Titus had a black Labrador, Puck, of whom he was very fond. Puck lived at Crow Nest mansion, Lightcliffe, where he enjoyed family life with the Salts and the run of the extensive grounds.Beloved by Titus, Puck died on 27 September 1876 just three months before his master.
As a result of the affection he held for Puck, Titus commissioned a memorial stone that was placed at the top of the steps that led down to the boathouse. After Titus’s death Crow Nest was sold and the family dispersed to several locations. The private Crow Nest Park Golf Club now occupies what was once home and garden for the Salts.
Crow Nest changed hands several times and ended its working life in World War Two as a prisoner of war camp for Italians and a billet for Belgian troops. The grand mansion was later demolished but what became of Puck’s stone?By the late 1960s its existence was largely forgotten and no longer in the original location, its whereabouts became a mystery.
One hundred years after its installation, Michelle Moroney, daughter of local historian Noel and his wife Sylvia, noticed “a curious stone with a round top” lying semi-exposed in the bank of the Crow Nest lake that Titus had had built. 1976 was an extremely dry summer and the level of the lake had fallen several feet revealing the touching memorial.
Noel, who remembered the stone from his childhood, organised its removal from the deep mud with the aid of a vehicle that could cope with dragging more than two hundredweight. Although it had suffered minor vandalism it remained a magnificent tribute to a much missed pooch.
The Moroneys have looked after Puck’s stone for more than 40 years, taking care to transport it intact during each of four house moves and at their own expense. It is thanks to Michelle, Noel and Sylvia that this charming evidence of a Victorian man’s love for his “best friend” has survived.
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.
Barges on the Leeds Liverpool canal
In May Saltaire tour guide and historian Maria Glot was delighted to welcome husband and wife presenters Timothy West (Eastenders & countless film and stage roles) and Prunella Scales (Fawlty Towers) and the camera crew.
They were fascinated by the role the canal played in mill owner Titus Salt’s success and by the stories of people who lived and worked for Titus and on the canal barges.
Maria welcoming Timothy West and Prunella Scales with Reverend Caroline Andrews in the Saltaire United Reform Church
Why Did Titus Need The Canal?
The canal linking Leeds & Bradford with the Liverpool port was completed in 1816, which has its bi-centenial celebration this year. The canal has 91 locks over 127 miles including the famous 5 Rise Locks at nearby Bingley.
Salts Mill, built right next to the canal, was operational from 1853. Salt’s vision was to produce fine top end top quality cloth in a super efficient process.
The canal was a vital part of the mill’s success. Raw materials delivered into Liverpool’s port were transported by barge direct to the mill. Rail would have been a lot faster but much more expensive. Titus used cheap 5mph barges to drip feed large quantities of raw materials into the mill. The canal enabled Sir Titus to create a smooth running, profit maximising efficient process.
The River Stink
The last remaining stretch of the Bradford Canal at the Leeds Liverpool junction – courtesy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradford_Canal
The Bradford spur from Dockfield Road Shipley into Bradford was so polluted with sewage and the outflow from Bradford’s mills it became known as the river stink. After several methane fuelled explosions it was closed for the first time in 1866.
Titus, wisely sold his Bradford Mills, where he owned at least five, because of the atrocious living conditions in Bradford.
With the funds he built the supermill in Saltaire, Salts Mill, which was unaffected by the water supply difficulties.
Titus bought the best most luxurious fibres: alpaca from Peru, donskoi from Russia (sheep found only in the Russian River Don area); merino wool from Australia and mohair from China and elsewhere. All were shipped to Liverpool and were then brought by canal to Salts Mill.
These newer, luxurious wools and fibres enabled Titus to make a super fine worsted cloth.
Experimentation with these new fibres paved a path for Titus’ success.
Homage is paid to the alpaca and mohair goat all over the village and can be found in the church vestibule, on the family crest, on the hospital and school buildings and as shown in the picture around the statue in Roberts Park.
Titus had his own way of getting what he wanted at the price he wanted. He would hire the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool where he “generously” entertained his fellow wool staplers who like him had come to buy wool from the merchant ships.
