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Newsletter May 2020

Greetings from your Saltaire History Club team.

We hope all is well with you and yours – and here’s the latest Club news. But given that we are currently shrouded in rather glum news, we’ll start with a bit of hysterical, historical fun.
A 'RUM' QUESTION
During the Great War, Sir Titus Salt’s Hospital operated as an Auxiliary War Hospital receiving soldiers for convalescence who had been wounded in action. Whilst the hospital received funds to meet associated medical costs there were no monies for the soldiers’ non-medical needs.
Under the auspices of the Sir Titus Salt’s Hospital Board a Ladies Committee for Soldiers’ Comforts was set up specifically to raise funds through subscriptions, donations and organised events and to agree how the monies raised, known as the Comfort Fund, should be spent.

The Sir Titus Salt’s Hospital Board met monthly and its proceedings were reported on regularly in The Shipley Times and Express. On the 27 September 1916, the paper reported that at the December Board meeting there had been heated debate about the “unauthorised” purchase of rum…

Read on by visiting the Saltaire Collection website. Many thanks to the story’s author, Caroline Perry, a volunteer writer for the Saltaire Collection.
THURSDAY 4 JUNE 2020 - CLUB QUARTERLY MEETING AND AGM
Regrettably, this meeting has had to be CANCELLED. Read on for better news!
5 AND 12 JULY 2020 SUMMER WALKS - MANNINGHAM MILLS AND THE BRADFORD TRADESMEN’S HOMES
Oh dear! Another tale of woe I’m afraid. The virus has beaten us and we’re having to cancel both walks. We will of course make sure those of you who booked and paid will get your money back.

Fortunately, not everything is cancelled. Read on…
The Club’s plans for September onwards are set out below. They may have to change in the light of government advice and local circumstances. We promise to keep you posted.
THURSDAY 3 SEPTEMBER 2020 - CLUB QUARTERLY MEETING AND AGM. VENUE TO BE CONFIRMED
Titus Salt’s statue sits in exile behind Lister Park's Norman Arch. Yet he is one of the towering figures in Bradford's history.

Dr David Pendleton takes us on a journey of eight centuries, to locations as varied as Verona, Kensington and Edinburgh, to place the Salt Statue in its architectural and historical context. And he asks: should Salt return in triumph to the city centre?

We’re missing our AGM in June so we’ll be doing the business in the later part of  this meeting.
THURSDAY 1 OCTOBER 2020 – A SPECIAL CLUB MEETING
VENUE TO BE CONFIRMED
We’re not going to let Covid-19 short-change us!

So we’ll be having this extra speaker meeting with noted local historian Derek Barker. He’ll be telling us about a remarkable piece of research, the Northcliffe Heritage Project. Remarkable because it involves many people, has many strands – history, geology, ecology – and has been pursued over several years.
WORLD HERITAGE DAY 2021 – TWO JOURNEYS
You’ll recall that we had to cancel our 2020 World Heritage Day event at Salts Mill and that we told you we’d be making a big effort to stage it later in the year. Well, you’ve guessed: we’re unable to do that. Our ambition now is to re-present it on World Heritage Day 2021. Cross your fingers.
THE LOCKDOWN IS GREAT FOR HISTORICAL RESEARCH
The internet’s packed full of history and freebies, and there’s no social distancing! Here are some of the gems recently unearthed, news of research expeditions that might deliver other rare finds, and some tips…

Did Titus Salt ever meet Thomas Cook?
They were contemporaries, so that’s a good start, and with a fair bit of digging, we now know the answer courtesy of former Club chair Colin Coates: Yes he did! In August 1857 Cook took the Salts and others to the Inner Hebrides. Whilst this was ~16 years after Cook started his travel business, he was still leading such groups himself. And this wasn’t the only link we’ve found between Cook and Salt. In May 1861, 200 of Salt’s employees paid a seven-day visit to Paris organised and accompanied by Cook himself.

Members of the Club's Facebook group will be aware of these tales. Are you missing out? Join the Saltaire History Club’s Facebook group to keep up with the latest historical gossip.
Titus Salt’s original features
What were the interiors of Saltaire houses like? Via the Club’s Facebook Group, the Club is trying to take a small positive from the lockdown by asking folk for pictures of original features still present. There’s been a great response, not least from the Telegraph and Argus. We’ve received images of fireplaces, range cookers, a wash boiler and even an original door latch.
It’s time these features were documented. They played an important part in shaping Saltaire as a place to live – and facilities such as gas lighting and individual toilets inform our understanding of what Salt regarded as ‘model housing’.

Do share your photos (via Facebook or email) - ideally including the street name.
In mills like Salts, what was the role of the overlooker?
Roger Clarke, working with the irrepressible Colin Coates, has made a detailed and fascinating study of the role of overlooker in Victorian mills and society. Roger explains that role and argues that these middle managers were crucial to successful companies – and very powerful in many other spheres, not least in the community and in politics. Roger humanises his analysis by looking at the biographies of numerous overlookers.

You can read Roger’s draft findings by downloading a PDF

History books for FREE!
One of the wonders of the internet is the library of free books and amongst them are some classics for students of Bradford and Saltaire’s history. To give you a taste of these (and to cut out the middleman… we’ve done the hard work of finding them), here are two which you can access by just clicking the links. Word of warning: both books start with several blank pages. Don’t worry: just scroll through them.

John James (1842): The History and Topography of Bradford

William Cudworth (1875) Round about Bradford
YOUR CLUB’S FACEBOOK GROUP: JOIN IN!!
We are delighted that the Club's Facebook Group has taken off over the last few months: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SaltaireHistoryClub/.

The Facebook Group complements the Club's formal presence through its Facebook Page by providing a space to share research and interesting facts or to ask questions about Saltaire's history.

The Facebook Group now has over 160 members with active discussions about Saltaire's history and lots of interesting historical photographs of the area. The Thomas Cook tale we told you about above is just one of them.
STOP PRESS! LOCAL AND FAMILY HISTORY FROM HOME WITH BRADFORD LIBRARIES
Great news! In order to help folk in lockdown, Bradford Libraries has just extended its family and local history services. Do take a look at their latest newsletter.
ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
Contact us at historyclub@saltairevillage.info
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