Upcoming meetings and events

Wednesday  7 June at 7.30pm

The closure of Salts Mill

We’re delighted to announce that Ian Beesley, one of Bradford’s finest photographers and honorary fellow of The Royal Photographic Society, will show The Closure of Salts Mill.

We will be meeting in the lounge of the Saltaire Methodist Church.The church fronts Saltaire Road BD18 3HJ. The lounge is at the rear. Please note that the meeting is on a Wednesday.

The photograph shows a machine being dismantled in Salts Mill in the mid-1980s. Used with permission and copyright Ian Beesley.

Thursday 7 September at 7.30PM

Part of front cover of A mansion for murder, by Frances Brody
Frances Brody: Where does history stop and fiction start?

Come and hear Frances Brody, author of 13 Kate Shackleton mysteries, talk about her latest novel 'A mansion for murder'. It's set in Saltaire and features dark deeds at Milner Field, the home on the outskirts of Bingley that was built for Titus Junior and Catherine Salt.

Frances will talk about the tricky problem of writing historically-set fiction and having to pass from fact into fiction to tell a gripping story.

We will again be in the lounge of the Saltaire Methodist Church. The church fronts Saltaire Road BD18 3HJ. The lounge is at the rear.

Keep up to date with upcoming meetings

Information about upcoming meetings is available via Social Media and posters distributed locally. But the best way to hear about Club meetings and events is through our email newsletter which we send out a few times a year. You can view previous newsletters here.

It's easy to sign up and easy to unsubscribe at any time.

Read about our past meetings and events

Details of many of the Club's pre-2020 meetings can be found on the Saltaire Village website

2 March 2023 - The Mechanic's Institute Movement and the Bradford Institute

Our speaker was Tricia Restorick, President of the Bradford Mechanics Institute, the first woman to become President in its 181-year history.

Mechanic's Institutes were everywhere in Victorian Britain – so where’s Saltaire’s? Well, Victoria Hall of course, formerly known as The Institute.

"There’s no of course about it!", says the Saltaire historian. "It was never a Mechanic's Institute".

Now there’s a challenging debate – which we asked Tricia to address whilst she’ll also be telling us about the role the mechanics institutes played.

The image is of the now demolished Bradford Mechanics Institute on Bridge Street, Bradford.

8 December 2022 - Voices from Saltaire's past

What better way to learn about Saltaire’s history than to listen to the people who were there?

So we invited several of them along to our December meeting where Henry Stolworthy was the  host.

Arriving in Bradford from Norfolk in 1839 at the age of 4, Henry and his family lived in this house next to Salt’s Hollings Mill in Goitside. Around 1854, the Stolworthys moved into one of the first of Saltaire’s houses. Henry spent decades working in Salts Mill and was superintendent of its fire brigade.

Henry has asked John Unwin to come along. John’s a private man but kept a diary of everyday life, so who better to tell us the price of bacon in 1894, or how much he gave the wife each payday?

Since they lived in Saltaire at much the same time, John might well have known the Kendall family. Maybe we’ll find out, because Harold Kendall will be with us. Harold became an overlooker at the mill – and to do that he had to study for several years at Saltaire’s Technical School. We’re expecting him to tell us what it was like.

Henry tells us there will be others… a woman from Italy who came to Salts soon after World War Two. And a chap who’s still alive!! He’s been invited because he saw and photographed one of Saltaire’s biggest milestones, the closure of Salts Mill.

15 September 2022 - The Saltaire Collection: past, present and future

To many Club old-timers, the Saltaire Collection is still the 'Saltaire Archive' – and the Learning Resource Centre (where we met on the 15th) is ‘the Library’.

But Lesson #1 is that history does not stand still!

What was a brave little archive will soon be a registered museum. Collection Trustee and Saltaire historian Maggie Smith told us how it all started and where her team is taking us.

