When I was 5 years old, we moved to Shipley, where my father was born and brought up. My parents bought a house in Saltaire, a model village built in the mid to late 1800’s by Sir Titus Salt. Sir Titus was a rich mill owner in Bradford (an affluent and thriving town at the time) who, having happened across some alpaca wool, mixed it with some cotton and made a great success of the resulting fabric. Already having several mills in the Bradford area, he branched out into Shipley and built Saltaire, a complete self-contained village where his workers could work, live, socialize, shop, go to church, pretty much everything except consume alcoholic beverages. Sir Titus was teetotal and expected his workers to remain sober too.

When I lived there, it was just another village, probably much the same as it was 100 years ago, but with more electricery and less mill workers. It was a community with everything you needed, butchers, bakers, laundry, library, school, college and even an off license selling those terrible alcoholic beverages.

Now, having become a World Heritage Site, it is a haven for tourists and the shops have changed accordingly. There’s even a pub these days, amusingly named “Don’t Tell Titus”. Though it is still a lovely place to visit, for me it has lost that sense of self-contained community it was built to be. I walked through there today and called into a nostalgic cafe that calls itself The Victoria Tea rooms. It’s dressed up as the owners perceive a Victorian Tea Shop to be (and to be fair, it looked pretty authentic to me) and has some fascinating photographs of the village in the late 19th and early 20th century. While there I purchased some post cards and this replica of the original “Rules for Living in Saltaire” that I thought I would share with you.

Rules for Living in Saltaire