Monday, 15 March 2010


Once the yarn was spun it was woven into a fine, wool worsted cloth, used for suiting and other clothing. The quality of worsted produced by Saltaire's Salts Mill, especially that made with mohair and alpaca as part of the mix, was highly regarded. It had a cotton weft and was fine and lustrous, which made it very suitable for the crinoline dresses that were popular with Victorian ladies. It is said that Queen Victoria, who kept two alpacas in Windsor Great Park, sent their wool to Salts to be made into cloth for her dresses.

Some of the cloth made was kept in the natural shades of the wool, and the various different wools twisted together gave pleasing variations. But there was also a dye-house in Salts Mill where cloth (and perhaps yarn, I don't know) was dyed to order, before being dried, pressed and packaged ready for despatch to the customer. It seems the dye-house had a particularly unhealthy atmosphere and was a dangerous place to work.


  1. I see you are hooked on this subject; should have watched Monty Don the other night with his three people learning weaving on a 'masterclass'.

  2. Another beautiful Machine !! Beautiful!!

  3. Are these machines still in working order?

  4. John - not so much hooked - but I was interested to find out what actually went on in Salts Mill. The series is finished tomorrow, you'll be relieved to know! Missed the Monty Don programme - pity, I like him too ;-)
    Vicki - yes, the machines still work and they fire them up a few times each week so you can see them in action. There was an engineer mending one of them, when I was taking today's photo.

  5. That is awesome that you got to see the machines in action! ~Lili


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