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18 June 2014
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Almshouses, late 19th Century

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

As with all the buildings in Saltaire, the houses were constructed of local stone, the great majority being two-storied. The houses of many of the streets were similar in character – workman cottages consisting of living room, scullery, two bedrooms and a half cellar. Other streets have slightly bigger houses, intended for overlookers and their families. Each of these larger houses has a parlour-kitchen, a third bedroom and a garden to the front of the houses. The later part of the development, south of Titus Street, consisted of “improved workman” cottages having a living room, kitchen and three bedrooms. The grandest properties were the 42 “executive/ improved overlooker” houses on the western side of the development. Forty-five almshouses were also built for the sick and aged poor.

Albert Road, Saltaire
Albert Road, Saltaire
© Courtesy of Bradford Libraries, Archives and Information Services
The quality of the housing stock was unusually high. Gas was supplied directly from the mill (as was water in the early years, before being switched to the public supply). Each house had its own lavatory in the yard at the back of the house, with each pair of houses sharing an ash pit for the disposal of coal ashes. All the properties were “through” houses – houses were not built “back to back,” which was an unpleasant feature of much 19th Century Bradford housing. Although the housing density was high and devoid of any relief in terms of landscaping along its terraces, the straightness of the streets ensured that residents would always be aware of the scenic setting of the township, with the hills rising to both north and south, and open views along the Aire valley to the east and west.

Words: Dave Shaw

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