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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Berry red

Maybe it's just my imagination but there seem to be even more Rowan berries than usual on the trees this year - and so bright. I've said before that the Rowan or Mountain Ash is one of my favourite trees (such good value - white blossom, red berries, super autumn leaf colours). I'm lucky to pass several on my usual walk to work and the combination of red and green with a blue sky never fails to cheer me. This view is looking back towards Salts Mill and Saltaire, more or less along the line of the railway from Shipley. Is it any wonder that I dawdle and stop to take photos.... luckily, we work flexi-time so I can't be late!

Monday, 30 August 2010


I've had a bit of a revamp of the site, as you see. I liked the old-fashioned look of the other one - it seemed to suit Saltaire - but it began to look and feel a bit cramped to me. I have a notion that this template makes the images a bit 'softer', and I wish I could work out how to get my photos a bit bigger. (I'm not very techno-savvy when it comes to this kind of thing.) But for now I think I'll leave it like this.

Entrance, Victoria Hall

A bright, sunny day shows off the front entrance to Saltaire's Victoria Hall at its best. The Victoria Hall is one of the most important public buildings in Saltaire village. Completed in June 1871, it was originally known as the Saltaire Club and Institute, designed to be a social club and an educational facility at the heart of Sir Titus Salt's model village. It is still well-used by the local community for concerts, exhibitions, craft fairs and sales, weddings and all sorts of meetings and evening classes.
Click the tag 'Victoria Hall' below to see more photos of the building.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Sunset Sunday Saltaire

Back in Saltaire - and at last, a sunset to be proud of.... not so much proud of my own photograph, you understand, but simply of the fact that we had a decent sunset at all! Living in the bottom of the valley, there isn't a vast amount of sky on view - and what there is of the western sky is largely hidden from my sight by the houses behind mine. So we don't see many spectacular sunsets and, even when we have them, I mostly miss them! Not so last Sunday when I was walking home from church. I took the opportunity to go and stand on the footbridge over the river at the entrance to Roberts Park in Saltaire. From there, you do at least see the sky along the valley. I wasn't disappointed - it was a lovely sky and the cricket pavilion loomed like a white ghost on the riverbank. (And the bridge provided a handy makeshift tripod for my camera.) I think this shot is a match for some of those huge Utah skies that Scott at Finding Another View posts regularly. Go and check his out and prepare to be amazed at this awesome world we live in.

Take a look at more 'Weekend Reflections' at James's Newtown Area Photo too.

Saturday, 28 August 2010


This is the main street in Haworth, still very olde-worlde and cobbled, although the village itself is far from being 'a museum'. It's a lively modern community, which cheerfully makes the most of the throngs of tourists who arrive at weekends. The steps on the right lead up to the church and the Parsonage behind. The pub (behind the phone box) is The Black Bull, famed as being one of the places Branwell Brontë frequented. Brother of the Brontë sisters, Branwell was an artist and writer. He held several different jobs but managed to be dismissed from all of them - one of them for having an affair with Mrs Robinson, his employer's wife. He died aged only 31, from drink and opium abuse.

I now have some more photos of Haworth and the surrounding moors on my other blog 'Seeking the Quiet Eye'.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Brontë Parsonage, Haworth

Haworth, sitting on the edge of the Pennine moors about eight miles west of Saltaire, is famous as the home of the Brontë sisters - Charlotte, Anne and Emily - all of whom wrote novels that have become classics. The family arrived in the village in 1820 when their father Patrick became the vicar, and they lived in the Parsonage behind the church. They had, in many ways, a very tragic life - their mother died a year later and the two oldest daughters died in 1825. The three remaining girls and their brother created a rich imaginary life, writing in tiny books. Later, to earn much-needed income, the girls trained as teachers and all three published novels under male pseudonyms. Their story is in itself the stuff of novels - there is a lot of information about them on the Haworth website.

The Parsonage is now a museum, furnished much as it would have been in the 1800s, although the gable wing on the right was added by Rev Brontë's successor. Even on a sunny summer's day it has an air of melancholy, overlooking the graveyard and the church where the Brontës are interred.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Brontë Falls

About halfway between Top Withens and Haworth the path passes through this little valley, past the Brontë Waterfall. Referred to by the Brontës themselves as 'the meeting of the waters', it is usually quite a tranquil spot. But when heavy rain has soaked the surrounding peat moorland, huge torrents can pour down the stream. One cloudburst swept away the old stone footbridge, which has now been replaced by a replica.
"We set off, not intending to go far; but though wild and cloudy it was fine in the morning; when we got about half-a-mile on the moors, Arthur suggested the idea of the waterfall; after the melted snow, he said it would be fine. I had often wished to see it in its winter power, so we walked on. It was fine indeed; a perfect torrent racing over the rocks, white and beautiful!"

