What's On
 Nantwich Museum
The Cheshire Civil War Centre at Museum

THE new Cheshire Civil War Centre gallery can be found at the Museum, just before the Millennium Gallery. This used to be the Your Space Gallery, which has now been relocated upstairs at the Museum.

   The Civil War Centre was opened by Cllr David Marren as one of the events towards the end of his term as Mayor of Nantwich.  He said: “Although the Civil War produced a military dictator in the form of Cromwell and ultimately led to the restoration of the Stuart monarchy, it did create the foundation for a new kind of monarchy which was quite different from the “absolute” monarchies which dominated the rest of Europe.

   "The exhibition tells how Nantwich played its part, and how its people were affected by the conflict and the hardships and sufferings they endured but also explains the strategic importance of the town."

   Cllr Marren added: "In late 1643, Nantwich was the only town in Cheshire still held by the Parliamentarians. The defeat of Royalist forces at Nantwich thwarted King Charles's plan to create a field army in the northwest based on regiments returning from Ireland and so altered the course of the conflict and therefore in some small way we can claim credit for a constitutional monarchy and the supremacy of Parliament."

   The display features interpretation panels developed by the museum's Research Group, which enjoys a wide range of expertise including art, design and model making, all supplemented by artefacts of the time and informative replicas.

   The Chairman of the Museum Board of Management, Nick Dyer, observed that the new display helps to bring the Civil War to life and enable the community to understand its past.

   He hoped it would be of interest to specialists, local residents and visitors.

   In development since 2015 under the direction of Dr Keith Lawrence, the

 

centre (pictured left) was conceived as an educational resource focussed on the war in this locality.

   Speaking at the opening, Keith Lawrence explained how much of what we think we know about the Civil War is inaccurate, because it is based on seventeenth century tales which have become accepted as fact over the years.

   He stressed: "The new centre is trying to paint an accurate picture by peeling apart the conventional stories, which are mostly propaganda".

   He acknowledged all those who had helped create the centre, including the National Civil War Centre, Newark, and Grosvenor Museum, Chester, as well as Colin Bisset and Brenda Rampling of The Sealed Knot, whose attendance in period costume added a touch of colour to the occasion.

   Entry to the museum and the centre is free.

SASHA FINDS A PIECE OF TOWN'S HISTORY

WHILE being exercised near the Fairfax Bridge over the River Weaver in Nantwich, after a flood, Sasha, a rescue dog belonging to the Shepherd family, unearthed a fragment of decayed wood (right). Close inspection revealed that the crescent-shaped wood had a tapered blade and a hole in the centre and was clearly man made.

   The dog’s minder, Dave Shepherd (pictured with Sasha), was alert to the origins of the find and in discussion with local historian, Andrew Lamberton, soon ascertained the fragment was part of a rake once used to remove salt from the pans in which brine was being evaporated.

   The rake head was probably liberated as the flooding river washed away the remains of a former wich or salt-making house.

   The salt-making industry was at its height during Tudor times so the rake head could be more than 500 years old.

   The rake head was transferred to the Museum where it will be conserved to eventually be displayed as part of the story of salt-making in the town.

lSee here for more about the salt-making industry in Nantwich.

 

 


 

DONATION FOR MUSEUM KITCHEN APPEAL

THE Museum has acknowledged the donation of £100 by Nantwch Civic Society towards the cost of a new kitchen.

   The Museum’s kitchen is in constant use but has fallen into a very sorry state of repair.

   Donations are being sought to meet the cost estimated at just over £2,500. The appeal is being well supported.

   Chair of the Board of Trustees, Nick Dyer, commented: “Capital spends to maintain the Museum are always a challenge and for some years the need to replace the ailing kitchen has been regarded as a low priority.

   "In our 40th year we have finally got around to working on the kitchen and are hoping to substantially contribute to the cost with donations. We are most grateful to the Civic Society for their generous donation.”

