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About Northwich

Northwich 

 is a town and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It lies in the heart of the Cheshire Plain, at the confluence of the rivers Weaver andDane. The town is roughly 18 miles (29 km) east of Chester and 15 miles (24 km) south of Warrington. Northwich has been named as one of the best places to live in the United Kingdom according to the Sunday Times in 2014. The town also made the list in 2013.

The area around Northwich has been exploited for its salt pans sinceRoman times, when the settlement was known as Condate. The town has been severely affected by salt mining with subsidence historically being a large problem. However, recent investment in mine stabilisation is set to change the town with the 'Northwich Vision' being a plan for future development work.

 

 

 

 

Northwich centre.jpg
Northwich's main shopping area
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History

 

 

During Roman times, Northwich was known as Condate, thought to be aLatinisation of a Brittonic name meaning "Confluence". There are several other sites of the same name, mostly in France; in Northwich's case, it lies at the junction of the rivers Dane and Weaver.

Northwich can be identified through two contemporary Roman documents. The first of these is the Antonine Itinerary, a 3rd-century road map split into 14 sections. Two of these sections, or Itinerary, mention Condate: Route II ("the route from theWall to the port of Rutupiae") and Route X ("the route from Glannoventa to Mediolanum"). The second document is the 7th-century Ravenna Cosmography. This document refers to Condate between the entries for Salinae (now Middlewich, Cheshire) and Ratae (now Leicester, Leicestershire), at the time the capital of the Corieltauvi tribe.

The Romans' interest in the Northwich area is thought to be due to the strategic river crossing and the location of the salt brines. Salt was very important in Roman society;the Roman word salarium, linked employment, salt and soldiers, but the exact link is unclear. It is also theorised that this is the basis for the modern word salary. Another theory is that the wordsoldier itself comes from the Latin sal dare (to give salt). See History of salt for further details. There is archaeological evidence of a Roman auxiliary fort within the area of Northwich now known as "Castle" dated to AD 70. This and other North West forts were built as the Romans moved north from their stronghold in Chester.

The association with salt continues in the etymology of Northwich. The "wich" (or wych) suffix applies to other towns in the area - namely Middlewich, Nantwich and Leftwich. This is considered to have been derived from the Norse, "wic", for bay and is associated with the more traditional method of obtaining salt by evaporating sea water. Therefore a place for making salt became a wych-house; and Northwich was the most northern of the Wich towns in Cheshire.

 

 

 

 

Weaver Hall Museum, previously the workhouse





 

 

During the 19th century it became uneconomical to mine for the salt. Instead hot water was pumped through the mines, which dissolved the salt. The resultant brine was pumped out and the salt extracted from the brine. This technique weakened the mines and led to landsubsidence as they collapsed. Subsidence affected the town and the surrounding landscape. For example collapses in 1880 formedWitton Flash as the River Weaver flowed into a huge hole caused by subsidence. Subsidence also allegedly accounts for many oldtimber-framed houses in the town centre, which were better able to withstand the movement of the ground. Some houses were built on a base of steel girders which could be jacked up to level the house with each change in the underlying ground. The town's historical link with the salt industry is celebrated in its Museum which is today located in the town's old workhouse.

In 1874, John Brunner and Ludwig Mond founded Brunner Mond in Winnington and started manufacturing soda ash using the Solvay ammonia-soda process. This process used salt as a main raw material. The chemical industry used the subsided land for the disposal of waste from the manufacture of soda-ash. The waste was transported through a network of cranes and rails to the produce limebeds. This was a dangerous alkaline substance and caused the landscape to be abandoned as unusable.

The first known swimming baths of Northwich was the Verdin Baths, situated on Verdin Park. It was presented by Robert Verdin in commemoration of the Jublilee of Queen Victoria in 1887. It consisted of a 60 ft x 20 ft [20yds x 6yds 2 ft] cast iron plunge bath and 5 slipper baths. It was a largely timbered-framed building. As the entrance was approached, the motto "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" could be clearly seen along the front of the building. Whilst it supplied the needs of many, the accommodation was inadequate for what was required.

 

 

 

Economics

 

 

 

 

The former ICI Winnington Works seen from theAnderton Boat Lift in 1992

 

Northwich has been described as having a market since at least 1535, when it was described as a market town by Leland, but there is no surviving charter. The town still has a market today, which is earmarked for refurbishment as part of the Northwich Vision plans.

The town's economy was dominated by the salt industry. However, a list of tolls for goods crossing over Northwich bridge in 1353 shows goods coming into the town, including a wide range of carcasses, fleeces, hides and skins, cloth, fish, alcoholic drinks, dairy products, building materials, household goods, metals and glass, and millstones. This indicates a much wider economic base to medieval Northwich than just the salt trade. Documentary evidence also exists for a mill from 1332 onwards and there is evidence for more than one mill from 1343.

Allied to the extraction of salt was a bulk chemical industry, which became concentrated at the three ICI sites at Winnington, Wallerscote and Lostock. The first industrially practical method for producing polythene was accidentally discovered at the Winnington works in 1933.

Bakers Frank Roberts & Sons have been associated with the town since 1887 and continues to be based near the town atRudheath on the A556. Two of Frank Roberts & Sons's three main business divisions, Roberts Bakery and The Little Treats Co, are based in Northwich and Aldred’s The Bakers, is located in Ilkeston, Derbyshire.

