Welcome

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.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

How To…Build an Open Pan Salt Works


What makes up the buildings of an open pan salt works?

What does each building do?

In this part I will try to explain how an open pan salt works … well works!
This page is being constructed in parallel with the site restoration so if you can’t find a link it probably has not been written yet. Hold tight it will be on its way.

Brine Extraction

In order to make salt you need the raw product and this was extracted from the ground by a brine shaft or bore hole. The salt would be raised from the ground by means of a pump. But often the pressure of the underground stream would be strong enough to lift the brine from the ground alone.

On the site at the Lion Salt Works we have a number of buildings associated with Brine Extraction.

  • ·        Originally there was a brine shaft with a headstock.
  • ·        This was replaced by a nodding donkey and pump.
  • ·        The brine passed around the site in pipes.
  • ·        Finally the brine is stored in the brine tank.


Salt-making: The Pan House

The Pan House was where the salt was made. This involved heating the brine in the large metal pan.

How to make salt by the open pan method? [insert link]

It consisted of a brick stove where fires were lit, the pan and the wooden structure around.


The Lion Salt Works had five pan houses in the 1980s (numbered 1-5).

  • ·        Pan House 1 was demolished in the 1980s before the works closed in 1986 and is now a garden.
  • ·        Pan House 2 has largely fallen down but the pan and stove survive.
  • ·        Pan House 3 and 4 survive intact and are due to be restored.
  • ·        Pan House 5 was dismantled as part of the 2009 enabling works.

Salt-making: The Stove House

From the pan house the salt passed to the Stove House for drying. This was a large brick building that used the heat from the stove in the pan house to dry the salt in blocks. The upper part was a warehouse for storage and processing.

The Lion Salt Works had a stove connected to all the pan houses that survived into the 1980s (again numbered 1-5). Four of these survive whilst the fifth will be rebuilt.


  • Stove House 1 (AKA The Link Block) – this originally connected to Pan House 1 and was one of the first built on site in the 1890s. It has almost entirely collapsed.
  • Stove House 2 survives on site next to the canal. It again dates to the 1890s. It has a timber first floor unlike all the other stove houses.
  • Stove House 3 runs next to Ollershaw Lane and dates to 1900. It is made of brick with distinctive rail tracks used to support the warehouse floor.
  • Stove House 4 was built in 1956 to replace a series of four common pans [see link].
  • Stove House 5 was built in 1965. It has been dismantled but will be rebuilt as a purpose built area of the new museum.

How to build a Stove House? [http://thelionsaltworks.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/how-tobuild-stove-house.html]

Salt-making: The Warehouses and the Salt Store

The warehouses were purpose built into the stove houses. These were used to process and pack the salt.
The lower grade common salt was stored in a large store house. The only surviving salt store on the site is the Coronation Salt Store located on the western side of Ollershaw Lane.


Transport to and from the salt works

The transport of raw material to and from the Lion Salt Works was very important. The most important raw material needed apart from brine was fuel for the stoves. This was originally coal but was changed to oil in the 1970s.

The transport that brought the coal to the works also took the salt away. The change in transport use can be seen throughout the works.

  • ·        The canal side
  • ·        The rail lines
  • ·        The loading bay

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