Tuesday, 12 October 2010

What a dish!


In some ways it seems a bit incongruous to have this huge dish aerial alongside the Victorian splendour of Salts Mill.  And yet in another sense, it's entirely appropriate.  I'm not sure if it's a working aerial or merely a symbol/logo but it signifies that much of the huge former textile mill now houses the very high-tech company, Pace plc... "a leading technology developer for the global payTV market".  Among other things, they make digital set-top boxes for TVs.

When textile manufacturing collapsed in the UK in the 1980s, Salts Mill almost collapsed with it.  It lay empty and derelict until in 1987 a young businessman, Jonathan Silver, bought it.  He developed it as a gallery and retail space and also brought in new industries.  Sir Titus Salt, the Victorian visionary entrepreneur, founded the Mill and the village and his name lives on in the name Saltaire.  It's easy to forget the huge debt that the area owes to the more recent and younger - but equally visionary - entrepreneur, Jonathan Silver (who sadly died in 1997) and his family, who still manage the Mill today.  (I like to think that, had he lived, he would have also been awarded a knighthood by now - Sir Jonathan Silver sounds good to me.  Though he was in many ways such a maverick that he might not even have accepted it - who knows?)

7 comments:

  1. I agree. I'd rather see the dish, rather than see the buildings fall into ruin. Jonathan Silver was obviously a man who knew quality when he saw it.

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  2. Without him, Saltaire would maybe have disappeared. But luckily, it seems that the place is very inspiring for great men trough the ages!

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  3. One of my first ever modems - back in the pre-internet days of Prestel - was a Pace modem. And I have a feeling that the black box that makes my Cable TV work is a pace black box. Pace is keeping pace with me as I travel through life (I wonder if they would like to buy that slogan!)

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  4. Now that's quite a contrast! :-)

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  5. Very interesting - I agree about the ring of Sir J S.

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  6. People like Silver are so inspiring... to have a vision and to execute it. I've seen the incongruous match of satellite dishes with Mongolian gers and with remote villages in Chinese mountains... so this looks quite normal to me! :-D

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