Thursday, 31 January 2013

31. Salts Hospital


In the same area as the Almshouses, Salt established a small infirmary, initially to treat injuries sustained in the mill. Minor injuries were treated at the mill's surgery but the hospital was opened in 1868 as a two-storey building with an operating theatre and nine beds. As time went on, it began to treat people from the local community as well as the mill's workforce and it was enlarged, absorbing some of the almshouses. A third storey was added in 1909. The hospital closed in 1979 and became a nursing home before being converted into apartments.


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

30. Almshouses


Sir Titus Salt's provision for his workforce extended to the building of 45 almshouses for the aged poor, at the top of Victoria Road, in 1868. He himself vetted the applicants, who had to provide evidence of their infirmity, age, previous occupation and probity. Once accepted, they lived rent-free and received a small weekly pension. The almshouses, a mixture of single and two-storey dwellings, are arranged in a square around a formal garden.  Some of them (as above) are very well-maintained but the whole area looks a bit unloved these days, I always think.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

29. The Dining Hall


Meat and potato pie for twopence, anyone?  Situated opposite the main entrance to Salts Mill, the Dining Hall provided breakfast and dinner for the mill workers, many of whom travelled in from beyond Saltaire. (The village's housing stock took over a decade to complete in its entirety.)  A tunnel under the road linked the building with the mill, though it is now sealed.

This is another building that is now used by Shipley College.

It displays Salt's coat of arms.

Monday, 28 January 2013

28. The Factory Schools


Sir Titus Salt was a conscientious employer and a politician: former Mayor of Bradford and, for a short-time, an MP. He was concerned to provide his workers and their families with all that they needed. Shortly after his mill opened he provided a school in the Dining Hall, to comply with legislation to limit the hours worked by children and to provide them with education, but in opening the Factory Schools in Saltaire in 1868, he went, I think, beyond what was minimally required. The two schools (one for boys, one for girls) were advanced in their facilities and provided a foundation of education in Saltaire that was further extended by his son, Titus Jnr, after Salt's death.

The Factory Schools, now part of Shipley College, are opposite and complementary to the Victoria Hall, forming a pleasant focal point at the heart of Saltaire.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

27. Victoria views



Architectural details of the Victoria Hall include figures representing Art and Science above the entrance, numerous carved faces around the facade and four stone lions (War, Peace, Determination and Vigilance) guarding the heart of the village.




Saturday, 26 January 2013

26. The Victoria Hall


Saltaire has some solidly elegant public buildings, as well as the mill and the church. It was part of the grand plan for the village that the approach road down to the Mill should be lined with prestigious public buildings and shops. The most significant building, the Saltaire Club and Institute, completed in 1871, is now known as the Victoria Hall. Its name may have changed but its function as a social club and educational facility for the community has not. Where once there was a library, laboratories, classroom, a billiard room, lecture halls and a rifle drill-room, nowadays the rooms are used for meetings, exhibitions, concerts, weddings, craft fairs, fitness classes and all sorts of clubs and other activities. It's a well-used and much-loved place, a successful marrying of a beautiful and historic building with modern village life.

Friday, 25 January 2013

25. Chimneys

Saltaire's chimneys make an attractive subject for a photographer. The houses would originally have had cooking ranges downstairs and smaller fireplaces upstairs, meaning each had several chimneys. The use of open fires largely died out, with various 'smokeless' Acts and the relative ease of newer forms of electric and gas heating, but I notice that lately there seem to be more people using their fireplaces again and contemporary Saltaire sometimes has a fragrance of woodsmoke from the chimneys.



Thursday, 24 January 2013

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

23. Grand designs


Further west still, along what was originally Saltaire's boundary (and thus once faced green fields, though they have since been built on) are the grandest houses in the village. Originally occupied by professionals: teachers, senior managers, accountants, clergy and the like, they are solid family homes even now, with large rooms and reasonably-sized gardens.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

22. Worker's cottages


The village was extended westwards, away from Salts Mill and then southwards up the valley side.  Further from the mill the cottages are a bit smaller, without the benefit of a front garden, though they still have their own back yard. These date to around 1857 and were designed for the families of ordinary workers at the mill. Although small, they would have been much more pleasant than the overcrowded tenements available in the city. They still provide comfortable homes for singles and young couples starting out on the housing ladder (though, these days, car parking is a bit of an issue as you can see). The lovely view of green fields in the background is still pleasing and must have been literally 'a breath of fresh air' in Victorian times.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

20. The village houses


The oldest streets in Saltaire village are amongst the prettiest, with two- and three-storey houses mixed together to give a pleasing variation to the terraces. These were built in 1854. They have small front gardens, and yards at the back, separated by stone walls to give privacy. (When they were built, they each had a privy/toilet in the yard - a modern luxury in those days). Most of the streets in the village are named after family members. The street pictured is George Street, named after Titus Salt's second son.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

19. As if by magic


The magic of Photoshop reveals the beauty of both the inside and the outside of Saltaire's Congregational church (now the URC) at the same time.

Friday, 18 January 2013

18. Fire and beauty



The distinctive shape of Saltaire's church is instantly recognisable, even in silhouette against a sunset sky.


