Saltaire History On Facebook

125 Years of Salt Family Links to Bradford Cathedral

St Peter’s Parish Church became Bradford Cathedral 100 years ago in November 1919. Seventy years earlier whilst Titus Salt was Mayor, the graveyard was jam packed with most of the 426 victims of the cholera epidemic. As bones protruded from the soil, something had to be done.

Titus was an original member of the company that bought the 26 acres in 1851 which became Grade II* Listed Undercliffe Cemetery and where some of the mausoleums are larger than Barrett Homes.

A Bradford resident, Titus would surely have been at younger sister Grace’s wedding in March 1837 to Charles Smithies at St Peter’s. Sadly, it was not a happy union. Charles was declared bankrupt three years later and Grace fled to her parents’ home with the children.

“Every cloud has a silver lining”. For Titus’s sister this proved to be the case. Her daughter Maude Alice married well and her grandson, Sir Edward Maufe was the nationally acclaimed architect who designed the extension to Bradford Cathedral that was completed in 1963. His most famous building is probably Guildford Cathedral; just one of the talented descendants of Daniel and Grace Salt, Titus’s parents.

Congratulations to Bradford Cathedral on its centenary – 25 November 2019

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Pictures

1. The 14th century church of St Peter’s pre-1918.
2. Illustration of the conditions that led to the cholera outbreak.
3. Sir Edward’s design for the extension to Bradford Cathedral.
4. Sir Edward Maufe (12.12.1883 – 12.12.1974)
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7 Year Old Labourer in Saltaire Mill Deserves a Blue Plaque

In 1862 a young boy started working for Titus Salt in Salts Mill. The seventh son of a feckless father, Joseph Wright had been born into an impoverished family in Park Hill, Thackley. After a spell in Clayton workhouse, at aged 5 he toiled as a “donkey boy” in a Shipley quarry.

Whilst Joseph worked in Saltaire he attended the factory school. Much has been written of this free education but it was very rudimentary according to Joseph. He just about learnt his letters and numbers but not to read and write.

During his teenage years Joseph became determined to learn. He attended night classes at the Bradford Mechanics Institute and went to Heidelberg for several years, where he worked and studied, learning French, German and Latin.

A brilliant scholar and linguist, Joseph was offered a teaching post in Philology at Oxford University, eventually becoming an Oxford Don. He wrote several books and published ‘A Grammar of the Dialect of Windhill’ in 1892, the first of its kind and the six-volume ‘English Dialect Dictionary 1898 – 1905’, for which he is still highly respected.

Joseph never forgot his roots. He named his Oxford home “Thackley” and regularly visited Yorkshire where he was involved in the Windhill Liberal Club and the Yorkshire Dialect Society.

Joseph married in 1896 and had a son and daughter, Willie Boy and Mary. Tragically, both died in childhood; Willie Boy from a poisonous insect bite and Mary from pneumonia. Joseph died in 1930, also from pneumonia. His last word was “dictionary”.

Elizabeth Mary Lea, his wife, published a biography of Joseph in 1932.

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Pictures

1. Joseph & Elizabeth Wright with infants Willie Boy and Mary
2. Joseph Wright (31.10.1855 – 27.2.1930) aged 12.
3. Joseph in his study at Oxford University
4. The mature Joseph back in his childhood haunts in Yorkshire
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Comment on Facebook

So interesting and also how sad in those days a reason for dying was from a ‘poisonous insect bite.’ We’re so lucky!

he was ana amazing man

The Letter from the Prime Minister to Titus Salt

Unexpected correspondence from W E Gladstone informed Titus Salt that Queen Victoria was offering him a baronetcy. Titus talked it over with friends, some of whom felt he deserved a higher honour and suggested he should turn it down.

If he did would he get another, better offer? Surely Her Maj would not be amused? Titus mulled it over. Perhaps the fact that his health hadn’t been perfect for sometime affected his thinking. After all, that was the reason for resigning as an MP eight years earlier. A baronet is an hereditary title, higher than a knighthood although not a peerage, but it would be inherited by his male descendants.

On this day 1869, he became Sir Titus Salt of Saltaire & Crow Nest (his beloved home in Lighthouse, near Halifax). Sir Patrick MacDonnell Salt born in 1932 is currently the 7th Baronet, so it was a wise decision.

