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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

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 Buck 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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Titus was very fond of Scarborough where he had holidayed as a child, travelling with his parents and siblings in a horse drawn carriage to stay in Merchants Row, possibly the 18th century Mariner’s House.

He particularly enjoyed going down to the dockside to buy fresh fish for his family and it was on one of these trips when Titus realised that he’d left his glasses at his holiday home on the Esplanade. Borrowing a pair from a fisherwoman to examine a cod, Titus then walked off with her specs on his nose. Imagine his embarrassment as she tore after him to retrieve what for her would have been a very expensive item.

The increasingly frail Titus’s last visit to Scarborough was in October 1876, just two months before he died at home in Crow Nest, Lightcliffe. This was, of course, the former home of Ann Walker Gentleman Jack’s partner, that Titus rented and eventually bought.

The tale of Titus and the Fisherwoman was told to the Rev Balgarnie by Caroline, Titus’s widow and was published in the 1877 biography.



1. The Mariner’s House, Scarborough. Photograph by Eddie Lawler
2. The Scarborough Scotch Herring Girls
3. Scarborough fisherwomen with the catch
4. Family of donkeys at Scarborough with human cargo
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Fascinating story - I love Scarborough too! Interesting to see where he stayed...

Saltaire Infirmary Medical Legends – Content Warning

Titus Salt had an Infirmary built, handy for treating injuries sustained at Salts Mill and for villagers who could afford medical fees. Opened in 1868, the first Head Nurse was Sarah Turner, a Yorkshire woman who worked alongside Dr Samuel Rhind, remembered for his 1867 report, which noted that not all residents emptied dust and ashes into their privies to dampen the stench.

Matron Turner had a little dog that she tucked under one arm as she completed her rounds. Her beloved pet however had a rather macabre reputation as a sort of canine ambulance chaser. The operating theatre was on the top floor and nurses had to carry the debris to the incinerator in the basement. Excited by the contents, the scavenger pursued the buckets down the stairs, gobbling up and running off with spillages whenever he got lucky*.

Sarah Turner lived in the hospital and was Matron until c1884. Unmourned other than by his owner, Jipp’s reincarnation is known to many pupils brought to #Saltaire by their schools for a Salts Walk.

*As told to Maria Glot of Salts Walks by Clive Woods, Local Historian.



1. Awaiting Matron’s inspection
2. Saltaire Grade II Listed Infirmary, closed in 1979
3. Salts Walks Guide Sheila Lansdell as alter ego Matron Sarah Turner, minus her pup
4. Dr Samuel Rhind
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Oct 152014
Welcome To Our Patron

A totally upsetting start to Christmas Week with the news that sadly our first patron Denys Salt has passed away. An amazing man who was totally supportive of Salts Walks. He will be greatly missed. read more here   We welcomed 96 year old Denys Salt as our Patron.  We will always endeavour to do …[Click Here To Read More]

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The WI Charity Calendar

Buy the WI Charity Calendar for just £5, Enjoy Saltaire year round, Support young families through the Home Start charity. To order please email the WI here. Only £5. Now available from Walk In Style in Saltaire 34 Bingley Road, Saltaire, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD18 4RU                   …[Click Here To Read More]

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Not About Heroes

Not About Heroes, is a promenade play performed on the streets of Saltaire. The audience will enter the war-weary world of 1919 to meet survivors of the Great War, whose lives are by no means universally tragic, but often funny and sometimes outrageous. Based on real people who lived & worked in Saltaire, the characters …[Click Here To Read More]

 Posted by at 8:46 am
Oct 262013

Salts Walks were recently invited to assist Titus Salt School with a project on dyeing. I was very impressed by this school initiative which was the brainchild of Heather Graham, Creative and Community Projects Manager and Claire Welles-Smith from the Fabric of Bradford Project, founded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and based at HIVE in …[Click Here To Read More]

 Posted by at 7:26 am
Oct 252013

Bradford Mill owner Sir Titus Salt, left the stench of Bradford and moved his mills to a ‘greenfield site, 4 miles north of Bradford. The first building he created  was the mill,

 Posted by at 7:21 am
Oct 232013
History of the building of Saltaire

Saltaire World Heritage Site is not a museum.  It is a living, breathing, exciting and vibrant place to visit, live in and work in. It has a lifeblood coursing through it, consisting of its industry, commerce, educational establishments, shops, housing and the desire of its residents to develop a sense of community here.

 Posted by at 7:15 am