To mark the Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘Thanks to You’ initiative, designed to celebrate the contribution of lottery funding to communities, over 400 sites around the country will offer free entry to any adult who shows a recently-purchased Lotto ticket or scratch card. Cheshire’s multi award-winning industrial heritage site, the Lion Salt Works Museum in Northwich, will be part of this initiative from Tuesday 26 – Friday 29 November (10.30-5pm). For more information about volunteer-led tour times, contact the Museum on 01606 275066.
The ‘Thanks to You’ initiative aims to raise awareness of the many National Lottery-funded attractions around the country. Every week the Heritage Lottery Fund distributes £30m to good causes nationwide. In 2011, the Lion Salt Works Museum received a £5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which together with £5.2m from Cheshire West & Chester Council, funded a four-year, £10m restoration of the site. The Museum reopened in 2015 and has gone on to win nine awards, including the prestigious ‘Heritage Project 2016’ from the National Lottery, following a national public vote.
Free entry coincides with the chance to see the recently restored ‘Nodding Donkey’, which used to pump brine from beneath the Cheshire Plain before being boiled in open-pans to leave salt crystals. Visitors will also have the chance to see the ‘Cheese Intrigue’ exhibition – a fascinating exhibition exploring the development of the Cheshire dairy industry and how salt was a key ingredient in its success. On loan from Aardman Animations in Bristol, the exhibition will also feature the original model of ‘The Cheese Tent’* from the celebrated film ‘Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit’. For further information go to www.westcheshiremuseums.co.uk
Lisa Harris, Director of Place Strategy, Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “We remain enormously grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for its contribution to restoring the Lion Salt Works Museum. It helped save one of the world’s last remaining open-pan salt-making sites – a site of such significance that it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument with the same protection status as Stonehenge and Hadrian’s Wall. I hope people across the county will take the opportunity of coming to the museum.”
The salt beneath the Cheshire plain is key to understanding the county and is one of its defining industries. In its heyday, salt from Cheshire was exported to countries around the world, including Canada, Russia and Africa. It is one of the reasons why Cheshire has so many canals and why the chemical industry thrives here (salt was a catalyst in many industrial processes). The museum tells the interesting story of salt and explains its impact on the landscape, industry and people of the region. It does this through fun interactive displays, including a sound and light show that recreates the billowing steam of the salt pans, an automaton and a ‘subsiding house’.