Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Open house

Saltaire, the Victorian paternalist Sir Titus Salt's model village, built to house his mill workers in comfortable and healthy surroundings, is now a World Heritage Site. The houses, as well as the public buildings, are 'listed' and protected, though now in private ownership. One or two people have commented that they'd like to be able to see inside some of the houses. Well, generally speaking you can't. Saltaire is a regular community, not a museum, and the houses are still people's homes (so no, it's not a great idea to press your nose to the windows to peep in!).

The exception to this happens during the Saltaire Festival each year, when a number of private houses are opened up as gallery space for art works of various kinds.
That gave me the opportunity to photograph this interior, one of the smaller 'workmens' cottages' in the western half of Saltaire, built in 1854. The photo is of the downstairs living room. To the left, out of shot, is a doorway to the kitchen (scullery) - about half the size of the main living area. There is also a staircase to the upper floor, which originally had two bedrooms but will now have a bathroom. (The houses were built with a 'privy' - a private outside lavatory - a vast improvement on the conditions the residents would have experienced in inner city Bradford).

The fireplace, though a Victorian design, is not original. There would have been a cooking range here. (See my post of 18 May 2010 for an idea of how the room might have looked in Victorian times.) You can see how light the room is - the village was designed with the optimum space between the rows of houses to maximise the light. They may be over 150 years old but they still make delightful homes. I wonder if the same will be said of the houses we are building today?
(Photograph used with the kind permission of the home owner - many thanks.)

11 comments:

  1. What an attractive room. The houses of the time were not great on space, but they certainly had style. And light is so important. What an intelligent bit of building.

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  2. The houses of today won't be standing and just as well for they lack style and quality.

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  3. How kind of the owners. It is a lovely space. There are houses in our area which are being pulled down to make place for a bigger getter one to be built. The awful thing is that the homes being bulldozed are only 20 years old. Talk about the throw away society.

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  4. Real nice home, although for size sometimes a bit pricey.

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  5. Lovely. Looks like nice high ceilings and altogether pleasant surroundings.

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  6. Many thanks to you and to the owner for indulging my curiosity! It's a beautiful living space.

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  7. We have had this "Tag des offenen Denkmals" last Sunday, too. It´s a good oportunity to see, how people lived bevore. Nice impressions from this special place and house - Thank you! Greetings from Luzia.

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  8. Having just read your follow up post on these homes, it really seems like a reasonable price for living there! The interior space is most pleasant. ~Lili

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