'Industrial Heritage 3' visits JCB's World Headquarters at Rocester, 2nd March 2016
20 members of Chester U3A's Industrial Heritage 3 Group enjoyed an inspiring visit to JCB's World Headquarters at Rocester (near Uttoxeter) on 2nd March. The factory tour began with a short presentation on JCB's global manufacturing facilities and products. We then spent some time in the 'Story of JCB' Exhibition Hall, where our excellent guides led us through the story of JCB from its formation in the 1940s its position today as one of the world's leading construction and agricultural machinery manufacturers. We then moved on to the assembly line of the world famous Backhoe Loader machine , where we saw how the machine is built from the delivery of the sheet steel to the finished product! We finished with an excellent lunch in JCB's Hospitality Suite. Our thanks are due to JCB's staff who managed the visit so professionally and looked after us so well.
'Industrial Heritage 1 Group' visits Hanson's limestone quarry and cement plant, 19th February 2016
Industrial Heritage 1 visited Hanson Cement on February 19th and saw the whole process from quarrying limestone at the Cefn Mawr quarry near Loggerheads to the finished cement being packed in bags at Hanson's Padeswood cement plant. Blasting at Cefn Mawr takes place twice a week. When the siren goes off, the local peregrine falcon knows to fly away until the blasting has finished! Crushers then reduce the size of rock before it is loaded onto lorries, weighed and transported 7 miles to the cement works at Padeswood, where it is crushed further using steel balls in a revolving drum. It is then blended with sand and other chemicals, and fired in a rotating kiln to produce cement. The photo shows most of the group inside the bucket of one of the giant diggers used at the quarry.
Industrial Heritage Group learns about recycling and waste disposal, 1st April 2015
The Kier Group was appointed by CWaC Council in April 2012 to deliver a new recycling and waste collection service to the borough's residents. Industrial Heritage 3 members visited the Kier Recycling Centre at Winsford on 1st April 2015, where they were given an illuminating presentation on what happens to the waste that is collected every week from outside our houses. They learnt that 57.5% of our household waste was sent for re-use, recycling or composting in 2013/14, a performance that puts CWaC into a creditable 17th position (out of 300) in the recycling performance table for local authorities in England. CWaC also topped Eunomias 2012/13 carbon league table by saving the highest amount of CO2 emissions of all disposal authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Following the Winsford visit, group members headed for FCC's Gowy Landfill Site, where the site manager provided a fascinating insight to the fate of our household waste that can't be recycled. Many thanks to our hosts at Kier's Recycling Centre and the Gowy Landfill Site, and, of course, to Jane Lewis who arranged the visits.
Visit by the Industrial Heritage Group to Astley Green Colliery Museum, Friday 23rd September 2011
We had an excellent guided tour of the site which is dominated by the headgear. It is the last surviving colliery of the South Lancashire Coalfield and was saved because of the unique steam winding engine. The pit opened in 1908 and reached a depth of ½mile. The bitumen coal was transported via the nearby Bridgewater Canal. The mine closed in 1970. We handled the equipment that the miners carried which, in total, was very heavy and we saw the large machinery and colliery locomotives.These are just the highlights of a most interesting visit. (Report by Margaret Hodson, group co-ordinator.)
Photos taken by Margaret Hodson. Click on a thumbnail to get a bigger image.
Industrial Heritage Group visits Alderley Edge, 20th May 2011
On Friday 20th May 2011 the Industrial Heritage Group travelled to Alderley Edge. Before lunch, the Group enjoyed a walk (ably led by Judy Wilson) visiting the surface features of the copper mining activities carried out there since Roman times. In the afternoon, the Group went on to Nether Alderley Mill where they were given a fascinating guided tour by two members of the 15th century Mill's National Trust management team. Some of the machinery of the Mill driven by three waterwheels running in series was demonstrated. The Mill is to be closed temporarily to the public shortly to allow much needed renovation work to be carried out, and it is expected to be reopened by the end of the year.
Several members of the Group will be returning to Alderley Edge in September for an underground tour of sections of the copper mines, to be led by members of the Derbyshire Caving Club who maintain the mines.
Industrial Heritage Group visits Appleby's Cheese, 20 August 2010
On 20th August, members of the Industrial Heritage group travelled to Hawkstone to visit Appleby's Cheese. They are the last remaining producer of traditional farmhouse Cheshire cheese and use milk from their own cows and granny's recipe. The enthusiastic Appleby family showed us all stages of the process, from the milking parlour right through to sampling the final product - a far cry from the usual bland mass-produced Cheshire. The smell in the storage room where the cheeses are ripened for several weeks was particularly memorable.
In the afternoon we visited Whitchurch Heritage Centre, where an ex-employee of the local clock-making company of JB Joyce gave us a talk about the history of the firm, which was established in 1690 and is the oldest maker of tower clocks in the world. A very interesting and enjoyable day was then rounded off with a visit to a nice, old-fashioned tea shop!
Industrial Heritage Group visits Cheddleton and the Caldon Canal, 16 July 2010
On 16 July the Industrial Heritage Group enjoyed a visit to the Flint Mill at Cheddleton and industrial heritage sites at Froghall and Consall Forge on the beautiful Caldon Canal in Staffordshire. Click here for a report on the visit and a few photos.
Visit to Llangynog, 21 May 2010
The Group visited Llangynog (Montgomeryshire) to investigate some heritage sites from the lead mining industry in the area. The visit, in wonderful sunny weather and in a beautiful and spectacular mountain landscape not previously visited by most of us, was led by Peter Griffin.
Visit to Mersey Tunnels Installations, 21 November 2009
On 21 November the Industrial Heritage Group visited the Mersey Tunnels Installations from the company's Art Deco headquarters building at Pier Head, Liverpool. After a video introduction, the Group was taken first to the Control Centre for the two Mersey Tunnels and then descended steep staircases to view the underground facilities. The enormous fans used to control the air flow through the Queensway Tunnel were demonstrated. The Group was able to walk along below the road deck to visit the new Emergency Refuges, and then had the unique opportunity to emerge at road deck level to get the maintenance engineers' view of passing traffic!
Visit to the Anson Engine Museum, 21 September 2007
Click here for photos taken during the visit.
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