Congratulations Titus!

Pictures

1. Sir Titus Salt
2. 1869 Letter from Prime Minister Gladstone to Mr Salt
3. The Salt Coat of Arms
4. Titus was a descendant of Lot’s wife – claim by the New York Tribune
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Dorothy Burrows – The Legend

Her 1985 publication helped kickstart the renaissance of Saltaire, placing it back on the map and towards UNESCO World Heritage status. Respected, unassuming Yorkshire photographer, Dorothy Burrows is also famous for her book and images of Shipley, for keeping alive memories of the charming old market town.

Always with a camera slung over her shoulder, Dorothy has been a familiar figure. Her early years were spent in Easingwold where she attended the convent school until her family moved to East Bierley. Dorothy qualified as a pharmacist in Edinburgh and worked for many years in the chemist on Gordon Terrace, in the days when you had to take your films to be processed.

Whether that sparked a lifelong interest in photography, who knows, but Dorothy was a founder member in the 1950s of the Bingley Camera Club and has shared images captured on her many travels at popular slide shows.

When she retired, Dorothy gave Anne Heald at Saltaire’s original Visitor Information Centre many photographs and told her to use them as she wished; just one example of her customary generosity.

Recently reminded that Dorothy’s books included two about Bingley and Baildon, which are now collectors’ items, I realised that I hadn’t seen her for a couple of years. A quick Google search revealed that just last month she gave a slide presentation on “Old Yorkshire” to the Normanton Camera Club. If my calculations are correct, Dorothy is now in her nineties. A legend.

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Pictures

1. Dorothy Burrows.
2. Millhands, mostly women, at Salts Mill by DB.
3. The Salts Mill weaving shed by DB.
4. Gordon Terrace, Saltaire.
5. The convent, Easingwold.
6. A DB note.
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Comment on Facebook

Lovely lady, my brother was best mates with her son, plus my gran was a cloth passer/burlers/mender at Salts Mill.x

What the Dickens ..… “terribly ill” Charles in the Saltaire Infirmary

“Mr Dickens toured the hospital when he visited two years ago….”. This intriguing quotation is from an account of Salts Hospital unearthed by local historian Roger Clarke. As well as information about the facilities and numbers of patients, the author described Charles Dickens and his very positive views about the hospital regime.

However, this record was unsigned and unattributed and until now it hasn’t been publicised. So this is actually a world exclusive.

Charles Dickens’ reading of A Christmas Carol in St George’s Hall, Bradford in 1854 is well-documented and he visited Saltaire the same year. This later unsourced report, which has been gathering dust, concluded with: “Tragically, Mr Dickens died shortly after his visit to us”; that was on June 9 1870, he was 58 years of age.

Coincidentally, not long before his death, Victoria Hall secured Dickens for a future booking, which he failed to keep through no fault of his own.

Acknowledgements
• Roger Clarke
• Alan Cattell – Forgotten Moments from History 2011

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Pictures

1. The ward in Salts Hospital, opened 1868
2. Charles Dickens’ Christmas magazine
3. Charles Dickens
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What the Dickens ..… “terribly ill” Charles in the Saltaire Infirmary

“Mr Dickens toured the hospital when he visited two years ago….”.  This intriguing quotation is from an account of Salts Hospital unearthed by local historian Roger Clarke.  As well as information about the facilities and numbers of patients, the author described Charles Dickens and his very positive views about the hospital regime.

However, this record was unsigned and unattributed and until now it hasn’t been publicised.  So this is actually a world exclusive.

Charles Dickens’ reading of A Christmas Carol in St George’s Hall, Bradford in 1854 is well-documented and he visited Saltaire the same year.  This later unsourced report, which has been gathering dust, concluded with: “Tragically, Mr Dickens died shortly after his visit to us”; that was on June 9 1870, he was 58 years of age.

Coincidentally, not long before his death, Victoria Hall secured Dickens for a future booking, which he failed to keep through no fault of his own.

Acknowledgements
• Roger Clarke
• Alan Cattell – Forgotten Moments from History 2011

©

Pictures

1. The ward in Salts Hospital, opened 1868
2. Charles Dickens’ Christmas magazine
3. Charles DickensImage attachmentImage attachment
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