World Heritage Weekend

World Heritage Day

UNESCO established 18 April as the International Day for Monuments and Sites in 1983. It aims to raise public awareness about the diversity and vulnerability of the world’s built monuments and heritage sites and the efforts required to protect and conserve them.

ICOMOS, the  International Council of Monuments and Sites, chose the theme ” The Heritage of Sport” for the 2016 event. You can find further details about the day, and about heritage in general, via the International Council of Monuments and Sites website.

World Heritage Weekend

Since 2011 following the refurbishment of Roberts Park, by BMDC with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Saltaire has celebrated with it’s own World Heritage Weekend on the weekend closest to World Heritage Day.


World Heritage Weekend 2017 will be on the 22nd and 23rd April. Further details and a full programme of the organised events both in Roberts Park and throughout Saltaire itself can be found here


In 2016 World Heritage Weekend was the 16th and 17th April and the chosen theme was “Bradford at Leisure: the delights of Saltaire”

As part of World Heritage Weekend we, the Friends of Roberts Park decided to revive the game of Croquet which had been designated in William Gay’s 1870 layout as being on the central lawn where without the bandstand that was built later, a full court of 35 yards by 28 yards (or 105 feet by 84 feet) could have been laid out. The West and East Lawns in Gay’s layout were designated as bowling greens, for modern flat bowling greens rinks or lanes 40 yards long (10 yards wide) are required. The sizes of these lawns are too small for modern bowls which are currently played at Salts Sports Club on 2 lawns between the river and canal together with tennis on 4 floodlit hard tennis courts. Tennis postdates Gay’s layout by about 7 years with the first Wimbledon Event in 1877. Tennis has in the past been played on the East Lawn where 2 tennis courts would have been possible.

Croquet can be traced back in England to 1851 and the Great Exhibition were John Jaques II won a gold medal for the exhibit. Both Croquet and Tennis have predecessor games that can be traced back at least a further 2 centuries. Croquet has a predecessor Palle Maille which has a latin etymology meaning ball and mallet. Tennis has a predecessor Real Tennis which is still played indoors, there are courts at Hampton Court Palace where there are records of Henry VIII playing. Similarly there are records of courtiers in the reigns of James I and Charles II having played Palle Maille. The word Maille is the root of the word Mall and the London street Pall Mall is named from courts for the game.

In this revival we had 38 expressions of interest (45 people counting couples and families) from participants, in possibly forming a Croquet Club. We could potentially layout standard short courts (24 yards by 16 yards) on either the West or Central lawns and a standard sized full court (35 yards by 28 yards) on the East lawn which could also be used as 2 short courts.

We are extremely grateful for the assistance of officers from the Yorkshire Croquet Federation from the Huddersfield, York and Ben Rhydding Croquet Clubs in providing expert help with this event. There are currently only 9 clubs and 1 University group in the Yorkshire Federation. We will be holding further events hopefully leading to the formation of a Saltaire Croquet Club.

There were also live Alpacas and craft alpaca making for the kids, the Barge Kennet was moored at the Canal as part of the 200th anniversary year of the final connection between Leeds and Liverpool, activities and stands from the Canal and Rivers Trust in Roberts Park, guided walks, the Tramway and activities in the field near the bottom of the Tramway and at Bracken Hall Centre on Shipley Glen.


In 2015 World Heritage Weekend was the 18th and 19th April and the chosen theme was The Conversatione reviving a theme that had been used a handful of times in the 162 years history of Salts Mill, this was largely based in Victoria Hall (which originally was the Saltaire Institute in Sir Titus Salt’s lifetime) together with some elements by the canal and in the Park.