Restoration complete to Murgatroyd’s Brine Pump

21st Jan 2020

The historic Murgatroyd’s Brine Pump in Middlewich is the only intact insitu wild brine pump in the UK and possibly Europe. The pump house and brine shaft is the last historically significant remains of Cheshire’s salt industry and the first stages of the chemical revolution.

Quadriga Contracts were commissioned by The Middlewich Heritage Trust to carry out a variety of works.

The project included stabilisation of the well head and shaft, masonry repointing to the pump house and gantry restoration.

The shaft and gantry date back to 1889, with the shaft being one of the last in Cheshire to be hand dug before borehole technology took over.

The pump house roof was removed to allow the gantry to be lifted up and out of the building via crane. However, it was discovered that the original timber gantry was in a worse state than originally thought and was deemed beyond repair.

A new steel gantry was fabricated off site at the local work shop of B & R Fabrications, incorporating pieces of the original where possible.

Whilst the gantry was being designed and built, Quadriga carried out necessary work to the foundations and the head of the shaft. The new gantry was then crane lifted back into the pump house and secured before the roof was reinstated.

A new brine tank to replicate the original was also fabricated off site by B & R Fabrications before being transported back to site and craned lifted into its original position.

Peter Doolan, contracts manager at Quadriga, said: “The project was a challenging one due to the historic status of the building and the unforeseen problems that arose, such as the complete rebuild of the gantry.

“We employ specialist tradesmen in house, and their experience combined with the expertise of other skilled trades was a key factor in overcoming these obstacles.  It’s been a learning curve for us and we will carry forward valuable insight from the project. Murgatroyd’s Brine Pump has been restored back to its former glory and we’re very proud of the work completed.”

Funding from Historic England, the Association for Industrial Archaeology and Heritage Lottery Fund as well as from Middlewich Town Council, Middlewich Heritage Society and donations from the public totalled £238,000.

This funding and the restoration work carried out has ensured the monument’s survival with views to make the site more accessible to the public as a heritage resource.

Lindsay Law, commercial director at Quadriga, said: “We are delighted to have worked on such an important part of Cheshire’s heritage and history.  Work like this means future generations are able to enjoy and appreciate their local heritage and understand its context within the wider landscape.”

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