Meet The Guides



All our guides have been and are still involved in not just preserving the history, but making history in Saltaire.  We fully support the UNESCO world heritage site and contribute to projects, like the restoration of the Prussian blue and white street signs.  We make a regular monthly contribution to the preservation and restoration of the Saltaire United Reformed Church.  Our contributions have recently been used towards the restoration of the mausoleum where Sir Titus Salt is interred and the cleaning of the statues .We also provide resources for the education market, for example education packs for primary schools.

All our guides are  individuals and have their unique style, opinions and character.  They interact with each other, just like in real life.  That’s what makes our tours so special.


Mrs Dooley 100 Maria Glot

is Ellin Dooley, a common mill worker

Maria GlotMaria  actually lives in Saltaire and has worked in the tourist industry for many years and is famous for being appointed Bradford District’s first Tourism Officer in 1980. She was instrumental in training the first Blue Badge Guides in Yorkshire.  Not only is she a long term resident of Saltaire and an enthusiastic local historian, she is a member of Saltaire History Direct the fabulous Saltaire WI, the Saltaire Traders and supports the Saltaire Village Society, Saltaire Festival and Saltaire Inspired Her collection of fascinating facts and anecdotes bring Saltaire history to life. Her guided walks, talks and after dinner speeches are legendary and refreshingly different.

Maria’s costumed character, Mrs Ellin Dooley, is as common as muck, lives in an ordinary worker’s house on Amelia Street with her husband Henry, 12 children and another on the way.

Rev David Cowan Roger Clarke

is the Reverend David Cowan, Minister for Saltaire United Reformed Church

Roger was a psychiatric social worker in his professional life, which helped him in dealing with his wife’s early-onset Alzheimer’s. His interests were in voluntary activities such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, the Fire Victim Support Service, and the Walking for Health Initiative, which seemed unconnected with his ultimate enthusiasm as a Saltaire historian. But in Saltaire it all came together. Salts Walks are fun, engaging for all ages and Roger gets a huge amount of satisfaction in meeting a wide range of visitors from whom he learns so much. Roger has written 2 Saltaire books; 2 Saltaire journals; makes regular contributions to the free Saltaire paper the Saltaire Sentinel; is co-founder of the History Club and volunteer at Saltaire Archives based at Shipley College. He also gets a chance to ‘perform’ as the Rev David Cowan.

The Reverend David Cowan is the minister for Saltaire Congregational Church (now the United Reformed Church) where Sir Titus Salt, his family, and the workers of Saltaire came to worship every Sunday. He lives in Albert Road with his wife, Margaret and six children. His preaching was so fierce that he was eventually run out of town after a heated disagreement with Titus Salt junior and the congregation of the church.

Sally Clegg is Caroline Hill Sally Clegg

is Mrs Caroline Hill, wife of Colonel Thomas Henry Hill, Head of Security

Sally CleggA former journalist, Sally gave up work to raise her two sons and used her spare time to learn foreign languages. She now speaks French, German, Spanish and Italian as well as a little Greek and Catalan. She then trained as a guide at Harewood House, Leeds, hoping to use her language skills, before joining Salts Walks in the spring of 2009. Sally is also secretary to Bradford Circle for Foreign Languages, a group that coincidentally meets in Eldon Place, a building once owned by Sir Titus Salt.

Mrs Caroline Hill is the wife of Saltaire’s security chief, Colonel Thomas Henry Hill. They live in the second biggest house in the village at 47 Titus Street. A mother of four children, she nevertheless leads a very lonely existence as her husband spends much of his time in the watchtower above their home, looking out for anyone who breaks the strict rules of Saltaire. She longs for her former life in India, where she was born and brought up.

 Matron Turner in church 100Sheila Lansdell

is Matron Sarah Turner, the first matron of Sir Titus Salt’s hospital

Sheila Lansdell

Sheila is an actor and singer; a member of West Riding Opera and the Glen Singers. She appeared in ‘After the War is Over’ in 2012, playing a First World War nursing sister for Saltaire UNESCO World Heritage Site and most recently she played Sister Milton in ‘Not About Heroes’.

She is currently guiding for Salts Walks, playing the character of Matron Sarah Turner, a trained ‘Nightingale Nurse’. The first matron to be appointed at Salt’s Hospital, her mantra in life is ‘to purge, or not to purge?’ Sheila’s specialism is 19th Century medicine.

