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 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.




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.


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.

   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.

The following events are temporarily cancelled during pandemic



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 Museum funds.


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



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 local organisations.

   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.

   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.




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 jeopardy. 

   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.



THE Museum is pleased to announce its selection as one of the 60 diverse organisations participating in The Lab which is part of the Digital Heritage Lab providing digital mentoring support.

   The Lab aims to develop, on a bespoke basis, the individual digital capabilities and capacity of participating organisations. It is a free programme for small to medium sized heritage organisations and is project managed by the Arts Marketing Association (AMA) in partnership with Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy, One Further and the Collections Trust and is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the Digital Skills for Heritage initiative.

   The Museum will be paired with an expert Digital Skills Mentor who will advise it on digital strategic planning, assess training needs and encourage, inspire and provide new ideas and approaches.

   Visitors will benefit through, for example, improved displays, interactives, animations and videos.

   Museum Manager, Kate Dobson, commented: "This is a brilliant opportunity to develop our digital skills at a time when we need to look outside the box for new and exciting ways to make accessible the important local stories and artefacts that illustrate the history of the town". 


AFTER almost six months closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic Nantwich Museum has re-opened to the public. It will be open 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 specific requirements.

   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 the year.

   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.



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.”


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:

    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: https://nantwichmuseum.org.uk/webinars-2020.


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 meetings.

   "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 hygiene”.

    In the meantime, she encouraged people to visit the Digital Museum, the Museum’s website www.nantwichmuseum.org.uk; together with

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nantwichmuseum/; Twitter @NantwichMuseum.


THE 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: www.nantwichmuseum.org.uk.

   Museum 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.

   "It 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 a comment!)

WITH the continuing enforced closure of Nantwich Museum due to the Covid-19 pandemic it was not possible to install the scheduled temporary exhibition "Reincarnated Rubbish - Endangered and Extinct", an inspired exhibition by creative recycling artist Val Hunt.

   Elements of the exhibition have, however, been made available on the Museum’s website: www.nantwichmuseum.org.uk.  


DESPITE the continued closure of the Museum due to the pandemic some activities continue.

   The 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 the community.

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.

New website   |   Online shop


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 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.



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