Pass the Salt, Please!

Salt is in daily use in most homes, but where does it come from?

One source of salt is from underground and extracting it and using it has formed the basis of much industry in Cheshire for many centuries.

“Wich” in a place name can refer to a salt works. On a road map find the “wich” towns of Cheshire – Northwich, Middlewich, Nantwich. This is the area we will be looking at.

The Romans were the first to really tap into the salt supplies at these locations. They discovered that the springs in the area were bringing salty water out of the ground; water which was saltier than the sea.

At Middlewich, which the Romans called Salinae, (from the Latin word salis meaning salt) the Celtic people already extracted salt, but the settlements of Nantwich and Northwich date from Roman times.

The Romans collected the salty water in large pans. These were then heated to evaporate the water and leave the salt deposit behind.

As the demand for salt grew other methods were developed to get hold of it. Join me next week to find out more.

Incidentally Nantwich’s salt spring still flows today. It feeds the outdoor swimming pool, which is open in the summer.

There is a cross-curricula activity sheet to go with today’s post. Use the form in the side bar to get yourself added to my email list.