What's On at Nantwich Museum
Cheshire Civil War Centre now
based at the 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
and model making, all supplemented by artefacts of the time and
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,
(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
He acknowledged all those who had helped create the
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.
SASHA FINDS A PIECE OF TOWN'S HISTORY
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
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
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.
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.
was written by Andrew Lamberton and Bill Pearson who produced the "Nantwich
Pubs" book (164 pages for
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
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.
booklet, which is also available from The Crown
Hotel in High Street, costs
with all profits going to support the Museum.
The following events are temporarily
cancelled during pandemic
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. Not
at the moment, of course.
An annual subscription of £15 is payable as a donation in aid of
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 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.
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
CONTACT THE MUSEUM on
email@example.com or telephone 01270 627104; website:
www.nantwichmuseum.org.uk. Or visit
https://twitter.com/NantwichMuseum. Or call in to the
museum in Pillory Street (CW5 5BQ) - opposite the
The museum is normally open from
10.30am to 4.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Admission is free. The museum
is a registered charity.
DUTTON PRIZE AWARDED TO MUSEUM TRUSTEE
MUSEUM Trustee Dr Graham Dodd
was presented with the prestigious Dutton Prize at the
Museum's 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
In making the
presentation (left), the 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.
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.
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.
MARKING THE MUSEUM'S 40th ANNIVERSARY
Guests at the 40th anniversary reception
are: Nick Dyer (Chairman of the Museum Board of Trustees), Cllr Pam
Kirkham (now Mayor of Nantwich), Kieran Mullan (Crewe and
Nantwich MP), Cllr Carole Thomas (formerly Mayor's Consort), Cllr Arthur Moran (formerly Mayor of Nantwich), Andrew Lamberton (Museum
Volunteer) and Kate Dobson (Museum Manager).
THE Museum is marking its 40th anniversary this year.
At a reception for the
anniversary, the then Mayor of Nantwich,
Cllr Arthur Moran, reflected on the "little gem" which is Nantwich
Museum. He thanked the Museum for helping to make Nantwich
such a vibrant market town and assured it of the continued support
of the Town Council.
Nick Dyer, Chair of the Museum Board of
Trustees, welcomed guests and observed how far the organisation had
come in 40 years.
He paid tribute to Cheshire East Council and Nantwich Town Council for their support of the independent
charitable trust without which its continued existence would be in
Museum volunteer, historian
Andrew Lamberton, gave an illustrated talk about the second edition
of the book "The Lost Houses of Nantwich".
Museum Manager, Kate
Dobson, cited current projects which highlighted the Museum as
vibrant community hub. She noted the need to respond to the
requirements of the community.
MUSEUM SETS DATE TO RE-OPEN
almost six months closure due to the Covid-19
pandemic Nantwich Museum has re-opened to the public. It will be open on Saturday, September 19 and
then on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays with a view to returning to
full opening hours as soon as possible - Tuesday to Saturday 10.30am
to 4.30 pm.
Visitors must book their visit by telephoning
the Museum on 01270 627104 when they will also be advised of any
There is still an opportunity to visit the temporary
exhibition in the Millennium Gallery, “Personal Voices” by the
Breakaway Textile Group, which will remain in place until the end of
While the Museum doors have been closed
the office has been relocated to upstairs along with library
books and educational resources and some of the collection items. The changes have made a better working
environment and provides space for researchers to use the library.
MUSEUM'S EXCITING FUTURE
AFTER 40 years of serving the community by recording
the rich history of the town and its locality, the Museum is laying
ambitious plans to update its Main Gallery.
The four key elements in the design of
the new gallery are:
The story of Nantwich brine and the making of the
high-quality salt for which the town was known and which was valued
by the Romans
The changing face of the town
Events which shaped the town including the Great
Fire of 1583
Nantwich’s various trades and industries.
Modern displays are envisaged employing
material from the Museum’s Collection with new technology enhancing
interpretations in part through the medium of oral histories.
Museum Manager, Kate Dobson, commented:
“A lot of the groundwork for the re-development has already been
covered, and the first phase of work with a design agency is already
in hand. What was already a major challenge has now been made much
more difficult by the pandemic and especially the question of
finance, but that is being addressed with the practicality of the
project in mind.”
ONLINE TALKS AT MUSEUM RESUME
THE Museum has
announced the resumption of its “Aspects of Nantwich” series of
talks originally scheduled for the Spring but interrupted by the
pandemic. Due to continuing restrictions the talks will be given
online with the following schedule:
September 23: ‘Nantwich Races’ by Bernie Strawson and Keith Lawrence,
introducing Nantwich’s racecourse and a day at the eighteenth
century races. The latest aerial mapping tools and recently
discovered documents have provided new evidence of the whereabouts
of the racecourse.
