A MULTI-MILLION pound restoration project is nearing completion in Northwich.
Workmen are preparing to put the finishing touches to the Lion Salt Works, in Marston, in a Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) project to transform the formerly derelict site into a working museum.
The site is expected to open to visitors in the autumn to showcase the restoration works, with the full museum opening early next year.
Tony Shenton, business unit director at Wates Construction North West, CWAC’s contractor for the project, said: “With more than 40 years of heritage restoration experience to the Wates name, Lion Salt Works has been a project that we have really been able to sink our teeth into.
“The nature of the building’s use left it in a very delicate state and this project has seen us take this important industrial building down to its bare bones and build it back up again, transforming it into a lasting legacy of Cheshire’s salt processing heritage.”
In the project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Wates Construction is working alongside restoration specialist, William Anelay, and CWAC’s industrial archaeologist, Chris Hewitson, to create a heritage visitor attraction from the 19th century salt works.
Current work on site includes the final floor and structural repairs to the main building, comprising original timber and brickwork, which has been recycled and incorporated back into the building.
Clr Stuart Parker, CWAC’s executive member for culture and economy, said: “Restoring a site as unique as the Lion Salt Works has brought with it a unique set of challenges.
“We are very fortunate to have the expertise of leading specialists in the field who are employing some world-leading techniques to deliver a sensitive restoration.
“The transformation is incredibly exciting to witness, and I have no doubt the Lion Salt Works is on course to become one of the finest industrial heritage sites in the country.”
The Lion Salt Works is the last open pan salt works in the UK and one of only three remaining in the world.
It ceased trading in 1986 and was granted Scheduled Ancient Monument status.