Sunday, 7 February 2016
The Jonathan Silver Building
The new extension to Shipley College was opened in September last year by Mrs Maggie Silver. You may recall my posts about it before the work started (here) and as the build was in progress (here). It was designed by local architects Rance, Booth, Smith and incorporates modern eco-technology. I can't say I'm hugely impressed with its appearance. There's nothing wrong with it and the colours vaguely marry into the surroundings but it isn't terribly exciting. Maybe it will look better when softened by some planting at the front. To the rear are some large, modern greenhouses, since the building caters for horticultural students and those with learning difficulties and disabilities.
It is, however, really good that it has been named after the late Jonathan Silver, one of the most influential men in the history of Saltaire after Sir Titus Salt himself. Jonathan was the entrepreneur who, aged 37, took the gamble to buy the closed and deteriorating Salts Mill in 1987, and transformed it into a successful retail, cultural and business hub. In doing so, he transformed Saltaire too. There is no other memorial to him in the area, although his widow, Maggie, donated a set of church bells to the United Reformed Church on the 150th anniversary of Sir Titus's birth, to replace those removed and made into ammunition during WW1.