   Nick is pictured (left) receiving the cheque from Jeff Stubbs, Chairman of Nantwich Civic Society.

   Donations for the kitchen can be made at the Museum or online at www.nantwichmuseum.org.uk. Donors' names will be recorded in the new kitchen.

 

ONE USE FOR THE CURRENT KITCHEN  . . .

 

A FUND-RAISING morning at the Museum is the annual Pancake Day event on Tuesday, February 25. Pancakes and refreshments will be served in the Millennium Gallery between 10.30am and 12.30pm. For £3.50, visitors will get two pancakes with sugar and lemon together with a cup of tea or coffee. Large groups wishing to visit the event are asked to book in advance.  

 

 


CHILDREN'S HOLIDAY WORKSHOPS

“DREAMS of Nantwich”, the current temporary exhibition in the Millennium Gallery, will provide inspiration for watercolour painting during the children’s half term workshops on Wednesday, February 19 and Thursday 20.

  There will be arts and crafts, quizzes and an opportunity to design the museum of the future.

  All workshops are drop in any time between 11am and 3pm. The cost is £2 per child who must be accompanied. Large groups are requested to book in advance.

 

HAVE YOU MISSED AN EXHIBITION AT THE MUSEUM?

DID you miss an exhibition at the Museum? An important one that you really wanted to visit? Don't worry, you might still be able to see what was in the exhibition by going on line through the Museum's website. For instance, this one about the Nantwich man who discovered oxygen, among other things.

 

WHAT THEY WILL BE READING

THE Museum's Book Group, now in its 22nd year, provides an opportunity for members to read books chosen by the group, and discuss their merits and the impact they have had on them as readers. Meetings are held at the Museum at 7.30pm on Tuesdays, between September and June.

   April 21: "Resistance" by Owen Sheers.

   May 12: "Gentleman Jack" by Angela Stei Dele.

   June 16: "Becoming" by Michelle Obama.

l An annual subscription of £15 is payable as a donation in aid of Museum funds.   For further information contact the Museum.

 

A SPECIAL OFFER . . . Become a Friend of the Museum and pay no renewal fee until April 2021. Help to support the work of the Museum. Membership includes

e-mail newsletters, a copy of the Journal, discounts on talks and events, invitations  to exclusive member events and an opportunity to vote at the AGM. Individual membership £20, families £30. Further details are available from the Museum.  

 

COFFEE MORNINGS

COFFEE mornings are held in the Millennium Gallery on the last Friday of each month (except bank holiday weekends) in aid of museum funds. Enjoy a hot drink and a slice of homemade cake while catching up with friends old and new. There is no charge, but donations to keep the Museum going are appreciated. The events have raised £2,493.01 in the past two years.

 

DEMENTIA FRIENDS

THE Museum hosts a Dementia Friendship Group which meets at 2pm on the first and third Monday of every month. It is open to anyone living with dementia, their carer, family and friends. No charge is made to attend the meetings. For more details visit www.nantwichmuseum.org.uk/dementia-friendship-group/

 

CONTACT THE MUSEUM on enquiries@nantwichmuseum.org.uk or telephone 01270 627104; website: www.nantwichmuseum.org.uk. Or visit https://www.facebook.com/nantwich.museumoffical/ or https://twitter.com/NantwichMuseum. Or call in to the museum in Pillory Street (CW5 5BQ) - opposite the pillory.

   The museum is open from 10.30am to 4.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Admission is free. The museum is a registered charity.

 

TOUR THE TOWN

GUIDED walks in Nantwich are led by volunteers from the museum, either as a general tour for members of the public, or an exclusive one tailored to meet the requirements of a group.

   The Museum offers a town tour and a tour of Welsh Row each month. Tours leave the Museum at 11am sharp.

  General tours last for between an hour and a half and two hours and can feature Tudor  Nantwich, Victorian Nantwich, the Battle of Nantwich, and the Civil War. Or they can have a specific theme such as industry in the local area to suit a group.

