We drove directly to Saltaire (a model industrial village founded in 1851 by Sir Titus Salt, a leading industrialist in the Yorkshire woollen industry) on a Friday morning and, between the showers, had a lovely time looking around the settlement and its immediate surroundings. We saw the Leeds and Liverpool Canal; the River Aire; Salt’s Mill with its shop full of tempting art and photography books; some very good work by Bradford’s very own David Hockney; an astounding collection of glazed terracotta made in the now-closed Burmantoft Pottery in Leeds; nearby Roberts Park with its pretty cricket ground, pavilion, scoreboard and cafe in a grade two listed building; the terraces of stone-built houses, many of which lie along cobbled streets; a magnificent Congregational church with a stunning interior (the church now belongs to the United Reformed Church); and some of Saltaire’s other large buildings designed to meet the needs and the aspirations of the mill’s one-time workers and their families (the other large buildings include a concert hall with a Wurlitzer organ). Conkers fell from the trees as we peered through the windows of the attractive shops, cafes and restaurants along Victoria Road.
Saltaire is, deservedly, a UNESCO world heritage site (and an anchor point on the European Route of Industrial Heritage), but I am including a post about it because the great majority of its visitors live no more than 50 kms away. Saltaire deserves to be far better known, not least because of the recently completed restoration of Roberts Park; the galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants in Salt’s Mill and along Victoria Road; and the opportunities for interesting walks along the canal’s tow path. Autumn is a particularly good time to visit Saltaire because the frequent rain showers enhance the cobbles and the stonework, and the falling leaves add flashes of intense colour, especially under overcast skies.