By in Personal

A grey day for a legacy and a visit to a dark satanic mill!

A brooding grey sky flecked with sleet and snow accompanied by a lazy wind (that’s northern speak for a cold wind that blows straight through you rather than around you). What better a day than a trip to the mill, but this was not just any mill, this was to Saltaire and to Sir Titus Salt’s mill.

Not all Victorian industrialists built empires of factories belching smoke to amass fortunes gloating at the misery and misfortunes of the workforce and watching them struggle with ill health, poverty and hardship. Sir Titus Salt was one such man, a man with compassion and a vision who created more than just a dark satanic mill, a textile factory employing thousands. He also built a town alongside the mill to house his workers and to meet their everyday needs. He built the town of Saltaire in West Yorkshire.

Salts Mill, opened in 1853 and employed 3,000 workers in the world’s biggest factory producing 30,000 yards of cloth a day. And adjacent to the mill stand rows of terraced houses in a grid of streets which include shops, a hospital, a workers institute, a church, alms houses, a school, a reading room, concert hall, billiard room, science laboratory, gymnasium, sports facilities, allotments and a large park. Today the shops might have changed and include galleries and gift shops, bistros and cafes but his dream lives on.

Salts Mill no longer produces textiles, but it remains a living monument to the past updated with the present, housing antiques, retail shops and the David Hockney Gallery. Saltaire is a thriving and active community, a legacy to the philanthropy of one man, Sir Titus Salt.

And it’s a great place to visit and for a walk along the banks of the canal, though not on such a cold January day!

Photographs Copyright 2015 by Antony J Waller


Image Credit » Photographs Copyright 2015 by Antony J Waller

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Comments

Squidwhisperer wrote on January 31, 2015, 11:12 AM

Great name - could have been a character out of Dickens - though maybe too progressive for one of his industrialists.

LeaPea2417 wrote on January 31, 2015, 11:44 AM

That sounds very interesting and educational. It would be a neat place to visit sometime.

CoralLevang wrote on January 31, 2015, 12:08 PM

Like Squidwhisperer I was thinking Dickens' stories! Great photograph and historical account. These are the places and stories that I like to visit and hear.

NorthernLight wrote on January 31, 2015, 12:21 PM

Hah, yes Dickens certainly knew how to pick a name. And not a work house or debtors prison in sight.

NorthernLight wrote on January 31, 2015, 12:24 PM

I like to visit for the book stall! But it's always a good place to go in warmer weather for a walk along the tow path to 'gongoozle' the barges passing through the locks on the canal.

NorthernLight wrote on January 31, 2015, 12:25 PM

Thanks. What got my vote on this visit was the large bowl of home made mushroom soup.

Ruby3881 wrote on January 31, 2015, 1:03 PM

It sounds like a very interesting place to visit. you really gave me a desire to go check it out!

NorthernLight wrote on January 31, 2015, 1:08 PM

And you'll desire it all the more when I tell you it's free.

Squidwhisperer wrote on January 31, 2015, 1:29 PM

And poor old Titus didn't even get a rock band named after him... unlike Uriah Heap or Jethro Tull or Beau Brummells

seren3 wrote on January 31, 2015, 1:47 PM

What a lovely historical tour! I always enjoy reading about rich people who are aware and generous.

DWDavisRSL wrote on January 31, 2015, 3:31 PM

I wonder if Sir Titus was shunned by the less compassionate industrialists of his time as being soft on his workers.

maxeen wrote on January 31, 2015, 4:24 PM

Lovely pictures of the old roads,it reminds me of the Dock in Liverpool.

Dragonfairy1 wrote on January 31, 2015, 4:48 PM

This brought back memories, I visited the village when I first started university many years ago, I think it only had one gift shop then :)

MelissaE wrote on January 31, 2015, 7:12 PM

What a wonderful, historic place. I hope to get to see it someday.

NorthernLight wrote on February 1, 2015, 5:07 AM

Thanks. There were quite a few wealthy Victorian industrialists who did similar good deeds.

NorthernLight wrote on February 1, 2015, 5:09 AM

It's said his reasons for building Saltaire were a mix of sound economics, Christian duty, and a desire to have effective control over his workforce, so I'm not sure.

NorthernLight wrote on February 1, 2015, 5:11 AM

Thanks, I love taking pictures of old Victorian industrial landscapes.

NorthernLight wrote on February 1, 2015, 5:12 AM

I hope you make the trip one day. The north of England bulges with history from many eras.

Debbie wrote on February 3, 2015, 4:42 AM

You know, I've been to Bradford, Leeds, and Skipton but never to this place. I love the look of this brickwork. It does certainly look like an interesting place to visit but possibly will be more inviting in the warmer weather (last time I went to Huddersfield we almost didn't get home 'cos of the depth of snow).

NorthernLight wrote on February 3, 2015, 9:36 AM

Ooo, it's reet grand when the sun shines and the ice cream barge is there and the flowers are blooming in the park and the band's playing.....!