Saltaire History Timeline 1848-1850

1848: Titus Salt elected as the second Mayor of Bradford

Bust of Sir Titus Salt, originally presented to him by his workforce. Now housed within Saltaire United Reform Church. Cropped version of the original by Wikipedia User ColinFine, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Bust of Sir Titus Salt. Cropped version of the original by Wikipedia User ColinFine, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Following Bradford’s incorporation in 1847, its Council was permitted to elect a mayor.

Salt succeeded his close friend and fellow Congregationalist Robert Milligan, who had the honour of being the first in an illustrious line of Bradford civic leaders.

During his tenure Salt introduced attempted to introduce smoke emission controls in local mills using a device called a Rodda Smoke Burner. Salt also commissioned a moral survey of the town.

 

1849: Cholera outbreak in Bradford

Electron Micrograph of Vibrio_cholerae, the bacteria that causes Cholera. Courtesy of Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility.

Electron Micrograph of the Cholera Bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

Whilst Bradford had been developing its industry and had seen huge growth in the preceding fourty years, this growth was not matched by improvements in sanitation and street cleaning. The result was a city literally festering in filth, the perfect breeding ground for illness and disease. The outbreak claimed 420 lives outright but many more people were infected. Bradford did not obtain any main drainage until 1863.

1850: Salt acquires land by the River Aire and starts planning a mill and village

Salts Mill, as viewed from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Original image by Wikipedia user markj_87, CC_BY_SA 3.0

Salts Mill, as viewed from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Original image by Wikipedia user markj_87, CC_BY_SA 3.0

By the late 1840’s Salt was eager to consolidate his five Bradford mills and put into practice his well laid plans for a state of the art production facility.

Perhaps mindful of the recent Bradford Cholera epidemic he was also keen to provide a decent environment for his workers, far from the squalor and filth of Bradford.

He had chosen the site carefully, with both the water and rail facilities proving critical factors. Salt chose the local firm of architects Lockwood and Mawson and the leading engineer of the day William Fairburn to design and build his immense palace of industry.

Discussions with Salt led to the christening of the new development as “Saltaire”.

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