And we did that literally next door to the maps, documents and images – a selection of which was a major feature of the evening.
Aerial view of Saltaire showing some allotments

6 July 2022 - Saltaire's allotments: a core feature of the model village

A small group of Club researchers has been working on the history of the village’s allotments – and their significance as part of a Victorian model village.

Club secretary Les Brook presented their findings which include:
  • The discovery of allotments now lost
  • A long-disappeared but substantial collection of piggeries
  • The theft of pigeons!
  • A Saltaire house you’ve never heard of
  • Fowls of the Sultan and Golden Spangled Hamburghs.
And history continues to be made – by Veg on the Edge and our Shipley Town Council which is now responsible for the allotments – so the audience heard about those developments too.

A paper on the history of the village allotments can be viewed and downloaded from our Research publications page.
Map of Saltaire

3 March 2022 - maps, maps, maps and more maps

Amongst the most valuable sources of historical information are maps.
And at the Club’s March meeting in March we were knee deep in them.
Three of the very best experts on local maps were with us – to let us into their cartographic historical discoveries and to show off a selection of their favourites. And the Saltaire Collection  added theirs too.


2 December 2021 - Model villages in Yorkshire: compare and contrast

Sheila Binns, author of "The Aesthetics of Utopia", and our very own Les Brook (standing-in for James Roberts) introduced us to four of West Yorkshire’s model villages, Akroydon, Copley, West Park and Ripleyville.

And we worked together to address the question:
What can we learn from comparing and contrasting these with Saltaire?

The audio recording of Les's talk is available on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/0PEcAf0lUJQ

11 November 2021 - A virtual future for heritage?

From TV programmes, you’ll be familiar with the remarkable technology that conjures up the faces of long-dead people, not least Richard III. The Visualising Heritage team in Bradford University’s School of Archaeological & Forensic Sciences is using equally cutting-edge technology to make a visual 3D record of Bradford city centre – and they’ve already applied it to buildings in Saltaire notably the United Reform Church.

Professor Andrew Wilson was with us via Zoom to open the door on how the technology of the future can illuminate the past.

The talk was recorded and is available on the Club's YouTube channel:

11 and 12 September 2021 - Celebrating Saltaire World Heritage Site’s 20th anniversary with a tour of the Dining Hall

During the 2021 Heritage Open days, the Club organised tours of the Dining Hall building in conjunction with the Saltaire Collection.

Today, the Dining Hall has become Shipley College’s ‘Mill Building’ but it retains many original features and has a terrific story to tell.

For many years before Saltaire’s other public buildings were built, the Dining Hall was also used as a school, a meeting place, library, reading room, a venue for religious services and numerous social events and political debates.

After changes to the building at the end of the 19th century, the Dining Hall’s new upper floor continued to provide social space for everything from boxing tournaments to flannel dances, and a buffet for the adjoining railway.

9 September 2021 - Should Salt return in triumph to the city centre?

Dr David Pendleton was our guest to discuss the arhitectural and locational history of the statue of Sir Titus Salt, currently in Lister Park, and also to consider the question of whether it should return to the centre of Bradford.

The recorded talk is available on the Club's YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/mew226fEGM8

May/June 2021 - Saltaire: Foundation and Legacy

Free exhibition celebrating Saltaire World Heritage Site's 20th anniversary

Drawing of Salts Mill from about 1920
20th anniversary logo
Through text and images, the exhibition told the story of Titus Salt, the founder of the village, and James Roberts, one of his successors as the owner of the mighty Salt's Mill. Without Roberts, the founder's legacy could easily have been lost.

We displayed unique artefacts and answered many questions form visitors. We also introduced visitors to the two brilliant industrial history sites that were given global recognition alongside Saltaire: New Lanark in Scotland and Derwent Valley in Derbyshire. Robert Owen? Richard Arkwright? Yes: the big names at those World Heritage sites.

And the exhibition concluded with a beautiful show of photographs on the theme 'International Saltaire'.

