Jill’s Jaunts – Saltaire part 1

For Jill’s birthday Jaunt, we have tripped off to Saltaire for the day. In part 1 will be the history bit, and the touristy bit will appear shortly in part 2.

Where is Saltaire

This is the impressive Victoria Hall, a grade II listed building now part of Shipley College

Four miles out of the West Yorkshire city of Bradford lies the ‘model village’ of Saltaire. Years back, when I first clapped ears on the term ‘model village’ I remembered those wonderfully created real or made-up quaint towns recreated in miniature, and reckoned Saltaire was just famous for being a scale model of the nearby town of Shipley, set in some beautifully landscaped gardens where you paid an entrance fee, and there were picnic areas, a cafe and a gift shop about. In other words, a proper English tourist attraction. Heck, was I wrong!

Opposite Victoria Hall is the school building, also Grade II and also now part of Shipley College

The history bit

Hearkening back to Victorian times, when the textile industry was flourishing in West Yorkshire, life was harsh up here, and there were mills in every city, town, village and hamlet. One of these, Salts Mill was built by Sir Titus Salt and opened in 1853. A village was constructed around the mill to provide not just accommodation for the workforce, but a suitable and somewhat more pleasant than usual environment for their families to live in. There are schools, a Wesleyan chapel, Infirmary and park amongst the quaint terraced houses and shops, and the whole new village was far nicer than grimy Bradford or Leeds.

Above are images of the congregational church

The village was named Saltaire after Sir Titus, and the River Aire which flows through. With the decline of the textile industry in the late 20th century, Salts Mill ceased production in 1986 and embarked upon its new life as aforementioned tourist attraction. It gained UNESCO status in 2001 as a World Heritage site and is now run by the Silver family.

Salts Mill chimney rises above the other architecturally interesting chimney pots
Victorian Saltaire architecture

In part 2, more pictures of Salts mill and the canal, and what we did there.



6 thoughts on “Jill’s Jaunts – Saltaire part 1

  1. Thanks Pete. Potted history only. Sir Titus Salt was a philanthropist as well as a mill owner and did a lot of good work for his employees and in the community, and brought working conditions there up to a fairly decent standard for the day.


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