Lion Salt Works pulls in all the elements for science festival | Knutsford Times

Lion Salt Works pulls in all the elements for science festival

By on January 26, 2019

On Tuesday, 29 January in Paris, UNESCO is launching the ‘International Year of the Periodic Table’* Cheshire’s multi award-winning Lion Salt Works Museum in Northwich, Cheshire is celebrating this event by holding a series of Periodic Table-themed activities throughout 2019, including at the Cheshire-wide science festival ‘Amazed by Science’ week in May and during its Summer holiday programme.

Salt or Sodium Chloride (NaCl) is a compound of the element Sodium (Na). Salt is a key factor in the formation of Cheshire’s extensive chemical industry because salt was historically, and remains, an important catalyst for many chemical processes. Combined with natural transport and shipping routes, through the centuries, the Cheshire salt plain and surrounding area has consolidated its position as a key location for the chemical, petro-chemicals and pharmaceutical industries.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “There is a marvellous simplicity to being able to see all the elements of the universe summarised on a single page of paper. Not everyone is a chemist –  but the stories surrounding the discovery of many of the elements of the Periodic Table are fascinating. For instance, when Aluminium was discovered in the 1850s, it was considered to be as rare as gold and silver because of the huge cost of extracting it. Emperor Napoleon III is said to have given a banquet at which his most honoured guests were given aluminium crockery with the rest of the guests getting gold or silver.”

Please see the end of the release for interesting facts about the elements whose chemical symbols spell out ‘Lion Salt Works’.

“With salt being a major factor in the rise of the chemical industry in Cheshire, we are doubly delighted to be supporting UNESCO’s launch of the ‘Year of the Periodic Table’ and the 150th anniversary of Dmitri Mendeleev’s version of the table. Mendeleev’s new design for the table brilliantly anticipated that new elements would be one day be discovered and where on the table they would fit.”

The Lion Salt Works Museum was restored in 2015 after a four year, £10m restoration. It is one of the last open-pan, salt-making sites in the world and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, with the same protection status as Stonehenge and Hadrian’s Wall.

Cheshire’s Lion Salt Works Museum tells the story of salt in fun and interactive displays, including a sound and light show that evokes the steam rising from the giant salt pans, a ‘subsiding house’, interactive displays and an automaton. In addition to a children’s play area, shop, butterfly garden and café, there are also year-round activities. These range from science trips for schools, Touring Rural Arts plays and ‘Live & Local’ events to weekends featuring historic narrowboats and steam engines as well as a week-long Christmas celebration.

The Lion Salt Works Museum has won nine awards since opening in 2015, including winning the National Lottery’s top award for heritage projects in 2016. The Museum has also won the Sandford Award for teaching excellence.

About Lucy Thorpe

Lucy Thorpe is a freelance journalist who writes for the Knutsford Times - covering stories and news in and around Cheshire and Greater Manchester. If you've got a story to share, or would like to speak to Lucy, please email

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