Historical Background Notes

Lion Salt Works

photo of salting panphoto of works before restoration
The area around mid-Cheshire has been producing salt for over 2000 years. Initially this was done using brine, but production was moved to mining the rock-salt. When the mines were exhausted, production returned to the use of brine. The natural brine lakes underground were tapped and the brine pumped out into salting pans which were heated by large furnaces underneath. The salt crystals were raked off, dried and cut into blocks for sale.

The Lion Salt Works  at Northwich was built by the Thompson family in 1894 and its predecessor, the Alliance Salt Works, close-by was sold. After nearly 100 years, production came to and end in 1986, its demise attributable to the Nigerian Civil War which lost them a valuable outlet.

Heritage Lottery Fund enabled a large restoration project in 2012. The museum offers an insite into the history and methods of salt production in the area, showing various stages of the decay and restoration of this fascinating site - the last remaining salt works in Northwich.

The left photo is of a salting pan. The right photo (courtesy the Lion Salt Works website ) shows the works prior to restoration.

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