The entertainment comprised plying the wool staplers with as much drink as possible. That way they were likely to repay Titus by allowing him the pick of the wool at a good price. However, what they didn’t know is that while they were nursing sore heads, Titus hired a steamer and met the incoming ships mid-Atlantic in order to buy the best wool without other wool staplers ever setting eyes on it!
Barges And Boat Babies
Some barges were owned by groups although most were owned by individuals, often with families of young children. For instance, The Clara was owned And skippered by Charles Kendall from Baildon aged 37 in 1871. He was accompanied by his wife Emily Ann Kendall aged 34, and their three sons aged 7, 5 & 3 plus Martha their four-month old baby daughter!
The barge was their home and as 95% of the available space was packed with raw material for Salts Mill or stone collected at Shipley for the journey back to Liverpool, they lived in extremely cramped conditions.
Some barge owners employed a mate who was often a family member who helped load, unload and navigate the 91 locks.
Life on the canal was hectic and non-stop. The canal would have been constantly crowded with boats accompanied by the typical noise of a major highway. There would have been little of the peaceful leisure time enjoyed by those living or holidaying on the canal today. However, this picture shows a brief musical interlude on a fully laden barge.
He says it came from a boat family from Burscough named Abram and shows four men on their boat – one in a top hat playing a fiddle (left) and Mr Abram on the right. He hopes that someone may be able to help find out more about the boat and the music.
If you watch the Great Canal Journeys programme you may well be treated to an impromptu waltz by Timothy and Prunella accompanied by the fabulous Wurlitzer built in 1937 and installed that year in the Gaumont Cinema, Oldham. It now resides amongst the Italian architecture that inspired Victoria Hall.
Prunella Scales and Timothy West dancing to the Wurlitzer in Victoria Hall, Saltaire.
Titus fell in love with the Baroque and neo-classical architecture that he saw when visiting Italy and was so inspired that he made sure his architects copied and incorporated it into the grade II listed Victoria Hall and the grade I listed United Reform Church.
Timothy and Prunella also visited the church where they were taken in with the stunning Italianate ceiling, the portico and the mausoleum where Titus is laid to rest.
Timothy and Titus in the church – more than a passing resemblance?
The church was commissioned by Titus to meet the spiritual needs of the workers housed in his model village. Victoria Hall meanwhile was used as a recreational, leisure facility and also for adult educational purposes. It provided library, reference library reading room, a stage and dance hall.
If you are visiting Saltaire be sure to take time to visit Victoria Hall. You may be lucky to hear the Wurlitzer being played. You can book a Wurlitzer experience by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org .
Streamline Process And Control
When the railway station opened in Saltaire, the finished goods could be carried away as quickly as possible to the lucrative markets.
The barges brought in the best wool at the cheapest prices to the supersize fully integrated mill with a unique spinning process. The village was designed to control workers by housing them in good conditions. They were required to follow strict rules such as: “Any person arriving late will be locked out and lose half a day’s pay” and “Any person leaving their work & found talking with any of the other workpeople shall be fined 2d for each offence”. These rules gave Titus the tools to ensure that his was a most productive workforce. The fast rail system took the finished cloth to make the fine suits and exclusive frocks to Saville Row and all over the world.
Plan Your Visit To Saltaire
Take a relaxing 30 minute canal trip aboard The Titus. This narrowboat leaves regularly from Saltaire – no need to book –more details here http://www.saltairetripboat.co.uk/
Great Canal Journeys series 5 begins 17th August 2016 on Channel 4 with Timothy and Prunella in Venice. The Leeds Liverpool episode will feature during sometime in the autumn. We will update here as soon as we know when it will be broadcast. It was broadcast 31st August 2016 and is available on catch up tv or to watch here until 30th September 2016.
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 was for a small group of individuals. Not long after groups began to book, not just at weekends but mid week. We discovered that many people and groups had an appetite for the history of Titus Salts industrial village especially if they were entertaining. So the idea of costume guided walks filled with stories and humour was born.
