History booklet series launch

Museum booklets

A new series of booklets investigating aspects of local history is to be launched on Saturday 5 March to coincide with the first in our series of Spring Talks. The booklets have been created by Nantwich Museum’s volunteer Research Group, and the first four titles cover a broad range of topics:

A Day at the Races – Nantwich Racecourse by Keith Lawrence

Mapping and Listing Nantwich by Keith Lawrence

The Story of Nantwich Brine by Graham Dodd

Reverend Andrew Fuller Chater by Graham Dodd

The range of titles will continue to grow, and will form a valuable record of the Research Group’s ongoing work. Booklets are available to purchase in Nantwich Museum shop at £2.95 each.

Museum Recalls Battle

Over 600 people visited Nantwich Museum on Saturday 23 January during the recent Holly Holy Day commemoration of the seventeenth century Battle of Nantwich. As well as having the opportunity to view the permanent exhibitions they were able to enjoy town tours, a musketry demonstration by members of the Sealed Knot, a concert with dancing by period music group Forlorne Hope and various activities for children.

Forlorne Hope musicians. Photograph by Paul Topham.
Forlorne Hope musicians. Photograph by Paul Topham.

“A View to a Battle”, the latest exhibition in the Your Space Gallery, was also open and is now entering its final week closing on Saturday 6 February. It recalls the time of the Battle of Nantwich outlining what life in the town was like in the seventeenth century and through art with particular attention to various stained glass windows especially those from this locality. Visitors to the exhibition still have the opportunity to elect to be a Royalist or Parliamentarian.

Interest in the English Civil War does not end here and the museum’s Research Group is busy preparing for “Nantwich Besieged 1642-1646”, a major summer exhibition concerned with the local events of the Civil War and exploring further what life was like within the garrisoned town. The siege was ultimately lifted by the Battle of Nantwich. As usual the exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events beginning on Friday 29 July with a Talk & Walk centred on the site of the battle led by Julian Humphrys of the Battlefields Trust – booking details will be published on the website nearer the time.

Local History Book Launched at Nantwich Museum

A new local history book has been launched at Nantwich Museum. In 1883 the historian James Hall referred to the cholera outbreak in Nantwich: ” – – as the greatest crisis in the history of the town in modern times; for since the cholera visitation a spirit of improvement and progress have been infused into the inhabitants which cannot be traced in times prior to that event.” This was the premise for a new book “Cholera in Nineteenth Century Nantwich” by Keith Lawrence and Graham Dodd. The authors, who have donated the first print of the book to the museum, would like to see it as a memorial to that major event.

Left to right: Museum Chairman Nick Dyer, author Graham Dodd, Museum Manager Denise Courcoux and author Keith Lawrence. Photograph by Paul Topham.
Left to right: Museum Chairman Nick Dyer, author Graham Dodd, Museum Manager Denise Courcoux and author Keith Lawrence.
Photograph by Paul Topham.

The 118 page book details how the disease was understood at the time of the outbreak in 1849 and describes life in the town in the early nineteenth century. The epidemic came at a time of increasing concern for public hygiene in towns and increasing scepticism of the existing theories of disease. In Nantwich Rector Andrew Fuller Chater took the lead in dealing with the epidemic. In particular he petitioned for the establishment of a local Board of Health thus establishing the first representative local government in the town.

The book is on sale in the museum shop price £9.99 and is essential reading for those interested in nineteenth century history relating to the locality, the epidemiology of disease and Andrew Fuller Chater’s story.

Field trip to the Wych Brook Valley

Members of the museum’s Research Group recently visited the Wych Brook Valley, between Higher and Lower Wych, as part of their studies of the English Civil War.

On 28 August 1643 Parliamentary forces from Nantwich and Cholmondeley attacked and destroyed the salt workings in the valley, bringing the salt pans back to Nantwich. This denied the King’s forces in the area access to salt.

Evidence was found of two brine pits. One would have been pumped by a water wheel. The second pit was about 15′ in diameter and was overflowing into the brook (on right of picture). It may have been pumped with a horse gin.

The Research Group meets at the museum on most Friday mornings. New members are always welcome – please call in or contact the museum for further information.

Nantwich Museum research group members at Wych Brook Valley
Nantwich Museum Research Group members at Wych Brook Valley