Saltaire

Saltaire is a Victorian model village within the City of Bradford Metropolitan District, West Yorkshire, England, by the River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. UNESCO has designated the village as a World Heritage Site, and it is an Anchor Point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage.

Saltaire was built in 1851 by Sir Titus Salt, a leading industrialist in the Yorkshire woollen industry. The name of the village is a combination of the founder’s surname and the name of the river. Salt moved his business (five separate mills) from Bradford to this site near Shipley to arrange his workers and to site his large textile mill by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the railway. Salt employed the local architects Henry Lockwood and Richard Mawson.

Similar, but considerably smaller, projects had also been started around the same time by Edward Akroyd at Copley and by Henry Ripley at Ripley Ville. The cotton mill village of New Lanark, which is also a World Heritage site, was founded by David Dale in 1786.

Salt built neat stone houses for his workers (much better than the slums of Bradford), wash-houses with tap water, bath-houses, a hospital and an institute for recreation and education, with a library, a reading room, a concert hall, billiard room, science laboratory and a gymnasium. The village had a school for the children of the workers, almshouses, allotments, a park and a boathouse. Because of this combination of houses, employment and social services the original town is often seen as an important development in the history of 19th century urban planning.

Sir Titus died in 1876 and was interred in the mausoleum adjacent to the Congregational church. When Sir Titus Salt’s son, likewise Sir Titus Salt, died, Saltaire was taken over by a partnership which included Sir James Roberts from Haworth.

Sir James Roberts had worked in wool mills since the age of eleven. He had significant business interests in Russia, and spoke Russian fluently. Roberts came to own Saltaire, but chose to invest his money heavily in Russia, losing some of his fortune in the Russian Revolution. He endowed a chair of Russian at Leeds University and bought the Brontë’s Haworth Parsonage for the nation. He is mentioned in T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. Roberts is buried at Fairlight, East Sussex. His legacy can still be seen in Saltaire in the park to the north of the river, which he named Roberts Park after his son when he gave it to Bradford Council in 1920.

Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saltaire

Photos used with permission by Martin Priestley