Seasalt was manufactured on this site since at least 1660 and probably long before. Serious production here began with King George II's appointment of Southwold as a centre for 'The Free British Fishery' in 1750. This gave the town's herring industry a considerable boost which, in turn, generated a soaring demand for a ready supply of salt for preserving the catch. However, the industry's growth was so vertiginous and its management so lacking in control that the venture was soon massively in debt. As a consequence, the patents, granted to Southwold as the headquarters of the FBF were not renewed when they expired in 1772.
Southwold Corporation - owners of Southwold Salt Works, leases the works and the marsh around it to Joseph Baker of Manchester for 99 years at £11 per year..
Joseph Baker relinquishes the lease just nine years in and it is reassigned to John May, an enterprising merchant and ship-owner whose home is 'The Manor House' at No 65 High Street.
When did the freehold cease to be owned by Southwold Corporation?
Robert May, John's son, who also inherits The Manor House in the High Street, takes on the ownership of the works with his partner, John Wales.
Robert May becomes bankrupt and sells the works to Edmund Preston who also owns a salt works in Gt Yarmouth. (M)
Abraham Leman of Halesworth, purchases the works from Edmund Preston.(M0
Abraham Leman leaves the Salt works.and, a few months later, he and his family leave town. (James Maggs records that 'an execution' is put upon the premises by Wilkinson and Littleboy, a Norwich firm. The latter continue to run the works as a going concern but subsequently sell it to F W Remnant. It is inherited by his son, Percy Remnant who, in turn, sells it to The Southwold Trading Company.
The Southwold Salt Works goes into liquidation.
The works is finally closed and the plant and stock sold off.(purchaser not known)