Salts Mill and the surrounding town of Saltaire are familiar enough to most people living in Leeds, and of course we’ve been here several times. The Mill itself is always interesting – and they serve a decent cup of coffee – even it it is something of a shrine to David Hockney. I appreciate his work (he says condescendingly) and I admire his advances with picture making technology, particularly his use of an iPad. I do confess though to finding it a touch the same, but maybe that says more about my inability to appreciate good art when I see it! I find the building itself fascinating, as of course is its heritage as an industrial venture on the grand scale. The noise of production must have been appalling, but Titus Salt seems to have done his level best to “do the right thing” for his employees, as is well documented.
After lunch in the “Victoria Tea Rooms we wandered (on what really was a bleak January day) a mile or so long the canal bank towards Shipley. Obviously some of these great looming mill buildings have been very creatively restored and are in good and purposive use, often as office buildings I think. Others have yet to be restored and so are perhaps more evocative of their past. Boats aren’t on the move much at this time of year, but there were several on moorings, at least a couple of which were worth a picture I felt.
We strolled around the part of the estate that Salt had built for his workers. Different grades of houses from fine looking detached to rather more snug terraces, presumably appropriate to the station in life of their original occupants. They have in common though that they look well designed and well built – odd little bits of detailing mark them out as having been put up with care. I hope that’s right! There’s certainly scope for individuality now as I guess they are all privately owned, albeit limited by the area’s status as a “World Heritage Site” – we rather enjoyed the very maritime looking collection in one front yard.
The United Reformed Church is a splendid looking building ….. and has in its grounds the mausoleum in which Titus and his family are buried. Thus its cupola is the last of the images which follow: