Thursday, 21 August 2014


We have spent the day on the 7 day moorings at Salts Wharf, Saltaire in West Yorkshire.  I’d read some information about Saltaire before arriving in the UK and as often happens my preconception about its location was completely wrong.  I was expecting a small town on its own in a narrow wooded valley adjacent to a swiftly flowing river.  Instead we’ve found a village which is now part of the town of Shipley which is surrounded by modern commercial buildings. 

This is Waiouru moored a Salts Wharf.  Ahead of us and around the corner are the 24 hour moorings adjacent to Aldi (a future stop!)  There are sufficient mooring rings here for two 60ft boats, but a third boat could squeeze in on the end using pins.

The following map may assist with site orientation.

Waiouru is moored on the 7 day mooring with the 24 hour Aldi moorings further to the right.  There are 6 hour (no overnight) moorings closer to Saltaire.  Salt Bakery (more on that later) can be found on Victoria Road.

The next map provides a closer view of the town layout.

The mill is at D and the worker accommodation at A.  The shopping area is at B with what I believe to be the mill management accommodation at C.

Saltaire was established by Titus Salt in 1851 as a model town.  The name is derived by combining Titus Salt’s name with that of the nearby River Aire. 

Titus Salt decided to combine his existing five woollen mills into one new mill at this location near Shipley.  Much like the Bourneville Brothers in Birmingham he decided to build a model town for his mill and workers.  He built stone terraced houses with all the modern conveniences of the day (bath houses, school, hospital, gym, concert hall, church, etc).  No doubt he had little difficulty in enticing his workers away from their slums in Bradford.  Salt obviously had an eye for productivity because he didn’t allow “mother’s ruin” into the town (no alcohol outlets).

In 2001 Saltaire was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.  It remains a lived in town but every building is individually heritage grade listed.

Victoria Road is the main thoroughfare upon which can be found the concert hall, school, hospital and some of the larger and better homes.  The streets in the worker areas appear to have male and female Christian names.

The Ice Cream boat moored down by the bridge.  Cross the bridge over the canal and you can walk up Victoria Road with the mill on your immediate left.

Beyond the mill the Victoria Road crosses the railway line.  Having the canal and railway were two of the reasons why Titus Salt selected the site.  On the right beyond the railway line is the church.  Initially I thought it was round, however it’s only the front facade that gives this appearance.  The building is actually rectangular.

The area behind and around the church is the terraced housing for the mill workers.

160 years ago these homes must have looked luxurious to a worker from the slums of Bradford.

Services alley at the rear of the terraced homes.

In this next photo you can see the contrast between the original stone houses and the more recent 20th century dwellings that have been built on the fringe of the original town.

Newer homes in the middle distance

At the top of the town is Saltaire Road where the majority of the shops are located.

Only the upper floors appear to be original.  At the western end of the town is the old Tram Shed which has been converted into a pub.

The houses appear to be larger in size and more ornate at the top end of Victoria Road where it joins Saltaire Road.  I suspect this is the mill management accommodation.  It would be the furthest location from the noisy mill down by the canal.

More “up market” homes

Salt’s Mill closed in 1986 and was then purchased and refurbished by Johathan Silver.  It’s now a mixture of business, commerce, leisure and residential use.

It’s possible to see much of the original interior design.  Heavy flagstone pavers on the ground floor.  The ceiling of the ground floor is a combination of riveted cast iron “H” beams infilled with bricks in an arch to prove the strength of the second floor.

At the far end of the hall there was an ancient dental chair with treadle operated drill.  I must be bloody old because I remember the school dental nurse at Waiouru Camp School had a similar machine!

If you walk back down Victoria Road and across the canal you reach the River Aire.  We will be cruising on it shortly, but at the moment it doesn’t look that big.

I can’t finish this post without mentioning Jan Swatridge (nb Qisma) who sent us an email suggesting a visit to Salt Bakery and mentioning their vanilla slice was delicious.

Excellent advice………!  I will have to walk back tomorrow for more.  Perhaps four this time!  Smile

Thanks Jan…….


Narrowboat QISMA said...

Just a but cruel Tom!! Drool,drool

Narrowboat QISMA said...

The best blog pic of the year?. Next tip ... The moorings at Lemonroyd and walk to village for good butcher. But do not miss Castleford Market even if you heading for Rochdale.