Salt Museum, Northwich

Salt Museum, Northwich

The Salt Museum, Northwich, in Cheshire is the only museum in the United Kingdom dedicated to salt.

The museum is currently located in the old workhouse, situated on the A533. It is a Grade II listed building. [ Images of England] , accessed 17 July 2007]

Original Museums

A salt museum has been in existence for over 100 years. It was set up by Thomas Ward and John Brunner, two local salt proprietors, who felt Northwich needed something to explain the town's importance as the "salt capital of the world". Ward and Brunner donated the library and museum to the town in 1889.

The museum originally shared a building with Northwich library but mine subsistence caused the building to collapse so a new library and museum was built in 1909. This building still houses Northwich library and the title over the door remains.

The Northwich Union Workhouse

The Poor Law Amendment of 1834 standardised the system of poor relief throughout Britain. Groups of parishes were combined into unions which were responsible for providing for the poor and needy in the area. The law forbid all relief to the able-bodied in their own homes. Anyone that wished to receive aid had to live in workhouses. This act led to the building of 554 Union workhouses in England and Wales, each built roughly 20 miles from each other. Conditions were harsh, based on the theory that pauperism among able-bodied workers was a moral failing. Entry to the workhouse aimed to stimulate workers to seek employment rather than charity. During the 19th century conditions improved and workhouses was replaced by the public welfare system in the 1930s.

The Northwich Union Workhouse opened in 1837. The building was designed by architect George Latham. In 1850 a fever hospital was added and in 1863 better receiving wards with proper baths were installed. A royal commission of 1911 recommended the ending of the Poor Law, so Poor Law Unions and their Guardians were abolished in 1929. The Northwich Workhouse transferred to Cheshire County Council in 1930, as a public assistance institution.

Weaver Hall Old People's Home

In 1948 the building became the Weaver Hall Old People’s Home. Most of the workhouse buildings were demolished in the 1960s.

The building was closed as an old people's home in 1964.

Current Museum

The museum moved into Weaver Hall, the old workhouse, in June 1981.


ee also

*Salt in Cheshire
*Lion Salt Works
*Open pan salt making

External links

* [ Museum website]

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