a visit to...salts mill



salts mill, saltaire, west yorkshire...

When we visit our lovely friends 'up North,' our favourite place to visit is Salts Mill in the quaint village of Saltaire, near Bradford, West Yorkshire. The grade II listed former textile mill, was completed in 1853 by Sir Titus Salt, with workers being brought in by train each day until their purpose built housing, Saltaire Village, was completed in 1868. Built to provide impoverished textile workers and their families from surrounding villages with a safe and sanitised working environment, the mill became known as 'the palace of industry.'

Today, Saltaire is still a thriving community and was designated a Unesco World Heritage in 2001. Guided walks and tours can be taken throughout the year, or you can cycle along the Leeds to Liverpool canal which runs through the village. The Mill itself hosts fascinating events and exhibitions all year round,  but permanently on display is a selection of iconic work by Bradford's very own David Hockney.

You'll also find an antiques centre, cafe, restaurant (both with excellent food) and a fantastic bookshop, which I could happily spend hours in every time, with a brilliantly curated selection of titles in every area of the arts, from interiors, design, gardening and cookery, to photography, graphics and kids.

Whilst reading up on a brief history of Saltaire and the Mill itself, the most poignant discovery for me was learning about the entrepreneur who founded Salts Mill as we know it today, back in 1987. Jonathan Silver, was at school in Bradford in the 1960's, when he was given a project that truly captured his imagination; working on the school magazine. David Hockney, a fellow Bradford Grammar student from a decade earlier, was gaining notoriety in the art world and Jonathan approached him to design the cover of his magazine. And so began their friendship...

Two decades later, Jonathan and his family had built up a successful chain of clothing stores, sold everything and then travelled the world together for 18 months. When they returned to Bradford in 1987, true to his entrepreneurial nature, Jonathan set about looking for a new project. He found Salts Mill, bought it and turned it into the 'vibrant place of art and commerce,' that we know and love today. He and David Hockney agreed it would be the perfect showcase for Hockney's work and so the 1853 Gallery was born.

Sadly, in 1997, aged just 47, Jonathan Silver died of cancer. What a legacy he has left to the unassuming, but picture- perfect little village of Saltaire...



































Comments

  1. Caroline, will you let me know if my original comment came through? If yes, please delete the testing one and this one xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi lovely! Got this one and your test! -thanks for persisting sweetie ;-) xx

      Delete
  2. I've wanted to visit Salts for a number of years but when I've visited Bradford its always been for work without extra social time. I really have to make the effort. Your photos of the mill are wonderful and reminded me I really have to visit. GG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Teena-thanks so much! Even better would be if you could co-ordinate it with the village open day and get the chance to see some of the artists in their own Saltaire homes and studios! thanks so much for taking time to comment!

      Delete
  3. I have enjoyed very much reading the story. How far is it from London and is it easy to get there by public transport? Just wondering if I could when back to London, extend my stay one day. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gudy! thank you! Well-it's about 3 hours on the train unfortunately and then probably another half an hour connection to Saltaire from Leeds. We always drive as it's so expensive on the train with the kids, but it is possibly 400 miles. Having said that, you would love it there and as I just said to Teena, we stumbled upon the town's open day in November I think-the perfect opportunity to explore the houses and see the artists at work. If you had 2 days to spare then you could do the Barbara Hepworth Gallery too-and do many other things! Think of a distance like Frankfurt and Munich! Have a wonderful time in LA! xx

      Delete
  4. Hmm, so my super long comment never came through... :((

    Here we go again... I remember this very distinctly from David Hockney's paintings at his latest retrospective at the RA. I went with my ex-art teacher (nearly 80) who knows that whole art gang and he told me the story.. I was fascinated and very much liked the paintings.
    It looks like such a wonderful place and for someone who always claims to never get out, you do quite well lovely.:-))

    I love what you've done with your photographs.

    Great post xx

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, I've got shivers reading that story Caroline, what a true legacy Jonathan left indeed! Industrial buildings come close to the most beautiful architecture to me, in a raw sense. I'm so excited to see towns and cities revamping them, to think of the vision that this man had to do this so much earlier than the rest. Lovely post and photos Caroline. Mel xx

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love your pics hun. Great effects. xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. What an amazing place and story Caroline - I understand your fascination with this place, it's awesome. Happy Monday love, Ax

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for visiting my little blog and taking the time to comment- I really appreciate it :-)

Popular Posts