Research publications

Researchers associated with the Club often make their work available to share with the public.

We will make this research available here.  We are currently (late  2020) very much in the early stages of doing this. But below are a few items to start with.

The Saltaire Village website includes a great deal of excellent research on Saltaire and we've provided some links for some key resources there.

Research available on the Saltaire Village website

Saltaire Journal

The Saltaire Journals present recently-researched papers on several aspects of Saltaire's history, from the almshouses to 'The second Lord of Saltaire'. They are free to download from the Saltaire Village website.

View the Saltaire Journal home page >

Colin Coates' research

Prolific researcher and historian Colin Coates has articles dealing with Saltaire and the First and Second World Wars, mill workers, house histories, and lots more.

View Colin's research >
The research below is being made freely available to the public. If you make use of it in your own research, especially if you publish it, please respect the authors and make sure you acknowledge their work.

Village history

Saltaire's allotments: a second draft of their history

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. Findings 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.

Social history

Suicide in Saltaire - Roger Clarke in collaboration with Colin Coates

Roger Clarke is a former psychiatric social worker so it’s appropriate that he’s been studying the history of suicide. He documents the tales of Saltaire folk who took their own lives but also summarises sociological, psychological and other theories of suicide in addition to saying a few words about suicide today. Roger’s empathy shines through.

Download 'Suicide in Saltaire' (PDF)

A Penny for Going - Roger Clarke

Roger Clarke has also written a fascinating history of Saltaire through the perspective of its shops and shop keepers - key barometers of change. Originally, Saltaire's shops provided all the essentials for its inhabitants, but today the same shops now cater to modern, sometimes very different, tastes.
This book was published by Nemine Juvante (Saltaire) Publications. Nemine Juvante (Saltaire) Publications retains its intellectual property ownership of its texts accessible through this website in their electronic form, but invites users to freely copy and use the material without referral to Nemine Juvante (Saltaire) Publications. Where used in publications, an acknowledgement would be appreciated, but this is left to the user's discretion. The information is being made freely available in this way to help research and education communities, and to invite feedback on content

Download 'A Penny for Going' (PDF)

Industrial history

Salt before Saltaire - Les Brook

Les Brook has been digging up ‘Salt before Saltaire’. Where exactly were those Bradford mills Salt occupied before 1853? Where did he learn his trade? Where did he live and where did he attend chapel? And whilst Les was ‘inhabiting’ Bradford in the 19th century, he couldn’t resist documenting the earliest steam-powered factories and the wonderful mediaeval goit around which they were clustered.

Download 'Salt before Saltaire' (PDF)

Altiplano to Airedale - Steve Day

A critical part of Titus Salt's success in the textile business was his innovative mastery of using Alpaca wool in the production of cloth. The Alpaca wool started its journey in Peru, mainly from the Altiplano region, and traveled thousands of miles by pack animal, sailing ship, and horse-drawn barge (and later steam trains) to the mills of Airedale in West Yorkshire.

This epic journey is being researched by local historian Steve Day. His history reveals the full story, involving not just the mill owners and workers of industrialised Britain of the nineteenth century but also the other people who made the whole enterprise possible: barge-workers, sailors, indigenous peoples of the Altiplano, and ex-patriate Europeans who traveled to a remote, unfamiliar world to facilitate the entire trade.

You can download the first two installments of Steve's history:

Download 'Altiplano to Airedale - Part 1 - Introduction' (PDF)

Download 'Altiplano to Airedale - Part 2 - Life on the Altiplano' (PDF)

1872: When samurai came to Saltaire - Les Brook

1872 saw something unique in Saltaire. The village welcomed a group of Japanese dignitaries, the Iwakura Embassy. And 2023 sees, for the first time, the publication of a comprehensive history of this remarkable event.

Entitled 1872: When samurai came to Saltaire a paper describing the visit has been researched as a joint effort between the Saltaire History Club and the Saltaire Collection.

The Embassy’s visit was remarkable because, only a few years before, Japan had been closed to foreign influence and contacts. Remarkable also, because the dignitaries were very senior indeed: their leader, Iwakura Tomomi, was Japan’s Foreign Secretary. Remarkable, because the ambassadors were on a round-the-world journey which would last over 20 months, taking in North America and much of Europe, and meetings with the US President, Queen Victoria and Chancellor Bismarck of newly unified Germany. Remarkable, because they had chosen to visit still-incomplete Saltaire, in their quest to discover how Japan might catch up with the newly-industrialised and prosperous ‘Western Civilisation’.

The Embassy’s journey was a key step on Japan’s road to modernisation. Saltaire was part of that!

Download '1872: When samurai came to Saltaire' (PDF)

Development of the New Mill Estate - Les Brook

In the mid-1990s, Saltaire’s New Mill ‘estate’, between the Leeds Liverpool Canal and the Aire, was re-purposed as offices and apartments. It was the latest iteration of a parcel of land which saw many changes over the 170 years since Titus Salt started to buy land in Airedale and embarked on the construction of Salts Mill and Saltaire. These notes present the story of this corner of the Salt empire. They conclude with an exploration of how evidence of New Mill estate’s past can be found in the buildings of the present.

Download 'Development of the New Mill Estate' (PDF)

Saltaire Overlookers, 1830 to 1914 - Roger Clarke in collaboration with Colin Coates

Roger has described the important and varied roles of the mill Overlooker, a 'middle manager' position  that was critical for the running of mill machinery and the organisationa and supervision of the workforce.
clustered. You can also find out how overlookers were involved in many activities outside the mill. Roger's article is available from the Saltaire Collection website:

Download 'Saltaire Overlookers' (PDF)

Image credit: Saltaire Collection

Decline of the British Textile Industry and the closure of Salts Mill - Les Brook

The decline of the British textile industry in the late twentieth century is something many History Club members will have experienced personally. Jobs lost, workplaces closed… leaving gaping holes in people’s lives on both sides of the Pennines.

Why did it happen? And why did that industrial gem Salts Mill succumb?
We drafted a briefing document to support the Club's meeting on 7 June 2023, featuring famed photographer Ian Beesley who took photographs as Salts Mill was decommissioned. It explains the many factors leading to that decline – and addresses in detail how and why manufacturing at Salt’s Mill took a hit.

Download 'Decline of the British Textile Industry' (PDF)

Image credit: Saltaire Collection

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