The Struggles of Salt carrying during WWI

Working the Waterways: NarrowBoat, Spring 2022

Teresa Fuller

Teresa Fuller examines the impact of World War I on salt-carrying in the North West

Salt is a mineral that has had a strong association with Cheshire for over 2,000 years, when the Romans established the salt towns of Northwich, Middlewich and Nantwich. It was such a valuable commodity that Roman soldiers received salt as part of their pay, which is why we now use the term salary for our wages. In the 18th century, barges carried salt from Winsford and Northwich along the River Weaver Navigation to Frodsham and then on to Liverpool via the River Mersey. In 1777 the Grand Trunk Canal, which became known as the Trent & Mersey Canal, was completed from Shardlow to Preston Brook. Rather than competing against each other, the two navigation companies collaborated. In 1793 the Weaver Navigation trustees constructed a basin at Anderton on the north bank of the river, with the T&M canal 50ft above. An inclined plane and two chutes were used to tranship goods between the two waterways and, by 1870, there were two more salt chutes and three inclined planes. To this d…

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