and to the volunteers who helped on the day. If you would like to visit the site or take part on a tour on an individual or group basis please contact us via the email at the foot of this page

Thursday, 28 July 2016

MURGATROYD'S BRINE PUMPS - The last of their kind

Middlewich Heritage Trust is preparing to open the Murgatroyd’s Brine Pump site for this year’s Heritage Open Days in September. This National event enables us to take part in a network of UK events designed to inspire and offer something unusual for people to visit. We certainly have that; the last time the public were allowed on the Brine Pumps site was back in 1977!

The emergency phase 1 repairs project was completed earlier this year and the Trust has been working with Cheshire East Council to secure a lease for the Trust to move  forward    with a full restoration project.

For now the site has been stabilised and made safe, thanks to a grant from Historic England, with whom we continue to work.

September is about discovery. The aims are to lead a guided walk for those who want to learn about Middlewich’s 2,000 years of salt history. It will be a step back in time to look at the contribution of salt production to the town's evolution from the iron age via the Roman and Medieval phases to the 19th century, using the Brine Pumps as our final destination and to the present. The Pump house will be open and visitors will be able to see the work that has been seen, the remaining work and see a selection of the archives. The George Twigg Archive is based on Murgatroyd’s but also connects Middlewich with other salt products/producers and markets in the UK. The collection comprises pictures, books, objects, film, audio recordings and maps.

Entry to the pump site will be free and booking will not be necessary but persons who want to attend the guided tours will need to book in advance as numbers are restricted on each tour.

The site will be open on Saturday 10th September and Sunday 11th September, 1pm – 4pm on both days. Tours will start at the Victoria Building on Lewin Street at 1pm on both days, finishing at the Brine Pump in just under 2 hours

Parking for the pump site only on  is at Middlewich Community Church Car Park on Brooks Lane CW10 0JG.

Contact for the events: Kerry Fletcher 01606 833434