I’ve known about Cheshire’s salt mines for years, but never got round to finding out more about them until recently. There’s only one left, but it’s routinely in the news in winter as it supplies the majority of the salt spread on Britain’s road (as well as 57% of the table salt you put in your soup and on your chips).
Salt has been mined at this site, Meadowbank Mine, in Winsford since 1844. although it shut in 1892 and then reopened in 1928. A good history can be found here, and some archive footage from 1948 can be found here.
For reasons that I haven’t uncovered, the head stocks at salt mines are often covered, although this may be a recent phenomenon as this photo of Winsford the mine in the late 80’s / early 90’s show one of the headstock with a colliery-like structure that has since been modernised (i.e. clad).
The huge red letters on the headgear read Salt Union, but the mine is now run by Compass Minerals
I’ve read that there are four shafts on site, and this map suggests three are in use, but there are only two headstocks, so I imagine that the large one that is the subject of these pictures services No.3 (personnel) and No.5 (mineral winding). The others are used for taking machinery and personnel and one is dedicated to pumping clean air into the mine.
Winsford History Society have a nice gallery with a mix of historical images and some from inside the mine.