Morley & District Family History Group
Sir Titus Salt
......was born on the 20 th September 1803 in the old Manor House in Morley. The house dated from about 1590 and was the home of Captain Thomas Oates who, in 1663, was involved in the Farnley Wood Plot and with other Morley men was hung, drawn and quartered at York. The house was purchased and demolished in 1935 by the Morley Cooperative Society to make way for an extension to the Coop Emporium, although this was delayed until after the war and between times the site was turned into a small park. The site is now occupied by what was the Coop’s Society House, designed by the infamous architect Poulson and opened on 13 th November 1969 by Jimmy Tarbuck.
Titus Salt, whose early education was at the Morley Dame School followed by a daily return walk to school at Batley, became a chief constable, a mayor, magistrate, Deputy Lieutenant of the West Riding, Liberal M.P., a baronet, a great philanthropist and, between 1852 and 1872, the builder of the Saltaire mill and village. Involved for many years in the Bradford wool trade he decided to centralize all his business into one mill and, at the same time, transfer his workers into a healthy environment away from the awful diseases, stink of open sewers, pollution and the dreadful housing conditions which had developed in Bradford. Land was purchased three miles away where the new mill was built and opened on his 50 th birthday, the 20 th September 1853. Covering ten acres the mill had a weaving shed which held 1,200 looms; it employed 3,000 people and produced up to 30,000yards of cloth each day. The site was on the bank of the river Aire which supplied the water essential for the various processes, and also suggested the name for the enterprise…Saltaire. The mill was also situated on the bank of the Leed/Liverpool canal and was adjacent to the Midland Railway’s main line both of which provided immediate access to country-wide and international transport.
The basis of the Salt success was his method of production of a fine worsted cloth using the wool of the Angora and the Alpaca
Opposite the mill there was a house and stable built for the Salt family when in Saltaire and where there was a permanent staff including butler, cook-housekeeper and general servant. There was a worker’s dining room where about 600 breakfasts and 700 dinners were served each day, an amazing facility at that time. Sir Titus had chosen an area in the country with easy access to fields and moorlands so that his workers could live in a healthy environment and this was matched by the houses he built for them, they were not the conventional back to back ones of textile towns, each had its own separate back yard and private lavatory. In 1871 there was a population of 4,000 living in 775 houses. Most of the streets were named after members of the Salt family. There were almshouses in which carefully selected tenants were given free accommodation along with a pension of 7/6d for a single person and 10/- for a married couple. This was more than the national old age pension when introduced some 40 years later, in 1908, by Prime Minister Asquith another old Morleian. He also built a three ward hospital and health centre, a school which originally provided elementary education for about 700 boys and girls, some of them 12 year old half-timers in the mill. There was also a huge institute offering evening classes of all kinds and with a wide range of facilities and, of course, the Saltaire Congregational Church, built in Roman classical style it was the first public building to be completed. It houses the Salt family mausoleum.
Sir Titus Salt died on 29 th December 1876 and over 40,000 people assembled in Saltaire for his funeral on 5 th January 1877, paying their respects to truly remarkable Morley man.
information supplied by R Barraclough
Additional information :-
Titus Salt served his apprenticeship in King St, Wakefield, where, later in life, he wished to build his mill
in an area at the bottom of Kirkgate. But due to conditions by the river and the shortsighted council he chose
an area just outside Bradford - Saltaire.
© Carol Sklinar