IN our look at local pubs and their history it would be unfair to disregard some that are now closed, so today I’ll feature the Old Navigation & Railway.

Leaving the bar of his new pub for a break Joseph Sant wiped his hands on his stained apron and walked to the door. It was 1841 and he was the first landlord of The Navigation & Railway.

The pub stood in New Road in the township of Over and as he opened the door Joe was enveloped in noxious smoke and fumes that poured from the brick chimneys of the many small salt workings that surrounded the pub.

Behind it Winsford and Over station on what is now the Whitegate Way. The pub had direct access to the station behind it and was in fact owned by The Cheshire Lines Committee.

From 1928 to 1934 the licensee was John Brittleton who played for Winsford Juniors, Winsford Celtic, Winsford United, Stockport County, Sheffield Wednesday, Stoke City and England!

In 1970 Brian & Ellie Tomlinson took over, but by then it was known simply as the Navigation.

The railway had gone and so had most of the salt works. Over the years the subsidence caused by the brine pumping had turned the once flat floors into slopes and humps and the river was still there but no one called it a navigation any more. As the pub was in the new Vale Royal District the name was changed to the Vale Royal.

In 1987, Brian and Ellie left. The subsidence and the crooked floors were becoming a problem. Dereliction set in and in 1989, the building was demolished.

In 1990 a new pub was built on the now stabilised site. The old customers had gone and the business was not there. Many facelifts were tried both as a pub and a nightclub called Jax and then The Klub with varying degrees of success until eventually it was sold in 2003. It was given the name The Liquid Lounge and was attractively refurbished and it struggled on for a few years before it was left derelict.