Saltaire. Jan 27th 2017

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:


Restored Mill Buildings
Gentrified Mill
Restoration Project (1)
Restoration Project (2)
Restoration Project (3)
Reflected Mill
Mill Windows
Saltaire Street (1)
Saltaire Street (2)
Garden Sculpture (1)
Garden Sculpture (2)
Saltaire URC

Holiday 2: Le Clerc, and Dinan

First order of priority was provisions – both diesel and food – and the obvious place was the supermarket on the edge of Dinan, one of a chain as we later realised, called Le Clerc. So a local drive, remembering how to negotiate the roundabouts and which side of the road to cling to; the fuel stop at the supermarket with its impressive “pay at the pump” charging system and the reassuring proof that our credit cards really do work over here; the supermarket itself, huge and both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time; and a coffee shop where we found the main difficulty with speaking French as English visitors lay in persuading the proprietor not to speak English!

Thus refuelled and with provisions safely stored back at the gite, we set off again to pass Leclerc this time and make our way into the medieval township of Dinan. Parking more easily than we’d anticipated, we walked on into the older and very attractive part of the town and stopped at our first Creperie for lunch – excellent!

The town is very tourism oriented obviously, but remains very beautiful as some of the photographs will bear out. Narrow streets, leaning medieval buildings, a church with a breathtaking interior, and then the walk down a cobbled road towards the river whose characteristic curve is one of the clearest (I’m almost tempted to use the overworked adjective “iconic”) and most photogenic visual features of the town. The weather was superb too, which helped.

We began here to experience, or a least to see, the famous ”cafe culture” of France. Couples, groups, individuals, sitting at pavement tables, drinking coffee or wine, maybe eating, certainly (except perhaps for the individuals!) talking about who knows what, but talking. Most of these seemed if not to be locals, at least to be French. Where they on holiday? Is there somehow enough space in the schedules of Brittany for people to have the opportunity to sit and talk?

This was a very happy first day of holiday, therapeutic after the rough crossing the day before, and full of hope and promise for the days to come. Some photographs will scarcely do it justice, but will at least offer a flavour.