A PHOTOGRAPHY exhibition exploring the 'changing face of Northwich' over the past 100 years, will begin this month.

From July 23 to September 29, the exhibition will be held at Northwich’s Lion Salt Works museum called ‘Northwich: Then and Now’.

It features archive photos alongside up-to-date photographs taken by fine art photographer, Derek Randall.

The Northwich Townscape Heritage Project, which focuses on funding improvements to some of the town’s unique traditional timber-frames as well as promoting its heritage and history, is funding the exhibition.

Northwich is one of Cheshire’s distinctive ‘salt’ towns. Historically, its unique and timber-framed buildings were designed to overcome subsidence caused by mining and open-pan salt making, by being able to be ‘jacked up’ straight when underground movement caused the buildings to move.

Northwich Guardian:

Witton Street in the 1920s

Photographer, Derek Randall, who lives in Northwich, said: “Northwich is really fortunate to have a fantastic collection of archive photography that provides a window back through over a century of Northwich’s town's history.

“Working on this project I was amazed to see the pace of change in the architecture of Northwich. From the legacy as a salt town, through its modernisation in the 20th Century, into yet another incarnation in the 21st Century. Creating the present day images, I was struck by the unique balance of heritage and modernity, and the mix of small and vast, in the architecture. The pace of change in the town is fascinating and the process of transition currently taking place makes now a great time to document the town again."

The historic photos were sourced from Cheshire archives based at Weaver Hall Museum and Workhouse in Northwich and included pictures from the Birtles photography collection. This collection consists of 262 pictures taken by Thomas Birtles, who photographed the town between 1891 and 1892.

Northwich Guardian:

The Bull Ring in 1901

His work coincided with a ‘turning point’ in the town’s history as timber-framed buildings were constructed in the town to reduce the damage to buildings from subsidence. The Birtles collection has been recently digitised by Northwich Townscape Heritage, Chester Archives and Weaver Hall Museum to preserve this important collection.

READ>Work starts on Winnington Village's town centre cycle and pedestrian link

Cllr Louise Gittins, leader of the council and cabinet member for wellbeing at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “One of Cheshire’s salt towns, Northwich is defined by the salt that has been extracted for centuries from the salt beds beneath it either through the process of open-pan salt making or mining. Salt even had an impact on the design of its unique buildings. It is appropriate that the Lion Salt Works Museum, the last open-pan salt-making site of its kind in Britain – and one of only four in the world - is hosting this fascinating exhibition. I hope everyone enjoys visiting this ‘visual journey’ through history.”

Admission is subject to normal admission prices and parking is free. For more information call 01606 275066 or visit westcheshiremuseums.co.uk