Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Saltaire village houses
These streets, built on a north-south axis between Titus Street and Caroline Street, were completed in 1857. They were named after children of Titus Salt: Whitlam (1846-51), his sixth son, who died of measles aged 4; Mary (1849-51), his third daughter, who died aged 2, and Helen (1852-1924), his fourth daughter, who never married and eventually became her father's secretary. There is a fourth street in the same 'block' but not visible in my photo: Ada Street, named after Titus's fifth daughter and youngest child (1853-1935).
The houses are the smaller 'workmen's cottages', simpler and more austere in design than many of the other dwellings. They originally consisted of two bedrooms, a living room, a small scullery and a cellar. They have no front gardens, the front doors opening direct onto the street, but all have small backyards opening on to narrow alleys. The 1871 census suggests an occupancy level on average of five people per house, so they must have been quite cramped. Nevertheless, there is an orderliness to the housing that is quite attractive in its own way.
I am struck by how even these ordinary little streets are thoughtfully designed within the vision for the overall look of Saltaire. Rather than having blank gable ends, like most rows of terraced houses, each street is 'topped off' by houses that face onto the main arterial streets. Still pleasing, after all these years....