Welcome to Saltaire
The village itself was built in the mid nineteenth century by the Victorian philanthropist Sir Titus Salt to provide self-contained living space for the workers at his alpaca wool mill - a welcome alternative to the then "dark satanic mills" of Bradford and nearby Leeds.
More recently (in the 1980s) Salt's Mill was converted by the late Jonathan Silver into shops and the "1853 Gallery" which houses a collection of the works of the famous artist, David Hockney (who was of course born in Bradford), a development which sparked a renaissance for the village.
Other buildings in the village have now been similarly transformed into shops, cafes, licensed restaurants and pubs (just a little touch of irony here - as Sir Titus was an advocate of abstinence from the drinking of alcohol!)
Of particular interest is the United Reformed Church - one of the nation's most precious Victorian buildings and a unique example of Italianite religious architecture.
Other focal points are the Victoria Hall (centrally located and a magnificent venue for many of the indoor events which are held in the village) and Roberts' Park (which is used for outdoor events including the Saltaire Festival and the Dragon Boat Festival which is held on the river).
Further afield (and also worth a visit) are the villages of Haworth and Thornton (famous as being the birthplace of the Brontes), the spa town of Ilkley, and the beautiful Yorkshire Dales to the north.
With its Bohemian feel and David Hockney connections, Saltaire village has become a magnet for artists, poets, writers and musicians. Every year the village hosts the very popular Saltaire Festival (which is usually held in September), and the Saltaire Arts Trail as well as the Dragon Boat Festival (which is held on the River Aire alongside Robert's Park). There is also the Aire Sculpture Trail (a permanent collection of sculptures and other works of art which runs through the village along the River Aire and the Leeds Liverpool Canal) and at Christmas in the village there is a "living advent calendar" too!
In December 2001 Saltaire was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, thanks to the hard work of a dedicated group of locals who mounted a successful bid to get the village recognised for its historical significance at the international level. [N.B. Please click here for more information about Saltaire's designation as a World Heritage Site.]