Thursday, 20 September 2018

Open Gardens 2

Decorative glass panels made by Anne-Marie Lowe were an attractive feature in this garden, shown as part of the Saltaire festival.

Carved stone and bronze sculptures (below) by Terence Lister enhanced another patch. 

The carved head (below left) was tricky to photograph, as the chair (not, I think, part of the artwork) was set at a drunken angle. 

On the right, some graceful ceramic swifts on wire stems that swayed in the wind brought colour and movement to a small yard. They and some pretty ceramic bowls were the work of 'The Potting Studio' based in north Leeds. 

And finally, these colourful aluminium and copper 'flowers' displayed on a wall in a small backyard were by Cian Carroll.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Open Gardens 1

As is now traditional for the first weekend of the Saltaire Festival, a number of gardens around the village were open to visitors, most displaying sculptures as an extra feature. The garden above was created a few years ago on the site of an unused garage. It belongs to one of the large semi-detached houses on Albert Road. I really liked it - so much nicer than an old garage, and there was still space to park a car on the drive. The two photos below are of the same garden, which was featuring an attractive stained glass sculpture of ferns and leaves, by artist Sam Yates. I think the wonderful ammonite swirl was a permanent feature of the garden.

The garden below was in one of the tiny backyards of the terraced workers' cottages. It's amazing how many plants people manage to cram in to these spaces.

Below, another of the larger side gardens on Albert Road, which also had an attractive paved seating area at the back.

Below, a beachcomber's garden, full of driftwood, shells, nets and rusty items sourced from foreshores. Rather curious, since we're about as far from the sea as you can get in this country. It was enhanced for the Festival by some colourful sea creatures made from felt, by Galina Titova.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

'I laugh in the face of drizzle'

'I laugh in the face of drizzle. I put on a cagoule, have a beer, check the electrics are working and dance to the music' was written on the Facebook page for 'Yardfest', the mini music festival in someone's back yard in Saltaire as part of Saltaire Festival. Well, they did need a jacket and a smile, as the drizzle was fairly relentless for much of the weekend. But it didn't stop people having fun. There was food from Edward Street Bakery, beer from the Cap and Collar and good music from a line-up of local bands and DJs. I caught a set from a duo I think were called 'Gurgles'. 

To be honest, the jazzier style of the buskers in the Wash House garden was more my cup of tea. 

As always, there was dancing too, from the local clog team 'Rainbow Morris', the belly/morris fusion dancers '400 Roses' and another side from Sheffield called Lizzie Dripping.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Salt family heritage

It was a huge privilege to meet Nick Salt, Sir Titus Salt's great great grandson and a great grandson of Titus Salt Jnr and his wife Caroline. He retains a close connection with Saltaire and brought along some hand tools that had belonged to his great grandfather.

As well as being closely involved with the running of Salts Mill and the village of Saltaire, Titus Salt Jnr was an innovator and was interested in practical skills. He himself was a skilled woodworker and turner, and had a workshop or 'Turning Room' attached to the billiard room in the Milner Field mansion (where he suffered his fatal heart attack at the age of just 44). Some of the tools were actually inscribed with 'T SALT JUNr' - rather moving to see and hold.

There were also examples of some of the wood and ivory objects he turned, including the ivory mason's mallet used by his young son, Gordon (Nick's grandfather), who was not quite three at the time, to lay the foundation stone of Milner Field in 1869.

Nick's lineage is, I believe:

Sir Titus Salt (1803-1876) - had 11 children,  Titus Junior being his fifth son.
Titus Salt Junior (1843-1887) - had 4 children, Gordon Locksley Salt being his oldest son.
Gordon Locksley Salt (1866-1938) - had 3 children, John Salt being his middle child and only son.
John Scarlett Alexander Salt (1905-1947) - had 3 children, Nicholas being his middle child and second son.
Nicholas (Nick) John Salt (b 1945)

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Milner Field Farm

Many of the original buildings associated with Milner Field's model farm still survive in use. Just behind the farmhouse is the small, square dairy (now used as a store), where milk, butter and cream would have been prepared for the folk up in the grand mansion. The outbuildings are built in a U-shape of cowsheds, barns and stables, now infilled with a more modern structure that shelters the huge milk storage tanks. 

I sampled some of their farm-made ice cream - and very delicious it was, too. 

You could see into the former milking shed, though now the cows are milked in a more modern facility in one of the other buildings. I understand that the farm is solely a dairy farm nowadays. Any crops grown are used as animal feed and the few chickens running loose were there to provide eggs for the famer's family.

Dairy cows mean calves and there were a few youngsters in the barn.

In the field by the gatehouse we saw a very newborn calf, struggling to stand. There were two cows beside it. The one with the white shoulders was its mother but the other seemed to be rather aggressively trying to keep the calf from feeding. I have no idea about cows so I'm not sure if that was normal behaviour or not!

