Titus was the eldest of seven children, his father was once involved in the white cloth merchandise.
Titus had wanted to become a doctor but when he left school he went to work in Wakefield with a wool-stapler. When the family moved to Bradford to set up a wool stapling business, Titus took a job with a firm called Rouse and Son. During his two years with the firm Titus acquired a practical knowledge of all aspects of the wool sorting trade.
Titus then became a wool buyer with his father and the firm became Daniel Salt and Son. During this period Titus was constantly alert to the possibility of new materials and methods.He experimented with Dansko wool but his greatest achievement was in processing Alpaca wool. He strove to retain the natural gloss and colour of the wool and to construct economically suitable materials and machinery for production. The result was a beautiful cloth for which demand soon accelerated, this was to make Titus Salt his fortune.
It was just what the fashion houses had been hoping for, a fabric cheaper than silk yet resembling it in gloss, elegant in appearance yet durable in war. Queen Victoria owned two alpacas kept at Windsor Park; in 1844 she sent two fleeces to Salt with a request to make them into ‘notable cloth’, Salt duly did this and the queen’s satisfaction further assured Salts commercial success. In 1849 Salt became Mayor of Bradford, showing his local importance.Bradford was seen, at the time, as the ‘City of the Industrial Revolution’. In 1790 there seemed to be little hope for future growth in Bradford.
A little over half a century later Bradford had become the acknowledged woollen and worsted centre of the world. The opening of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and its extension to Bradford In 1774 enthused coalmining in the area and led to the development of an inspired iron industry in a distinct belt to the south of the town, vital steps in Bradford’s progress. Before the arrival of machinery, weaving had been a cottage industry and yarn spinning was practised by woman and girls at home. The inventions of the eighteenth century prepared the way for a different method of production and the power loom established factory working.In 1798 the first steam engine for the processing of wool was constructed in Bradford despite the prejudice against it and the assembly of a large crowd to prevent it. With the use of coal steam superceded waterpower that was to Bradford’s benefit as there was no great abundance of water in the area. Bradford also had the advantage of a sufficient store for building an established trade in woollens and worsteds. During the first half of the nineteenth century, Bradford began to establish its central position in the textile world and the products of its mills found a worldwide market and some of its manufacturers made large fortunes.
At the Great Exhibition in 1851 in London it was reported that ‘Bradford exhibited alpaca and mohair goods and mixtures of those with cotton or silk. Bradford has risen to be one of the wealthiest communities in the country’. The development of Bradford was achieved during a period of agitation and great change. Power looms increased efficiency but did not require the old manual skills therefore unemployment resulted and workers reacted in the form of Luddism. Living conditions were appalling for many and disease was able to spread rapidly in the unhygienic harmful conditions, which were a common feature of many of the industrial towns of this period.
Cholera outbreaks in 1832 and 1844 carried many to the grave and reflected a disregard for the laws of health and cleanliness. These were conditions Salt worked in/By the time Salt reached his fiftieth birthday, a new idea was concentrating Salts mind – focussing all his endeavours under one roof and removing his workpeople to a less congested than the heart of Bradford. Salt wanted to build an industrial settlement where people would all live close to their work among such conditions as fresh air, pure water and cleanliness – in fact he would build a model village.Salt discussed his schemes with Bradford architects Lockwood and Mawson. A site was eventually chosen and purchased at Shipley, which had the advantages of railway, canal, river and roads. The name was to be a juxtaposition of founder (Salt) and the river on which it stood (Aire) and a clear identity from the very start.
By the 20th September 1853, Salts fiftieth birthday the mill and its first associated buildings opened. The workpeople were taken from Bradford to Saltaire by train and a banquet was held in the combing shed for 3,500 guests.The Illustrated London News reported: ‘The opening of the stupendous model mill of Mr Titus Salt, alpaca manufacturer Mr Bradford was commemorated by a festival upon a vast scale..
