LIKE many other vast expanses of water in this beautiful part of mid Cheshire, it is unlikely that Pickmere Lake was caused by salt mining, it will be because of Ice Age glacial movement.

Northwich Guardian:

Pickmere Lake now

What remains, however, is a lake that, over the years, has provided a well-known destination for tourism.

It was first mentioned at the beginning of the 10th century, the lake or mere that is, it took a few more years for the village to be mentioned as Pikemere.

The name comes from Hugh de Pikemere, who was awarded lands in the area by King Edward I for his help in fighting the Welsh and building Beaumaris castle.

Northwich Guardian:

Pickmere Lake circa 1920s

Over the years, tourists and day-trippers came from the cities to enjoy the lake and its surroundings.

Northwich Guardian:

Another view from the lake

It became even more popular when in 1925, Silcock’s travelling fair arrived. It was soon replaced with a permanent fairground, which in turn led to power and rowing boats for hire, trips around the lake on a pleasure steamer, Princess Irene, and other lakeside attractions.

Northwich Guardian:

Pleasure steamer Princess Irene

Over the following years, the lake retained its popularity and made a first-class day trip from across mid Cheshire and further afield.

There are not many people of a certain age in the area who never sampled the delights that the lake had to offer for all ages.

Northwich Guardian:

Pickmere fair in the late 1920s

However, all good things come to an end and in 1990 the Cheetham family, who had operated the attraction through the years retired.

The company that took it over allowed it to fall into disrepair and the cruise boat Princess Irene was scuttled in the middle of the lake.

In 1997 they went into receivership.

Northwich Guardian:

Mr Cheetham owner of the fair

The pleasure grounds were removed, and new houses took some of the northern parts of the land.

As for the south side, that was left as a beautiful open space.

The village itself also saw changes, like everywhere else; new houses were built while at the same time the post office and village store, Village Inn and garage were closed.

Pickmere, however, remains a pretty lakeside village with an active parish council and a population of around 540. There is a busy Methodist church covering Pickmere and Wincham.

Northwich Guardian:

The lake now

The village is home to one of the six linked observing stations, The ‘Jodrell Bank MERLIN’, (For those interested it stands for Multi-Element Radio Linked Interferometer Network) a small radio telescope, part of the Jodrell Bank network.

The old days of Pickmere lakeside amusements so well enjoyed by many have gone but in their place is a green and pleasant open space attractive to walkers, and country lovers.

Northwich Guardian:

Pickmere lakeside amusements