We are delighted to keep the tradition going and start our walks at Saltaire’s Visitor Information Centre, an attraction itself based in Titus’s very own dining room in Salts Mill.
Clive, a fantastic historian had the vision that Saltaire could become a World Heritage Site. Many thought that he was mad, but his vision became reality. In December 2001 UNESCO designated Saltaire a World Heritage Site describing it as “an outstanding and well preserved example of a mid 19th century industrial town.”
Thanks to the ever popular and talented guides who have informed and entertained so many folk from all over the globe, Salts Walks has raised thousands for the beautiful United Reformed Church and this fascinating place that is Saltaire.
In July we will, for the twentieth year running, welcome Mervyn Peart and his Geography & Heritage students of Hong Kong University. Mervyn has been bringing students all the way from Hong Kong to experience Saltaire every year for the last 20 years!
Saltaire tour guides, Rev David Cowan, Mrs Caroline Hill,, Matron Sarah Turner, Mrs Susan Excel & Mrs Ellin Dooley, husband Henry and twelve children with another on the way…wish everyone all the very best and an exceptional 2016.
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 presenter Anita Rani was back in her home town of Bradford and brought the TV crew with just one camera when she met Maria at her home in Saltaire village.
Anita Rani of BBC’s Countryfile and Strictly Come Dancing was fascinated by Saltaire’s rules
No washing to be hung out to dry in front or behind any of the properties, or in the vicinity of the village.
The founder would recommend that all inmates wash themselves every morning, but they shall wash themselves at least twice a week, Monday morning and Thursday morning; any found not washed will be fined 3d for each offence.
Anita was keen to know Maria’s washing habits – you’ll have to watch Countryfile to find out her answers.
Countryfile tour of Saltaire village
Next Maria took Anita on a tour of the village where she explained amongst other things why the villagers of the time were mockingly known as treacle eaters – the only decision they had to make, so said the mockers, was which side of their bread to spread the treacle. Everything else was ‘laid on’ or prescribed in Sir Titus’ rules.
Maria explains to Anita the Saltaire treacle eaters
Other topics included the reason for the different size houses in a street, the origin of the street names and the life expectancy of the villagers, before Maria bid them farewell and sent them off to discover more about Saltaire’s unique Glen tramway.
Anita Rani, Maria Glot and Countryfile film crew with Salts Mill in the background
by Edward Stanners – 1980 Managing Director of Salts Mill
Ted Adams first tourist outside Salts Mill 1980
One of the most interesting aspects of running a business is that decisions often have quite unintended consequences, often for the better.
So, when Maria Glot approached me on behalf of Bradford Met to see if we would support tourism in Saltaire, I had little idea of how useful tourists would prove to be.
I was unsure whether it could benefit Salts Mill, but knew the shops on Victoria Road were seriously struggling and I thought they would benefit from having more visitors to the village. By then there were too many empty shops on Victoria Road and we needed to stop the rot.
Ted Adams first tour in the streets of Saltaire 0ct 1980
Maria was a great visionary – there must be no illusions about who did what, she was the architect of the tourist boom in Saltaire. It was her tenacity and enthusiasm which persuaded coach operators, barge owners, mill managers and hoteliers to create something from nothing.
The initial request was for a quick mill tour every weekend but showing people around a mill on a Saturday when you barely have enough work for five day a week working was a tall order. So Donald Fowler, Alan Dawes and I decided that we would charge a pound per head for the tour in order to justify bringing in a guide or two.
What we soon realised was that, if you gave Maria an inch, she took a mile. It was not long before we were showing 200 or even 300 people around a day, with boats coming in with one load and buses taking them away and vice versa.
Edward Stanners, Salts MD, presents gift to Ted Adams first Tourist
Donald was responsible for the mill shop and he quickly saw that, with the right stock, we could seriously increase our shop turnover – useful because the margins were far better than those generated by selling cloth.
