The Black Hole Of Winsford

In the latest video to be added to our YouTube channel David Nellist tells the story of how one local Primitive Methodist preacher led the fight to tackle the massive pollution problem blighting the small Cheshire town of Winsford at the start of the last century. Hard as it is to credit today, back then toxic black clouds stood between Winsford and the sunlight. With no running water or sewage system living conditions were miserable and unhealthy. One visitor described the town as a “vile place, akin to the black hole of Calcutta”. The cause? Hundreds of chimneys belching out clouds of smoke from the open pan salt making process heated by the nation’s dirtiest coal.

David Nellist is a retired Operations Director with Nestlé UK and is now the Chair of the Winsford History Society. A trustee of the Middlewich Heritage Trust and member of Nantwich Museum’s research group, David is involved in a number of local history projects.

This talk was given on 9th March 2024.

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Winsford’s Inspector of Nuisances: the Development of a “Vile Town’s” Infrastructure, 1890-1930