Wednesday, September 30: ‘A Walled Garrison’ by
Keith Lawrence, describing what life was like in Nantwich during the
English Civil War, where the wall which defended the town was
located, how the residents were treated by the soldiers and how many
local people died.
Participants can join talks from 1.50 pm for a
prompt start at 2pm. Full instructions for joining will be
provided when booking. The cost is £5 per talk with all proceeds
supporting the work of the Museum, a registered charity. Tickets can
be obtained online at:
OFFICIALS TALK ABOUT THE RE-OPENING
SPEAKING about the plans to re-open, Nick
Dyer, Chair of the Museum’s Board, stated “our top priority remains
the safety of visitors, staff and the volunteers, without whom the
Museum could not operate”.
"There are almost 100 volunteers
involved in the day-to-day running of the Museum. Some, such as the
Research and Education Groups, have continued working through online
"However, given the potential
vulnerability of the general demographic upon which we depend to run
the Museum during opening hours, it is inadvisable to expose them to
unnecessary risk by opening too soon.
"At the same time, the Board is alert to
the loss of substantial income streams including the shop, school
visits and talks and we are extremely grateful for the continued
support of Cheshire East Council and Nantwich Town Council whose
grants are essential if the Museum is to survive”.
Museum Manager, Kate Dobson,
commented “Both staff and volunteers look forward to re-opening the
Museu. Comprehensive new operating procedures
are being implemented with due regard to social distancing and
In the meantime, she encouraged
people to visit the Digital Museum, the Museum’s website
MUSEUM MARKS 4Oth
ANNIVERSARY ON LINE
Museum’s 40th anniversary has
become quite extraordinary with enforced closure by the Covid-19
pandemic never being part of the plan. Despite the disruption it is
still possible to mark the anniversary with an online exhibition
which can be found at:
Manager, Kate Dobson, commented: "While a number of planned events
have had to be postponed or deferred, the summer exhibition
scheduled for the Millennium Gallery - 'Nantwich Museum 40 Years in
the Community' - is now featured online.
tells the story of the Museum, showcases its achievements, and
celebrates its place in the community. The many activities of the
Museum are featured with particular mention of some of the
specialist groups including research, craft and education. Ideas are
proposed for the Museum’s development over the next 40 years and
beyond and viewers are invited to submit their own suggestions.”
A RUBBISH EXHIBITION (that's the subject not
the continuing enforced closure of Nantwich Museum due to the
Covid-19 pandemic it was not possible to install the scheduled
"Reincarnated Rubbish - Endangered and Extinct", an inspired
creative recycling artist Val Hunt.
Elements of the exhibition have, however, been made available on the
The artwork employs ingenuity, humour and skill to create a
fascinating and inspiring selection of sculptural pieces which will
appeal to visitors of all ages. Animals including insects, exotic
birds, fish and dinosaurs, all on the edge of, or now, extinct have been
made from a selection of throw-away materials, especially Val’s
favourite medium, drinks can metal.
online exhibition presents some of the animals it was originally
intended to display making a subtle message about recycling and
preservation, raising awareness of why the creatures are endangered
Val retrieves everyday things we throw away and
presents them in a new and fascinating dimension. Her work recycles
a diverse selection of rubbish from which she creates innovated
sculptures, wall hangings, hats and jewellery.
It has been shown in exhibitions around the U.K.,
Denmark, Japan, United Emirates, and the U.S.A., and has toured overseas with
the British Council. Val has worked in many permanent collections.
She won the Gold Award for specialist media in the "Craft and
Design" magazine awards in 2014 and was runner-up in 2013.
Image: Sam by Val Hunt
DEVELOPMENTS OF THE MUSEUM DURING PANDEMIC
the continued closure of the Museum
due to the pandemic some activities continue.
Research Group meets each Friday through online conferencing
enabling members to keep in touch and exchange ideas while other
groups ensure the Museum continues to run smoothly.
A new, improved website has been launched at
www.nantwichmuseum.org.uk including continuously updated stories
of Nantwich Buildings and notable People. For the first time there
is an opportunity to download digital copies of the popular Research
Booklets documenting various aspects of local history.
The website provides an opportunity to assist in the running of the
Museum by becoming a Member of the Museum Trust or a Volunteer,
while the “Donate” button is an ideal way to support its service to
l Nantwich Digital Museum
was launched in March on its Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/nantwichmuseum/ and Twitter
@NantwichMuseum is proving a great success.
TOUR THE TOWN - after the virus
is beaten . . .
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. There are also
Riverside Walks (the River Weaver),
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
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
firstname.lastname@example.org, or call in at the
For more information visit the museum
or call in at the museum.
PAGE UPDATED SEPTEMBER 18
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