This website is now an archive of the restoration and should only be used as a resource. Please visit the Lion Salt Works website for the most up-to-date information.

Welcome to the Lion Salt Works blog

The Lion Salt Works is a historic brine salt making site that is being restored and transformed into a unique heritage attraction. Led by Cheshire West and Chester Council, this £8million project will see the site reborn as a fascinating destination for tourists, day visitors and families and a valued resource for local communities, businesses and heritage interest groups.

Located in the village of Marston, close to the town of Northwich, the site lies adjacent to the Trent and Mersey Canal and is close to the historic Anderton Boat Lift. A substantial part of the site is a Scheduled Monument.

Restoration work has now started on the site, with an expected opening in spring 2015. The Lion Salt Works is currently closed to the public.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

September 2012 - Completing the Scaffold

The scaffold is complete…

Completing the scaffold over the summer months was a long and difficult process given the condition of the buildings. Seven buildings in total within the historic core had to be propped: both Pan Houses 3 and 4, Stove Houses 2, 3 and 4, the Link Block and the Packing Area.

The scaffold of each historic building had to be individually designed in order to take the unique weights and stresses. The scaffold secures the walls and floors and takes the weight from existing structure of cast iron columns, iron girders, wooden posts and beams. The scaffold not only props the building but allows access to the upper working areas of the site: the roofs, the roof beams and the upper floors. Without the scaffold the working environment would be too dangerous.

With the scaffold in place the future of the building is secure and many of the initial restoration tasks can now be undertaken.

Meet the team

The enabling work that stabilised the building was undertaken by Wates Construction and they have now been contracted to undertake the main restoration work. They will be ably assisted by William Anelay who undertook the enabling works in 2009 that saw the dismantling of many of the partially collapsed structures.

The restoration process

In order to secure the structural condition of the buildings the internal and walls of the building will be entirely rebuilt. In places these had partly collapsed as they had been built on metal plates and girders that had disintegrated due to the corrosive effects of salt reacting with the metal.

In addition external walls will be dismantled and rebuilt on more secure foundations.

This will involve brick by brick dismantling of the wall and excavation down to foundation level before rebuilding.

Grouting the Brine Shaft and Boreholes

The former brine shaft that allowed brine to be extracted from the brine streams flowing beneath the site has to be grouted in order to make it safe. Although the location of the brine shaft was known from historic maps and plans it was necessary to locate it on the ground.

The Heritage Open Day 2012

As part of Cheshire’s Heritage Open Days 2012 the Lion Salt Works was one of a number of sites open across the region on the weekend of the 9th, 10th and 11th of September.

Visitors were shown round the site and given talks by Chris Hewitson, the Project Archaeologist and Bernhard Talbot, the site manager for Wates Construction.

Visitors were able to walk around the site and a museum display was located in the ground floor of the Red Lion Inn.

The open day was an opportunity for people to visit the site but also for people to come and share their memories of the works. We had visitors who had worked on the site, who remembered the site when they were children and those who had lived in the local area including the Salt Barge pub across the street. We hope to capture these memories as part of the Salt Memories – Oral History Project.