 Susan Excell

Viv Swaine

is Mrs Susan Excell, wife of Samuel Excell, Head Stonemason

Viv SwaineViv Swaine was born locally and after attending St Joseph’s College, studied at Sheffield University. She then spent 40 years teaching English language in Spain, London and Oxford before finally returning to Yorkshire in 2011. Viv now lives in the village and enjoys singing with Bradford Voices, painting with the Saltaire Art Group, swimming at Shipley Pool, and attending Saltaire WI. She also welcomes visitors to stay as overnight guests at the Stonemason’s house.

Viv has done extensive family history research, so when she moved into the village was keen to discover more about the previous inhabitants of her house. When researching the 1871 and 1881 census details, Viv found Mrs Susan Excell, who became her character for Salts Walks. Susan was married to the chief stonemason of the village, Samuel Excell. He was a very important person in the village and so they lived in one of the large three-storey houses in Albert Road. Samuel was born in Wootton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire and was brought to Saltaire as a skilled craftsman. Susan was born locally, married Samuel and in 1871 they had five children, their daughter-in-law, a boarder, and their nephew living with them.


Helen Broadhead

 is  Alice Charlesworth, Milliner and dressmaker shop owner

Helen is an experienced guide and regularly does heritage walks around Haworth and Bronte Country.

Her costumed character,  Alice Charlesworth, is one of twelve children. The Charlesworth family bought a large number of the shops in Saltaire after the death of Sir Titus Salt. Alice ran the Milliner’s shop with her sister Elizabeth, at 9 Victoria Road.









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 Posted by at 4:23 pm

  11 Responses to “Meet The Guides”

  1. I really really enjoyed the walk around Saltaire with Maria. She is so full of information and is a outstanding entertainer. GPs should prescribe Salts Walks for anyone suffering from the blues. The only disappointment was no souvenir pairs of Mrs Dooley’s bloomers to be had!

    • Dear Bill,
      Please forgive the lateness of my reply to you, my computer crashed and I have only just got it working properly now. Thank you very much for your kind comments. When replicas of Mrs Dooleys favourite bloomers are made you will be the first to get a pair !

      Again grateful thanks for your most welcome comments. and once agin thank you for coming on a Salts walk.
      Best wishes

  2. Hello!
    I’m a teacher at Westgate Primary School in Otley making enquiries about your walking tours for our Y5 and Y6 classes this coming Autumn. I can be contacted at the school on 01943 462349. I look forward to hearing from you!


    • Dear Daniel,
      Thank you for your enquiry , it will be a total pleassure to look after your groups in September, I look forward to you getting back with dates.

      Best wishes

  3. What a wonderful way to learn about this unique town! This tour made the 3 hour drive to Saltaire worthwhile. Maria and her tour guide were so very knowledgeable about the city’s history and they have such a love for the town that it really made all the tour goers appreciate it. The acting skills, combined with the sense of humor made the tour a pleasure for my entire family.

  4. had a great time being shown around, wondered if mrs dooley was a real person, if so would like to get more info fir a school project

    • Dear Jane,
      Thank you for your comment, yes Mrs Dooley was a real person a victorian who lived in Saltaire. For more information we can arrange a time for you to interview her.
      She is very busy as she has 12 children and one on the way, but she loves talking about herself.

  5. My U3a visited Saltaire on 15th September and really enjoyed the day. The highlight was the guided visit which brought the town to life.Maria is an excellent guide and actress. Definitely keen to return next year.

  6. I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs Ellen Dooley on a tour I led for HF Holidays. My guests loved your personalised character bookmarks and your interactive talk, really bringing the village and its residents to life. Mrs Dooley was also very persuasive in getting my character, as Chief Cashier, to part with money. Worth every farthing. Thank you.

  7. Can I enquire re a booking for myself and my husband for Tuesday 16th October 2018 ? Times and costs also please.
    Many thanks
    Susan Lawson

    • Dear Susan,
      Thank you for your enquiry, There are not guided walks on Tuesday 16th October. There is one on Wednesday 17th October at 1.00pm starting at the Saltaire United Reformed Church. The cost of the walk is £5.00 per person and you pay on the day. We also have a guided walk on Wednesday 18th October at 1.30pm,again staring at the Saltaire United Reformed Church. I hope one of those dates will suit you, let me know.
      Best wishes
      Maria Salts Walks and Talks

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