   The tours cost £4 per person (£3 Museum members) for a minimum of six people. Larger groups or parties of individuals may be split into smaller parties so that participants can hear the leader of the tour and see any relevant object easily. It is advised that you book ahead to avoid disappointment.

   To join an arranged tour, or to set up one for your group, telephone 01270 627104, e-mail education@nantwichmuseum.org.uk, or call in at the museum.

   For more information visit the museum website or call in at the museum.

 

February tours

Saturday 15: Welsh Row tour.

Tuesday 18: Town tour

 

PAGE UPDATED FEBRUARY 13

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Museum featured in television antiques programme

BBC Television's "Bargain Hunt" programme featured a sequence on cheese making when presenter Charlie Ross spoke to Nantwich Museum volunteer, Andrew Lamberton, as part of the programme screened on January 31.

   Charlie referred to Andrew as "The Big Cheese", Cheshire Cheese as the oldest cheese in Britain and Nantwich as "the home of Cheshire Cheese". The four-minutes segment also featured cheese merchant Chris Davies.

  The main part of the programme was staged at Anglesey Showground.  

 

NANTWICH IS THE SUBJECT OF ARTISTS' EXHIBITION

“DREAMS of Nantwich”, an exhibition by local artist Michal Obolewicz, is running until Saturday, March 7. It seeks to create the mythical and fairy tale story of Nantwich through its beauty and history. Presented in the medium of watercolour, the artwork concentrates on an imaginary vision of the town.

   Some paintings show allegorically personal and universal human experience.
   The exhibition includes watercolour paintings of animals and fantasy creatures by the artist’s son Jan Obolewicz.
   Michal has previously exhibited in the Olivia Business Centre, Gdansk, Poland and this is his first exhibition in the UK.
   The artwork is available for sale.  Entry to the museum and exhibition is free.

Image: Gold of the Past on Welsh Row by Michal Obolewicz

 

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE 40th ANNIVERSARY

THE Museum will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. As well as the usual temporary exhibitions, walking tours of the town, workshops, and more, there will be special events to celebrate the anniversary.

   These include a talk on Saturday, June 6, by Gaye Blake-Roberts, Curator of the Wedgwood Museum, a Community Collection Day and competitions for children.

  

Following popular demand, a new series of talks is scheduled for the Spring.

   March 11, The Great Fire of Nantwich by Keith Lawrence and Andrew Lamberton.

   March 18, The Nantwich Workhouse by Bill Pearson.

   March 25, Nantwich’s Norman Castle by Bernie Strawson.

   April 1, Theatres and Cinemas of Nantwich by Graham Dodd.

   April 8, Nantwich Races by Keith Lawrence and Bernie Strawson.

   April 15, Nantwich, a Walled Garrison in the Civil War by Brian Cole.

   Costs are: £25 for the full course (£20 for Museum Members) or £5 per talk (Museum Members £4). Bookings are being taken now.

 

The following temporary exhibitions in the Millennium Gallery have been announced:

   “Personal Voices” by The Breakaway Textiles Group opens on March 11.

   “Endangered and Extinct” by Val Hunt opens on May 13.

   “40 Years of Nantwich Museum” opens on July 15.

   “2020 Nantwich Camera Club Photographic Exhibition” opens on September 16.

   “A Celebration of Stitch” by Connected Threads opens on October 28

   “Neo-Renaissance” by Mark Sheeky opens on December 15.

  

l THE Museum opened in January 1980 in the former Nantwich Free Library building in Pillory Street with the aim of preserving the history of the town and its environs. As the collection developed in the early day, temporary exhibitions were the mainstay including one, in 1983, concerned with fire insurance emblems from which the Museum's sun logo was derived.

   The cheese and dairy exhibition was originally housed in a lean-to outside the Museum but moved indoors in 1990 at the same time as the Joseph Heler Room (upstairs) was opened as an exhibition / meetings room.

  The Millennium Gallery was a major addition in 2000 along with a secure collection store and general storeroom.

