'In 1489, a Lionel Bell of South Shields obtained a 60 year lease from the Prior of Durham for making salt near St Hilda’s Church. Here he built two large salt pans where sea water was heated with vast quantities of coal to produce salt. These were the earliest known salt pans in South Shields and may mark the beginning of salt making here – one of the industries for which the town was renowned. Salt making was a major industry in South Shields for around 400 years and was one of the major factors in the growth of the town. By 1743 there were an incredible 200 salt pans in South Shields. The salt was supplied to towns along the entire eastern coast of England from South Shields to the Thames and was a highly sort commodity essential in the preservation of meat.'
Maybe at that time, the Jarrow alkali works were incorporated with the South Shields works being so close in proximity.