Friday, 23 September 2011
The shed's story
A number of events connected with the Festival took place in the Pace Canteen in Salts Mill. (Pace plc is one of the big companies that now inhabits the bulk of Salts Mill's buildings.) It's not an area that is generally open to the public so, in the interests of research (in other words, being nosey!) I went in for a look round. Very nice it is too - very light, modern and airy.
This space has an incredible story to tell. It was built as the combing shed of Sir Titus Salt's amazing new mill, and would have housed row upon row of machines, something like the one on the picture here. When the Mill was first opened, on Salt's fiftieth birthday, 20 September 1853, the combing shed, all decorated with garlands around its pillars (the very same ones you see here!), welcomed over 3500 invited guests to a lavish banquet. It must have seen many changes since then... Isn't it strange that it once again welcomes people in to enjoy food?
In my photo you can see a screen to the left, showing film of Salts Mill's centenary trip to Blackpool in 1953. (You can watch it here - it's wonderful, especially the first few minutes which give a very good idea of what the Mill and Saltaire were like at that time.) There were several different films showing on a loop in the Canteen, part of the Yorkshire Film Archive that I have mentioned before, a fascinating resource.