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Saltaire Mill Owner’s Daughter Elopes

Alice Roberts was a beauty who was courted by dashing Norman “Frank” Rutherford, the son of a respected but not wealthy Shipley GP. The summer of 1902 was dull, cool and wet, whilst the hot passion between this socially mis-matched couple would lead to scandal.

Somehow, the daring duo successfully gave their families the slip and travelled nearly 300 miles to marry in secret on 27 August 1902 in Ferry-Port on Craig, Tayport, in Scotland.

Sir James Roberts, the “Second Lord of Saltaire”, had already failed to persuade his headstrong daughter to marry a Polish officer in the Russian army. Now he had to come to terms with her choice of a penniless student doctor.

It was the beginning of an alternative lifestyle for Alice and would result in a tragic murder that gripped the nation one hundred years ago in 1919.



1. Alice Maud Roberts
2. Ferry-Port on Craig, Tayport
3. Norman Cecil “Frank” Rutherford
4. Dr J Rutherford’s family home, Shipley
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Oooh what happened next?!

Titus Salt’s Deep Pockets and The Wish That Came True

Believed to be the very first works outing of its kind, 2,000 millhands boarded special trains in Bradford for the journey to the hamlet of Bell Busk exactly 170 years ago. It was two years before Saltaire became a twinkle in the millionaire’s eye and this largesse was much appreciated by the folk who had made him ridiculously wealthy.

Some three hundred walked the five miles to Malham Cove despite storms of heavy rain. Others enjoyed the attractions in Skipton, whilst Titus, eldest son George and a bunch of friends adjourned to the Roebuck at Malham for the inn’s “sumptuous tea” and an “elegant dessert” made at his Crow Nest mansion.

Brass bands provided musical entertainment and “God Save The Queen” rounded off the day as they arrived back in Bradford, with Titus and company in a first class carriage alighting from the front of the first train.

The beano was reported in the Bradford Observer, which noted that several foremen thanked Titus and wished “richest blessings” on him and his family; a wish that certainly came true.



1. Bradford Midland Station
2. Bell Busk Station – closed to passengers in 1959
3. The Buck at Malham
4. Malham from Bell Busk Road
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Fabulous photos and such a great story 💗💗💗

Only where we stayed in malham. Matthew Jas

Dutch Drops on Shipley Glen

The Coopers of Bracken Hall were the first to offer tea and sustenance to walkers on the moors. Tom and wife Mary Ann had seven sons and a daughter and lived in the 15th century primitive thatched cottage from around 1850. At that time there was no bridge over the River Aire at Saltaire and the way to the Glen was across the stepping stones. It was the very place where Titus Salt’s employee, the sozzled poet John Nicholson, slipped for the last time in 1834.

Ham & Eggs and Old Glen Toffee were favourites as was Old Tom’s Ginger Beer, as this was a Temperance House. It was said that there was a secret ingredient in the teetotal tipple that Tom took with him to his grave, which incidentally can be found in Baildon churchyard.

Tom had a well-stocked garden with bees, herbs and fruits and was known for his “Dutch Drop” cure-all medicine that was made with spirit of turpentine. Good luck with that you might think, but some still swear by it for rheumatoid and neuralgic pain.

In the 1880s the Lord of the Manor, one William Wade Maude, ordered the Coopers to leave the Hall. Still there in 1884, the ancient dwelling was demolished soon afterwards.

What happened next? To be continued….



1. Tom and Mary Ann Cooper. Tom didn’t agree with having his image taken and a lookalike was persuaded to pose for him.
2. Drawing of the interior of their home.
3. Exterior of Bracken Hall.
4. The Temperance House shortly before it was demolished; the Bracken Hall farm house can be seen nearby.
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Colin Hardy

Sally Illingworth

Titus Salt Ate My Alpaca

Titus Salt moved to Methley Hall near Leeds, the family home after his landlady Ann Walker of Gentleman Jack fame died and her heir ended his tenancy at her Crow Nest mansion.

Titus was a sociable chap if his membership of clubs, societies and churches is anything to go by. In 1863 he offered the Leeds Philosophical & Literary Society one of his finest alpacas. The gift was accepted and destined to be stuffed and displayed in the Society’s museum.

In a bizarre twist of events, the members of the club decided to sample their alpaca and arranged a dinner in the new Queens Hotel. Titus was invited and there’s no reason to believe he didn’t savour the main course. He subsequently became a member of the society.

