River Weaver – Science and Art

Healthy and unhealthy Victorians

A series of talks accompanying the 2017 exhibition River Weaver – a meander through time enabled visitors to learn how the historical use of the river as both a source of water and for waste disposal, led eventually to the supply of clean water an efficient sewerage system.

Means of dealing with the primary pollutants of drinking water, colour, taste, odour and turbidity were considered together with the disposal of waste water, in a talk entitled Tap to Toilet and Beyond.

The River Weaver’s Water: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly provided the opportunity to learn about the chemistry of the river, Nantwich Lake and the brine spring at The Willows. Studies conducted by schoolchildren and other visitors indicated where the cleanest water can be found.

Wildlife and Aliens told the life story of the water vole and the challenges faced by wildlife on the Weaver, in particular from predation and habitat destruction. Visitors learnt how a number of “alien species” (invasive plants and animals introduced from other parts of the world) have detrimentally affected the waterway and its biodiversity.

A review of local geology provided the opportunity to consider the creation and wildlife of Wybunbury Moss, one of England’s most unusual National Nature Reserves.

The series concluded with a talk about the renowned artist JMW Turner, who visited Nantwich in 1801 and made a pencil sketch of the river and prominent buildings in the town in the picturesque style.