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…