Charlotte Brontë, 29 November, 1854
The surrounding moorland seems very wild and isolated these days but at one time there were many dwellings around the Falls and the moors were dotted with farmhouses and weavers' cottages. There are many 'erratics' - large boulders that litter the moors, brought down here from the Dales and the Lake District by glaciers in the Ice Age. These were crushed and burned in kilns to make lime to fertilise the acidic moorland. The moors were also mined for coal until the coming of the railway in 1867 meant it was cheaper to bring in coal from the bigger mines further south. So these moors were a hive of activity, with many people living and working in the area.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

A literary ramble

It was really Malyss that started it, with her recent comment on my Bolton Abbey post about Jane Austen.... Jane Austen country is southern England, a long way from Saltaire in Yorkshire, but we do have our own famous local literary connections. It was such a wonderful day on Saturday - mostly blue skies and a light breeze - and, being at a bit of a loose end, I suddenly decided to embark upon a literary ramble. My destination was that lone tree right up on the horizon. It's a long walk, so we'll arrive there tomorrow, when all will be revealed. In the meantime, enjoy the moorland views and that wonderful carpet of purple heather.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Warm glow

There was a lovely sunset over Saltaire last evening as I walked home from church. Luckily I had thought to take my compact with me - I always try to remember, because you never know what you might see. I liked the way the windows of Salts Mill were catching the light; it almost looked as though there was a fire inside. I'll post a picture of the actual sunset some other time - it will fit with Scott's 'Sunset Sunday' theme.

One thing I didn't manage to snap though was the steam train that went through Saltaire station just as I was passing! It went so fast - and, it has to be said, with very little steam - that I didn't even see or hear it coming until it flashed past. Some folk must have been expecting it, as there was a little knot of people standing on the bridge. I saw the warm glow from the furnace and it did leave a slightly smoky fragrance behind. I think the whole of Saltaire must have smelled like that most of the time in days gone by.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Ice cream Sunday

You probably get the impression from most of my photos that there aren't many people around in Saltaire. Well, that couldn't be further from the truth, especially on a pleasantly warm, dry sunny (lazy!) Sunday afternoon. The ice-cream boat (first spotted in early April) has become a permanent feature on the canal just beside the entrance to Roberts Park. Perhaps the plastic ice cream cones on its roof don't entirely fit with Saltaire's Victorian charm (although the boat is a traditional working barge) but it seems to have a charm of its own, judging by the queues for ice cream and drinks. The canal towpath is also a cycleway but thankfully most weekend cyclists seem content to ride at a fairly leisurely pace, at least along the busy parts of the canal bank. (Being deaf, I don't generally hear them or their warning bells - can be very hazardous for both parties!)

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Salts Walks

It's the weekend again! Every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday, visitors to Saltaire can take a guided walk around the village with 'Salts Walks'. They are great fun, as well as being very informative. The guides dress and act as Victorian characters with connections to Saltaire. Each member of the group is given a bookmark with information about a real historic resident of the village (gathered from the 1861 or 1871 census) - so you can search out the house you once lived in and find out what work you did. You may even find other members of your 'family' within the group. It causes great hilarity when someone in the group finds themselves 'married' to a different partner - or maybe to their teacher!

Salts Walks are one of the best ways of exploring the village and its history. The guides are very knowledgeable and have a knack of really bringing history alive.
The phone number for booking is 07952 745 471 and the walks set off at 2pm from outside Magic Number Three in Victoria Road.
(Photo best viewed large)

Friday, 20 August 2010

Eye candy

I don't know what it is about all these pinks and greens but they're such a soothing sight. Dove Cottage garden is a photographer's paradise but none of my photos do justice to this delightful place. I've lived in this area for many years and I hadn't heard of it until my friend told me about it. I was glad I'd made time to visit. Being herbaceous, its beauty peaks in July/early August - so I must remember to go again next year.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Lavender and pink

Dove Cottage garden again - lavender and pink make such a pretty colour combination. I don't actually know what the pink one is, but it was pretty. I make no apologies for filling my blog this week with flowers. I'm seeking some inner peace... just having one of those weeks...!

