Thursday, 8 June 2017
Higher Coach Road
The area on the opposite bank of the river from Saltaire, along from Roberts Park, is called the Higher Coach Road. The name dates back to when the road was a carriage drive leading to Milner Field, the grand residence of Sir Titus Salt's oldest son, Titus Salt Jnr. Because the mansion was demolished, the road doesn't actually lead anywhere now, petering out into an overgrown track beyond the Milner Field estate boundary.
There were a few old farmhouses and cottages in the area but then in the 1950s some social housing was built: a small estate of terraced houses and flats, for people displaced by slum clearance in Shipley. It always seems to me a bit of a backwater, rather overlooked, perhaps because it is a bit out of the way. It's physically cut off from Saltaire by the river and canal. There are some interesting history notes HERE, describing how the development came about and the rows over access. The road bridge from Saltaire into this area had been weakened by tanks driving over it during WWII and it was eventually demolished and replaced by a footbridge. The area is also cut off from Baildon, the nearest sizeable village, by the steep escarpment of Shipley Glen. There is a bus service and a large upper school but few shops or other amenities for quite a distance. Most of the properties are in private ownership now and the local residents have formed the Higher Coach Road Residents Group, to encourage community spirit and pride in the area and to lobby for the support that such an area deserves.
There is one house in particular that has a colourful mural painted on the fence. It has useful information boards and things like free doggy-poop bags to encourage folks to keep the area clean and tidy. I'm always glad when people come together to make things better. It must be having an impact. During the World Heritage Weekend celebrations in April, the Higher Coach Road residents held a 1950s family picnic to celebrate 60 years of the estate. That is one of the first events that I can remember when the community on that side of the river has really actively been included in a collaborative event. More of that please!