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Lion Salt Works, Northwich

(4.5/5 based on 170+ reviews on the web)
The Lion Salt Works is the last remaining open pan saltworks in Marston, near Northwich, Cheshire, England. It closed as a works in 1986 and is now preserved as a museum.HistoryJohn Thompson Junior and his son Henry Ingram Thompson, a member of a family that had been making salt during the 19th century, started the Lion Salt Works when he built a salt pan in the coal yard of the Red Lion Hotel, Marston, in 1894.The Thompson FamilySix generations of the Thompson family were involved with the salt industry, at the site of the Lion Salt Works. John Thompson Senior (1799–1867) was originally a joiner, timber merchant and brickyard owner with premises on Witton Street and London Road in Northwich He entered the salt trade in 1842 when he started a shipping and lighting business along the River Weaver to the ports in Liverpool and Birkenhead. Initially this was in partnership with other salt proprietors but by 1846 he had entered a partnership with his son John Thompson Junior (1824–1899), called Thompson and Son that operated until 1889. They also occupied a timber yard and dockyard buildings in Northwich Castle on the River Weaver. The dockyards were sold to cover debts to W J Yardwood's in 1887.They began to sink salt mines and start salt works north-west of Northwich. Platt’s Hill Mine, Wincham, was sunk by John Thompson in 1843, and in 1846 was followed by the Dunkirk Works, in Witton-cum-Twambrooks. Several more salt works and mines followed over the next forty years in the districts of Witton, Marston and Wincham north-west of Northwich, and also in Winsford. After the death of John Thompson Senior in 1867, the business was split between John Thompson Junior and his brother Jabez Thompson. After initially running the Alliance Works in Marston (see below), Jabez Thompson went on to run the successful family terracotta and brickworks on London Road, Northwich. John Thompson Junior continued to run the salt business with his sons Henry Ingram (1851–1937) and Alfred Jabez (1857–1965). In 1888 the majority of the remainder of the business was sold to the Salt Union.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Really interesting and easy time spent browsing around the works. A lot of time appears to have been spent 'upgrading' the place and it is very smart. 
  • All you need for a good day out - ample free parking. Very interesting displays telling a story and makes Histoy compelling, Safe environment. Access for all - lift etc.. Lovely outdoor area including...  more »
  • It's been a good few years since I last visited the Lion Salt Works, but what a transformation. Last time, it was a ruin of a museum, no visitor centre, little formal information, now... The visitor c...  more »
Google
  • Although we haven't visited the museum, the place is absolute gem. Our baby boy loved the environment, inside and out. We ventured out and walked along the canal greeting people on their berthas passing by. Recommend to spend some time in the cafe to enjoy the environment and some quality time.
  • Much better than I expected. Nicely marked route to see all the salt works, even a pub to walk through. Shop needs more stock pertaining to the salt works though.
  • Great staff, lots of see for adults in well laid out buildings, plenty of interactive stuff for kids too. The play area is excellent too
  • Fascinating insight into how salt obtained locally, interesting to see environmental impact historically
  • The site was smaller than expected given the price, so average rating. Interesting to find out how the salt industry was able to produce salt from brine never the less. Did not try the cafe but I was not out for 'coffee and cakes', just the Cheshire heritage, salt works and historic industrial life.