There are many contemporary major employers in nearby Rudheath and Hartford.

Based on the 2001 Census, Northwich had 13,928 people aged between 16 and 74. Of these, 8,908 (64.0%) people were categorised as economically active; 4,268 (30.6%) were economically inactive; 455 (3.3%) were unemployed.

 

 

 

 

Landmarks and religious sites

 

 



 

St. Helen Witton Church

 

The parish church is known as St. Helen's Witton. It is a Grade I Listed Building. The church initially developed as a chapel of ease associated with the parish of Great Budworth to serve the local community, known as the Chapel of Witton. There is no known date for the creation of this chapel, but it is thought to have existed in the 13th century. None of this building exists in the current church. There is no documentary evidence to indicate the dates of the older parts of the current building. However, stones in the fabric of the porch carry inscriptions attributed to "Ricardus Alkoke Capellanus". This name matches documents concerning land in Northwich and Lostock Gralam dated 1468, but this cannot be used to date the church accurately.

It was not until 7 August 1900 that the parish of Witton (otherwise Northwich) was formed from parts of Great BudworthDavenham and other surrounding parishes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Town Bridge

 

 

 

The present St Wilfrid's (Roman Catholic) church was built in 1866. The current Northwich Methodist Chapel was opened in 1990, but there has been a Methodist presence in the town at least since 1774, when John Wesley laid the foundation stone of the first chapel in the London Road area.

The Northwich Union Workhouse opened in 1837 following the Poor Law Amendment of 1834 that standardised the system of poor relief throughout Britain. The building is now the Weaver Hall Museum.

The Dock Road Edwardian Pumping Station is a Grade II Listed Building originally built by Northwich Urban District Council in 1913. For over 60 years it was used for pumping sewage from parts of Northwich to the Wallerscote Treatment Works. Before it was built, untreated sewage was discharged directly into the River Weaver, causing widespread pollution.

Two swing bridges, Hayhurst Bridge built in 1898, and Town Bridge built in 1899, cross the Weaver at Northwich. The bridges were the first two electrically powered swing bridges in Great Britain and were built on floating pontoons to counteract the mine subsidence. They were designed by Colonel John Saner.

The Floatel Northwich was moored on the Weaver near the confluence of the two rivers, but was closed when the owners, The Real Hotel Company plc, went into administration in January 2009. It has since been removed. It was the UK's only floating hotel.

 

 

 

Transport

 

 

 

 

The key historical mode of transport is water. By 1732 the River Weaver was improved from Frodsham Bridge to Winsford Bridge and eventually allowed vessels up to 160 tonnes (160,000 kg) to travel up to Northwich Bridge. The Trent and Mersey Canal, opened in 1775, passed to the north of Northwich because of objections from the trustees of the Weaver Navigation. However, the canal passed salt deposits near the village of Marston, and many of the later salt mines were based along its banks including the Lion Salt Works. The Anderton Boat Lift was opened in 1875 to connect the canal and river systems. It was fully restored in 2002 and now houses a visitor centre.

The road system around Northwich can be dated back to the Roman times. The A556and A559 follow the route of the Roman road that runs from Chester to York. The A556 diverts away from the route of the Roman road following a new route to the south of the town acting as the town's bypass. The Chester to Manchester road became aTurnpike in 1769. The A530, known as King Street, also passes near to the town, and this follows the route of the Roman road that connected Warrington and Middlewich. The old route to Warrington and the north from Middlewich, however, was replaced by a new route through Knutsford, which became a turnpike in 1753. Northwich is connected to the motorway network to the north of the town via the A559 onto the M56 motorway; and to the east of the town via the A556 at Junction 19 of the M6 motorway.

The railway came to the town in 1863 when the Cheshire Midland Railway constructed its line from Knutsford. The West Cheshire Railway built its line to Helsby in 1869. Passenger trains from Northwich to Chester via Delamere commenced in 1875. The route through Northwich is now marketed as the Mid-Cheshire line. Northwich railway station, last rebuilt in 1897, is on the line from Chester to Manchester Piccadilly. There are also stations within close vicinity at Greenbank, also on the Mid-Cheshire line, and Hartford (on the West Coast Main Line).

There are bus routes between Northwich and a number of local towns, including Weaverham, Hartford, Crewe, Warrington, Kelsall and Chester.

 

 

 

 

Education



 

 

 

Northwich and its surroundings has a number of schools and colleges. Sir John Deane's College is now a sixth form college, but was originally formed as a grammar school in 1557. The school was originally known as Witton Grammar School and was erected close to Witton Chapel. The school moved to its current location, to the south of the town, in 1907-08. There is now also further education available through Mid Cheshire College's London Road Studios.The area also boasts The Grange School, Northwich, one of the leading independent schools throughout the entirety of Cheshire. Primary education include:

 

 

 

 

 



During the 19th century many new schools were founded and by 1850 twelve 'academies' were recorded in the area. The town is now served by County High School Leftwich, a specialist media arts college, while University of Chester Academy Northwich,  a specialist performing arts college and Hartford High School both admit pupils from Northwich. There are also several primary schools in the area. St. Nicholas Catholic High School is also in the local vicinity, and performs well on national exam boards, coming second in the whole of Cheshire.

In November 2005, as part of the Northwich Vision, a refurbishment of the town's railway station included a Centre calledZone that promotes lifelong learning by offering people the opportunity to access a range of online and taught courses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwich 



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