Salt, Sir Titus

Salt, Sir Titus
b. 20 September 1803 Morley, Yorkshire, England
d. 29 December 1876 Saltaire, Yorkshire, England
English industrialist, social reformer and entrepreneur who made his fortune by overcoming the problems of utilizing alpaca wool in the production of worsted, and established the early model town at Saltaire.
Titus Salt arrived in Bradford with his father, who was a wool merchant in the town, in 1822. He soon set up his own company and it was there that he experimented with the textile worsted. Alpaca wool comes from an animal of the camel family that resembles the llama, and flocks of domesticated breeds of the animal had been raised in the high Andes since the days of the Incas. The wool was introduced into Europe via Spain and, later, Germany and France. The first attempts to spin and weave the yarn in England were made in 1808, but despite experimentation over the years the material was difficult to work. It was in 1836 that Salt evolved his method of utilizing a cotton warp with part alpaca weft. The method proved a great success and Bradford gained a reputation as a manufacturing centre for alpaca wool, exporting both yarn and cloth in quantity, especially to the USA. By 1850 Salt, who owned six mills, was Bradford's biggest employer and was certainly its richest citizen. He decided to move out of the city and built a new mill works, the architects of which were Lockwood and Mawson, on the banks of the River Aire a few miles from the city. Around the works, between 1851 and 1871, he built houses, a hospital, library, church, institute and almshouses for his workers. The buildings were solid, good-standard structures of local stone and the houses were pleasantly situated, with their amenities making them seem palaces compared to the slums in which other Bradford textile workers lived at the time. The collection of buildings was the first example in Britain of a "model new town", and was, indeed still is, a remarkable prototype of its kind. Apart from being a philanthropist and social reformer, Salt was also concerned with taking advantage of the technical developments of his time. His mill works, which eventually covered ten acres of land, was of fashionably Italianate architectural style (its chimney even a copy of the campanile of the Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa in Venice), although its structure was of iron framing. The weaving shed held 1,200 looms and had capacity for 3,000 workers, who produced 30,000 yards of cloth per day. Water from the river was used to produce steam to power the matchinery used in the manufacturing processes of scouring, dyeing and finishing. For the export of goods, the nearby Leeds-Liverpool Canal linked the works to Britain's chief ports, and the Midland Railway (an extension of the LeedsBradford line which opened in 1846) was of great use for the same purpose.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
Created Baronet 1869.
Further Reading
Dictionary of National Biography.
Visitors Guide to Salt aire, Bradford City Council.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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  • SALT, SIR TITUS —    English manufacturer, born near Leeds; introduced the manufacture of alpaca, planted his factory at Saltaire, near Leeds, which he made a model village for his workers as a philanthropic employer of labour (1803 1876) …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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  • Saltaire — Infobox World Heritage Site WHS = Saltaire State Party = Type = Cultural Criteria = ii, iv ID = 1028 Region = Europe Year = 2001 Session = 25th Link = map West Yorkshire label = background = white lat =… …   Wikipedia

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  • Saltaire — a village near Bradford in northern England which was built in 1853 as a model village for factory workers by Sir Titus Salt (1803–1876). It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old factory building, Salts Mill, has been made into an art… …   Universalium

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