A Walk to Saltaire

It’s rained pretty much every day of my annual leave. Ah well.

But yesterday, the forecast was good.

I had things to do in the morning, but after lunch I walked to Saltaire.

It takes about an hour to walk from my house, along the Leeds Liverpool Canal. It’s geography in action – canal, river and railway track, all following the Aire valley. It’s a wonderful walk.

Saltaire is a World Heritage site. It was built by Sir Titus Salt – not just Salt’s Mill (the largest industrial building in the world, in its day) but a whole town for his workers as well. Imagine coming from a cottage industry where you just had a single loom in your own home, to work in a building like that.

It’s now home to a permanent David Hockney exhibition, amongst many other things. The last time I was in London there was a Hockney exhibition on at one of the London galleries – they wanted £20 to go in!!! I remember thinking – no need, it’s free back home!

Titus built houses, a hospital, a school, a church, a concert hall, a billiard room, wash houses with water on tap, a library, a park. There were allotments, a boathouse, even a science laboratory and a gym for his workers. But no pub.

I had a little walk around the shops – lots of ‘one off’ shops selling arty crafty things and organic this and that. All very pleasant.

I ended up at a café bar that has what I think is one of the best names in the business – Don’t Tell Titus.

Titus Salt was all for treating his workers well. He understood the importance of sanitary housing conditions, education, recreation. But he was dead set against the demon drink. So – if you want a drink, Don’t Tell Titus.

I had a coffee (honest) and watched the world go by. Good social distancing, sanitizer on the way in, name and phone number taken for track and trace. All good stuff and beginning to feel normal these days.

And then I walked home again. Now, a little while ago I went for a walk with a friend – and it started to rain on the way back.

History repeats…

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. LittleDreams says:

    A walk into saltaire is absolutely lovely! I think we are regional neighbours ( in the same greater area but not in the same few streets!) so do always enjoy the posts where you talk about places local to me. I’m ignoring the new school year anxiety I get at this time and trying to do nice things too, the rain ain’t gonna stop us! Xxx

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    1. I remember when I was a teacher, around this time of the year I’d convince myself that I couldn’t remember how to do it!! But – by the time I’d taken the first register on the first morning, it was like I’d never been away!! Do lots of nice things – you deserve it.

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  2. SisterStay says:

    That sounds like an absolutely marvellous place to visit. I LOVE things like that. Have you been to the Beamish Museum near Newcastle? That’s also a model village of sorts but recreated unlike this one which sounds very original. Thanks for the tip!

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    1. I used to live up in Northumberland, so I know Beamish very well. Lovely to see bits of it on Downton Abbey (where Tom and Henry Talbot open a car showroom). Saltaire is still lived in by normal people, it’s not a museum – but as all the buildings are Grade II or above, they’re limited to what changes they can make.

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