Continuing with the story of the Brunner family, a look at one of the sons of John Tomlinson Brunner who, together with Ludwig Mond, founded the massive conglomerate Brunner Mond in 1873 together with Winnington Old Hall set on the grounds of the planned Winnington Works.

In 1881 it became a public company and went from strength to strength. Sir John Tomlinson Brunner was the great great grandfather of the current Katherine Duchess of Kent.

On the death of Sir John Tomlinson Brunner, his son, John Fowler Leece Brunner, assumed the Baronetcy that had been awarded to his father. Another son, Harold Roscoe Brunner, took the company's helm as managing director.

Over the following years, the company went onwards and upwards, becoming the most significant chemical works in the world through expansion and the acquisition of other companies; Winnington Works was expanded by the building of a second Northwich works, Wallerscote, in 1933, and then in several other local, and worldwide locations.

Roscoe Brunner lived with his family at Winnington Old Hall, The Woodlands at Hartford and Belmont Hall at Great Budworth. In 1898 he married a published author by the name of Ethel Houston, who wrote under the name Ethel Houston Brunner using her maiden name.

Knutsford Guardian: Roscoe and Ethel BrunnerRoscoe and Ethel Brunner

Their domestic life consisted of two sons, Anthony and Patrick, and a daughter Shelagh. Brunner Mond Ltd continued to grow, expanding into munitions and other products.

During WWI, they were a major manufacturer of armaments and explosives, resulting in a letter of thanks from the Minister of Munitions at the war's end. Roscoe attended university and was called to the bar as a barrister but did not serve. 

Shelagh Brunner married Prince Ferdinand de Lichtenstein in 1925 in what was described as the most important wedding of the year. It was called The Golden Wedding and was described as the most luxurious wedding in the annals of English Society.

The wedding took place in the Brompton Oratory in London with the bridegroom's sister, Princess Gabriel de Lichtenstein, as bridesmaid and the bride’s father Roscoe giving her away.

As the prince was marrying below his class, the marriage was morganatic, meaning that the couple's children could not inherit royal titles. Shelagh, however, became Princess Shelagh of Lichtenstein.

When they went on their honeymoon, her mother, Ethel, went house hunting on their behalf, purchasing a house called  Green Cottage at Roehampton.

In 1925 Roscoe asked to stand down as managing director of Brunner Mond due to ill health. The following year, the company was negotiating to be amalgamated into the new company Imperial Chemical Industries with three others.

Knutsford Guardian: Roscoe BrunnerRoscoe Brunner

Nobel Explosives, the United Alkali Company and the British Dyestuffs Corporation. The new company produced chemicals, explosives, fertilizers’, insecticides, dyestuffs, non-ferrous metals and paints.

Sometime later, Roscoe and Ethel Brunner, still in Belmont Hall, bought a grand mansion in Roehampton Court, near Green Cottage.

The Prince and Princess of Lichtenstein had gone to Europe, and the Brunners were staying at Green Cottage whilst their new property was being upgraded. Roscoe Brunner was not offered a board position on the new ICI, and he was pretty happy with that.

His wife Ethel was not, and against his will, she petitioned for him to have a senior position, even going to the newspapers and lobbying high-profile contacts.

At 7pm on Thursday, November 4, 1926, Roscoe and his wife were at Green Cottage and planning on going out for the evening.

The chauffeur arrived but had to wait for some time. Mrs Atwell, the cook, became concerned when they took so long and went to their room. There she was met by a horrific sight.

Mrs Brunner had been shot under her right ear and fallen to the floor. Roscoe Brunner had fallen across her body and had a bullet hole in his forehead.

The revolver was still in his hand, and both were dead. The result of the later inquest was that Roscoe Brunner had shot his wife and then himself. There were conspiracy theories at the time, but the facts spoke for themselves.

As for the ICI, it became extremely successful with factories across Britain and worldwide, its own ships, road transport and light railway. The merger which created ICI housed mainly in Mid Cheshire the powerful Alkali Division.

After WWII, council estates were built across Mid Cheshire to accommodate the incoming workers to the ICI from the bombed cities and towns.

The original Winnington site with its laboratories was the location for the accidental discovery of polythene in 1933.

The Winnington Works was sold to the new company Brunner Mond in 1991 but was sold to the Indian Company Tata in 1996.

It closed in February 2014. What was once a significant part of Mid Cheshire has now gone.