Saltaire History Timeline 1858-1892

1858: Work begins on Saltaire Congregationalist Church

Saltaire United Reform Church, by Andrew Whale, CC-BY-SA 3.0

Saltaire United Reform Church, by Andrew Whale, CC-BY-SA 3.0

In this year building work began on the Saltaire Congregational Church, now Saltaire United Reform Church.

Salt donated the land and covered the entire cost of the church at his own expense, equivalent to £1,438,116 in 2016 money. The Church was designed in the Italianate Classical style.

1859: Salt becomes Liberal MP for Bradford

Prior to the Industrial Revolution Bradford had always been included as part of the historic Yorkshire county parliamentary constituency which originated in 1290.

Prior to 1832 Bradford's Parliamentary representation like that of most of the new English industrial settlements was limited.

Prior to 1832 Bradford’s Parliamentary representation was extremely limited.

As industrialisation progressed and Bradford’s population swelled this arrangement became increasingly inadequate. It should be remembered that at the time this electoral district covered the whole of Yorkshire outside the historic market towns, including all the new rapidly growing industrial towns of the West Riding.

However, prior to 1826 this giant constituency returned just two MPs! Electoral reform was desperately needed, and this would eventually arrive in 1832.

A new Bradford electoral district resulted from the 1832 Act and the town was assigned two dedicated MPs for the first time. Salt would later be elected as the Liberal member for Bradford in 1859, serving in this role with his Liberal contemporary Henry Wickham Wickham.

Although described as holding “strong liberal and non-conformist opinions” biographies of Salt suggest that “he was no active politician”. He subsequently retired from the representation in February 1861, with some sources suggesting he stood down for health reasons.

1866: Work begins on Saltaire Methodist Church

Salt donated the land on which the modern Methodist Chruch stands in 1866. The church was built with funds raised from public subscription, with actual construction taking place between 1866 and 1868.

The original Saltaire Methodist Church building. Later replaced by the current building in 1972. Courtesy of Saltaire Methodist Church.

The original Saltaire Methodist Church building. Later replaced by the current building in 1972. Courtesy of Saltaire Methodist Church.

1869: Salt is made a Baronet

As a result of his major contributions to Bradford civic life Salt is created a Baronet, of Saltaire and Crow Nest in the County of York.

Salt had previously been a tenant at Crow Nest, Lightcliffe between 1848-1854. When the then owner Evan Charles Sutherland-Walker fell on hard times Salt siezed the opportunity to buy Crow Nest at a public auction. This transaction included the house and the surrounding 700 acre estate, and was concluded for £26500 in 1867.

1871: Grand Opening of Saltaire Park

In 1871 what was then known as Saltaire Park and is today known as Roberts Park opened to the public for the first time. The opening of the Park effectively marked the fulfilment of Salt’s original vision of a workers’ village, and from that point on construction in Saltaire would gradually draw to a close.

The Bandstand, Roberts Park. Opened as part of the 2009-2010 Lottery funded restoration of the park. By John Yeadon, CC-BY-SA 3.0

The Bandstand, Roberts Park. Opened as part of the 2009-2010 Lottery funded restoration of the park. By John Yeadon, CC-BY-SA 3.0

1876: Titus Salt Dies

16th-/17th-century ivory pendant, Monk and Death, recalling mortality and the certainty of death. Courtesy of Walters Art Museum.

16th-/17th-century ivory pendant, Monk and Death, recalling mortality and the certainty of death. Courtesy of Walters Art Museum.

Salt died at Crow Nest in 1876.

He was given the honour of a civic funeral by the town of Bradford. Crowds of 100,000 people lined the streets during his funeral procession. The hearse and family members left Crow Nest at 09:30 escorted by mounted police. The procession began in Town Hall Square at 11am and proceeded to Saltaire via Manningham Lane, accompanied by the band of the West Yorkshire Volunteers.

He was buried in Saltaire Congregational Church, where the Salt family mausoleum now resides.

1892: Sir Titus’ Business Folds

Despite Salt’s plan for a long-lasting industrial dynasty, unfortunately only one of his sons, Titus junior, had any interest or aptitude for the wool trade.

That, and the fact that Salt’s own lifetime largely coincided with the glory days of the Bradford worsted trade meant that the industrial powerhouse that he had founded only survived for a short period after his passing. Titus Salt and Sons Limited would ultimately enter liquidation and receivership in 1892, only a few years after his death.