Saturday, 15 September 2018

A visit to the farm

I've driven past many times, but never really speculated what lay beyond these gates, the entrance to Milner Field Farm. To coincide with Saltaire Festival and as part of the Heritage Open Days scheme (which sees private properties of historic interest opened to the general public), Saltaire History Club was offering guided tours of the farm.

It was built by Titus Salt Junior (one of Sir Titus' sons) in 1871 as a model farm for his grand mansion at Milner Field. I've written about the now demolished house in the past. (See HERE) It has a fascinating story though little remains apart from a few old stones, a fragment of the conservatory's mosaic floor and the top and bottom gate lodges. The farm, in contrast, continues as a business, run as a dairy farm by tenant farmers, currently the fourth generation of the Downs family, who have lived there since 1902.

The gates and gatehouse to the farm (top photo) give a hint of the grandness of the original Milner Field mansion, which was a solid-looking place built in a heavy Victorian Gothic style. The farmhouse itself (above) is less grand, though its windows with their slightly rounded arches give a nod to Saltaire's architecture. 

It has a wonderful view, perched on the hillside looking down towards Cottingley. The lone tree in the photo below is the upper of my two 'favourite trees', the ones I often take photos of when I'm walking along the canal towpath at Dowley Gap. (See HERE). 

To the east of the farm and its outbuildings, there's a view down to Saltaire itself.

Behind and slightly above the farm is the site where the Milner Field mansion was. The site is now overgrown by trees but just underneath those trees is a wall and a ha-ha (hidden ditch) that marked the garden boundary.

For those who like maps, I've included one below. Saltaire village and its mill are in the bottom right
corner and I've marked Milner Field Farm and the site of the original Milner Field mansion with a purple overlay.  

Friday, 14 September 2018

A grand time with my grand girls

I had both of my granddaughters to stay at various times during the school holidays. It's good to spend time with them, together and separately. I'm usually too distracted to take photos and anyway it's hard to catch them when they are not larking about these days but I managed to get a few snaps with my phone. This is the older one, who will be seven in a few weeks' time. She is growing up so fast; starting now to lose her baby teeth, so that's a big milestone. They both love playing with 'My Little Ponies'. (An enduring toy. My daughter loved them too, thirty years ago!) I took her to Leeds, to the Royal Armouries Museum, where she enjoyed dressing up in costumes, and consented to pose by the elephant statue. 

She also introduced me to her favourite restaurant, Yo Sushi. She polished off several plates of sushi and seaweed, finishing off with a rather rich chocolate confection. I was impressed with her chopstick skills.

Another day we all went to Halifax's Piece Hall, where there were giant deck chairs to pose in, though the bright sun shining into their eyes was an irritant!

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Lee Abbey sunset

So, that was my holiday journal... I took so many photos! I hope I haven't been boring about it. I wanted my own record of a very enjoyable 'grand tour' of the south west of England  - and anyway, I haven't been taking many pictures at home recently.

Finally, just because I can't not show this - here is another sunset shot, taken during the time I was at Lee Abbey, Devon. The sun drops down over Lee Bay into the sea and each night it looks different, depending on the cloud cover. Irresistible to watch - and to photograph. It was like having your very own light show, night after night. As the sun neared the sea, it seemed to change shape from a sphere to an oval. Absolutely compelling. It seemed as if there should be a symphony playing but instead all was quiet. Even the people watching stopped talking and simply enjoyed one of the masterpieces of God's creation. Such peace.

"If I can put one touch of rosy sunset into the life of anyone, 
I shall feel that I have worked with God."
G K Chesterton

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Wiltshire: Lacock

When I set off to visit Lacock Abbey (see yesterday), I had no idea the village of Lacock itself, also owned by the National Trust, would be so pretty. It's a sizeable place, though plagued - like Saltaire and so many of our beauty spots - with cars parked everywhere. These old streets weren't built with cars in mind and have few garages or off-road parking. I spent a while exploring. It was like wandering around a film set - and indeed, Lacock has featured in many films and TV series, notably 'Downton Abbey' and the BBC's versions of 'Pride and Prejudice' and 'Cranford'.

Most of the existing buildings are 18th century or earlier, made of stone or half-timbered with stone roof tiles. The village is laid out in a grid of streets, as a planned medieval estate village. The village's wealth came from the wool trade and outwardly little has changed for 200 years. It is, however (like Saltaire) a living, breathing village. The NT rents the buildings to private tenants and there are shops, cafés, galleries, pubs and an interesting 14th century church, St Cyriac's.

There is a wonderful tithe barn and the old village lock-up (bottom) where they held people overnight for minor misdemeanours.