, , , , , , , ,

(Press the play button above, turn up the volume & relax to enjoy the true experience)

One of my friends from university came to visit this Easter weekend with her beau. It’s been 18 months since I’ve seen her – which is the same amount of time she’s been seeing her partner – so of course I had to check him out and see if he was good enough for my friend. He was.

I cooked a slap up meal for the four of us that night, after which we were joined by another two friends for an evening of chat, wine-tasting (teehee) and Articulate! This is the ‘fast-talking description game’ which had us in stitches and almost punch-ups! The morning before they left I took them to Saltaire – the stunning world heritage site and Victorian model village. It’s also the home of Salts Mill – a collage of shops, books, exhibitions, galleries and cafes.

The first thing you notice about the place as soon as you walk in is the smell of lillies – they’re everywhere – whole vases of them situated on every available ledge and corner. Also the sound of opera; whether it be Janacek, Wagner or Puccini – the glorious sound of arias fill the space on every visit. These two things have become it’s trademark, along with of course the ability to sit and read through the books at your absolute leisure, without any pressurising sales person hovering over you.

Saltaire was founded in 1853 by Sir Titus Salt, a leading industrialist in the Yorkshire woollen industry. The name of the village is a combination of the founder’s surname with the name of the river. Salt moved his entire business (five separate mills) from Bradford to this site near Shipley partly to provide better arrangements for his workers than could be had in Bradford and partly to site his large textile mill by a canal and a railway.

Salt built neat stone houses for his workers (much better than the slums of Bradford), wash-houses with running water, bath-houses, a hospital, as well as an Institute for recreation and education, with a library, a reading room, a concert hall, billiard room, science laboratory and gymnasium. The village also provided a school for the children of the workers, almshouses, allotments, a park and a boathouse. Most of these still stand today.

The place is beautiful – and the Mill itself houses not only history, a fine gallery of David Hockney originals, but also unique gifts, cards & books. Sadly, due to time we were unable to sample the newly refurbished cafe – but it was heaving, testatment to it’s popularity and excellent service. I never tire of Saltaire or indeed the Mill and is worth checking out should you find yourself in the area.

What a great way to spend Easter Sunday.