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things..... And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Watering can with pansies

Another pretty little corner in Dove Cottage garden. I've always liked these old-fashioned galvanised watering cans - the plastic ones have no soul!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Dove Cottage garden

Another day out... but this time south of Saltaire, towards Halifax, to an area known as the Shibden Valley. It's an attractive green space, slipped in between the urban sprawl of the city of Bradford and the gritty industrial town of Halifax and close to where Sir Titus Salt had his home at Crow Nest. I was on my way to visit Shibden Hall, but first (on a friend's recommendation) I stopped off at Dove Cottage Nursery. You wouldn't know it was there, but it has a lovely 'secret' enclosed garden, full of herbaceous plants that are at their peak in July and early August. The strategically placed benches were ideal for sitting and contemplating Nature's bounty. I was enthralled by the drifts of mauve and the feathery grasses. They looked like pink mist.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Bridal carriage

There was a wedding taking place in Bolton Priory Church last Saturday when I was there. It meant I couldn't go into the church, which is a pity as it's very attractive inside. The church is in such a picturesque setting that it is a very popular choice for (well-to-do!) couples. I caught a glimpse of the bride and groom through the glass doors of the church, but didn't manage to take any photos of them. This, however, was the vintage car waiting to whisk them off to their reception after the wedding ceremony. I'm not sure what type of car it is. It was so highly polished that this picture could also qualify for the Weekend Reflections theme!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Bolton Abbey

This is a clearer view of Bolton Abbey ruins, the Priory Church and its graveyard (where, incidentally, the famous Yorkshire & English cricketer Fred Trueman is buried.) Nestled into a bend in the River Wharfe, it is an idyllic spot, beloved by locals and tourists alike. The Bolton estate around it has miles of lovely walks along the river banks and through ancient woods. There are several famous beauty spots including the Strid, a point where the generally broad river suddenly narrows and rushes through a steep chasm among the rocks.

PS: History note - the abbeys and monasteries all over England were deliberately dissolved, by King Henry 8th around 1536 - the English Reformation - when he made himself 'Supreme Head of the Church of England' and split from Papal authority. (In part because he wanted his marriage annulled, which the Catholic church would not allow). Once disbanded, the buildings fell into neglect and much of the stone was stolen and used for other buildings. That's why we have so many ruined abbeys in England.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

River Wharfe at Bolton Abbey

Another contender for Weekend Reflections .... I do love reflections and this is a particularly peaceful image.

Actually, it's a very popular tourist spot and the footbridge and the adjacent stepping stones
can sometimes hold a continuous stream of people crossing from one bank of the River Wharfe to the other.
But I managed to catch a moment when all was quiet. It's a magical and, I think, very 'English' scene, especially when the cows wander down to drink in the river. When I was there last weekend, the water level in the river was quite low, but it can be deceptive and parts of the river have deep pools and nasty currents. A child sadly drowned here last year.

Happily, nothing spoilt the fun on Saturday and there were lots of families out picnicking, paddling and sampling delicious Yorkshire Dales ice-cream.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Stepping out

It's Weekend Reflections time again, hosted by James at Newtown Area Photo. And here is an intrepid family crossing the river at Bolton Abbey via the stepping stones. Me...? I used the footbridge!

Bolton Abbey is a famous beauty spot (about 20 miles north of Saltaire) at the southern end of the Yorkshire Dales, where the River Wharfe winds its way through meadows and woods belonging to the estate of the Duke of Devonshire.
The Abbey ruins are the remains of a priory (small monastery) founded in 1151. When the monasteries were dissolved by King Henry 8th, the nave of the priory was allowed to continue as a parish church, so you have the interesting situation where there is a small but active local church (which, incidentally, is really beautiful inside) within the imposing ruined abbey.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Red and Green

These pinky red flowers are everywhere at the moment - bursting out of gardens, brightening up wasteland. I'm not too sure what they are - possibly Red Valerian - but they are very country-cottagey and looked pretty tumbling through this green fence on Dallam Avenue, just outside the boundaries of the Saltaire World Heritage Site.

