Lion Salt Works Museum wins prestigious heritage construction award on the day it opens to the public

On the first day of opening to the public (Friday 5 June), Cheshire’s Lion Salt Works Museum based near Northwich, has shown it is ‘worth its salt’ by winning the Heritage Award at the prestigious 2015 North West Regional Construction Awards, held last night in Manchester. The restoration and refurbishment of the Museum was undertaken by Wates Construction.

The Heritage Award is given to the project that can demonstrate the highest quality restoration, building re-use and extensions. The Lion Salt Works project was praised for its exemplary heritage restoration, local regeneration, use of traditional materials and materials and for the number of people trained in heritage skills required to make this project outstanding.

Councillor Brian Clarke, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Infrastructure, Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “We are delighted to have won this heritage award. I believe it acknowledges the passion, energy and commitment put in by everyone on site to make this site the very best.

“This restoration has been truly painstaking but it has been worth it. The feel of the site, as it would have been, is recreated through walls that bulge, original beams and the use of craftsmanship that has, in many cases, had to be re-learnt. The result is a triumph that will be enjoyed for decades.”

The opening of the Museum marks the end of a four-year, £10.23m project by Cheshire West and Chester Council to restore the crumbling 19th century buildings – one of the last three historic open-pan salt-making sites in the world. The site, a Scheduled Ancient Monument with Grade II-listed buildings has been transformed into one of the finest industrial heritage attractions in the country. The Museum has been funded by a variety of sources, including a grant of over £5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

In April 2015, the Museum was Highly Commended in the Building Conservation category of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) North West Award for the ‘expertise, precision and care’ of its restoration.