I soon spotted another profit opportunity though – selling souvenirs. As a child I had often been to Haworth since my mother came from there. As tourism was in it’s infancy there, I had seen little shops selling keepsakes which were clearly not that relevant to the village, some having pictures of the seaside on them with just the word Haworth over-printed. Since Haworth must be 60 miles from the nearest beach, it struck me that if tourists were so easily persuaded to buy tat, they were a soft target.
So we started to sell pens and key rings where the formula was simple – buy for ten pence, sell for twenty. Yes it was bitty turnover, but at 100% margin compared with 5%, if we were lucky, on our cloth, the pens seemed attractive.
But we needed confectionery since many of the visitors were clearly grandparents and wanted little edible presents to take home with them for children.
I decided that Saltaire rock may sell but had no idea where to buy it. Then a stroke of inspiration – I looked in the yellow pages for Blackpool and it was full of rock-makers.
However we soon hit another problem – I wanted to buy a trial lot of 24 sticks and rock is sold ‘by the boiling’ which was around 720 sticks and payment had to be in cash. That was a risk. The mill’s losses were falling by then, but there was little room for a mistake even though a stick of rock was only ten pence.
We decided to risk a boiling, but sent our own van over to Blackpool when it was doing a Manchester run to keep costs down. Rock was a winner. We bought a stick for ten pence and sold it for fifty.
There was quickly so much profit that we kept the cash separate from the rest of the business calling it ‘the rock fund’. That money was used for expenditure we were not allowed to make officially.
At that stage, things were still hard and, understandably, IM would sanction only vital spending. We had a problem though.
Our windows, particularly those facing the canal, were being broken all the time and we needed to repair them if we were to stand any chance of impressing visitors. That was only half the battle: as fast as we repaired the lower windows, they were broken again.
The Rock Fund allowed us to use Perspex rather than glass in the really vulnerable windows. We had a lot of money from rock, a couple of hundred pounds a week in a good week coming in, and that paid for a lot of repairs.
Industrial Heritage Holidays 1980
There were other dividends though from tourism. Pride in the mill came back very soon after we started to show people around. Even the dreaded dyers started to take down their lurid pin-ups. People were happier to work in a mill which had a cachet in the area, and that made them nicer to work with.
Industrial heritage Holiday Day 1 Itinerary Saltaire 1980
Maria Glot’s dream made the mill a better place to manage. It was a very unexpected dividend.
For over one hundred and sixty years the village and its environs was a holiday destination for people working in the mills of Bradford. Every weekend droves of people would stroll down Victoria Rd, heading for Shipley Glen and the open moors where there were holiday homes. In 1879 a ‘Victorian Fairground was built at the top of the glen: The Shipley Glenn Tramway was built in1895 and in the early 1900’s the country’s largest aerial glide was constructed –the ‘Cape to Cairo Railway.’
The late 1960’s and 70’s saw a notable decline of visitors to Saltaire and the Glen. Tastes were changing with the advent of cheap package holidays and the mass use of cars, suddenly people stopped coming to Saltaire.
Revival of Interest in Saltaire & Key Dates in it’s recent History.
1971 28th July Saltaire declared a Conservation area.
1978 Apollo Canal Cruises, running boat trips and dinner cruises along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. (David Lowe)
1979 Bradford Council, created the Economic Development Unit, (EDU) Maria Glot appointed as the districts first ever Tourism Officer. Part of their remit being to develop the tourism industry in the district.
Saltaire was identified as a key site of tourism potential.
1980 Shipley Glen Tramway re-furbished and re-opened.
1981 Industrial Heritage packages were produced guided tours of the working mill and village were established By EDU. First Blue Badge Guides in Yorkshire were trained by Maria Glot, the Yorkshire Tourist Board and the Guild of Guide lectureres.
1982 Over 10,000 tourists shown around the working mill & village. A Mill Museum was opened. The Mill shop expanded its taking s by 300%.
1986 Nov Salts Mill closed for Textile production
1987 June local entrepreneur Jonathan Sliver buys Salts Mill & begins to breath lifeinto the village by regenerating the local shops
1987 Nov 1853 David Hockney Gallery established by Joanathan Silver.
1987 Saltaire nominated for World Heritage Site Status Owing to the work of the village society led by Clive Wood.
How developments in the Mill have affected the village.
