Saltaire, West Yorkshire, is a complete and well-preserved industrial village of the second half of the 19th century. Its textile mills, public buildings and workers' housing are built in a harmonious style of high architectural standards and the urban plan survives intact, giving a vivid impression of Victorian philanthropic paternalism.
Outstanding Universal Value
Saltaire is an exceptionally complete and well preserved industrial village of the second half of the 19th century, located on the river Aire. Its textile mills, public buildings, and workers' housing are built in a harmonious style of high architectural quality and the urban plan survives intact, giving a vivid impression of the philanthropic approach to industrial management..
The industrial village of Saltaire is an outstanding example of mid 19th century philanthropic paternalism, which had a profound influence on developments in industrial social welfare and urban planning in the United Kingdom and beyond. The architectural and engineering quality of the complete ensemble, comprising the exceptionally large and unified Salt's Mill buildings and the New Mill; the hierarchical employees' housing, the Dining Room, Congregational Church, Almshouses, Hospital, School, Institute, and Roberts Park, make it outstanding by comparison with other complexes of this type. Saltaire provided the model for similar developments, both in the United Kingdom and elsewhere including in the USA and at Crespi d'Adda in Italy. The town planning and social welfare ideas manifested in Saltaire were influential in the 19th century garden city movement in the United Kingdom and ultimately internationally. Saltaire testifies to the pride and power of basic industries such as textiles for the economy of Great Britain and the world in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Criterion (ii): Saltaire is an outstanding and well preserved example of a mid 19th century industrial town, the concept of which was to exert a major influence on the development of the "garden city" movement.
Criterion (iv): The layout and architecture of Saltaire admirably reflect mid 19th century philanthropic paternalism, as well as the important role played by the textile industry in economic and social development.
The integrity of Saltaire as a model industrial village is almost total. The boundary of the property coincides with the extent of Titus Salt's original development: the model village and its associated buildings, the majority of the mill complex and the Park. Some buildings (representing only 1% of the original buildings) were demolished in the past but those existing at the time of inscription and the layout of the complex are still intact. Mill machinery was removed after industrial activities ceased in the mid-1980s. There are limited opportunities for new development within the site. Beyond the site's boundaries, development has surrounded the property to the east, south and west for the last century, with the remnant Aire river landscape to the north.
An intensive programme of sensitive rehabilitation and conservation of the entire complex has meant that its attributes - form and design, materials and substance, and function (in terms of a living community) - continue to thrive and express its Outstanding Universal Value. The original rural river valley setting has gradually disappeared over the last one hundred years but significant views remain. Given that part of Salt's original intention was to locate Saltaire in a healthy environment, the buffer zone is important in this respect.
Protection and management requirements (2009)
The entire property is protected by the UK planning system with World Heritage status being a key material consideration that planning authorities must take into account when considering applications. In addition planning authorities are encouraged to include policies for the protection of World Heritage in their statutory plans and frameworks. The City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council's Revised Unitary Development Plan includes specific policies to protect the property and its buffer zone. The whole property is a Conservation Area under the provisions of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 Nearly every building and structure within the area is listed under the provisions of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act (1900), and Roberts Park is designated Grade II in the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. All these complementary forms of statutory protection require authorisation by the local planning authority for any form of development. There is an appeal procedure against refusal of consent operating at central government level.
The City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council leads the management of the property, which has a detailed management plan currently under review. Since inscription a Designed and Open Spaces Management Plan has been developed. This has informed the restoration of Roberts Park.
There is a need to ensure that development in the buffer zone respects the surviving landscape setting of the property.
Saltaire is an outstanding and well-preserved example of a mid-19th-century industrial town, the layout of which was to exert a major influence on the development of the 'garden city' movement. The creation of Saltaire was one of the first successful solutions to the problems of the unprecedented urban growth of industrialization. The planned model settlement, which was a complex and self-contained socio-economic unit, represents an important stage in the development of modern town planning. The layout and architecture of Saltaire also admirably reflect mid-19th century philanthropic paternalism, as well as the important role played by the textile industry in economic and social development.
Saltaire is a complete and well-preserved industrial village of the second half of the 19th century. Its textile mills, public buildings and workers' housing are built in a harmonious style of high architectural quality and the plan survives intact, giving a vivid impression of the philanthropic paternalism of the Victorian age.
The worsted trade began in Bradford in the mid-18th century but did not develop rapidly until the advent of steam power. The result was an urban population explosion: between 1780 and 1850 it rose from 8,500 to about 104,000. The living conditions of the workforce were abysmal, and life expectancy for both men and women was little over 20 years, in a town recognized as one of the most polluted in England. Titus Salt, a wealthy and influential businessman, became Mayor of Bradford in 1848 and committed himself to reducing Bradford's pollution problems. Land was acquired with access to a plentiful supply of soft water for washing the wool. The transportation links were excellent: the site lay equidistant from Liverpool in the west and Hull in the east. Salt commissioned Bradford architects Henry Lockwood and Richard Mawson and the engineer William Fairbairn to design and supervise the realization of his visionary plan.