Advance Notice: The Saltaire Festival & Arts Trail 2010 takes place from 9th to 19th September. See the Festival website and the Arts Trail website for full details. One of the attractions this year will be a re-enactment of the grand opening of Roberts Park as it took place in 1871:
"Nearly a thousand children from the three Saltaire primary schools - St Walburga’s, Wycliffe and Saltaire Primary - dressed in Victorian costume will gather in Roberts Park, where actors will re-enact the original opening of what was then called Saltaire Park by Sir Titus Salt and members of his family in 1871." Doesn't that sound fun?

(Of course, your intrepid correspondent will be covering as much of the Festival as I can, and reporting back in words and pictures.)

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


It's a well-known fact that the Victorian founder of Saltaire, Sir Titus Salt, would not allow any licensed establishments within the village boundary, believing that drink was an evil his working men could do without. Indeed, it was many years before the first bar was allowed in Saltaire itself and even today most of the local pubs are outside Saltaire.

Fanny's Ale & Cider House
is perhaps the most famous of our local bars.
It opened in 1997 in what was originally a shop and has steadily built a reputation as a fine traditional alehouse, with wooden floors, old-fashioned fittings and cosy real fires in winter. It has been in the CAMRA 'Good Beer Guide' for nine years and is a 'Pub of the Year' 2010. It serves a wide selection of fine hand-pulled cask ales, some from local 'micro-breweries', as well as lagers and draught cider.

I rarely drink so I don't frequent it much, but it really buzzes most evenings. I have tried lots of times to photograph it and never managed to make it look very pretty, though it is charming inside. But the fact that it gets so full and that people spill out onto the pavement to drink, chat and smoke - even though it's right beside a busy road - suggests to me that the quality of the beer and the friendly atmosphere do override its limitations.

Little known facts... the late (great) DJ John Peel's wife, Sheila, was born here and I understand the pub was a favourite with John when they came to visit family in the area.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Grand entrances

Aren't these splendid doors? They are the front entrances of large houses on Albert Road in Saltaire. Albert Road, completed in 1868, marks the western boundary of Saltaire village and contains some of the largest and grandest homes, originally occupied by senior managers at Salts Mill and by professional people. In those days they overlooked green fields and woods, but since then another estate of houses has been built.

The burnished wood of the doors reminds me so much of conkers (horsechestnut seeds) - which reminds that it'll soon be autumn... But we will make the most of the rest of the summer. I've been on lots of 'expeditions' recently and have a stack of photos still to show you of this lovely part of the world.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Helen Street

I think this is one of my favourite houses in Saltaire village. (I have several favourites actually). It's the end terrace on the corner of Helen Street and Caroline Street, right at the heart of the village. (To see a street plan of Saltaire, click here.) I like its proportions and the fact that, being on the end of the row, it has rooms with double-aspect windows. It must be much lighter and brighter inside than some of the mid-terrace houses. It has also retained the original windows and doors (or perhaps had faithful copies made). It was built in 1857. Later, the wash-house and public baths opened almost opposite - but because these were not well-used, they were soon closed. Eventually that building was demolished, leaving an open square, which means the area feels quite spacious.

I have said before that the streets in Saltaire are mostly named after family members of Sir Titus Salt (the village's founder). Helen (1852-1924) was his fourth daughter, born - to her father's joy - the year after two of his young children had died. She became her father's secretary for the last three years of his life, when Amelia (his first daughter and private secretary) got married. It was the custom in those days that, once married, women did not work (well, did not have paid employment; I bet they still worked jolly hard!). Helen never married.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

The Numbers Game

I've been meaning to do this for ages - and today was the day... I wanted to go out, but I had no clear idea where to go or what to do. So I wandered around Saltaire with my camera and started snapping numbers - mostly house numbers, one on a wheelie bin! One on a road sign. The more I looked, the more I saw. And I think they make an interesting collage. It's only when you start really noticing people's front doors that you realise what an impact a smart, clean, well thought-out entrance does for a house. I came back and looked at mine... I think I have work to do!

Incidentally, when the village was originally built (1854-1868), each house had a black and white number painted by the door on the stonework - like the number 19 above. That original number is still visible on most of the houses, but many now have more modern numbers on the door or on the wall as well.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Blue sky thinking (Skywatch Friday)

Walking in Roberts Park, Saltaire the other day, I was cheered by this glorious blue sky. The honeyed stone of Saltaire's buildings (in this case the New Mill) looks at its best against a clear blue. But I like the mix of different types of clouds - and the contrails. That is a small reminder that we are only a few miles from Leeds-Bradford airport, though the planes are usually high enough overhead here that they don't irritate with constant noise.

