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.

Monday, 3 December 2012

November 2012 - Repairing the Stove Houses and Treating the Brine Shaft

The early winter mornings sees red sunrises to the east over the Lostock Gralam Chemical Works.

The repair of the stove house walls
The walls of the stove houses are very narrow, normally two bricks thick. They are fragile where the salt has damaged and removed the mortar. In places, the Thompson’s put rigid steel joists into the wall to reinforce them.

Not all the walls will be dismantled during the restoration. Instead small parts will be taken down, repaired and rebuilt brick by brick.

Elsewhere the walls have bulged with the weight of ash and cinder retained behind them in the stove houses. The ash and cinder was used to build up the level of the flues internally to the stove house.

Fixing Spiro-ties

These walls are retained using spiro-ties; strips of spiral metal designed to strengthen the individual courses of the brick-work. Buttresses will be built to strengthen the wall.

Clearing the collapsed tunnel
The collapsed tunnel
Between the Link Block and the Packing Area were the collapsed remains of a tunnel. This originally ran from the canal to the Red Lion Hotel and dates to the earliest period of the Thompson’s ownership of the site in the 1890s.

An interesting find
At some point the tunnel was covered over with metal sheets. These had decayed and the remains collapsed into the tunnels. This had to be cleared in order to allow safe access to the area around the base of the chimney in the packing area.

Treating the brine shaft
The former brine shaft originally dug in 1894 must be treated in order to prevent water infiltrating the layers of salt below the ground. The area around the brine shaft has been cleared to allow the large drilling rig to be brought in. This involves clearing the old oil tank bases built in the 1970s.

Clearing the 1970s oil tank

Fallen brine pipes were removed to storage before being placed back once work was finished.

The drilling rig sits on two large rigid steel joists.

Laying out the support for the drilling rig
 The process involves drilling down to the salt layer 45m below. 

Drilling the brine shaft

A mixture of salt water, cement and ash is pumped into the drilled hole and this hardens and seals the brine shaft preventing further water infiltration.

European Visitors – Manage +

At the end of the month one of our key partners in the project visited site.

Funding from the manage+ project gives the Lion Salt Works a european dimension. Manage+ http://www.manageplus.eu/en/manageplus/about-manage.html aims to develop and implement innovative, sustainable and cost-effective models for the management and operation of regenerated areas. Manage+ includes five pilot sites formerly used for industry or military purposes in four European countries (UK, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany) which are being converted into business parks, greenbelt recreation areas and tourist destinations. The 10th partner meeting was held in Chester from 28th to 30th November with delegates from all partner countries taking part in workshops and site visits.

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