(above right) is to the rear of
Nantwich Baths (which is at the edge of the large car park off the Waterlode extension). The new Thomas Fairfax Bridge and the ring road is
to the left and the baths are to the right in the picture.
The other site is on Mill
Island (below) where the old Nantwich Mill once stood. For the record,
this would be the one that I would favour. Both schemes have the support
of prominent Nantwich people.
The picture (immediately below) is looking towards the Waterlode and High Street The area in the centre of the picture, beyond
the tree, is the part of the island where
one suggestion would place the
new building. There would still be plenty of space on Mill Island for
the Sealed Knot to re-enact the Battle of Nantwich every January.
In passing, pictured on the right is the old mill race which used to be
an overflow channel through the mill when the water inlet for the motive
power was closed - that is, not being used. It is taken looking towards
the town bridge, with the Waterlode on the right. You can hardly see the
town bridge in the distance for the willow trees, so I don't think any
suggestion that a new building would spoil the view from the bridge -
should it ever be put forward as an objection - would hold water. The
old mill site is barely visible from the bridge these days. As I once
wrote in another letter on my website!
The picture on the right is looking from the Waterlode over the river to
the old mill site.
The reason the Mill Island site would get my vote is that it is near to
the town centre, at the bottom of Mill Street (although admittedly
across the Waterlode "inner ring road" via pedestrian-controlled
traffic lights) while the baths area is much further from the centre on
foot and so might be less appealing for visitors to go to. And at a
guess, the Mill Island site is nearer to Nantwich Square than the
present Museum building in Pillory Street. But, would a building on the
town bridge end of Mill Island look out of place? I don't think so. (See
the suggestions on the
While the baths site is off a
large car park, there is a car park off
and one across the river on the old gas works site -
although this is described as "a potential development area" in the
Nantwich Forum scheme. See this update
It is suggested there should be
a footbridge across the river
at this point, so would a car park count as a "development"? The town
has quite a number of car parks, although the fact that they always seem
full indicates we could do with more!
I think that most visitors to the centre would walk there when they had
already parked somewhere in town - rather than making a point of going
directly to the centre, from a nearby car park, when they arrive in
town. Unless they knew the town
well and were making a beeline for the centre they would park where
they could and see what the town had to offer.
One thought that did occur to me was
that maybe there could be a museum annexe
in the new visitors' centre which could take the whole of the
salt ship and some other museum exhibits while the main collection
stayed put in the Pillory Street building. After all, the latest
extension there was built as recently as 2000. At the moment the salt
ship has been cut into three pieces for conservation (the tanks will not
take it in one piece) and there seems little chance of getting more than
one section in the present museum building. The annexe (I stress) is
purely my own idea - although others may have had a similar idea.
It has been suggested that the project could be up and running in 10
years' time. I would have thought a lot quicker than that if the
enthusiasm being shown currently was converted into action and the money
was available. But where would we be in the queue for cash, I wonder.
I am too long in the tooth to expect that there will not be prolonged
discussions before anything actually happens.
However, let's hope Alderman Butterill is right when he said (in the
Chronicle): "I firmly believe the scheme will get off the ground and
will be a huge boost to Nantwich and its tourism industry." Hear, hear.
The idea of a building being erected on
Mill Island for the Museum to have a new - larger - home came up
again in 2015 when the Chairman of the Museum Board of Management
mentioned the idea.
However, the idea. I'm
told, came from Cheshire East Council rather than the Museum.