.perhaps the largest dinner party ever set down upon one roof at a time. Saltaire has healthy dwellings and gardens, wide streets and squares, sufficient ground for recreation, dining halls, kitchens, baths, washhouses, schools, a mechanics institute, a church and more, some of the characteristics of the future town of Saltaire. Also in Salts thinking was a congregational church, which was to prove one of the most beautiful Italianate buildings in the country with a profusion of Corinthian columns and an ornate domed bell tower.
Baths, washhouses, almshouses and a hospital soon followed but Salt was adamant there was to be no public house or pawnshop; he did however provide a club and institute as alternative ‘leisure’ outlet.The building of Saltaire village attracted worldwide attention and many countries bestowed honours on Titus Salt who proved a consistent supporter of good causes. One of his last interests was the formation of the Sunday school, which was opened by his grandson Harold. This was Sir Titus’ last public appearance.
After that his health deteriorated rapidly and he died 29th December 1876. There were two separate rules, some for the mill and some for the village. Titus wanted cleanliness, cheerfulness and order to reign the village. Titus wanted obedient, hardworking residents. He wanted the children to go to school and learn. In the mill punctuality, cleanliness and hard work were musts in the mill.
He was against talking whilst working, not paying for tings you break and loitering.Saltaire takes its first part of its name from the owner, Titus Salt, so he would always be remembered. And the second part is from the River Aire, which runs through where Salt had the mill and village constructed. It is entirely possible to though it was never proven that Salt was a megalomaniac. Obsessed by his power as the owner of a firm he named the mill after himself to show everyone how powerful he was.Others had tried similar ventures to Saltaire before, for example, Robert Owen. He succeeded but his mill was neither as grand nor did it last as long as Saltaire. Salt left a legacy of amazing of amazing success in the textiles industry.
He took wool others thought was useful from the Alpaca, a lama type animal from South America, and turned it into a product even Queen Victoria would wear. Salt built his model village for a number of reasons. As an outlet for his greed and power, as a mill by which all over mill owners would measure themselves. He built the mill for the extreme profit it would gain him, he wanted to be remembered, he wanted the palace of industry to stand the test of time and for everyone to remember whom he was. Salt also built the mill and houses to ensure his ‘controlled’ workforce would work hard and bring in the profits to ensure further development.Titus Salt built a range of buildings in his Model Village.
This tells us that Saltaire believed in both efficiency and variety; he wanted to be cost effective without making the whole village look identical and prison-like. The mill was positioned by the canal for the practical reason that the finished wool could be loaded straight onto the canal barges. The mill is just across the road from the church and can be seen from the statue of Sir Titus in the park.The United Reform Church is very Italianate in styling with a tower and a dome on top. There are pillars at the top of the steps to the main doors. On the inside the church has a high ceiling and the pews are raised with a central heating system in the floor to keep the parishioners warm on colder days. The organ is grand and is located just behind the alter.
There are 64 visible pipes but thousands more behind. The church is positioned opposite the mill, which demonstrates how highly he regarded religion. The church was for any of his workers and Salt would often sit with his workers during mass. The mausoleum off to the left of the church as you look at it from the main doors is a small room. On the opposite wall to you when enter is an angel statue.The statue cost ï¿½1,000, one sixteenth as much as the church.
On the floor are beautiful blue and white ornate tiles under which Salt, his wife Caroline and several other members of Salt’s family are buried. All this tells us that Salt was a very religious man. He placed religion as propriety in his life. His commitment to religion is evident, as he didn’t have to build a large church. Salt could have had a smaller chapel constructed for just his family and himself but he wanted a religious society within his village and those who practised his religion did benefit.The Institute was built for entertainment for the workforce – there was no Public House as it was against Salts strict beliefs. The Institute is now used as a Public Library, Public Hall and has many meeting rooms. At the entrance of the Institute are statues of great lions.
Salt believed in self – improvement, both of mind and body. The Institute was designed to allow the workers in Salts village to relax and ‘improve’ themselves.The Almshouses are relatively small and were a late development by Salt for the retired members of his workforce.
