Explore Your Archives – Salt History in the Making

Explore Cheshire’s Unique Industrial Salt Archives

Winsford Library, Saturday 14th November 2015 9.30-1pm

Specially selected items about the Salt Industry (usually held in storage under special conditions in a disused area of Winsford Salt Mine!) are to be put on show to the public for the first time during this exciting event.

Cheshire Archive’s salt industry collections are evidence of activity which has defined a region. The Saltscape Landscape Partnership is working with organisations across mid-Cheshire to celebrate local industrial heritage and the distinct salt landscape.

The Salt towns of Northwich, Middlewich and Winsford grew up around the thriving salt industry. Man’s intensive exploitation of salt has shaped the natural environment. Salt marsh vegetation normally only found on the coast thrives around natural brine springs, while flashes created by mine collapses (subsidence) and lime-beds created by industrial waste are now unique wildlife habitats.

salt mine 2 (00000002)

The archive collections being celebrated in Cheshire during national ‘Explore Your Archive Week’ contain a remarkable amount of information about the key players in a burgeoning industry. Important collections of Brunner Mond (founders of the salt and then chemical industry in Northwich), Falk (who sunk the original salt mine in Winsford), the Weaver Navigation trustees and their solicitor document the personal stories of the rise and fall of local families and the evolution of the industry from brine pumping to rock salt mining.

Cheshire’s salt mining story continues today in Winsford, home of the UK’s largest working salt mine. In a lovely twist the Winsford salt mine now keeps archived salt industry collections in its underground Deep Store facility. Within the huge expanse of the working mine a unique space provides safe storage, free from damaging light and moisture, for some of the UK’s most precious historical records.  This is a unique chance to view some of the records that are part of this amazing story.

Salt BasketsThis special event is a chance to celebrate our local salt history and to showcase the phenomenal archive collections held at the Cheshire Record Office. Original

collections and images will be on display with the pick of the archivists’ favourites presented in our family friendly Show & Tell sessions.  Come along and reminisce with us ; we can record your stories and memories of the industry for Saltscape’s Oral History Project which aims to preserve the precious narratives of a community that many people still recall.

Local Historians will be on hand to talk about the Salt industry in Cheshire and specifically, Winsford.

Caring for CollectionA Dig Through Salt Historys with Cheshire’s Archivists and Conservators : Explore why archives are important for preserving our history, how they are cared for, what is their value to people and how they can help you to discover more about local people and places than you might imagine.

Join the team as they demonstrate how important historical records are cleaned and packaged prior to being stored.

Collection Displays  Specially selected significant items from the collections will be on show – a rare opportunity to see original and unique documents out of the archives for one day only!

Story Box Dig through our themed story box with never seen before photos and records from the salt collections. Discover who were the key players in the industry from the visionaries to the workers and explore the changing landscape with historical maps and plans.

Staff and volunteers from Lion Salt Works will be on hand to record your stories and memories of the salt industry in Cheshire.

Come along for a hands-on experience of our own special salt history!

For more information about the event contact Saul Burton, Saltscape Development Officer 01606 723 160

Photos: West Cheshire Museums, Lion Salt Works.  Miscellaneous prints from Cheshire Records Office

About Cheshire Archives and Local Studies

Our service exists to run high quality sites locally and online that collect, preserve and deliver access for all to Cheshire’s records for information, learning and enjoyment.  It is a shared service of Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester Councils. http://archives.cheshire.gov.uk

About Explore your Archive

Led by the National Archives and the Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland) the Explore Your Archive campaign is encouraging people to discover the stories, the facts, the places and the people that are at the heart of our communities. Archives across the UK and Ireland are taking part to raise awareness of the value of archives to society and of the rich variety of content that is held, preserved and made available to users.