Sunday, 9 April 2017

Saltaire Village, 07/04/2016

This post was in my drafts for a whole year, so I am very pleased that it has finally seen daylight. When I visited Saltaire in April last year I was very excited as I had not been there for about ten years. I was looking forward to seeing if and what changes had been made over the years, so I simply walked around some of the most popular places of interest.

Saltaire is a fascinating, historic, model village near Bradford in West Yorkshire. It got its name from its founder, Titus Salt, and the river Aire which runs though the village. Salt was an industrialist involved in textile industry in the 19th century Bradford. Bradford was already polluted and overcrowded, and since its population still grew at the fastest rate in the country, Salt decided to move his business and employees to a rural area. He employed two local architects, Lockwood and Mawson, to plan a new community and design an entire village inspired by the Italian Renaissance. The project took twenty five years to complete.

Salts Mill was the first building to be completed in the new village in 1853. It manufactured luxury cloth through a multi-stage process of transforming raw llama and alpaca wool. It was built near the railway and canal to ensure quick and cheap distribution of products, and was also positioned where the winds would blow the potentially harmful factory smoke away from the village.
By the 1980s the British textile industry was in steep decline, and Salts Mill was finally closed in 1986.Today the Mill opens its three floors to the public for shopping and exhibitions. It features a gallery with the work of renowned Bradford-born artist David Hockney and the famous Salts Diner.

There is a heron in this image, just above the weir, near the edge of water. Apparently it was a permanent resident in that spot, and I wonder if it can still be seen there. I have a soft spot for herons.

An attractive green on Alexandra Square encircled by Almshouses.

In Salt's times the Almshouses were provided rent-free for the elderly and sick in the village. They came with a pension, forty years before the first state pensions in the UK.

As I started walking down Victoria Road, the most famous road in the village, I spotted this lovely vintage shop I didn't know it was there. I couldn't wait to get in and have a good look around. And I found something I had been searching for for a long time - a pair of old, gold rimmed. round spectacles to use in my still life work.

I carried on walking down Victoria Road, and suddenly I thought: "hang on a minute, am I actually in Victoria Road? .....Yes, I am.... but something is very different .....And then it came to me - I vaguely remembered hearing quite a while ago that all the trees in Victoria Road had been felled. I stared around in shock... yes, all the beautiful trees on both sides of the road were gone!! I could not see what justified reason there could possibly be for this other than the trees having an untreatable disease. But when I googled the issue I was horrified to learn the trees had been removed merely for easier movement of pedestrians!

Part of the Factory School. Mill owners of the 19th century, who depended on child labour, were required to ensure the children they employed received education, but not to provide facilities. Sir Titus built this beautiful, fully equipped school which now forms part of Shipley College.

I love bakeries, and this very attractive and inviting one on Victoria Road immediately caught my eye.

Just before the Railway Station and Bridge there is a charming cobbled street called Albert Terrace. This is a photo of one of the alleyways off Albert Terrace.

Another view of the same alleyway as above. I liked the pattern of the stone brick houses huddled together on the right hand side.

Colourful boats on the Leeds Liverpool Canal, and the towpath which provides an excellent place to both cycle and walk.

The diner boat was very tempting, but I still had a lot to see and a long way to walk, so I managed to resist the temptation. Looking forward to checking out the diner next time I am in Saltaire. The United Reformed Church is on the left in the photo.

The former Congregational Church was provided for the spiritual welfare of Salt's employees. It is a fine example of Italianate religious architecture. Sir Titus Salt is interred in the mausoleum. The church is a grade 1 listed building, which is the same category as York Minster or Hampton Court Palace.

My next destination was Roberts Park. I was pleased to see that it had been extensively refurbished. Salt believed in the importance of leisure for his worker's health, and the park was included in his village project from an early stage. It was also to be distraction from the temptations of alcohol. (Apparently, Salt was against alcohol consumption and did not build any public houses in the village).

A statue of two alpacas in the park. Since it was mainly alpaca's wool that was manufactured into cloth in Salts Mill alpaca acts like a mascot of the village.

The statue of Sir Titus Salt basking in some lovely spring sunshine. It was a great day for exploring Saltaire.

The bandstand with its new, cheerful, red paint looked very good in its recently refurbished edition.

A view of Salts Mill coming back to the village from the western side of the park.

I was getting a little weary by now, so back in Victoria Road I decided to stop at the lovely Massarella cafe for a cup of coffee and a sandwich.

There was artwork by the local artists all over the walls, something I had to have a close look at. I do like and appreciate cafe like this.

I took this photo sitting at my table in the cafe. This is Victoria Hall, one of the finest buildings in Saltaire. It was opened as the Saltaire Club and Institute in 1871; it offered a library, dance hall and lecture theatre, meeting rooms, billiards room and gymnasium. Now the hall hosts regular events including craft and vintage fair and is also home to wurlitzer organ with regular afternoon and evening concerts.
I like this photo particularly because it looks like a vintage postcard with its brownish tones and the cafe's name written across the window pane.

Saltaire was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001. It was recognised for its international influence on town planning and as one of the earliest, largest and best preserved 19th century "model villages" anywhere in the world.
There is so much more to this extraordinary village than I could possibly fit in one post. It is one of the rare places on my list that I intend to go back to time and time again. There are some beautiful countryside walks around the village, too. Last spring I went for a lovely Shipley Glen and Hirst Lock walk.
For any further interesting reading on Saltaire, as well as quality photography, I recommend fellow blogger jennyfreckles who resides in Saltaire and posts daily on her blog.


  1. Thanks for the link Vesna. Great to see your lovely photos, I always like seeing how other people view the area. Looks like you chose a lovely day for your visit. Yes, the heron is usually somewhere around that weir.

    1. Thanks for your comment Jenny. I thought about you while writing this post. Glad the heron is still there :) looking forward to seeing it next time I come to Saltaire.

  2. I'm glad to see it finally saw the light of day Vesna. Both the photos and text are excellent. I must be the only person in Yorkshire who hasn't seen that heron! 😉

    1. Thank you very much, Norman!
      Hope you can see the lovely heron on your next visit to Saltaire.