|Northwich : 1892|
|By 1892, Northwich District comprised Northwich (town), Witton-cum-Twambrooks, Castle-Northwich, and parts of Hartford, Winnington, and Leftwich. 'The ancient parochial chapelry of Witton comprises the townships of Witton-cum-Twambrooks, Northwich, Castle-Northwich, and Winnington.'|
|There is a 'moderate' inland trade, but an 'immense' export trade, from the salt works and rock salt mines.
'White salt' is shipped to America, its chief market, and also to the East Indies; rock salt, principally to Belgium and Prussia. The average quantity of white and rock salt exported annually from this locality and Winsford, about 6 miles distant, in 1892, is about 1,750,000 tons.
Manchester Guardian Report concerning salt-trade, and other chemical import/exports through Liverpool. 29th April 1856. (Detailed report in .gif format: takes a while to download).
'The town streets are narrow and irregularly built and many of the houses of considerable antiquity'; & 'owing to the immense excavations occasioned by the constant pumping of brine at a depth of 35 to 40 yards', consequential subsidence by now required that 'many of the houses have to be screwed and bolted together to keep them secure' and that 'a portion of the High Street,which from this cause has sunk below the level of the Weaver (river), was in 1892 raised 6 feet.'
|The Brunner Free Public Library and Museum was presented to the town in 1887 by John T Brunner esq., MP. JP.
The library contains about 7,000 volumes and is well supplied with newspapers and periodicals, and in the museum there are some valuable and interesting specimens of rock salt.
The Town Hall, in Crown Street, is not now used, owing to the subsidence of the site.
The Victoria Club, in John Street, originally a chapel, was opened 28th July, 1877.
The Gladstone Club in Witton Street, opened in 1887, and the Constitutional Club, also in Witton Street, opened in 1888.
Here are the headquarters of the D Company, 3rd Volunteer Cheshire Regiment, consisiting of about 100 members, commanded by Captain J A Saner. The headquarters of the battalion are at Knutsford.
The Drill-Hall in Leftwich, erected in 1867, holding about 500 people, is a spacious edifice of brick and is let for concerts and lectures.
The Market House, between Market Street and Apple Market Street, and erected in 1843, is a large and commodious edifice of brick; the market, held on Friday, is for corn, butter, butchers' meat, vegetables and other commodities, and is well attended, but corn is chiefly sold from sample, at the "Crown and Anchor". Fairs are held on April the 10th and August the 2nd.
Two weekly newspapers are published here, called the "Northwich Guardian" and the "Northwich Chronicle".
There are several iron foundries, and a brewery, in Witton; and in Castle-Northwich, three dockyards, for flat and boat building. Brick and tile-making are carried on, but the inhabitants of Northwich and vicinity are chiefly employed, in the chemical and salt works, rock salt mines, and also in the dockyards, in which flat-bottomed boats of a peculiar construction are built, for the conveyance of salt.
In the neighbourhood of Northwich are numerous salt works and rock salt mines, from which there is an immense export trade, and a moderate inland trade is also carried on; the white salt is shipped to America, its chief market, and also to the East Indies: rock salt is principally shipped to Belgium and Prussia; the average quantity of white and rock salt exported annually from this locality and Winsford, about 6 miles distant is now (1892) about 1,750,000 tons.
Rock salt, it is stated, was first discovered accidentally, near Marbury, in 1670
[Ed: the 'top beds' and brines were being used long before that date]
..in a search then being made for coal. The pits now in operation are situated in the townships of Anderton, Winnington, Wincham and Marston, adjoining Northwich, and belong to the Salt Union Limited. There are two beds of rock salt, an upper and a lower, both of which lie horizontally: the upper bed, about 25 yards in thickness, is found about 50 yards from the surface: underlying is a stratum 10 yards deep of very hard marlstone, immediately beneath which lies the lower bed of rock salt, which is about 30 yards thick; the rock salt is drawn up in large tubs, containing about half a ton each, its appearance resembling that of smokey quartz, and it is often mixed with clay, or colored dark yellow or brown, or coral red, but is sometimes met with of a pure white, as pellucid as the purest glass, and possessing a lustre whiter than most of crystal; this sort, however, is found only in very small quantities, specimens of which are generally kept for the inspection of visitors.
The Marston Rock Mine is about 129 yards in depth, and contains an excavated area of about 35 acres: the roof is supported by prodigious pillars of rock, 30 feet in diameter, 16 feet high, and about 50 feet apart. In June, 1844, this mine was visited by the Emperor Nicholas of Russia, during his stay in this country, and in 1854, the proprietors entertained eighty members of the British Association to a splendid banquet, held at the bottom of the mine, the principal parts of which where brilliantly illuminated for the occasion.
[According to an account published for 1838, (see: 'The Crystal Ballroom') 'The Grand Duke Michael, of Russia' visited the mine 'a short time ago', and also, according to that writer (Osborne), the British Association had visited of 'late'.]