Held on the traditional Middlewich Wakes Week! 10th – 13th October
New School Sessions Available! How was salt made? Telling the stories of a roman salt maker, a gentleman making his fortune in Victorian England and a boatman/boating family about how they transported the salt. (Thursday 10th & Friday 11th)
· Wych and Water’ Salt Tour of Middlewich for any class groups who want to explore the connections between the town of Middlewich, salt-making and the salt routes used to transport it.
Can do the traditional tour or the new ‘A Cheshire Salt Town’! Allow 2 hours
· Talk and handling sessions for schools; the talk is a story broken up into three parts combining Roman Salt Making, the Victorian and Edwardian era as seen by Mr Seddon the ‘King of Salt’ and the Boatman’s story. Handling items are brought in with each story. Would need a place to set up for a screen and projector to do power point, access to power for computer and CD player and space for handling objects.
· How is Salt made? A simple experiment to show how salt is made from Rock Salt and what rock salt looks like. This can be accompanied by film showings of Murgatroyd’s and Seddon’s works.
Would need an area to work in where children can see what’s happening without being too close to the equipment. Access to power point required for computer, projector and screen.
Archaeological talk on the Roman Salt Industry – Ian Miller BA FSA, Senior Project Manager from Oxford Archaeology North is our guest Speaker (Thursday 10th)
‘Salt Production in Salinae: Latest Excavations in Roman Middlewich’
Venue: Wych Centre, Middlewich
Timings: 7.30pm start, doors open at 6.30pm, Tickets: £2 on the door. Refreshments available.
From the initial archaeology, Ian Miller summarised the findings from Jersey Way for the Heritage website:
The main thrust of Roman activity on the site is salt-working, and the excavation has allowed several timber-lined wells (or probably brine springs), a brine storage tank and a boiling hearth to be recorded. In addition, we have plenty of fragments of briquetage, which almost certainly represents the vessels in which the brine was stored after boiling. A large sheet of folded lead that had been put into the brine well before it was backfilled could be part of a Roman salt pan.
It looks like this industrial activity started in the latter years of the first century, with salt production continuing until the middle of the second century. We did find a coin at the bottom of one of the brine wells, which is an issue of Trajan. However, looking at the wear of the coin, we think that it was probably dropped into the well in c 140-160 AD, immediately before the well was backfilled and abandoned.
At the southern end of the site were the shallow foundations for a timber building. The purpose of this building is open to interpretation, although it could perhaps have served as a warehouse for the salt, and also as a home for the salt workers. A lot of pottery was found in this part of the site, suggesting that it had been a focus for domestic activity. The remains of metalling were exposed by the timber building, representing a road surface that would have connected to the main Roman road.
All objects and data are currently being analysed and recorded, this process can take up to a year to complete. We are delighted that Ian Miller is able to come along and give us the first exclusive on the full results of the data and to show us the key pieces of evidence that identified this site as industrial.
Band Night at the White Bear! (Friday 11th October)
Original folk songs written by Dave Thompson and Andy Roscoe ‘Just Dandy’ especially around life on the canal and salt traditions of the Town. Brilliant and unique Music to get you in a nostalgic and singing mood! One-off performance not to be missed!
Includes songs written for the Tales of Wych and Water CD: – ‘Born a Tinker’, ‘Wooden Boats & Iron Men’ and ‘Seddon’s Salt’.
Details: Free entry, just come along and enjoy. Music starts around 8.30pm
An exciting opportunity to see modern day salt-making, with a specially arranged Tour at British Salt. (Saturday 12th October)
Middlewich has been producing Salt for over 2,000 years at least; we are proud that this tradition is still going strong. British Salt is owned by Tata Chemicals and is the leading UK producer of vacuum salt. The plant at Cledford has the capability to produce in excess of 800,000 tonnes annually.
“Salt – it touches all our lives. From food production and water treatment to animal feeds and keeping the roads safe in winter, in one way or another salt is a vital daily commodity. British Salt is the UK’s leading manufacturer of pure dried vacuum salt products. With a reputation for quality of products, service and reliability of supply British Salt plays a crucial role in keeping British industry moving.”
Launch of a new Tour that looks at the salt areas and Salt Routes of the town.
‘A Cheshire Salt Town’ (Sunday 13th 10am – 12 noon)
Meet at Victoria Building, Middlewich.
Special tour developed for this event, to tell the story of salt in ‘Middlewich through the ages’ from what we now know about Roman, Medieval and Industrial Revolution Periods. Learn about the settlement of Middlewich and its part in history with regards to salt-working, trading & supply network, waterways and industrial excellence.
Tour route starts at Victoria Building on Lewin Street, walking down Wych House Lane, a stretch of the Trent and Mersey Canal, Middlewich Town Wharf, King Street, Harbutt’s Field, Croxton and St Michael and All Angels.
Steady walk for all abilities, stopping at noteworthy sites, allow 2 hours.
For up to date information on the above event keep an eye on our website.