European route of industrial heritage holds UK meeting at Lion Salt Works

Lion Salt Works ERIH groupwOn February 9, the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH), a network of the most important industrial heritage sites in Europe, held a UK Meeting at the newly restored, award-winning Lion Salt Works Museum in Cheshire. Attended by visitor attractions from around the UK, the theme of this meeting was ‘Making industrial heritage attractive to children and young people’. The Lion Salt Works is one of ERIH’s European Anchor Points.

Jonathan Lloyd, UK Co-ordinator, European Route of Industrial Heritage, said: “Young people are the future of industrial heritage attractions and this is a topic that occupies the minds of site managers worldwide. This was an excellent forum in which representatives from a range of industrial heritage sites could discuss ideas and find out, from the experience of others, what works and what doesn’t. It is a privilege to be in a room with so many people who are so passionate about their work and who want to pass on this enthusiasm to the next generation.

“It was great to meet 14-year old, Julian Young from Chester, who is creating a geo-caching ‘treasure hunt’** around the outside of the Museum as part of his Duke of Edinburgh volunteering programme. It is also exciting to hear that there are plans to start an Arts Award and Duke of Edinburgh programme in the future. This is just what forward-thinking industrial heritage sites need to be doing to attract young people.”

Councillor Louise Gittins, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Wellbeing at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Museums have so many calls on their resources but few are more important or rewarding than passing on a love and enthusiasm for history to young people. The Lion Salt Works Museum was designed with fun and interactive displays to engage youngsters, but museum staff also engage children through tours, specially-designed schools programmes and year-round activities, ranging from craft events, plays to butterfly counts. We are developing all the time and welcome ideas from the community about how we can make what we do even better”.

The award-winning Lion Salt Works Museum opened in June this year after a £10m four-year restoration thanks to a generous grant from HLF of more than £5m. The Museum, run by Cheshire West and Chester Council, is the last open-pan, salt-making site in Britain and one of only four sites of its kind in the world. Its unique status means that the Museum is also a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Visitors to the Museum can enter the Butterfly Garden, café and imaginative play area, free of charge. The Museum’s John Thompson conference centre, located in a former Pan House is fully-equipped for conferences and seats up to 150. The Museum has a year-round programme of activities.