Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Saltaire: Triumph from the Beginning, 12th Oclober 2015

Yesterday I wrote about Harworth where the Brontës sparkled in a town that suffered terribly from a high death rate during the 19th century. Today Harworth is a hugely desirable place to live. Well, on Sir Titus Salt's 50th birthday, 20 September 1853, the largest factory in the world was opened just outside Bradford. Who knows, had the Brontë family lived under the benign care of Sir Titus, they might have all lived to a reasonable age. For Saltaire was a planned community catering for every need. Near in distance but light years from Harworth.

The textile mill was and is huge. Sir Titus built it outside the city of Bradford, by the Leeds to Liverpool canal and railway so that his goods could be distributed around the globe.

The homes were neatly set out in an orderly fashion, some for the senior workers possessing gardens. They are still desirable and well kept properties.

The street names remember the Salt family.

3000 workers made the textile mill the most productive in the world. And in return they were well treated with a degree of care that extended to schools, a hospital, social club, public baths, park and as below, alms houses for the poor and elderly. Sir Titus eschewed unions but in return his paternal care for his workers was exemplary.

The architects, Lockwood and Mawson, endowed the community with an Italianate look.

He separated the mill from the residences by providing allotments for the workers to grow their own produce.

The United Reform Church above is a particularly fine building. Sir Titus was laid to rest there in the family mausoleum.

The mill today is a marvellous retail outlet for craftsman quality goods as well as housing a glorious David Hockney art gallery. It has a high class restaurant with Hockney inspired plates and even napkins.

A statue of Sir Titus Salt towers above Robert's Park.

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And remembering .....

Our Front Garden, 14th August 2005