Salts mill is and always has been key to the development of Saltaire. Over £300 million has been invested in the village over the last 20 years.
1992 & ongoing Refurbishment and re-occupation of shops in Victoria Road to cater for visitors, and changing tastes.
1994 New toilet block in Caroline St. cost £67,000. Refurbished again in 2006.
1994 Saltaire declared as the fastest growing tourist destination by the Yorkshire tourist Board.
1994 Private commercial Visitor Centre Opens in Victoria Rd.Run by Anne & Roger Heald. Weekend guided tours established (SaltsWalks)
1994 Saltaire Trader’s Association formed to promote the village. 62 members working together with Jonathan Silver as President. Malcolm Gray as chair & Anne Heald as Information & Events co-ordinator. Street events ‘Victorian Christmas’ and Easter Eggstravaganza organised.
1995 April Bradford Council ceases all tourism promotional activities.
1995 April Saltaire Studies Centre established at Shipley College, with support of Sir Titus Salts decendents.
1995 1st July Saltaire Tourist Information Centre opened and Nationally networked. Run by Anne & Roger Heald.
1995 The Victoria Antiques Centre Opens. Run by Malcolm Gray.
1996 Civic Trust Centre Vision Award. Saltaire selected because “it is a remarkable example of conservation– led economic regeneration.”
1995 Europa Nostra Medal for projects which make a distinguished contribution to the conservation and enhancement of Europe’s architectural and Natural heritage.
1997 Sept The death of Salts Mill owner and entrepreneur Jonathan Silver.
2001 Dec 14th Saltaire inscribed as a ‘World Heritage Site’ by UNESO
Factors which have contributed to the development
Of Saltaire as a World Heritage Site and Major Tourist Destination 1984-2013
1984 Saltaire Village Society established. One of it’s many aims to collect Saltaire artefacts and memorabilia. Clive Woods a key contributor.
1984 Re-opening of the Saltaire Railway Station.
1985 Building’s in Saltaire Listed, by English Heritage.
1985 The unique Reed Organ & Harmonium Museum established in the Institute by Phil & Pam Fluke. (Closed Nov 2011)
1985 Saltaire United Reformed Church commenced guided tours of the church. (Bert Thornton) Now organised by Len Morris
1987 Jonathan Silver, buys Salts Mill and opens the ‘1853’ David Hockney Gallery. Many other attractions followed & continue to be developed in the mill. 2007 sees the opening of an old worlde’ music shop. New developments in the mill ongoing continued today by Maggie and Robin Silver
1987 Saltaire Village Society under the leadership of Clive Woods bids for and wins a nomination for World Heritage Status for Saltaire
1993 The refurbishment of New Mill into Offices and 73 luxury apartments.
1995 -2006 Saltaire Tourist Information Centre Networked Nationally made a major contribution and literally put Saltaire on the OS Map.
2003 The Saltaire Festival Established. A major & extremely successful event held for two weeks in September each year
2004 Saltaire History Group established
2004 The Friends of Roberts Park formed. Instrumental for the major refurbishment of ‘Roberts Park’.
2011 Saltaire Visitor Centre opens in Salts Mill, run by Bradford Council
2007 First Saltaire Art Trail established by David Worsley
1995 –2015 Salts walks & Talks plus new Drama walks Professional Local Guides, Maria Glot, Roger Clarke, Sally Clegg, Sheila Lansdell ,Viv Swaine & Helen Broadhead continue to attract people of all ages and from all walks of life to get the most out of Saltaire World Heritage Site. Over these years many other people in Saltaire have been involved in the guided walks including Clive Wood and local playwright Hattie Townsend. A tribute to all for helping make Salts Walks so unique and successfull.
2013 Oct Saltairevillageexperience.co.uk website established to be fully inclusive, and help promote and advertise all Saltaire businesses and provide a link to all local tourist attractions, for groups and individuals to enable them to get the best out of a visit to Saltaire.