Saturday, 24 October 2009
The Salt Family Mausoleum
It must be remembered that the Victorians took their dying very seriously. It was, sadly, a frequent occurrence: many children, even in well-to-do homes - failed to thrive, diseases like TB were rife and common childhood illnesses like measles could not be effectively treated. One in every three babies failed to reach their first birthday and the average life expectancy was 40.
Aristocratic funerals were a major sight, involving elaborate hearses, horses with black feather plumes and long processions of mourners. Sir Titus Salt died in December 1876 and was laid to rest on 5 January 1877 in the Mausoleum he had added to the church in Saltaire. The hearse left the family home, then Crow Nest near Halifax, escorted by mounted police and there was a large funeral procession from Bradford Town Hall, with a military band. The cortege was followed by representatives of clubs and groups with which Sir Titus had been involved and the procession was watched by over 100,000 spectators along the route. In Saltaire, the Mill was silent and the whole village gathered to mourn 'the father' of their community. After the funeral the church was kept open for several days and special trains were run from Bradford to Saltaire so that people could pay their last respects.