Friday, 18 September 2009

Saltaire World Heritage site.

With just a hint of sunshine we walked back along the towpath this morning to Saltaire. Walking between the two mill buildings that Sir Titus Salt had built gave just a hint of what this man achieved in his lifetime.

Saltaire 001 Salts Mill encompass the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.Saltaire 002 Salts Mill on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. There is a building on both sides of the canal with a walkway between them.

At the end of the mill building we turned into Roberts park which is officially closed at present undergoing a major restoration programme. Luckily the walkways are open so we walked through the park to Baildon and found the Shipley Glen Tramway. This is also closed for refurbishment but we had a good look at the distance and gradient of the tramway.

Saltaire 007 The housing for the rolling stock on the Shipley Glen Tramway.

Saltaire 010 Archway to the entranceway of the Tramway.

Back at the canal we ventured up into what is know as Salts or Saltaire (model) Village which is the housing that Sir Titus Salt had built for his mill workers circa 1860 and is now a world heritage site. This included a school, as he was a great believer in education, a hospital to care for the health of his workers, a church to look after their spiritual needs, almshouses and a pension for the aged or infirmed and Roberts Park to encourage sporting activities to keep idle minds away from alcohol. Sir Titus was believed to be Tee Total therefore no pubs were built or even allowed in the village.

Saltaire 034 Saltaire laid out in grid formation. This was the start of town planning as we know it today by towns and cities all over Britain.

The village being set out in grid formation was to make the most out of the land available and was a fore runner of other Victorian employer built villages, namely Bournville (George Cadbury) and Port Sunlight ( W.H Lever). From these came town planning as we know it today. There were also different style houses, the three storey houses were for communal living of single workers, a two storey house with a small front garden for foremen or Overlookers as they were called. The lowly workers had no front garden and just a small back yard but allotments were provided on land between the village and the railway. There was also a centrally situated Bath house where families went for the weekly bath but these have since been demolished.

Saltaire 036 The three storey buildings were accommodation for single workers at the mill while foremen had these houses with gardens. Workers had no garden.

Along the Western edge of the village he built some grander style semi detached houses for his executives, teachers and church minister with splendid views over open countryside but this has long since disappeared under more housing. Regardless of their standing in the company each house occupier had running water, a toilet, gas lighting and paved yards which was exceptional for the period. Sir Titus really looked after his workers but I suppose he did have an ulterior motive and that was to keep the mills operating producing luxury cloth from Llama and Alpaca wool. When he died his family found to their dismay that the fortune Sir Titus had accumulated had mostly be given away to worthwhile charities.

Saltaire 043Sir Titus also looked after the aged and infirmed by providing these lovely Almshouses.


Peter said...

While Titus didn't want a pub in his town, he did allow alcohol to be sold there and he did buy his workers beer on outings, holidays etc.

Derek and Dot said...

Thanks for that. Perhaps he wasn't such a party pooper after all.