Saltaire

June 30
Saltaire

Mr. Titus Salt had a windfall for his woolen mill when he cornered the London market on alpaca and wool and put it into production. Secure now in his business, he turned his attention to finding a place for a new factory that would have adequate water, a breeze to carry off pollution and other sundry requirements. He chose a place about 5 miles outside of Bradford, building his factory near the river Aire. He came to Bradford in 1822, and in 1853 his mill opened.


But what made him famous today, as well as getting a World Heritage Site designation, was the fact that he provided housing—good housing—for his workers. He didn’t allow “public houses,” or pubs, but instead encouraged home industry, sports, schooling and of course, a church. The building of the village was completed in 1872.

These houses are small, but according to one man who invited us to see his garden, delightful to live in.

The defunct factory has been converted into shops, a gallery, and and a lunch place. I was enamored of the enamel pots—in vivid shades.


I was intrigued with the gallery, named “1853” in honor of the year Salt opened his factory and featured works by David Hockney, a Bradford-born boy made good. Hockney’s fabrics are the curtains, and his works are displayed throughout Saltaire.


The church is interesting-looking from the outside—a sort of classical column—albeit with different proportions. This church–the Saltaire United Reformed Church–opened in 1859.

Inside: a harmonious blue with brown woodwork and a large organ. The shortest pipe is 3/4 of an inch and the largest is 16 feet.

A medallion lamp hanging from the decorative ceiling. (As always, click to enlarge.)

This was the resting place of the Salt family, with a terrific marble angel. (Sorry about the reflection–it was all glassed in.

Although his eyes are closed, the man on the left with the gripmarks in his coke can and a wild belt, rebuilt the organ in its last incarnation. With him is his helper, and to the far right, the lady who opens up the church in the afternoons for the visitors.

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