Welcome to Saltaire
The village itself was built in the nineteenth century by the Victorian philanthropist Sir Titus Salt, to provide self-contained living space for the workers at his alpaca wool mill – a welcome alternative to the then “dark satanic mills” of Bradford and Leeds.
More recently Salt’s Mill has been converted by the late Jonathan Silver into shops and the “1853 Gallery” which houses a collection of the works of the famous artist, David Hockney (who was of course born in Bradford ).
Other buildings in the village have now been similarly transformed into shops, licensed restaurants and pubs (just a little touch of irony here – as Sir Titus was a staunch advocate of abstinence from alcohol !)
Also of interest is the United Reformed Church – one of the nation’s most precious Victorian buildings and a unique example of Italianite religious architecture.
Other focal points are the Victoria Hall (centrally located and a magnificent venue for many of the indoor events which are held in the village) and Roberts’ Park (which is used for outdoor events etc.)
Further afield (and also worth a visit) are the villages of Haworth and Thornton (famous as being the birthplace of the Brontes), the spa town of Ilkley, and the beautiful Yorkshire Dalesto the north.
With its Bohemian feel and Hockney connections, Saltaire village has become a magnet for artists, poets, writers and musicians. Every year the village hosts the very popular Saltaire Festival (which is usually held in September), and the Saltaire Arts Trail (which is now usually held earlier in the year).
In December 2001 Saltaire was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, thanks to the hard work of a dedicated group of locals who mounted a successful bid to get the village recognised for its historical significance at the international level.
If you haven’t been then get on your bike and go. They have lovely cafes in the mill, excellent bookshops and art by David Hockney on virtually every wall. Then stroll down to the canal and take a leisurely walk to take in part of our magnificent northern industrial heritage.