Lion Salt Works Museum scoops one of Britain’s top conservation awards at the National Civic Trust Awards Ceremony in London

The Lion Salt Works Museum, has won one of the country’s most prestigious national conservation awards at the Civic Trust 2016 Awards Ceremony that took place on Friday 4 March at Shakespeare’s Globe, London. The Museum took first prize in the hotly-contended Conservation Category. This is the Museum’s fifth award since opening just over nine months ago.

The Lion Salt Works Museum is one of the last open-pan, salt-making sites in the world and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Owned by Cheshire West and Chester Council, its four year, £10m restoration was made possible thanks to a £5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, as well as support from a range of other organisations. The Museum tells the story of salt through fun, interactive displays, including a ‘subsiding house’ and a sound and light show that simulates the steam from the boiling salt pans.

The Civic Trust Awards is the longest standing architectural and built environment awards scheme in Europe. Established in 1959, it recognises the very best in architecture, urban design, planning, landscape, public realm and public art. In its citation, the Civic Trust said:

“The Lion Salt Works in Marston is a remarkable example of the life that can be breathed into empty, derelict and crumbling buildings. The delicate restoration of the Grade II listed Scheduled Ancient Monument called for expertise, precision and care. The result is the conversion of fragile 19th century buildings into a unique visitors attraction; the UK’s last remaining open-pan salt works frozen in time as a slice of Cheshire’s proud salt mining industrial heritage.”

The restoration of the Museum took place under the direction of Cheshire West and Chester Council and its Project Manager, Richard Andrews. He picked up the award along with Tony Barton Chairman of Donald Insall Architects.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Wellbeing at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “This Award is remarkable recognition of the commitment made by the Council to safeguard this historic building and a fantastic tribute to all the people who took part in this challenging and meticulous restoration.

“The site was saved for future generations by a tremendous team effort. Our architectural team showed vision in balancing practical requirements versus the need to get the restoration absolutely right. This filtered through to every part of the build – for instance, the construction team re-learnt old methods of building to get exactly the right finish. We are delighted that this top conservation Award confirms what we are hearing from our visitors – that the Museum is something extremely special.”

Tony Barton, Chairman, Donald Insall Associates, said: “I am delighted that the Lion Salt Works Museum continues to get the recognition that it deserves. On a lot of levels, this was a complicated project but it was a challenge that our team in Chester, led by Simon Malam, rose to magnificently.

“Everyone at Donald Insall is extremely proud to have been part of saving a unique part of Cheshire’s history for future generations and creating one of the UK’s leading industrial heritage museums.”