2015 - 25th Anniversary year


  The Salt Cellar is an award winning restaurant and resource centre in the heart of Oldham situated in the old county court building on Church Lane. 

The Salt Cellar activities are led by 4 sub groups:

  • Salt Cellar Mission Council 
    (development of mission based at the Salt Cellar) 
    Chair – Gordon Roscoe

  • Salt Cellar Youth Project Management Committee (SCYP) Chair – Rev Nic Bentley

  • Salt Cellar Executive 
    (management of building and restaurant)
    Chair – Alan Shackleton

  • Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre (CAP) Management Committee.   
    Chair – Gordon Roscoe

The Oldham and Saddleworth Circuit employs the staff of SCYP and the CAP Centre Manager. 

The Restaurant staff & volunteers are employed by a related Circuit company, Salt Cellar Ltd.
Directors Alan Shackleton and Geoff Lamb 

Click the image to go to the Salt Cellar


Led by Luiz Cardoso 
every Friday on the mezzanine level of the restaurant 

All welcome


Thursday, 1st October 2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the day that the Salt Cellar Restaurant and Resource Centre first opened its doors to the public in 1990, aiming to provide a significant Christian presence and meeting place in the heart of Oldham. The anniversary was marked by a special Service of Thanksgiving and Celebration at the Salt Cellar on Sunday, 6th September. 

The first floor worship area was packed by friends of the Salt Cellar from near and far, many with long associations with its work and ministry - some who had been involved since the vision for a town centre café and resource centre first began to take shape during the mid - 1980's. 

Sybil Lamb led the service and John Wilkinson provided accompaniment for the hymns and songs which were sung with great feeling, beginning appropriately with ‘To God be the glory! Great things He hath done!’  Rev Graham Horsley, (below right) minister in Oldham and Saddleworth Methodist Circuit from 1990 to 2000, gave the address. 

Ian Avison (standing above), a Circuit Steward in the 1980's and long-time supporter of the Salt Cellar, and whose wife Joan was Manager for some time, spoke of some of the Salt Cellar’s history from the early days to the present, as summarised below. 

'It was Wesley Cooke, Circuit Superintendent from 1985 to 1993, who in 1986 had the initial vision for the Salt Cellar project. Things began to take shape in 1989 when the premises at 10 Church Lane, (formerly the Conservative Party HQ in Oldham), were purchased by the Circuit for £79,000. Various grants and local fund-raising contributed to the conversion costs of £94,000 and the completed building was formally opened by the Secretary of the Methodist Church Property Division on 22nd September 1990.

The facilities at 10 Church Lane were spread over four floors, with the café on both basement and ground floors, which made for great fun in transferring food and crockery etc. by 'dumb waiter' - order 'beef' and you might get 'beans' instead! The first floor had rooms for skilled listeners/counsellors and also a quiet reading room whilst the second floor provided office space including facilities for Mission Oldham and Word of Life. 

10 Church Lane proved to be an immediate success, but drawbacks with the layout soon began to emerge. As a result, the then catering manager, Peter Lees, persuaded the Circuit to bid for the former County Court premises at 11A Church Lane when they came on the market and a sealed bid of £126,000 for these much arger premises was accepted in February 1998.                 Peter Lees

Meeting the substantial conversion costs of the building had been an initial concern, but an interest-free loan of £240,000, provided by an anonymous benefactor and repaid over several years, contributed significantly.

Thanks to major efforts from an army of volunteers led by Derek Simmons, 11A was ready for occupation in early November 1998, the restaurant opening on 6th. At a Celebration Service in the worship area on 8th the congregation sang, 'I will enter his courts with praise', quite appropriate as the worship area is the former Court 1 of the County Court. Also, from early November 1998, the Salt Cellar Community Church established by the former Northmoor congregation, began to meet in the worship area on Sundays.’

Ian concluded by listing three key contributors to the Salt Cellar's continued success:

PRAYER much prayer was offered at every stage of the development and every Salt Cellar day begins with prayer.

GOD'S HAND has been on the project from the start.

TEAMWORK is continuously shown by the vital core of paid staff and volunteers.

The opportunity to contribute memories of the past 25 years was taken up by several of those present. 

Malcolm Mills, (Salt Cellar Resources Treasurer), gave further background to the fund-raising for both buildings and revealed, from a dust-covered file, that the first day's café takings in 1998 were £98. 

Rev Michael Sparrow, (Circuit Minister 1992 - 2006, and former member of the Salt Cellar Executive Board), shared stories of the purchase of the County Court including the prayer input to the 

David Saville, leader of the Salt Cellar Youth Project (SCYP) 1998-2008, talked of the step of faith associated with the start-up of SCYP in 1998, utilising in part the opportunities offered by the extra space in the County Court. He stressed how God had blessed the work over the past 17 years and made lasting impressions on the young people of the Oldham area through both the in-house and schools work. 


Finally, John Asher contributed from his own positive experiences as a long-standing volunteer in the restaurant. 

As the service continued, Rev Luiz Cardoso, the newly
appointed minister with part-time responsibility for the mission of the Salt Cellar was introduced, (see next column)

The words of the concluding hymn provided a final reminder of the basis of the work of the Salt Cellar:

'We have a gospel to proclaim,
Good news for all throughout the earth;
The gospel of a Saviour's name;
We sing his glory, tell His worth.’

Following the service, a delicious buffet was served in the restaurant, providing time for all present to share memories of the first twenty five years of the Salt Cellar.

