Friday, 3 July 2009

The jewel in the crown

Saltaire United Reformed Church (URC), originally Saltaire Congregational Church, is an architectural gem. The most distinctive building in Saltaire, as iconic in its way as Salts Mill itself, it occupies a carefully chosen site opposite the Mill on Victoria Road. Salt's own Christian faith was the bedrock of his life and he was anxious to ensure that his workers and tenants were well-provided for spiritually. Opened in 1859, the church gives the impression of a magnificent temple, with six Corinthian columns supporting a huge tower. It is set back from the road down a long driveway, which serves to emphasise its splendour. It seated 600 people and the interior, although lacking religious symbols (being a Non-conformist chapel) is as elaborate as the exterior. (For photo of interior, see June 22).

Annoyingly, I always find it a difficult building to capture successfully in camera. More often than not there are vehicles parked on the driveway, and for much of the day the light is behind the church, making shadows in the wrong places when the sun is strong or a very dull frontage on a cloudy day. But lo and behold - a beautiful morning... and no cars! Hurray!

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