Monday, 17 November 2014

Saltaire's hole

I mentioned not long ago (here) the plans to redevelop the gardens belonging to Shipley College, building a teaching block for students with learning difficulties and disabilities. Work has started on laying the foundations. It all looks horribly dark at the moment and huge too... hopefully it will look a lot better when it is finished. I am of the opinion that Saltaire, despite being a World Heritage Site, is also a living community that has to move with the times. Its founder didn't shirk from making dramatic statements. But it's sometimes difficult to see how to marry the new with the old successfully. I hope this development will succeed in that but I am not certain yet. I can't say I honestly have a lot of faith in our town planners when it comes to making sensitive decisions.

They are currently working on a grand 'management plan' for the World Heritage Site with some interesting ideas like opening one of the village houses as a tourist attraction, opening a 'Saltaire Interpretation Centre' in the Victoria Hall, creating an interactive history trial around the village and building a major new community arts 'hub'. The plan is for the next 30 years though - by which time I will almost certainly be past caring!


  1. Cambridge has similar problems but the University has always 'taken the bull by the horns' and built their new buildings in the style of the day which has created some wonderful juxta-positions and some terrible clashes. However if you look back at contemporary sources then you find that buildings which we love today were often much criticised when they were built. I would bet that that huge chimney which appears in so many of your pictures was not without its critics when it first appeared on the skyline.

  2. Hi Jenny - it will be interesting to see the developments in your World Heritage Site. It's good they are thinking of people with learning difficulties and disabilities and perhaps being in the centre - will help alert more to their cause .. and others' will learn as they grow from small children into adults that they can help and everyone is human ...

    Yes - 30 years .. I will also be on the not caring path .. cheers Hilary

  3. We've done a lot of marrying ols and new here in Perth Jenny, sometimes it works sometimes not :) Can't wait to see how this turns out, hopefully they will take the heritage link seriously.

  4. A living community has to change -- let's hope this is done well!

  5. John and Grace have said what I might have said. I'm tempted to go for replicating the style of the original buildings, but sometimes that produces bland structures that are poor relations. One hopes that the school has hired good architects who are sensitive to the local environment.


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