Thursday, 17 January 2013

17. Salt Mausoleum



Some time after the church was completed, Salt decided to have a mausoleum added. By 1860, he had lost two children and a third daughter, Fanny, was terminally ill. The bodies of Whitlam and Mary were exhumed from their graves in Lightcliffe where the family lived and laid to rest, along with Fanny, in the new family tomb. In time, another five members of the family were interred in Saltaire - Sir Titus himself, his wife Lady Caroline, his son Titus Jnr, Edward's first wife Mary Jane and the cremated remains of Catherine, widow of Titus Jnr.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

16. Inside Saltaire's church


Because it's a Nonconformist chapel, there is no overt religious imagery inside the church, but nevertheless it is quite ornate and splendid, with the focus on the pulpit and below it the church organ.  There are fine ormolu and glass chandeliers and much detailing in the plasterwork and scagliola ornamentation, which resembles marble.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

15. The Congregational Church


Sir Titus Salt's motivation was grounded in his Christian faith and he was keen from the start to provide spiritually for his village's residents. On a carefully chosen site, right opposite the Mill's grandest entrance, he had a church built. The foundation stone was laid in 1856, by Salt's wife Caroline, three years after the Mill opened. It's a magnificent example of Victorian architecture, now Grade 1 listed, with six huge Corinthian columns supporting its round tower.

Monday, 14 January 2013

14. Green oasis


Although Saltaire was a functional and industrial township, and in the early days would have been smoky and more polluted than it is now (though nothing compared to the city of Bradford itself), it was built on a greenfield site. The river, open parkland, allotments and the canal at its heart meant - and still means - plenty of green space, enjoyed by generations of the village's residents - and these days by plenty of visitors too.  This is my favourite stretch of the canal, in the heart of Saltaire alongside the church. The shot was taken several years ago.... Now you can't see this unspoilt view because of the ice-cream boat that moors here for much of the year, though many seem to consider that an asset. (It sells ice-cream, it's not made of the stuff!)  See here.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

13. Venetian fantasy


The chimney of Saltaire's New Mill is wonderfully ornate, considering its prosaic function. The architects Lockwood and Mawson modelled it on the campanile of the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, one of Venice's great churches. One can only assume Sir Titus wanted to make a statement, crowning this building that is so visible, as it sits beside the bridge at the bottom of Saltaire's main street.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

12. The New Mill


The classic view of Saltaire's New Mill from across the weir on the River Aire. I wouldn't like to guess how many photos have been taken here over the years - including quite a lot of mine! (Click the New Mill label below to see more.)

The New Mill stands on the site of the much older Dixon Mill, a water-powered mill that existed when Titus Salt bought the land. Located on a narrow strip of land between the canal and river, the New Mill was built as an extra spinning mill. It was opened in 1868, which also happens to be the year by which most of Saltaire was finished. The area between the canal and river held gasometers (for gas to light not only the mills but also the village) and a dye works too. Later, in Sir James Roberts' time, the New Mill was extended by the blocks you can see behind it. These are now apartments. Whilst they look not dissimilar to the older buildings, being faced in stone, in fact they utilised a much more modern reinforced concrete construction method.

Friday, 11 January 2013

11. The canal gap


The Leeds-Liverpool Canal was a significant factor in Salt's decision to build his mill here in the Aire valley. Built in the 1770s, it provided a route for the import of wool (notably alpaca wool from South America) via Liverpool docks and for export of the finished cloth. These days it is used mainly by leisure boats and provides visitors to Saltaire's World Heritage Site with a pleasurable stroll along its towpath.

The gap between Salts Mill (on the left) and the New Mill (on the right) makes a distinctive canyon-like corridor that is one of my favourite parts of Saltaire. Often the wind whistles through the gap, but on calm days, especially in the mornings, you get beautiful reflections in the water.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Canal works Open Day


A quick information bulletin....
For those who, like me, were fascinated to see the drained Five-Rise Locks at Bingley, there's another  chance to marvel... This time there's the opportunity to walk along the drained aqueduct that carries the Leeds-Liverpool Canal across the River Aire at Dowley Gap, as well as to explore the double rise locks. The Open Day is on Sunday 27 January 10am - 3.15pm, with car parking on the little industrial estate by the Fisherman's pub. Wear your wellies!

10. Aire valley view


This panorama shows how Salts Mill dominates this part of the Aire valley.  If you click on the photo you should be able make it bigger to see more detail. 1 and 2 are the mill chimneys (Salts Mill and the New Mill) and 3 marks the domed tower of the church, Saltaire URC. Behind the mill you can see the village of Saltaire, set out in a neat grid pattern.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

9. Salts Mill at night


Equally imposing by day and at night; the lights of Salts Mill glow warmly, announcing its presence at the heart of Saltaire. In the background you can see the lights of Shipley and the sodium glare from the lights of the city of Bradford.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

8. The Bookshop, Salts Mill



Light, bright, full of wonderful books, cards and prints, all beautifully displayed for browsing, and lots of quirky bits - vintage furniture and relics from the mill's industrial past.