Saltaire Village – UNESCO World Heritage Site
Saltaire, near Shipley – only 16 miles from Elmet Farmhouse – is great place for a day out. A model village built in the mid 19th century by the benevolent industrialist Sir Titus Salt, it was created to provide high-quality housing for the thousands of workers at Salt’s Mill, his huge complex of textile factories next to the River Aire.
Almost every aspect of this extraordinary development was the brainchild of this one visionary man, from the magnificent mill (one of the largest in the world) to the elegant church with its circular tower and the imposing village hall flanked by majestic carved stone lion sculptures. Saltaire is so unusual and well-preserved that the whole village has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Take a walk around the village and admire the handsome stone terraced houses designed in a variety of different styles. Don’t miss the shops and cafes in Saltaire Village and the regular vintage fairs in the grand Victoria Hall. There’s more to see in Roberts Park across the bridge over the river, where you can watch the cricket, walk along the promenade or take afternoon tea in the Half Moon Cafe and admire the lovely view.
Although the textile industry is long gone, Salt’s Mill has been resurrected as an exciting cultural and creative hub. Beautifully restored, it houses a dynamic complex of galleries, shops and restaurants, including two enormous bookshops, an antiques centre, a buzzing diner and a design shop called The Home.
A unique feature of Salt’s Mill are the hundreds of works of art by multi-talented Bradford-born artist David Hockney, informally displayed all over the building. Hockney’s work is lively and colourful, and the work on show spans his long and varied career, including paintings, prints, photomontages and posters, as well as his latest digital paintings created using an ipad.
Complementing Hockney’s vibrant paintings is an exuberant collection of Victorian ceramics made by the Burmantofts Pottery in Leeds. Decorated with brightly-coloured glazes, these large pots are a visual delight and reflect another aspect of the creativity in the West Riding.
Saltaire’s Textile Heritage
Saltaire’s rich textile heritage is recorded in a fascinating series of paintings illustrating textile manufacturing techniques. Specially commissioned by Salt’s Mill in the 1950s, the paintings are on irregular-shaped canvases and record each stage of the manufacturing process, from sorting wool, to spinning yarn, weaving fabric and inspecting the finished cloth. Newly restored, these wonderful paintings are on permanent display in the mill and are not to be missed.
© Text and images copyright Elmet Farmhouse