My Grandad’s Poetry 7 – The Salt Works

The Lion Salt Works, which my grandad writes about here, is a few doors down from where my grandad lived (my nan still lives there) and across the road from my parents. It was derelict for most of my lifetime but, in recent years, has re-opened as a tourist location, which is well worth a visit should one ever find themselves in Marston village. It even has a pub across the road, should one fancy a pint afterwards!

An open gate invites us in

Coal heaps and dust lie everywhere

Smoke and steamclouds billow forth

Rakes and shovels all around.

 

Clogs and boots move about

Carrying men with sweaty brows

Barrows and carts join the throng

Straining under heavy loads.

 

Clatter and knocking, hammers ring loud

Rivets are beaten yet still they stand proud

Mending the pans that bubble and boil

Full of the liquid from under the soil.

 

Hosepipes are hissing, going their way

Up steps, down steps, along wooden beams

Wooden tubs placed on silent dogs

Filled with grain from out of the pan.

 

Motionless blocks stand in a row

White and hard, as high as the roof

Then cut or ground and clothed in smooth sack

Pure and clean they sit, ready to go.

 

Twisted old chimneys wave them goodbye

Peering over houses, watch them moving away

Farewell old saltworks they seem to say

Hello wide world, we’ll sail on our way.

 

Now on Marston canal bridge, often stood a gent

Retired from labour but not useless or spent.

A strong, stout man of proportions wide

Who stood there, the bridge wall at his side.

 

To look about him, perhaps thinking of old days

Of the coloured barges that plied these ways.

And though he stood, seemingly deep in thought

If anything moved, his eye it caught.

 

But what of Marston, in those days gone by?

Go up and ask him, he’ll tell no lie…

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