Barons Quay & The Northwich Carrying Company (1883-1932)

Barons QuayThe Northwich Carrying Company Ltd operated from the Barons Quay area in Northwich.

In 2009 The Mid Cheshire Chronicle published an article by Stuart Hogg, President, Northwich and District Heritage Society.

The company was  formed in 1883 by a local slate merchant Thomas Moore (1839-98) to carry goods between Northwich and Liverpool.

Thomas Moore (1873-) joined the business and in 1906 George Henry Brock (1856-) joined him as co-director.

The company was used to carry salt and chemicals for many small businesses and shopkeepers as well as by Brunner Mond after its formation in 1874.

An early shareholder was W J Yarwood, who built and repaired a number of their vessels.

William James Yarwood (1852-1926) learned his blacksmith trade at the local Leftwich firm of W E Bates & Son before he became an engineer with The Weaver Navigation and was associated with the Anderton Boat Lift in 1875. When John Thompson, succeeded by John Woodcock, ceased building and repairing weaver flats at the Northwich 'Dock' in 1896 W J Yardwood took over. Big customers, amongst many others, were Brunner Mond, Lever Brothers and The Northwich Carrying Company. W J had four sons including William Douglas Yarwood (1892-1990) who was my next door neighbour at Greenbank for 42 years. A splendid fellow!

 From 1920 the company, W J Yarwood & Sons, built barges & coasters and gave them local names like Hatchmere, Pickmere and Redesmere. These fine vessels traded along the Weaver, Mersey & the west coast. In 1934 the company made the headlines when they undertook the construction of an aircraft supply vessel, 'Aquarius', under the supervision of Aircraftman Shaw, aka 'Lawrence of Arabia' ... 

In 1893 Thomas Moore was embroiled in an inevitable rates war with the Weaver Navigation. An interesting point raised in the cross examination concerned the requirement of the Navigation to support for the local council which raised rates and costs for the dependent businesses.

The following year The Northwich Carrying Company suggested the differences had been satisfied. The examination of Thomas Moore revealed much about the business of The Northwich Carrying Company. The Report from the Joint Select Committee of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, on Canal Rates, Tolls, and Charges Provisional Order Bills; together with the proceedings of the committee, minutes of evidence, and index. House of Commons Parliamentary Papers. Publication Year 1894 -

'Mr THOMAS MOORE, is called in, and, having been sworn, is Examined, as follows: Mr Whitehead: You are a Coal, Lime, Slate, and General Builders Merchant at Northwich? — I am. And you are also General Manager of the Northwich Carrying Company, Limited? — I am. When was that company formed? — About 11 years ago. Their premises are situated in Northwich, are they not? — Yes. Which way does the traffic of that company pass along the Weaver Navigation ? — Entirely between Northwich and Liverpool along the Weaver? — From Northwich and Liverpool down the river. What articles do you send along that route? — All descriptions of articles, everything from Class A to Class 5, and a large proportion of that is the chemicals ... '

In 1898 at the annual meeting of the Navigation the great loss on the death of Thomas Moore (1839-98) was noted.

In 1900 the capital of The Northwich Carrying Company was reduced, no doubt reflecting operational difficulties.

The 1910 OS Map of Northwich shows the Baron's Quay site with the 'mooring posts' ...

In 1914 The Chester Chronicle reported on the funeral of Mrs G H Brock and gave a good indication of the esteem in which the Moore & Brock famlies were held ...

In 1915 The Northwich Carrying Company experienced one of those unforeseen tragedies with the loss of the steamer 'Alice Capper' in a collision on The Mersey ...

In 1920 The Penmaenmawr and Welsh Granite Company were planning a take over of The Northwich Carrying Company.

Eventually river transport became less economically viable due to the challenge from road and rail and the company was wound up in 1932. The Northwich Carrying Company name was sold for £5.

Moore & Brock's considerable premises were also used to house their builder's merchant business. In 1910 Kelly's Directory of Cheshire carried a substantial advert for the business.

Following the discovery in the early 1990s that most land in the area was liable to subside the value of the site was drastically reduced and Moore & Brock ceased trading.

In 2008 Dave Adams took a superb photo of the listed Moore & Brock building after the fire.

Northwich StabilisationNorthwich was underlain by numerous abandoned salt workings and the old Barons Quay mine and three others, Witton Bank, Neumann's and Penny's Lane mines were causing concern because of potential subsidence. They have since been stabilised as part of the English Partnerships Land Stabilisation project. In 2004 Vale Royal Borough Council was awarded £28.9 million to rectify the problem. It was the largest project of its kind in the world, as 850,000 m3 of void was filled at depths of 90m below ground.  The project involved removing millions of litres of brine from the four mines and replacing it with a mixture of pulverised fuel ash (PFA), cement and salt. The PFA arrived by rail; the cement and salt by road. The grout was mixed at Brunner Mond, Winnington from where it was pumped via a pipeline into the mines through a series of boreholes.

The removed brine was pumped in the opposite direction to Winnington and then taken by train to British Salt in Middlewich.

                                                                                                                                 Northwich Chronicle

The large four-storey Moore & Brock warehouse was burnt down quite recently in mysterious, some say suspicious, circumstances. The Chester Chronicle reported on the fire on 3rd MAY 2006.

The listed building at Baron's Quay, formerly owned by builders' merchant Moore & Brock, was gutted after suspected arsonists torched the building at around 3.25am yesterday.
The derelict storage building had been earmarked to be incorporated into the Northwich Vision's planned multi-million-pound cultural complex.
And Northwich and District Heritage Society member John Tackley says he is furious that Vale Royal Borough Council failed to protect the building after he warned several times about vandalism, a charge council chiefs have dismissed.
Mr Tackley said: 'I am very upset and cross about this. I have been saying to the council for months that it should be protected but I got absolutely no interest from it whatsoever.
'The local authority has a duty to protect it. I told the council how easy it was to access the building - as a 75-year-old I managed to get inside.
'To kids, the building means nothing, but it is the last remaining warehouse on the river and could have been the centrepiece for the Vision.'
A council spokeswoman said the site was accessed daily by Wrekin Construction, which is stabilising the salt mines, and is secured when not in use.
She said: 'The workers are vigilant and ensure the gates are locked and the site is secure every evening. There is a fence around the compound and signs which warn people of the dangers of the buildings - all those things equal protection.'
Northwich fire station watch manager Alan Jones said four fire crews from Northwich and Winsford were called to the timber-framed building, most of which was destroyed by the blaze.
He said: 'The fire was very severe and upon arrival the flames were going very well through the roof but we managed to stop it spreading. There is a history of buildings on this site being vandalised but this building has not been alight before. Now it has been destroyed.'
A fire service spokesman said arson was suspected.
It is not yet clear what impact the blaze would have on plans for the cultural complex, which would include a state-of-the-art library, a theatre, an all-new Salt Museum, a replacement for Northwich Memorial Hall and tourist information centre, and would have been the focus for activity day and night.


Any corrections and additional information gratefully received contact john p birchall

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