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Specifiers Journal 2016

Specifiers Journal 2016

Lion Salt Works,

Lion Salt Works, Northwich, Cheshire Donald Insall Associates The Lion Salt Works is the last remnant of an industry stretching back two millennia and is a Scheduled Monument. The pan houses and stove houses were greatly decayed through exposure to salt and subsidence and many were in an advanced state of collapse. A feasibility study was carried out and a Conservation Plan was prepared and developed with innovative proposals for the reuse of the site, which were awarded £5M HLF funding. The restoration began on the delicate industrial buildings and site regeneration allowing its transformation into a visitor attraction and salt museum. A new visitor centre was also provided as part of the project. Salt-making in Cheshire dates back over 2000 years, when the salt towns of Cheshire were first established by the Romans. Originally salt was extracted from the ground by a series of natural brine pits. In the 17th century the first of a series of mines were begun in the Northwich region but were exhausted around 1850. The exhaustion of the mined rock salt supplies resulted in a change to wild brine pumping. The brine was pumped out of the ground to supply the salt works based at the surface. By the late-19th century brine shafts and traditional open pan salt works dominated the area around Northwich, many controlled by the monopolistic Salt Union. In 1856 John Thompson Senior (1790- 1867) and John Thompson Junior (1821-1899) constructed the Alliance Salt Works on the eastern side of the Lion Salt Works site. The Thompson family sold the Alliance Salt Works to the Salt Union and it closed around 1900. In 1894, Henry Ingram Thompson, constructed a new salt works that became known as the ‘Lion Salt Works’. The new company quickly built a series of pan and stove houses. The salt works ran on the site for almost 100 years until the eventual closure of the works in June 1986. 70 SPECIFIERS JOURNAL

SPECIFIERS JOURNAL 71

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