Was alpaca a regular on the menu in the Salt household? It wouldn’t be surprising. Titus wasted nothing. He was the man who crowed that income from crumbs and pigswill from the 1854 Salts Mill Dining Hall built 1.5 homes per year.



Thanks to Roger Clarke, local historian and former Salts Walks guide for this piece of history not be found in the Rev Balgarnie’s biography of Titus Salt.


1. The Leeds Philosophical & Literacy Society’s museum
2. Extract from the Society’s Minutes
3. Methley Hall
4. The Queens Hotel, Leeds
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Thank you for giving more information on Titus Salt,you are keeping local history alive.

What Titus Salt Did After 9/11

Elected Bradford’s second mayor on 9 November 1848, Mr Alderman Salt as he then was, had an office in Fire Station House, Swain Street, where the new Council had taken up residence just a year earlier when Bradford was granted a Borough charter.

The year of the French Revolution and Communist Manifesto, it was to prove a challenging time for Titus. The Chartists held “riotous assemblages” and marched through the town, there were large numbers of unemployed woolcombers superseded by machinery and the awful outbreak of cholera that claimed more than 420 local lives.

Concerned to deal with hunger in families with no wages, Titus arranged for soup kitchens to be opened. Whilst public health was a matter for the Health Guardians, Titus argued for improvements and famously failed to persuade factory owners to install smoke filters on the hundreds of polluting chimneys.

There was much respect for the visits he paid to families bereaved by cholera and his measures for improving the wellbeing of the working class. Whilst Mayor, Titus paid for the first works outing for 2,000 Bradford millhands to Skipton and Malham and commissioned the Report into the Moral Condition of Bradford, a good read if squalid depravity is your thing.

Titus Salt must surely have been a guest when the council opened its Town Hall in 1873. Grade 1 Listed and re-named City Hall, it has been the focus of civic pride, the backdrop to many memorable events such as the 1911 Coronation celebrations.



1. Titus Salt’s Bradford home was next to Rands Mill (pictured) where five of his children were born.
2. Hollings Mill, one of five Bradford mills owned by Titus Salt; it’s still standing.
3. Bell Busk Station, near Skipton where mill workers alighted in 1849 to walk five miles to Malham Cove.
4. Malham.
5. The 1911 Coronation Decorations outside Bradford Town Hall.
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Aug 172016
Great Canal Journeys - Saltaire - With Timothy West & Prunella Scales

This Channel 4 programme featuring Saltaire, located on the Leeds Liverpool canal is expected to be broadcast this autumn (2016). UPDATE – Bit earlier than we expected – it was broadcast 31st August 2016 on Channel 4. Link at the bottom of the page. In May Saltaire tour guide and historian Maria Glot was delighted …[Click Here To Read More]

 Posted by at 3:19 pm
Aug 172016

Some of the barges and the boat people that navigated the Leeds Liverpool canal during the time of Titus Salt. 1861 Name of Boat 1. Hoboara – The Industry Of Shipley….. Occupants:  Joseph Illingworth, married aged 34 years – master of canal barge, born in Holbeck, Leeds Thomas Mason, unmarried aged 35  – mate on canal barge, …[Click Here To Read More]

 Posted by at 3:04 pm
Apr 222016

Saltaire’s favourite historian, Clive Woods, and Maria Glot guided for the first time as “Salts Walks” on 10 April 1996 from Anne and Roger Heald’s Saltaire Gift & Visitor Centre on Victoria Road. This inspired venture later became Saltaire’s first networked tourist information centre and ran until 2006. That first guided walk on that Sunday …[Click Here To Read More]

 Posted by at 1:57 pm
May 012015
BBC Countryfile Visit Saltaire

See Maria and Saltaire on Countryfile on BBC1 Sunday 17th May 2015. Watch it Here. The main Saltaire coverage starts 20 minutes in, again after 34.30 and some fantastic archive footage of Shipley Glen and the Tramway from 49 minutes. The Countryfile team came to Saltaire and was entranced by the Rules of the Village. Countryfile …[Click Here To Read More]

 Posted by at 4:19 pm
Feb 082015

Model Villages with Dates, Founder and Industry. From Fulneck Pudsey Leeds in 1742 to Welwyn Garden City New Town in 1919.   Village Founded Founder Industry  Fulneck Pudsey Leeds 1742  Moravian Settlement  Religion/Education   Cromford Derbyshire  1771  Richard Arkwright 1771-1858   Textiles  Style Cheshire 1784  Strutts & Greg  Textile Mill   New Lanark Scotland  c.1800  Robert Owen 1771-1858  …[Click Here To Read More]

 Posted by at 7:12 pm