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Lion Salt Works, Northwich

Categories: Specialty Museums, Museums
Inspirock Rating:
4.5/5 based on 140+ 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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  • An interesting and well presented local museum. Much effort has been taken in preparing the exhibits and the story dating back to the Roman period but mostly since the industrial revolution and the 18...  read more »
  • We had often passed the derelict Lion Salt Works whilst on the canal and promised ourselves that we would visit once the restoration was complete. We were in the area last week and were surprised and ...  read more »
  • Visited while in the area exploring family history. Really impressed by the whole of the exhibitionand site - very professional and visitor friendly. Became quite fascinated by the long history of sal...  read more »
  • Really informative museum, we'll worth the visit. time and money has been spent in restoring the former site. Well worth the visit.
  • 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.
  • Excellent thoughtful refurbishment of historic Cheshire site, interesting exhibition & clever replication of working salt pan, things to push & pull for kids, nice view over canal & "flash" lake, beautiful wild flowers and buddleia garden, smart cafe & shop, well worth spending a couple of hours here.
  • Summary: could have been so much better. Great displays and provided a good understanding of the how / why / what of the salt works and lots of interactive stuff for the kids to do. However, almost all the electronic displays, i.e. 'push this button for more info', did not work! My wife pointed this out to the staff and they said someone would look into it but didn't seemed too bothered. After we finished our tour the staff gave a similar response i.e. we've got your money so don't bother us kind of attitude. No apologies, nothing! What a shame - could have been so much better!
  • Salty
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