In the tracks of Sir Titus Salt

It was a snowy start to the morning, even the Lion’s outside Victoria Hall in Saltaire looked rather cold.

We set up our stall:

And then we could sit back and enjoy the building with its sprung dancing floor and amazing plaster work ceiling:

The Hall was built by Sir Titus Salt who built the biggest factory in the world of its time (1853) in the Italianate style along with an accompanying village with all conveniences, church, park etc.  Titus built the mill, in which expensive cloth was made from Alpaca and Donskoi wool, away from the centre of Bradford in which conditions such as the following prevailed, as described by a writer on The Bradford Observer of 16th October 1845 concerning the living conditions of the city’s poverty-stricken inhabitants:

“In the course of last week I have visited some of the most filthy and wretched abodes that the mind of man can conceive, in which misery of the lowest description was personified. In a portion of this town called The Leys, there are scores of wretched hovels, unfurnished and unventilated, damp, filthy in the extreme and surrounded by stagnant pools of human excrement and every thing offensive and disgusting to “sight and smell”. No sewers, no drainage, no ventilation. Nothing to be seen but squalid wretchedness on every side, and the features of the inmates show a perfect and unmistakable index of their condition; all this is to be seen in the center of this wealthy emporium of the worsted trade.”

And people think they’re hard done by today!  Hurrah for Sir Titus!  The mill is now a cultural hub and the whole architecture of the mill and village preserved for posterity.