The good people of mid-Cheshire have been extracting salt in various ways since the Iron Age period and possibly even earlier. The first museum to celebrate this unique salty heritage opened its doors in Northwich town centre in 1889 but became a victim of subsidence a few years later. A second library and museum opened its doors in the same area in 1909 following the stabilisation of the land. There were also periods when the collection was packed away in store and it was not until the early 1970s that there was renewed interest in it. The collection was reinstated on the first floor of Northwich Library in 1974.
Around the same time, Cheshire County Council was busy restoring the old Northwich Workhouse in London Road to its former glory, to house the fledgling Cheshire Museums Service. It was decided that the building could also serve as the new Salt Museum and so the salt collection moved here and opened its doors in 1981. Cheshire Museums Service began to acquire notable material from across the county, including works of art and archaeology, and this collection was eventually merged with the Salt Museum collection. Since then, the museum has broadened its approach and collected material relating to the social history of mid-Cheshire.
In 2010 the Salt Museum (now run by Cheshire West and Chester Council) was renamed Weaver Hall Museum and Workhouse, in order to better reflect its aim of becoming the museum uncovering the wider history of the area. Much of the old Salt Museum collection will be reinstated at the Lion Salt Works in Marston, which is currently being restored as an exciting new visitor attraction. Lion was the last surviving traditional open pan works, so this will be a much more fitting home for this material.
Examples from our collection of oil paintings can be found on display at Weaver Hall Museum and at some Cheshire libraries. We hope to show other paintings as the main galleries are redisplayed.
This location is open to the public
162 London Road, Northwich, Cheshire, England, CW9 8AB
If you are planning a visit to see a particular painting, check with the location first. Paintings can be moved at short notice