Titus Salt

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Sir Titus Salt, 1st Baronet (20 September 1803 – 29 December 1876), born in Morley, near Leeds, was a manufacturer, politician and philanthropist in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. His father Daniel Salt was a fairly successful businessman and was able to send Titus to Batley Grammar School.[1] Salt lived at The Manor Farm (now The Manor, a pub) in Crofton, West Yorkshire, a large village near Wakefield between 1813 and 1819

After working for two years as a wool-stapler in Wakefield he became his father's partner in the business of Daniel Salt and Son. The company worked particularly with Russian Donskoi wool, which was widely used in the woollens trade, but not in worsted cloth. Titus went round all the spinners in Bradford trying to interest them in using the wool for worsted manufacture, with no success, so he set up as a spinner and manufacturer himself.[2]

In 1836, Titus came upon some forgotten bales of Alpaca wool in a warehouse in Liverpool, and after taking some samples away to experiment, came back and bought the whole consignment. Though he was not the first in England to try working with the fibre, he was the creator of the lustrous and subsequently very fashionable cloth called 'alpaca'.[2] (The discovery was described by Charles Dickens in slightly fictionalised form in Household Words).

In 1833 he had taken over the running of his father's business and within twenty years had expanded it to be the largest employer in Bradford. In 1848 Titus Salt became mayor of Bradford. The smoke and pollution emanating from local mills (factories) in Bradford was acknowledged to come from the many factory chimneys and Salt tried unsuccessfully to get this pollution cleaned up using a device called the Rodda Smoke Burner.[citation needed]

Around 1850, he decided to build a large mill to consolidate his textile manufacture in one place, but he "did not like to be a party to increasing that already over-crowded borough",[3] and he bought some land three miles from Bradford, next to the River Aire, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the Midland Railway: there his mill was begun in 1851. He opened it with a grand banquet on his 50th birthday, 20 September 1853, and then set about building the houses, bathhouses, institute, hospital, almshouses and churches, that make up Saltaire. He built the Congregational Church (now Saltaire United Reformed Church) at his own expense in 1858–59, and donated the land on which the Wesleyan Chapel was built by public subscription in 1866–68.

Salt was a private man, and left no written statement of his purposes in creating Saltaire; but he told Lord Harewood at the opening that he had built the place "to do good and to give his sons employment".[4] It is commonly believed that he was tee-total (as implied by a bar named Don't tell Titus, opened in Saltaire in 2007), but there is no evidence for this. He did, however forbid 'beershops' in Saltaire.[2]

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