Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Pass the Salt - Droitwich 2

Droitwich has been in the business of salt extraction since pre Roman times and much of its wealth and prosperity (that's wealth and prosperity for some, hard work for others) in former times was because of the abundance of underground lakes of brine. The salt content of the brine is so high that two and a half pounds of salt could be produced by boiling just one gallon of brine/water.

The sculpture below depicts a family of salt workers, the 'hard work' side of prosperity

'SALTWORKERS', a fine sculpture by John McKenna

The reverse of Saltworkers sculpture

When salt started to lose it's commercial value the canny mineral owners took advantage of the fashion for SPA towns and simple Droitwich became Droitwich Spa with hot brine baths to attract visitors.  The town still has one brine bath at the private Droitwich Spa Hospital and there is talk of building a new brine bath for public use.
The Raven Hotel
The timber framed Raven Hotel, built in the reign of Elizabeth I and yet another place it is reputed that Charles I slept in on his way to do battle with the dastardly Roundheads.
A mural fashioned in clay tiles that depicts notable aspects of the town - a salt barge, canal bridge, the former brine baths, the Raven Hotel, the old Town Hall and St. Andrews church are just some.
Tucked away up a tiny side street we found this, the Tower Hill Brine Pump.  This is now operated by using a submersible pump that extracts 6000 gallons of brine per hour which is pumped to the Droitwich Spa hospital baths.  Formerly the extraction from this well was by steam power and then electric motor to operate the gear you see in the photo's below.
The brine well
Redundant pumping gear.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fascinating stuff - can't wait to get there by water - another year - so many waterways so little time!!!

Sue, nb Indigo Dream

Nb Caxton said...

You are so easily pleased Sue!
I think you and Richard can be very satisfied with the amount of progress around the sytem you make - considering you both work, take a bow girl.
X Lesley