England Travel

Heritage Open Days, Cheshire

I am sharing a day-trip for Heritage Open Days in Cheshire. We also had another day-trip to Cumbria, which will follow. Instead of having specific posts, I made this round-up post. We’ve been to 4 different places!

Old Bank Vault - building

The Old Bank Vault is now in the basement of a bakery, Mamars, which looks amazing inside and the smell of the bread was fantastic. I would have bought a loaf if it was the last stop and not the first of the day. We could see the bank vault, which is now used for storage.

Despite its Tudor appearance, it was built in 1900 or around that time. It was a bank for most of its life, Martins Bank, then Barclays, followed by the Co-Operative Bank. The vault and everything else dates back to when the bank was first built.

Vault door

The door was so heavy.

locking mechanism


The lift for hoisting up money was fascinating to see. It’s not high enough for a person to stand in it, but it doesn’t matter as this was used for money only.

lift mechanism

The lift mechanism was fascinating to see too. We could also see a few more rooms in the basement and where the money was deposited by customers overnight at street level, which would go down the chute into the storage area. This was reinforced too and with a heavy door.

Congleton Bath House

Next was Congleton Bath House & Physic Garden. Congleton is a lovely place, well worth a visit. The bath house is a small building with a warming room on top and a plunge bath on the bottom. The Physic Garden is a medicinal garden. They were used to be called physic garden when they first appeared hundreds of years ago. The ones that still survive are now botanical gardens, as is the one in Oxford for example.


The bath house is Georgian. It was used by a family who lived nearby.

upstair room

This was the warming room.

plunge bath

The plunge bath was not heated, as it was used as a cold water bath.

Physic Garden

We had a guided tour of the garden with someone from the Herb Society. She mentioned some interesting things, although I think a more scientific approach would have attracted more people.

Physic Garden

It was well worth visiting. I liked Congleton too, as we stopped for some refreshments.

Open house

One of the most fascinating stop was the next one, the open house on Tollitt Street in Crewe. It was open only on that day and for the first time since 1987 when a cottage was open to the public. The owner is in the process of renovating, hence being able to open it to visitors.

This home is one of a group of cottages built by the Grand Junction Railway in 1845 to house its employees. Despite being built for railway employees, these were beautifully made. I didn’t share pictures from inside because I wanted to respect the privacy of the owners. The rooms were airy and beautifully made, with a porch, and storage area.

Designed by John Cunningham, same person who designed Lime Street Station in Liverpool, these were so revolutionary as a concept that they were written about in newspapers in as far as Edinburgh. They had utilities such as gas, the streets were paved and wide, and the rent was kept low to make it affordable for the employees.


An aspect I loved about these was that the windows are sliding left to right instead of up and down. It was similar to how the railway windows operate, where they were placing the mail bags (while the train was moving). Such an interesting feature and that will always be preserved, as the cottages are listed buildings.


I got a book from them, with a small donation. It’s a 1914 book on the railways. I’m not particularly keen on the subject, but it was one of those old books with heavy cover and (most likely) leather binding.

 Crewe Heritage Center

Crewe Heritage Centre was not a stop we planned, but we changed our minds when we were in Crewe. We had another thing planned, that we postponed. In the Heritage Centre it was very busy, so I didn’t take any pictures inside.


While on the viewing platform a train went by and the children were ecstatic that the driver blew the horn to greet them.

Train ride

We had a miniature train ride. These steam locomotives are working perfectly. I was surprised to see that a locomotive this small can pull quite a few benches, filled with people.

Train ride


Such a lovely experience. I highly recommend going on a special day, when these are working, because they are fun. The children were also lovely to see, all excited about the rides.

 Heritage centre

We could also see the levers and other stuff used for junctions and so on. Over 100 of them. There were some maps too, but it looked very complicated.


Lastly we boarded an ICE locomotive to see how it looks inside.


We had a lovely time on this first day of Heritage Open Days.

6 Comment

  1. What a wonderful opportunity to experience so many diverse and interesting sights on open day. If we had something like that, I would jump right in!

  2. It’s been 40+ years, but the vault/door looks similar. I’m sure they’re all totally electronic now, with timers, but definitely the same premise. I use to go in one back in the day when municipal bonds had actual coupons on them that had to be clipped twice a year to be presented for payment. I worked in the “Trusts & Estates” section of a bank.
    Kelly recently posted…Instagram photos #33My Profile

    1. I searched online because I didn’t think of the modernisations that should have been made, with electronic surveillance and timers and so on. The last bank closed in early 2000s, so maybe this is why they closed this branch, as it would have needed costly improvements and the place is huge.
      This bakery will move next month to a smaller location, so it was really an unique opportunity to see the vaults.

  3. You saw so many lovely and interesting things. That mini train looks like fun. I’d almost be afraid it would tump over if too many folks leaned to one side! I worked in a bank for awhile and always enjoyed getting to go inside the vault.
    Kelly recently posted…Instagram photos #33My Profile

    1. The train was sturdy, no chances of toppling over. I loved it.
      Is the vault similar to banks that are operating today? It was a very unusual site to visit. This is why I’m spending hours each year searching on their website for these unusual places that are within driving distance.

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