NATIONAL treasure Ken Bruce gave a shout-out for ‘Cheshire’s first discotheque’ ahead of a reunion. 

The Salt Cellar, at the Salter pub in Weaverham, was the first venue in the county where punters could dance to recorded music, says Sue Shenton, whose parents Eric and Theresa King ran the pub from 1963 onwards.

The Salter was built in 1957 during the post-war housing boom, and was a favourite haunt of Winnington's ICI chemical factory workers.

It was very much part of the workingmen’s club entertainment scene, with comedians Freddie Star, Tom O'Connor, Lenny Bennett, George Roper, Russ Abbott, and Charlie Williams, all cutting their teeth there.

Northwich Guardian: The Salter was a big hitter on the regional workingmen's clubs entertainment scene in the 1970sThe Salter was a big hitter on the regional workingmen's clubs entertainment scene in the 1970s (Image: Paul Hurley)

Sadly, the Salter was demolished on June 4, 1998, when Warrington's Greenall's brewery wanted to build 20 flats on the site. 

Sue appeared on Ken Bruce’s Greatest Hits Radio show on Friday, April 26, ahead of a Salt Cellar reunion at Castle Private Club, David Street, on Saturday, July 13.

DJ Ken asked whether the Salter was a very lively pub, and Sue said: “It certainly was. My dad took over in 1963, when it wasn’t really achieving its potential.

“In 1968, the brewery, Greenall's, decided discotheques were going to be the next big thing, so we started one in our function room upstairs.

Northwich Guardian: The Salter in Weaverham circa 1970The Salter in Weaverham circa 1970 (Image: Paul Hurley)

“We believe it was the first discotheque in Cheshire.

“We had a big influx every weekend. The disco was open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, and as well as the locals, we had a big influx of customers from Runcorn and Widnes who came in on the train.

“They’d tramp up through the village for 8pm, when it started, and in them days, we could only open until 11pm.

“Things were very different in those days. Everyone had to wear a shirt, tie, and jacket, and my dad was very strict about that.

Northwich Guardian: Ken seemed keen to learn all about The Salt Cellar from the landlord's daughter, Sue ShentonKen seemed keen to learn all about The Salt Cellar from the landlord's daughter, Sue Shenton (Image: PA)

“We were packed out every weekend. It was a really special time for everyone who remembers it.

“It was very basic at first. It was just a Jukebox and fluorescent lights which showed up all the dandruff in your hair.

“But it was refurbed after about 18 months and went into the proper disco psychedelic era.

“There was new seating, and we started getting a real-life DJ.

“It was very busy. We had an amazing time. Growing up there, I had more friends than I could count.”

Tickets are on sale now for the reunion in July, which will include two of the original DJs, Les Wright and Alan Large, aka Jason Judge, spinning records from the Salt Cellar's heyday.

Sue said they’re ‘going like hotcakes’, and with 150 available, if you want to go, you’d better be quick.

She added: “It was such a great introduction to music for me. My mum and dad weren’t into music so much before then, but when I got to about 16, it introduced me to Motown and Northern Soul.

“I didn’t follow in my mum and dad’s footsteps. It just wasn’t for me at the time. But with hindsight, perhaps I should’ve done.

“It’s given so many other people lots of wonderful memories.”

For tickets to the reunion, call Derek on 07732 328 354, or Alan on 07973 704 544. They're also available from Weaverham DIY on Lime Avenue.