Saturday, 22 October 2011

Northwich................................. a Cheshire town sitting on a bed of salt

I have been asked a few questions about the age of the buildings in Northwich.
They were built in the early 1900's to replace the ones lost due to subsidence.
Some have some wonderful carvings... the netting is to deter the feral pigeons.
You may just want to view the images... but I have added some information.
Northwich is built on a bed of salt.
  The best way to extract the salt was to add water and pump it up as brine.
What happened to Northwich when it was left with no foundations?...It started to sink.

I have added some old images of Northwich sinking... it wasn't all that long ago.
Buildings had to be jacked up to stop them subsiding.
Shoplifting in Northwich had a different meaning in the early 1900's.

 Northwich Library was built in 1909.
Replacement buildings were wooden framed so they could be jacked up (and even moved) if the ground beneath them started to disappear.
The Library is on Witton Street... it's now pedestrians only.

In 2004 work started (costing £28 million) to fill in the four remaining mines beneath the town so the town centre can be extended... the project was finished in 2007.

This final image shows a collapse... my favourite place for watching wildlife Ashton and Neumanns Flashes were both the result of subsidence...the names come from the salt mines that created them.
The info below is an extract I found online.

A legacy of centuries has come back to haunt a Cheshire town which was once the salt-producing capital of Britain.
And such is the risk to life and limb from abandoned salt mines around the town centre of Northwich that Government is being urged to pour over £28 million down four big holes !

Since the late 1980s, the local authority, Vale Royal Borough Council, has wrestled with the problem of what to do about the abandoned mines, enormous caverns up to 300ft below the surface, which date from the time when the area was producing one million tons of salt per year.  Northwich's last salt mine closed in 1928, but such is the perilous condition below parts of the town that land prices have been sent plummeting by a suspension of all development above the Barons Quay, Witton Bank, Penny's Lane and Neumann's Mines.


TexWisGirl said...

that's pretty fascinating! yikes! serious foundation issues!

Bob Bushell said...

Well, that is a bad situation to let people do that. Makes me think, what will they do, rapidly running out, of oil, gas and other things. Will it end up with no oceans, huh?

cieldequimper said...

This is a wonderful post. I had no idea! Love your shoplifting comment...

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

That was very interesting. I liked the old photos you included, the one with the couple standing waist deep in their doorway in particular. "Come on in. Watch your head."

Laura~ said...

Fascinating! Thanks for taking the time to and sharing of this post.

Inger-M said...

Thanks for a very interesting post! It must have been scary times when houses seemed to almost topple over.
And the word shoplifting certainly takes on a whole new meaning :-)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Andrew -- that is fascinating -- I had no idea. Thank you for sharing this history. (I love looking at the old pictures too and thinking of you watching birds on those places the way they are today. Just amazing.

Pantherka said...

Very interesting post with the blog.

JM said...

Great post! Glad I didn't miss it.