Biographical Account: Jonathon Salt was born at Wardsend in North Sheffield in 1759, the son of carpenter Daniel Salt. He became apprenticed and eventually a partner in his brother's table knife cutlery firm. This provided him with the means to further indulge in his botanical hobby. He travelled around Sheffield and its surrounds, collecting plants and identifying them using what was, at the time, a new technique for classification developed by Linnaeus earlier in the century. Like many amateur scientists, Salt was recruited to assist professional naturalists by collecting and preserving specimens, with Salt's 'patch' being South Yorkshire. These specimens could then be sent to the 'national recorder,' to be used to determine distribution and as a guide to illustrations in any publications. Salt was particularly involved with James Sowerby, who wrote the important series of books called English Botany. Sowerby was later one of the people who nominated Salt to join the Linnean Society in 1797 - one of the highest accolades for a naturalist at the time.
Over the years, Salt collated quite a large collection of pressed plants. Most importantly, and very unusually for 18th century naturalists, he also made quite a good note of where and when his specimens were found. This makes his collection a very important record of the plant life around Sheffield during the industrial revolution. Salt died in 1815 and his specimens were given to the newly formed Sheffield Literary and Philosophical Society to form the basis of its collections. These would ultimately be donated to the City when the museum was founded in 1876.