  Plans are in hand to re-develop the Museum and its permanent displays.


"LOST HOUSES" BOOK LAUNCHED IN SECOND EDITION

BY popular demand, "Lost Houses in Nantwich", a book by local authors Andrew Lamberton and the late Robin Gray, had an official launch of a second edition on October 26 when Andrew Lamberton signed copies of the book.

   Originally published in 2005, the book has become a local classic - a "must have" for all those interested in local history and the houses that have been lost in the town and its immediate locality.

   In their introduction to the first edition, the authors observed how the rapid development of the town resulted in the loss of many houses and their aim was to document the buildings while still in living memory. They defined the houses as "those that are no longer with us or have changed so dramatically in appearance as to be virtually unrecognisable from the original".

   The new edition of the book is fully illustrated and now includes a number of public buildings. The original text has been revised and there are an additional 50 photographs from the Museum collection, some of which are in colour, while the maps are based on the 1851 Ordnance Survey map of the town.

   Speaking of the revised book, author Andrew Lamberton, said: “It is important to acknowledge for their contributions members of Nantwich Museum’s Research Group and, in particular, illustrator Keith Harper for the new maps, Paul Topham for work on the photographs, Keith Lawrence for the typesetting and Linda Briggs for proofreading."

   The book costs £15 and is available from the Museum Shop.

 

TOO MANY INN IMAGES FOR BOOK

THE Crown Hotel is the subject of a booklet launched by the Museum and available in the Museum Shop. "The Crown - a brief history of this historic inn", joins a range of booklets which look at the town's history.

   It was written by Andrew Lamberton and Bill Pearson who produced the "Nantwich Pubs" book (164 pages for £11.95). But they found during their research that they had far more material about The Crown than would fit into a book covering all the town's pubs.

   The Crown, one of three Grade I listed buildings in Nantwich, is one of the town's oldest pubs. The booklet covers the history of the pub before the Great Fire of Nantwich in 1584 and the rebuilding afterwards.

   There is also a long list of famous guests at the hotel including Prince Charles who later became Charles II. Three famous Formula One racing drivers stayed at the hotel while racing at Oulton Park.

   Photographs and other material in the booklet were given to the Museum by the inn's owner, Bill Schofield, whose father, William Schofield, bought The Crown in 1962 when it was in a perilous state.

   The booklet, which is also available from The Crown Hotel in High Street, costs £2.95 with all profits going to support the Museum.

 

DUTTON PRIZE AWARDED

MUSEUM Trustee Dr Graham Dodd was presented with the prestigious Dutton Prize at the recent Museum Annual Dinner.
   The Dutton Prize includes a medal endowed by medal-maker Ron Dutton in memory of his parents Alderman and Mrs Dutton. It features an image of the church as a symbol of the town and its community. Each year since 1990 the Museum Board has nominated for the prize unsung heroes regarded as making an extraordinary contribution to the life of the town.
   Graham is a former Vice Chair of the Management Board of the Museum. He is active locally as Vice Chair of Nantwich Historical Society, a founder member of the Nantwich Camera Club and other local organisations.

   In making the presentation (left) , Chair of the Museum Board, Nick Dyer, said that Graham was an expert on the history of Nantwich salt production, the local canal system and many other aspects of local history.

   He recalled that when a Chinese television unit turned up at the museum seeking an expert to talk about Nantwich brine and salt, Graham was the obvious choice and he is now probably famous throughout China without knowing it.

    Graham also appeared on the BBC's North West Tonight programme recounting the murder in 1572 of Roger Crockett the licensee of The Crown.
   After the presentation, Graham gave a talk on his “Heritage Journey” describing his introduction to industrial archaeology at Bath University and subsequent developing interest in the subject as he discovered examples around the country including the Potteries and Coalbrookdale in Shropshire.

  This was reinforced when he moved to Nantwich and became interested in the salt industry and its local heritage. Graham is well known throughout the area where he gives talks to local groups and societies.

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