Middlewich a canal town.....
Andersen Boats, over 40 years part of middlewich narrowboat canal history.....
Introduction to the history of the Canals & Middlewich
This information is provided by Middlewich-Heritage.org.uk
The market town of Middlewich lies within the fertile plain of east Cheshire, situated near the confluence of the rivers Croco and Dane. The origins of the town are Roman, if not earlier and it is from this period that salt plays an integral part of the town's economy and prosperity.
During the Industrial Revolution there were many changes to the town's infrastructure including the converging of three canals. As result the population expanded considerably with the settlements of Kinderton and Newton being absorbed as suburbs into Middlewich by the mid-19th century.
As well as salt, Middlewich was noted for its dairy products and the production of silk. The town had significant Roman presence; furthermore, within the town centre is clear evidence of a medieval and early post-medieval street plan, accompanied by a number of buildings that date from this period. Distinction is further stamped through Middlewich's industrial heritage and, in particular the canals that converge on it.
The Trent & Mersey Canal, constructed in 1777 cuts through the eastern part of the town centre, whilst the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal, opened in 1829 cuts through the southern part of the town, linking up with the Trent & Mersey via Britain's shortest canal, the Wardle Branch which was opened in September 1833. From the latter part of the 18th century to the latter part of the 20th century, Middlewich was a significant junction for canal traffic, and built on the wealth from the salt and dairy industries. The three canals link the town with local, regional and world markets. Canals at this time were considered good long-term investments and attracted a number of important industrialists of the day to put their money into these remarkable enterprises. Based on costs for the Caledonian Canal, 37% of investor's money would have been tied-up in the hiring of contractors, whilst 18% was invested in bridge building, 11% for materials, and 8% for the engineers and 8% for land acquisition. Not surprisingly, only 8% was allocated for the workforce! Middlewich would have been funded in a similar way. The canal infrastructure brought with it prosperity to many businesses in Middlewich, in particular those involved in the exportation of manufactured goods. The result of this prosperity is witnessed by the construction of many fine Georgian and early Victorian houses in Queen Street and St Ann's Road.