The town of Widnes is steeped in industrial heritage and was once, considered the centre for chemical manufacturing within the North West of England. The history of this industry is captured and explored at the only museum in the UK discovering the science and technology behind the chemical industry from ancient times to the 1960s. The centre tells the stories past and present while celebrating those involved in revolutionising industries, with hands on exhibits and extensive library collections relating to the chemical industry, which include documents, photographs and the entire research archive of the ICI General Chemical Division. A Grade II listed building hosts the museum that will over the next few years, introduce brand new innovative spaces including the additional heritage attraction “Harry Baker 120 years of Chlorine”, the welcoming ground floor gallery exhibition area and the Alchemy theatre revamped as a new multi-purpose event space. This will complement the glass walled roof top gallery that showcases the amazing panoramic views from the Welsh hills to the Pennines.

Specialised Tours:

  • Illustrated talks in specialist subjects including: The Development of the chemical industry in Runcorn and Widnes in the 19th and 20th centuries/ Men of Warrington – influence and deeds in NW England. This thriving town produced men who were to influence the creation of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society and education in Manchester as well as creating one of the biggest foundries and chemical works in the NW region. A list of talks are available and specific requests can be made for additional topics. (Max 50 people)
  • Take an exclusive guided tour of the museum and visit the private archives, not open to the public to reveal the ICI research papers, Brunner Mond archives, film archives, photographic archives and much more. (Max 30 people)
  • Enjoy learning about the history of soap as the building used to house the head office of the Gossage soap company, which at one time was the largest of its kind in the world and handled half of the UK’s soap exports. Make your own, crush some soap noodles, add a colour and a fragrance and make your very own bar of soap to take home. (Max 30 people)
  • Alternatively, with excellent views over the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, delegates can hear a talk about the construction of the bridge before taking on a teamwork challenge to construct (and walk across) a 13m cable stayed bridge in the Catalyst Education Studios, a great engineering challenge. (Max 30 people)