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

Stove House 5 Excavations

History of Stove House 5
Stove House 5 was built in 1965 by Henry Thompson. It was the last of the five Stove Houses to be constructed on site. The associated Pan House 5 lay to the east. The pan and stove house began to decay badly and the pan house entirely collapse in the 1990s. The stove house survived but a huge gap had opened in the south-east corner and the whole complex was dismantled in 2009.

The Restoration
As part of the restoration the stove house is being rebuilt and will form the museum entrance and shop on the ground floor with conference facilities on the first floor. The rebuilding of Stove House 5 involves the excavation of the entire footprint and the pouring of a concrete raft to take the weight of the new building.

Archaeological Excavations
Scheduled Monument consent requires an archaeological excavation to be conducted before the construction of the concrete slab.

Archaeological Excavations have been undertaken in January and February 2013 by Oxford Archaeology North. This involved the machine excavation of an area 20m by 20m in size. The remains of brick buildings were then cleaned by hand and then surveyed, drawn, photographed and recorded.

The Alliance Works
The Thompson family originally had an earlier works located east of the current buildings. This was known as the Alliance Works and existed from 1856 until 1889 when it was sold to the Salt Union. http://thelionsaltworks.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-lion-salt-works-history-of-site.html Records of the earlier salt works are limited, but excavation undertaken in 1994 identified these buildings for the first time. Earlier excavations in 2011 by Oxford Archaeology North identified the remains of flues from a Stove House. http://thelionsaltworks.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/how-tobuild-stove-house.html

The current excavations have revealed the remains of the boundary wall between the earlier Alliance Works and the later Lion Salt Works. Along this boundary was a small cottage. The cottage may have been where the Thompson’s lived and managed the earlier works. It also appears to have acted as a pan smithy for repairing the pans of the Alliance Works. A large hearth was located within the remains of the buildings. 

In addition a large machine pit suggests there was a steam engine north of the building. A series of cobbles formed a yard to the west of the cottage.

The Fishery Pans
Documentary Research has revealed that a series of four ‘fishery pans’ existed on the site in the early 20th century that were replaced by Stove House 4 in the 1950s. Fishery pans – so called because they provided coarse salt for preservation in the fishery industry [ADD LINK TO MAKING SALT] – were much simpler and consisted of a single open pan over a stove. Four existed on site.
Excavation revealed the foundations of one of these fishery pans. No flues were revealed but the remains of brick piers along the edge of the stove and the base of a further large chimney was excavated at the north of the stove.

Stove House 5
Overlying the remains of the fishery pan was the brick walls of Stove House 5. 

1 comment:

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