The Lion Salt Works Museum near Northwich in Cheshire is one of the country’s foremost industrial heritage sites. But its story has not been a straightforward one. It took forty-one years after it first came to the attention of Vale Royal Borough Council and twenty-eight years after it closed as a going concern, for the site re-opened to the public on 5th June 2015 as a museum. And so was saved one of the world’s last open-pan, salt-making sites – so historically significant that its status as a Scheduled Ancient Monument equals that of Stonehenge and Hadrian’s Wall.
Since the mid-1980s, committed volunteers had recognised the site’s significance and campaigned for their vision to see it restored. This group formally become the charitable Lion Salt Works Trust in 1993. When funds were secured in 2011, the Trust partnered Cheshire West and Chester Council during the £10 million, four-year restoration of the now multi award-winning Museum.
The Lion Salt Works Museum tells the story of open-pan salt-making through fun, interactive displays, including a ‘subsiding house’ and a sound and light show that recreates the steaming open-pans. It houses a visitor and conference/performance area, café and has an industrially-themed play area. Here is a link to the Lion Salt Works Museum Website and Here to a self-guided YouTube tour.
Through the difficult early years, the Trust received the support of organisations and individuals too numerous to mention, without whose help in fundraising and keeping the project alive, the project may not have succeeded. But there continues to be much to do. The Trust plays a significant role in running the museum; in 2016, the active Trustees obtained funding to restore the Museum’s salt wagon and during 2019 were involved in the restoration of the ‘Nodding Donkey’ pump.
There are exciting years ahead. The Trust’s long-term ambition is to begin making salt again in the traditional manner and we hope that our old friends and new supporters will join us in helping to turn this vision into reality. For more information about joining the Trust, email firstname.lastname@example.org or see what’s going on on our twitter page @LSWTrust