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18 June 2014
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Saltaire Institute
Saltaire Institute

© Courtesy of West Yorkshire Archives
Saltaire: A successful industrial township

A bold stride towards utopia

Salt’s response was to consolidate his enterprises on a single new site – ‘Saltaire’. This was to be a new township,
Leeds Liverpool Canal
Leeds and Liverpool Canal running through Saltaire.
© Saltaire Living History Project
built in unspoilt countryside three miles northwest of Bradford. In the valley bottom of the River Aire, the location afforded a plentiful source of water and two major transport facilities – the Leeds/Liverpool canal, and the recently built Leeds/ Skipton railway line. By 1853, Salt’s gigantic new steam-powered mill was in production, manufacturing 18 miles of worsted cloth per day on its 1,200 looms. The 3,000 workers needed to operate the machinery were initially transported in daily from Bradford by train, but Salt lost no time in starting on the development of a complete township.

Click here to listen to Harold Garrard's account of working at Salts Mill.

Compared to the scene in Bradford, this township was to be a very radical move towards a better society. It was Salt’s aspiration, as he declared at the opening of the mill, to establish a community:

“that would enjoy the beauties of the neighbourhood, and who would be a well fed, contented, and happy body of operatives…..nothing should be spared to render the dwellings of the operatives a pattern to the country”.

Words: Dave Shaw

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