*Magnify*
SPONSORED LINKS
Creative fun in
the palm of your hand.
Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2032344
by Bruce.
Rated: 18+ · Poetry · Biographical · #2032344
Times change.
Northwich.

A place where local dialect can still be found with ease.
Where small ships tugs and boats are made for home and overseas.
Bates and Parks, iron and steel, saltworks on the go
Motor carpets, Broadhurst pies, knickers from Conlowe.

There’s lots of work for railway folk, oil and steel and coal.
Train crews, shunters, guards and more, would never fear the dole.
And covhops full of soda ash, trainloads every day.
Massive railway sidings, trains are heading every way.

It really is a busy town, the bustle and the noise.
Plenty jobs and plenty cash for teenage girls and boys.
When work is done they come to town to meet and congregate.
The old Bridge Cafe, The Coffee Bar, they both stay open late.

And Saturday the Penrhyn Arms is always pretty full.
A drink in there then cross the road, the Memorial Hall.
Famous stars and groups perform, there’s rarely trouble there.
The timber framed police HQ is just across the square.

Two football grounds, two cinemas the baths and all the bars.
They’re all within an easy walk no need for many cars.
But wait a minute stop this poem there is something wrong.
The thing that I would like to know, where has Northwich gone?


Bates=Iron foundry.
Parks=Steelworks.
Broadhurst=Large bakery.
Conlowe=Underwear factory.
Dole=Unemployment office.
Covhops=Covered Hopper Wagons.


I suppose you shouldn’t need to explain verses, but in this case, people who have never been to Northwich might be wondering, what is this bloke on about?

A place where local dialect can still be found with ease.
When I first moved “up North” in 1964, a lot of old folk and a few middle aged used to speak in a delightful local accent. Although it can sometimes be still heard today, it is very rare.

Where small ships tugs and boats are made for home and overseas.
There were a couple of shipyards on the River Weaver and they made many vessels for the home market as well as for overseas customers. I am sure that there are some still about with the Northwich makers plate. Now closed down and, I believe, re-developed with trendy dockside housing.

Bates and Parks, iron and steel, salt works on the go.
Bates iron foundry and Parks steelworks. All over the county, and perhaps beyond, you could find cast iron manhole covers and drains with the Bates name on it.
Parks did a lot of fabrication and I remember when I was removing a large weighbridge miles away in Chesterfield, there were old labels on the side saying “Parks of Northwich” as we raised it from the pit. There is no longer any sign of the foundry or the steelworks.
The salt works have closed and I believe that they are just museums now.

Motor carpets, Broadhurst pies, knickers from Conlowe.
Rubber Lines used to make the carpets that are fitted into new cars. I don’t know if they have relocated or closed down, but they are no longer there.
Broadhurst was a very large bakery and employed a large amount of the local girls. If you dated a girl from Northwich in the sixties there would be a good chance that she worked or had worked at Broadhurst. Lovely cakes and pies, lovely girls (mostly) and a good sense of belonging by the staff.
Conlowe was an underwear factory.
All gone now.

There’s lots of work for railway folk, oil and steel and coal.
Train crews, shunters, guards and more, would never fear the dole.
And covhops full of soda ash, trainloads every day.
Massive railway sidings, trains are heading every way.
It was a very busy railway town with two huge railway yards as well as the local goods yard and it was another large local employer. The locomotive depot took trains to many destinations both near and far. All gone now with just a line running through the town. Most of the massive ICI works have gone as well, though a few bits remain under a different name.

It really is a busy town, the bustle and the noise.
Plenty jobs and plenty cash for teenage girls and boys.
Full employment for those that wanted it. If you got fed up of the job you were doing, you could just quit and go to work somewhere else.

When work is done they come to town to meet and congregate.
The old Bridge Cafe, the Coffee Bar, they both stay open late.
Two popular evening places for the local youngsters. One each end of the town, but I never noticed any rivalry. Like little clubs really, meeting friends, chatting, flirting and having a good time while the jukebox played the latest hits. The Bridge Cafe has been demolished, and the Coffee Bar, though still in use, is just a daytime shoppers’ cafe.

And Saturday the Penrhyn Arms is always pretty full.
A drink in there then cross the road, the Memorial Hall.
Famous stars and groups perform, there’s rarely trouble there.
The timber framed police HQ is just across the square.
People used to come from miles around to go to the Memorial Hall on a Saturday night. Most weeks you would get the top stars performing there: The Beatles, Dusty Springfield, the Hollies and most other pop stars of the time. On dance nights, The Penryn Arms would be packed, being the bar just across the road from the hall.
The hall, the bar, and the timber framed HQ are all gone.

Two football grounds, two cinemas the baths and all the bars.
They’re all within an easy walk no need for many cars.
Witton FC closed and moved out of town. Northwich Victoria FC, (despite being the oldest continuous football field in the world) was demolished so someone could build some houses on the prime land.
The brine baths, a very popular swimming pool, was closed and a new pool built outside the town. The new pool having no character at all.
Both cinemas have closed, though there is some talk of building a new one. Most working men’s clubs and bars have gone, along with the bus terminus.

Northwich was a good place to live in the sixties.

There are lots of housing estates, shops, and new warehouses there now though. The town centre is now undergoing major re-development.
I wonder if the centre will become a clone of all the other re-developed towns, or will it retain some of its identity and heritage?

November 2017 update. Called in to Northwich on the way back from Scotland. The decline of the town seems to be over and it is now going forward in its regeneration. It will never return to that lovely, busy industrial town of my youth, but it is moving forward for future generations and it seems as if it will be a commuter dormitory town for Merseyside, Chester and Manchester.

© Copyright 2015 Bruce. (brucef at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Log in to Leave Feedback
Username:
Password:
Not a Member?
Signup right now, for free!
All accounts include:
*Bullet* FREE Email @Writing.Com!
*Bullet* FREE Portfolio Services!
Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2032344