Work on the mill work began in 1851 and it was opened in 1853. Salt's new village eventually had over 800 dwellings in wide streets with a large dining hall and kitchens, baths and washhouses, almshouse for retired workers, hospital and dispensary, educational institute and church, ample recreational land and allotments, in order to improve the diet of the workers. He had a genuine philanthropic concern for his workers and succeeded in providing them with a healthy and secure environment (not unconscious, of course, of the economic benefits that this bestowed). Many tributes were paid to Titus Salt on his death in 1876. After his death, the firm was taken over by three of his sons. Then the village was sold in 1933 to the Bradford Property Trust, enabling their occupants for the first time to purchase them. The mill closed down in 1986. Many buildings became semi-redundant and fell into disrepair, with an adverse effect on the entire village. The first move towards regeneration was the creation of the Saltaire Village Society in 1984. In 1989 the Saltaire Town Scheme was established by Bradford Metropolitan District Council and English Heritage.
The integrity of Saltaire as a model industrial village is total: there have been no changes to its layout and appearance since work began in the 1850s. The village is laid out on a gridiron pattern, so as to make the maximum possible use of the land: the streets were organized on a north-south orientation, those in the second phase running east-west. Almost all the public and community buildings were constructed along Victoria Road, leading to the mill.
The houses, built between 1854 and 1868, are fine examples of 19th-century hierarchical workers' homes. All are constructed of hammer-dressed stone with slate roofs. Each was equipped with its own water and gas supply and an outside lavatory. They vary in size from 'two-up two-down' terraces to much larger houses with gardens, for the use of the managers. They are all 'through' terraces, allowing light and air to penetrate and rubbish to be evacuated without passing through the houses. The mill is an imposing building in a grand Italianate style. The Dining Room was built in 1854: it also served as a schoolroom for 750 children, hospital, public meeting hall, and place for religious services (including the church) until custom-built properties had been erected within the village. At the end of the village there is Roberts Park, a landscaped open space of 6 ha with a cricket ground, promenade, bandstand, refreshment rooms, and facilities for swimming and boating. Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
The worsted trade began in Bradford in the mid 18th century as the centre of a semi-rural production system, but it did not develop rapidly until the advent of steam power. The result was an urban population explosion: between 1780 and 1850 it rose from 8500 to nearly 104,000. The living conditions of the workforce was abysmal, and the life expectancy for both men and women was little over twenty years, in a town recognized as one of the most polluted in England.
Titus Salt joined his father as a partner in his wool business in 1824. His success in spinning Donskoi wool from Russia and then spinning and weaving Peruvian alpaca wool made him very wealthy and influential. He became Mayor of Bradford in 1848 and committed himself to reducing Bradford's pollution problems. When the town council refused to take any action, he resolved to remove his operations away from Bradford.
Land was acquired a few miles away which met Salt's requirements. It had access to a plentiful supply of soft water for washing the wool. The transportation links were excellent: the river Aire and the Leeds and Manchester Canal by water and the Midland Railway line by land. The site lay almost equidistant from the two major ports of Liverpool in the west and Hull in the east. Almost the entire operation could be brought under a single roof using the most up-todate technology and the vertical integration of the process. Technological developments made it possible for the building to be fireproofed. For this workers there would be a healthier environment and access to the open countryside.
Having selected the site for his new town to the north-west of Bradford city centre, Salt commissioned the leading Bradford architects Henry Lockwood and Richard Mawson to design and supervise the realization of his visionary plan. To ensure that the new mill would meet the highest standards of cleanliness and safety, Salt enlisted the services of the celebrated engineer William Fairbairn. The Mill, work on which began in 1851 and which was opened in 1853, incorporated every recent structural and mechanical innovation in its equipment and design.
Titus Salt was business man enough to ensure that the mill itself was given top priority in construction, but work began as soon as it was completed on the first workers' cottages. Until they were ready, workers were brought in by train from Bradford, and even after they were completed workers continued to travel in from surrounding districts. Salt's new village eventually had over 800 dwellings in wide streets with a large dining hall and kitchens, baths, and washhouses, an almshouse for retired workers, a hospital and dispensary, an educational institute and a church. There was ample recreational land and allotments, in order to improve the diet of the workers.
He gave his new village his own name, coupled with that of the nearby river, and the streets were named after members of his own family (as well as the Queen and her Consort and the architects). However, this pardonable self-promotion in no way detracts from his achievement. He had a genuine philanthropic concern for his workers and succeeded in providing them with a healthy and secure environment (not unconscious, of course, of the economic benefits that this bestowed).
Salt and his model village were given national and international recognition. Many tributes paid to him on his death in 1876, shortly after the last house in the village was completed, from the highest to the lowest, and some 100,000 people lined the route of his funeral cortege.
After his death, the firm was taken over by three of his sons, but its profits declined, to the extent that it was wound up in 1892. Four Bradford businessmen bought the Mill and the village in 1893, one of them (James Roberts) becoming sole owner in 1899. Roberts sold his assets in 1918 for £2 million to another syndicate which was reformed in 1923 as Salts (Saltaire) Ltd. The village was sold in 1933 to the Bradford Property Trust, enabling their occupants for the first time to purchase them.
Following booming business in the inter-war years and full operations during World War II, the Mill progressively declined, finally closing down in 1986. Many of the major buildings became semi-redundant and fell into disrepair, and this had an adverse effect on the entire village. With the formation of the Saltaire Village Society in 1984 serious efforts began to regenerate the entire area. The Mill itself was purchased in 1987 by Jonathan Silver, whose enthusiasm and imagination turned it into a major cultural centre. Source: Advisory Body Evaluation