Thank You to all who contributed in any way to a memorable occasion and especially to Geoff and Barbara Howarth and Sybil Lamb who were closely involved in the organisation of the event; to John Wilkinson and Norman Sykes for the music and amplification; to Ian Avison and Graham Horsley for their contributions at the service; to Christine Hacking for the floral displays and to the Salt Cellar Restaurant staff and their helpers for preparing and serving the wonderful buffet.


Going Forward ....
Welcome to the Cardoso family

Since ‘Day One’, mission has been the primary focus of the Salt Cellar's work. Coincident with the 25th Anniversary, the Oldham and Saddleworth Circuit appointed Rev Luiz Cardoso as minister with part-time responsibility for building upon its current activities and further developing the mission of the Salt Cellar. He was also appointed minister of East Oldham Methodist Church. 


Luiz together with his wife Dani, and his sons, Luiz Jnr and Samuel, was introduced to the Salt Cellar community at the 25th Anniversary service where he briefly shared his first impressions of the town and its needs. 

He says, “I am a bible-based minister who believes that the amazing power and love of God can transform lives. I love to equip and empower people to serve and live a Christian life.” We look forward to his input into the continuing work of the Salt Cellar in the town. 

Luiz and Dani originally come from Brazil where Luiz trained and in 2006 became a minister in Curitiba, the capital of the Brazilian state of Paraná, and also at Campo Magro, a church that he planted. From 2011 Luiz served as a Methodist Minister in Guernsey, in the Channel Islands. 

Before becoming a Methodist minister Luiz worked in a bank and after that as an international relationship employee of an airline in Brazil.

Luiz also says that, as a good Brazilian, he loves football!

Salt Cellar Entrance Hall Improvements

If you have visited the Salt Cellar recently, you will see that during recent months significant improvements have been made to the main entrance area to make it more attractive and welcoming to restaurant customers and to other users of the building. 

Although it had been long recognised that improvements were needed, it proved not a simple process to get the necessary approvals for changes to a gloomy Victorian entrance hall of a listed building.

The internal glazed screen has been improved and now incorporates beautiful new solid oak doors , with similar doors being installed between the entrance hall and the restaurant .


New and more efficient modern lighting has been installed over the entrance hall and stairs. The area has also been re-decorated, new notice boards fitted and the floor covering replaced. The work was funded through a legacy received for the benefit of the Salt Cellar.

This high quality, light and accessible entrance area with an informative notice board will now give a positive first impression for visitors to the Salt Cellar.

The Salt Cellar after 25 Years..... 
                              ..... more than just a Restaurant

Through the hard work, support and prayers of many people, the Salt Cellar has grown and developed from the small seed planted in 1986 - it has been truly blessed by God. By 2015 it has become a large tree with branches in so many directions that it is possible that some strands of today's ministries are not widely known within the churches.

Please tell your friends about our work to give them an opportunity to take advantage of what is on offer at 11A Church Lane. 

Prayer is at the centre of the Salt Cellar. A few minutes is devoted at the start of each day for staff and volunteers to pray for our work and for those who have requested prayer. Each restaurant table has a card which may be completed with a prayer request and left at the till. Below is a reflection from a someone who had recently had to put their partner into a home and it was their birthday that day. The person ended their story by saying, 

“When I got off the bus I knew I had to go to the Salt Cellar
because someone would pray with me and they did”. 

The Restaurant

The award-winning restaurant, managed by Michael Bartrop and staffed by a team of friendly staff and volunteers of all ages, is a major part of the work of the Salt Cellar. It is hugely popular and continues to provide good, reasonably priced food in a comfortable and family-friendly environment. It is an ideal place to meet up with friends for tea/coffee or to sample the extensive menu. 

Restaurant opening hours are:
Monday to Friday: 10.00 am to 3.30 pm
Saturday: 10.00 am to 4.00 pm

The Restaurant is also able to offer party catering. 
For further details please call Michael Bartrop on 0161 628 2426 Ext 1.

Room Hire 

Rooms at the Salt Cellar are available for hire for conferences, training sessions, meetings etc. Catering, ranging from tea and biscuits to a full buffet, can also be provided. For further details please call Neil on 0161 628 2426 Ext 2. 

Baby Boogie, led by Jan Marshall, is a hugely popular time of songs, games, rhymes, instruments and musical fun for babies and toddlers with a parent/carer.

The group meets on the first floor of the Salt Cellar on Fridays from 10 -11am during the school term. 
Christians Against Poverty (CAP)

The Salt Cellar is the headquarters of the Oldham and Saddleworth Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre which provides help to anyone weighed down by debt. The work is managed by Eike Harvey who can arrange for a home visit from a Debt Coach to help you work out a realistic budget and a regular payment plan to cover your bills and debts. 
f you wish to make use of this service call 0800 328 0006.


The Salt Cellar has a group of trained Christian Counsellors who are skilled listeners to help people through difficult times. They offer a free and confidential service by appointment. Clients are seen from all age groups and walks of life and the service is widely known and appreciated. If you feel that you might benefit from this service, an appointment can be arranged by calling Elaine or Neil on 0161 628 2426 Ext 2.

The Salt Cellar Youth Project 

The Salt Cellar Youth Project or SCYP, led by Leonie Flinders and Pete Davies is engaged in Christian work with young people aged 11+ across the Oldham borough. The project, is based on the first floor of the Salt Cellar where many of the activities also take place.

Click the logo above to go to its website.



Copyright © 2014 The Methodist Church - Oldham and Saddleworth Circuit
Registered Charity No: 1134364
All rights reserved.
Revised: August 27, 2016