Can You Help Us?

The Museum has a collection of whitesmith’s tools, used for forging objects out of tin, pewter and other light metals. Tin ware was being produced from early in the seventeenth century and in Cheshire there were whitesmiths/tinsmiths in Crewe, Weaverham and doubtless elsewhere. Between 1835 and 1883 there were up to six braziers, tinplate workers and whitesmiths working in Nantwich. They would have made a variety of everyday objects including cutlery, candle holders and water pitchers.

Unfortunately, the Museum has no record of who donated the tools or where they were used and is seeking any information about them, local families or businesses who were involved in the trade.

Anyone with information is requested to contact: Nantwich Museum on education@nantwichmuseum.org.uk or telephone 01270 627104

 

 

Great British Railway Journeys visit Nantwich

On Wednesday 17th January 2018, at 18:30 on BBC TWO, Michael Portillo visited Nantwich – as part of the Great British Railways Journeys television series.

The current series (Series 9) is set in the Edwardian period and Michael’s visit to Nantwich will see him look at the history of the Brine Baths Hotel.  Bill Pearson, a volunteer at Nantwich Museum, talks to him about Nantwich salt and tells  him about treatments at the Brine Baths hotel.

Before becoming a hotel, the building was Shrewbridge Hall, where the famous Nantwich cricketer A. N. Hornby (also known as Monkey Hornby) learned to play cricket. Monkey Hornby was one of only two people to captain the country at both rugby and cricket. He is remembered as the England cricket captain whose side lost the Test match – which gave rise to the Ashes, at home against the Australians in 1882.

The hotel was a major centre for society events, and hosted major events like the Cheshire Agricultural Show, hunt balls, and meetings of newly formed motoring clubs.

The Brine Baths Hotel also specialised in treating patients in its “well-appointed suite of brine and medicinal baths”. The hotel claimed “the strongest saline baths in the world” and were said to help gout, sciatica and rheumatism amongst other ailments. The brine was so strong that patients had to be strapped in the brine to avoid them floating! During treatments chemicals were added and the brine would fizz.

Visitors for the brine treatments included football clubs, such as Stoke City. The hotel had a resident nurse – called Nurse Coffin! In Nantwich Museum’s archives, reports were found of a gentleman who arrived at the hotel in a wheelchair, but was able to walk out of the hotel after treatment.

The hotel closed in 1947 and became a convalescent home for miners a year later. It closed after four years and was put up for sale. When no buyer could be found, it was demolished in 1959.

Michael Portillo was given a guided tour through Nantwich, including a visit to the Old Biot. Michael also visited Nantwich Swimming Pool & Fitness Centre, where he swims in Nantwich brine in the outdoor pool as well as interview bathers and staff at the pool.

Nantwich Museum has booklets on Nantwich Railways, The Story of Nantwich Brine and A. N. Hornby.  More information about the Brine Baths Hotel can be found on the museum’s web site, which provides information on some of the historic buildings (past and present) in Nantwich.

Siege & Battle of Nantwich Exhibition Now Open

Events leading to the Battle of Nantwich in January 1644 are the subject of a new exhibition in the Your Space Gallery at Nantwich Museum entitled: The Siege & Battle of Nantwich. Running from Tuesday 9 January until Saturday 24 February the exhibition explores how the siege of the town by Royalist soldiers developed in 1643 leading to the battle which took place on 25 January 1644. Visitors will be able to view various armaments and elements of uniforms which featured in the event.

Festive Cheer at the Museum

Visitors and volunteers recently enjoyed a concert of Christmas music led by the Wistaston Singers. The drop-in, sing-a-long concert has become a regular Christmas fixture at the museum and, despite the inclement weather the Millennium Gallery was full of visitors eager to join in the festive spirit. Refreshments were served after the concert providing everyone with the opportunity to meet.

The Wistaston Singers are a community choir with a wide ranging repertoire including music from the theatre, chorale and pop. They give several concerts a year in support of charities.

Cheese Room opens after revamp

Thanks to a generous grant from Nantwich estate agents Baker Wynne & Wilson, the Cheese Room at Nantwich Museum has been redecorated and redesigned. A team of volunteers, led by Museum Manager Kate Dobson, cleaned and repainted the room and researched and designed new display boards plus labels for a wide range of artefacts. Kate praised their work commenting “the project was only made possible as a result of the hard work and dedication of a group of volunteers”.

Mr and Mrs Mouse and their family help to guide visitors through the information panels, which describe the history of local cheesemaking. A timeline identifies when at one time the Navy only used Cheshire cheese, the first dairy school was established and the first annual cheese show in Nantwich took place which went on to become the most important cheese show in the country.

The secrets of making Cheshire cheese are revealed through the displays and a film illustrating the supply of milk from Higher Farm, Byley to local cheese maker Joseph Heler Ltd.

A wide range of artefacts brings the display to life and includes a milk cooler, churns, cheese vat, curd mill and cheese press. Of particular note, and in pride of place, is the magnificent silver Dutton Cup presented in 1895 to farmer John Dutton by the Cheshire Dairy Farmers Association at Nantwich Dairy Show.

Throughout the exhibition the Mouse family members pose questions about cheesemaking and the exhibits, whilst visitors can also test their knowledge of cow breeds!

Cheese Room Re-opens

The Museum’s Cheese Room has recently undergone a revamp with thanks to funding from the Baker, Wynne and Wilson Community Pledge.

Visitors can find out about buttermaking and cheesemaking within the locality, learn about the cheesemaking process and also the significance of cheesemaking within the town today.

Artefacts include a cheese vat, a variety of butter churns and the Dutton Cup; a prize won by the eminent cheesemaking Dutton family which is a new addition to the room.

Special Membership Offer

Become a Friend of Nantwich Museum and pay no renewal until April 2019. An ideal Christmas Present.

Help to support the work of the Museum by joining the Friends of Nantwich Museum. Membership includes E-mail newsletters, discounts on talks and events, an annual dinner, invitations to exclusive Member events  and an opportunity to vote at the AGM (including the election of trustees who manage the Museum). New members will not be required to renew their subscription until April 2019. Individual membership costs £20 and families £30. Application forms and further details are available from the Museum.