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Sir Titus Salt.

Mr Alan Pugh 

29th March 2012

Bill Bryson described Bradford as a city with a fine past but no future. Its fine past was due almost entirely to the manufacture of textiles.  Alun Pugh told us about probably the greatest of the prime movers in textile manufacture, Sir Titus Salt, who contributed enormously to the elevation of Bradford to a fine city and founded the village of Saltaire .

Born in Morley in 1803, educated at Batley Grammar School , Titus, after spending a short time as a wool stapler joined his father in business. They used Donskoi wool which Titus tried to interest spinners in using for worsted manufacture to no avail. Therefore he set up his own company to spin yarn and manufacture cloth. Along the way he came across Alpaca wool and used this to create a cloth with a silky texture. This became fashionable and his business, combined with his father’s, became the largest in Bradford . He needed to expand and decided to build a large mill to accommodate all his manufacturing in the one building. To do this he needed a green field site. He bought land that had the canal, railway and River Aire passing through it. He hired the architects Lockwood and Mawson, who had designed St George’s Hall, to design his mill. Work started in 1851 and the mill was completed by 1853.

Then followed the creation of Saltaire. Titus, who became Sir Titus in 1869, began building houses, an institute, almshouses, hospital and a magnificent church. This became the village which he named Saltaire which provided accommodation, recreation, religious, and medical facilities for his workers.

After telling us about its founder, Alun Pugh, with the aid of photographic slides gave us a tour of Saltaire including the mill which is now a World Heritage Site. Used by numerous businesses it also has an art gallery devoted to David Hockney’s paintings.

For this very interesting an enjoyable talk Alun was admirably thanked by Vic Heffer.

Our next meting is at Otley Methodist Church at 10-00am on Thursday 12th April when Dorothy Burrows will tell us about “Spring in Holland ”.

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