I thought this would be a good entry for Skywatch Friday - I've not joined in that one before, but it's always fun seeing what different people do with a theme. For the other participants in Skywatch Friday this week, click this link.

A few days ago I mentioned a new video about the restoration of Roberts Park. I've now discovered who made it: David Weber of Barleybrook Films - a Leeds-based company. They've also made a film called 'The Story of Saltaire' and one called 'Echo of the Stones' (about the mysterious house at Milner Field.) You can view clips on their website by clicking the title links. They are high quality, well made films, available as DVDs.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Three Men in a Boat

It seems to me that boating holidays have ample possibilities for fun, frolics and humorous mishaps. Two of my favourite books are based on just such scenarios. 'Three Men in a Boat', written by Jerome K Jerome and first published in 1889, is a classic comedy. More recently I have enjoyed 'Narrow Dog to Carcassone' by Terry Darlington (2006). I was rather reminded of these tales as I was walking home from work. I came across a narrowboat positioned horizontally across the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, apparently grounded on something and listing rather dangerously. The male occupant was trying frantically to push it away from the bank with a long pole, whilst shouting rather hysterically at the hapless lady at the tiller! Meanwhile, an ever-increasing queue of bemused boaters was lining up behind.

As predicted some time ago, from this week the Canal is shut along a large stretch through the Yorkshire/Lancashire border because of the low levels of water in the reservoirs that feed it. (This despite the fact that it has rained A LOT since early July). In consequence the holiday boats that usually potter along westwards from Skipton are now pottering eastwards - through Saltaire. In fact, I have never seen as many boats at one time on the local stretch of canal as there were yesterday - I counted 16! I look forward to many more amusing scenes to enliven my walks!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Roberts Park, Saltaire

Following on from the pictures I've posted over the last few days, here is a view of the formal promenade terrace in Roberts Park, Saltaire. Having the bandstand on one side and Sir Titus Salt's magnificent statue on the other, this is the heart of the newly-restored Park. It recalls the early days, in the 1870s, when Victorian ladies in their crinolines would walk up and down 'taking the air'. With plenty of benches (to make my dear friend Malyss happy!) and a wind-shelter at either end, the promenade also provides opportunity to sit and rest awhile and watch the world go by. If you need refreshment, the Half-Moon Café is down some steps to the left, overlooking the cricket pitch and river. You can see the tower of Salt's Mill beyond. (Oh yes, and there are plenty of litter bins too - all smartly painted - so please use those and don't litter up our park!)
Click on the picture to enlarge it.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Shelter, Roberts Park, Saltaire

The YouTube video about Saltaire and the recent renovation of Roberts Park has some interesting photos of the park, both in its Victorian splendour (it was opened in 1871) and later, when much of it was becoming run-down and vandalised. There is at least one shot of one of these wind shelters in a very poor state. Part of the restoration work undertaken this year has involved cleaning up and reroofing the shelters, including restoring the very pretty ridge (which you can see in close-up in this picture).

There are three or four shelters around the park - including one at either end of the promenade terrace. You can see how the decorative woodwork (which had been destroyed) has been recreated and painted as it would originally have been.
I think they've done a great job.

The shelters once again provide a lovely place to rest - and, when necessary, to shelter from the wind and rain (and occasional sun!) that are so much a part of the British weather.
I've noticed in the evenings they tend to attract groups of young lads - but I hope very much they remain unvandalised, after so much effort and money has gone in to improving them. I try very hard to remember that 'group of young lads' is not necessarily the same thing as 'group of young vandals' and I'd like them to prove it!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Victorian basin

This elegant basin is set into the outside wall of the Half Moon Café in Roberts Park in Saltaire. I suppose at one time it might have been a drinking fountain, though it no longer serves that purpose. The stone carving around it is a motif that is repeated throughout Roberts Park, on the buildings and wind shelters. It includes the Yorkshire rose emblem.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Victorian tiles

Saltaire's Half Moon Café (see yesterday) has been attractively refurbished and retains the original Victorian tiles, patterned with what appear to be raspberries and leaves. The end of each run of tiles, where the windows and doors punctuate, has an elaborate carved stone finial, each of which is different. I think the tiles may be faience ware (glazed terracotta) from the Leeds company of Burmantofts, but I am not certain.