In the middle of the 1800s, both sides of the River Weaver had numerous salt workings.

Some of these were small family affairs; others, like the Birkenhead works, were larger and more professional undertakings.

On the Wharton side, the LNWR provided several short branch lines into these larger works along what is now Wharton Common to enable the salt wagons to reach the West Coast Main Line.

In 1882 the branch line leading to the Liverpool Works had an additional spur laid and was extended to a new station called Over and Wharton.

This enabled passengers to be carried as well as salt.

Passengers, however, would only travel to the WCML stations such as Hartford, where they changed for longer journeys.

Apart from, that is, for special trains. The station closed to passengers in 1947, remaining open for salt loading until March 1991.



Laterally salt that had been conveyed to the station from the Winsford Salt mine by trucks.

A few years after the station opened, a beerhouse was built at the top of Wharton Hill, and it became a full public house when Chester’s Brewery purchased it in 1891.

Because the new railway station was over the road, the pub was called ‘The North Western’.

In those days, there were many pubs and beerhouses in Winsford, Over and Wharton, but there was only one other on Wharton Road. That was the Queen’s Head at number three. This establishment had opened in 1857 and closed with many others in 1910.

This was when the owners and licensees were paid off in what became a general cull of the smaller licensed premises.

Not from Top House side but a similar view.

Not from Top House side but a similar view.

The North Western retained its licence and does so to this day.

The view from the pub down Winsford Hill, as Wharton Hill was known then, to the Market Place was very much different then than now.

A customer standing in the side door on the gable end with a pint of best Chester’s ale in his hand had a good view down into ‘Dark Town’.

He would be able to see around the front of the first house in a row of terraced houses that stood slightly back from the road and stretched down towards the Hill Street junction.

There was a narrow un-named road between the pub and these houses that later became Kingsway.

This road led to the Winsford football stadium, built at about the same time as the railway station and given the same name.

The name was later changed to The Barton Stadium as a tribute to Councillor Reg Barton when he was the chairman.

Wharton to Winsford

Wharton to Winsford

This vista was spread out like a carpet at the foot of The North Western, a rather dirty carpet, but a carpet anyway.

The road could be seen passing the Red Lion across the town bridge and up the other side through the myriad of terraced houses and shops.

In 1983 the view from the gable end down the hill could still be viewed when standing on the step, but entry by that door was impossible.

It had been bricked up in an earlier facelift.

The view had also entirely changed since the early days.

Gone were the salt works and the smog; the black supporting wall that had been later added was still there, but the town bridge was now part of a huge roundabout.