They now sell for twice as much as a normal house of the same size and facilities despite recent sand blasting which has damaged the stonework. Thus suggests that Titus must have cared for his workers and rewarded good service with a free place to live. He also gave the unwell and penniless a place in these almshouses. It could also be said though that Salt only did this so eh could bring in new workers to spaces in the workers old houses.
The hospital, which in my opinion showed Salt was pure genius by including this in his plans, suggests that Salt had good intentions for his workers and the hospital helped to keep the village independent from the rest of Bradford. This added to his legacy as a great carer for his workers. It was amazing for Salt to provide this. It was effectively the first free health service. This was over 80 years before the first NHS was set up.The streets of Saltaire are set out in a grid like the cities of the United States. Salt named the streets after the Royal Family and members of his own family.
Victoria Street (monarch at Salts time) crosses Caroline Street (Salts wife). Salt also named streets after the queen’s husband, his favourite son Titus and George, another favoured son. It has also been suggested that George Street was named after George IV but there is no evidence to prove this.The way the streets are named shows Salts standards towards the Royal family.
This is unusual for the time, as the royal family were seen as omnipotent. He placed his family on the same pedestal as the royal family showing how important his family was to him. It also shows his patriotism to name the streets after the royal family. Also this shows his belief in the hierarchy system that the royal family and the rich, like him, were at the top.
Certain symbols are in evidence everywhere in Saltaire. The alpaca, a reminder of Salt’s success, and also the crest of Salt and the Lion, which is evident in several places. The purpose of these symbols is to remind us of Salt at to stop us forgetting who he as and what he did. Everywhere in Saltaire there are examples of Salts beliefs and values. Care and concern (almshouses, hospitals) hard work (the rewards he gave (houses places in the church)) improvement (the Institute) and his Christina beliefs found in the church.Saltaire, when compared to other towns and cities, Is a perfect work place.
Living and working conditions were excellent for the time. People had proper housing and some form of sanitation. Public Baths were available to all workers. The mill was kept clean with machinery under the floor to reduce noise and prevent injuries. Saltaire wasn’t designed specifically to be safe work place but it definitely became one. Salt had a vision of a model village and that was what he got.
Even in the 1950’s and 1960’s people weren’t living as well as some of the people in Salts model village. To create a model village in such a short space of time is an amazing achievement by a man with an amazing vision for the perfect mill and perfect workforce.Salt was criticised for his work when he was persuaded to run for office. He was accused of avoiding taxation in Bradford. He left parliament after just two years in 1861, because of his deteriorating health. The man who took his place W E Foster was the creator of the 1870 education act.
Salt did however receive worldwide appreciation about what he had done with Saltaire, many countries honoured him and he continued to support good and worthwhile courses. In 1869 Salt received the letter informing him of knighthood from the Queen. He was recognised with a National Gallery Biography. Many countries looked at what Salt did and used his ideas in their future town planning.Saltaire today is very different to when Salt had it constricted. The chimney has been shortened considerably because of a risk of collapse.
The church has had many things redone and refurbished but Sir Titus Salt’s visions remain the same. The mill no longer produces wool. The last wool produce there was in February 1986 – over fifteen years ago.
The mill was changed into a cultural centre, three art galleries and has even been used as a theatre. Salts diner, a high-class restaurant, is also in the mill- a tribute to Salt. Now Saltaire mill is used to produce digital receivers.Saltaire has recently become a European Heritage site (1996) and a World Heritage Site (2001) along with the Taj Mahal. This shows how important Saltaire is and how it changed the world.Titus Salt was a businessman and he created an industrial town to his vision. But wool is becoming less popular as a usable fabric.
I think Salt would have a hard time seeing an art gallery in his Palace of Industry. However the mill would no longer be profitable and if he saw what an impact he had left I think he wouldn’t mind so much.I think Saltaire is a huge achievement, Salt became a pioneer of industry and he made a good workplace, good living conditions and good profits. He paid his workers when there was no work; he used child labour but was no worse than anyone else running the same sort of empire at the time. He was recognised in the National Gallery, he received praise at the time but to still be receiving praise 150 years later after the mill was constructed shows what a substantial achievement Saltaire was.