Organised by Saltaire History Club, Saltaire Inspired, and Saltaire Collection.

Thursday 3 June 2021 - The pub in Titus Salt's Bradford

Paul Jennings is the author of "The Local: A History Of The English Pub" and "Bradford Pubs" so who better to speak to us about The Pub in Titus Salt's Bradford?

Image credit: Bradford Local Studies

And just in case anyone thinks this a trivial topic, please note these facts – that in nineteenth century Bradford, pubs were frequently used by coroners to conduct inquests; that a Bradford directory of 1822 listed the “Inns houses [sic]" of the “Manufacturers attending the Piece Hall”; that Bradford’s beer houses were so notorious by mid-century that a man called Salt decided he’d do without one when he built a village for his workforce.

Thursday 4 March 2021 - The Crossleys of Dean Clogh, Halifax: A sister enterprise to Salts of Saltaire

Crossleys of Dean Clough talk advert
The President of the Halifax Antiquarians David Glover introduced us to the Crossleys and their close links to the Salts.

Thursday 25 February 2021- A second workshop on researching local history

Cover of Jubilee brochure
This second workshop was not a repeat of the first. There wasl an open session where we heard from you but the warm-up was in the hands of two experienced researchers giving a short and sweet rundown on their work.

Thursday 4 February 2021 - Workshop on researching local history

On Thursday 4 February in partnership with SWHEA/the Saltaire Collection, we ran our first (online) workshop on researching local history. We advertised it like this:
  • Want to hear who’s looking into what? This meeting’s for you.
  • Currently pursuing a project yourself? This meeting’s for you.
  • Would like to have a go at research? This meeting’s for you.
We lined up some experienced researchers and some first-timers to share their passions and problems.

An audio recording of the meeting is available in the Club's YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/fTwR4kLJ5Pk

December 10 2020 - Isabel Salt: two industrial dynasties, one independent woman

Local historian Pauline Ford talks about the fascinating life of the independent and adventurous Isabel Salt, daughter of Titus Salt Jnr. and his wife Catherine, a member of the famed Crossley family of carpet manufacturers from Halifax.

A recording of the meeting is available in the Club's YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/kUP1o2MGc1w

Or you can download a PowerPoint presentation with audio commentary from here:

Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/uc?export=download&id=17cfyoW75q7i_0F0l5MD5Zpual7444bK5

October 1 2020 - the Northcliffe Heritage Project

Noted local historian Derek Barker told us about a remarkable piece of research, the Northcliffe Heritage Project. Remarkable because it involves many people, has many strands – history, geology, ecology – and has been pursued over several years.

Derek has recorded his illustrated talk. You can view it in the Club's YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/wRbQYV2R7Ow

Or you can download a PowerPoint presentation with audio commentary from one of the following:(be warned - it's over 100Mb in size):

Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9o6q1u8x13m6po5/NHP%20Presentation%20Sound.pptx?dl=0

Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/file/d/154lYqYv0tr8LlopA3sssS8-Sds81zwD6/view

June 6 2019 - Saltaire: Set in stone - part 2 - who built Saltaire?

Les Brook followed up his talk on the stone used to build Saltaire (see below) with a presentation on some of the people responsible for turning the raw materials into the buildings of Saltaire and beyond. Les found folk of great importance to Saltaire, Shipley and Bradford, people with great skill who left a wonderful legacy of buildings – but who have been almost universally ignored by history

Download 'Set in stone part two - who built Saltaire?

December 7 2017 - Saltaire: Set in stone - part one

Back in 2017, current Club Chair Les Brook gave the first of two talks on a very solid topic - the stone used to build Saltaire. After more than 20 years of living in the village, Les is still impressed by the sheer enormity of Salts Mill. A colossal volume of stone must have been quarried just to build the Mill - but following that, so many public buildings and several hundred dwellings were added, all in stone. Les unearths some fascinating facts about where all of this stone came from.

Download 'Set in stone part one' (PDF) >