The Museum based near Northwich in Cheshire is one of only four open-pan, salt-making works in the world. It opened in June this year after a £10m, four-year restoration programme by Cheshire West and Chester Council, thanks to a grant of over £5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Representatives from the Geologists’ Association, British Geological Survey and salt experts from London University’s Imperial College and Keele University were present as were the Liverpool Geological Society, North Wales Geological Association and Chester RIGS*. Saltscape (a three-year landscape partnership that aims to restore and enhance the unique salt landscape of the Weaver Valley), local salt experts and a group of AS Geology students from Calday Grange Grammar School, Wirral, also joined the event, as did representatives from Compass Minerals, owners of UK’s biggest salt mine based in Winsford.
Councillor Brian Clarke, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure, Cheshire West and Chester Council (who himself has had a 40-year career in the Cheshire salt industry), said: “The salt beneath Cheshire is unique in the country. This makes it very interesting for geologists throughout the UK and the World. The Lion Salt Works is dedicated to telling the story of salt and to show its impact on the people, landscape and environment. We are delighted that all the careful planning that went into renovating the site and fitting out the Museum pasts muster with the country’s top geologists and salt academics. We were also particularly pleased that the school geology group that joined this event were full of praise for the Museum. Inspiring the geologists of tomorrow with our passion for salt is one of our top goals.”
Professor Christopher Jackson, Imperial College, London University and one of the country’s top salt and salt tectonic experts, said: “I find salt fascinating and travel the world studying it in one form or another. I could not be more pleased that the Lion Salt Works Museum makes the story of salt so interesting and accessible to everyone. For anyone interested in geology this is a ‘must see’ museum and I am very pleased that the Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund had the far sightedness to save this important landmark and bring it back to life in such a vibrant and engaging way.”
The Lion Salt Works Museum is also proving a visitor success having recently welcomed its 10,000th paying visitor. Located about 20 miles from the centre of Manchester, the Museum hosts an exciting year-long programme of activities.
The Lion Salt Works features not only the large museum but a café, butterfly garden and imaginatively themed play area. Located next to the Trent & Mersey Canal, the Museum welcomes many visitors who tie up at the Museum’s moorings. The Museum is Grade II-listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Its unique and distinctive conference centre, created from one of the restored Stove Houses, is also proving popular.