Thursday, 21 April 2011
(Click on picture to enlarge it)
Well, I wondered how long it would be before Saltaire adopted the idea of painted creatures. Skipton, as reported on my blog some while ago, had their sheep. Now Saltaire has alpacas - and not only painted ones; we had real ones too. I adore them - such lovely woolly things and they have gentle, pretty faces. I think they can be a bit vicious and spit if not well-handled but these three seemed quite docile and contented. ( I'm afraid I didn't take proper notice of the farm they came from, sorry!)
They were all gathered for an 'Alpaca Parade' on Monday to celebrate World Heritage Day. Without alpacas, Saltaire probably wouldn't exist. It's a well-known story that Titus Salt, on a business trip to Liverpool one day in 1836, was intrigued by a some bales of wool from Peru, gathering dust in a warehouse. He took a sample of the 'useless' material, that no-one else wanted, back to Bradford and set about working out how it could be washed, combed and spun. He and his team discovered that, by combining alpaca weft with a cotton or silk warp, a durable, light, lustrous cloth could be produced at reasonable cost, eminently suitable for the fashions of the day. From that innovation, it's fair to say, Titus Salt made his fortune.