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Saltaire, One Man's Dream

UNITED KINGDOM | Sunday, 14 August 2011 | Views [1189]

No more abstinence but Don't Tell Titus, Saltaire

No more abstinence but Don't Tell Titus, Saltaire

Titus Salt had a vision for a utopian town built around his textile mill.  Today Saltaire is an example of a mid-19th Century industrial village highlighting the importance of the textile industry and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Salt's textile mill is a shopping mall and the workers' homes are now very "des res," desirable residences in Brit-speak.

He was disgusted with conditions for workers in the cities during the height of the Industrial Revolution and decided to construct his own city where workers and their families could live better and more productive lives.  Even the lowest level workers had four-room flats, supervisors lived even better.  He built a school, a church, an infirmary and special homes for retired and disabled workers.  

But it wasn't utopia for the workers.  Titus Salt was also profit minded and his mill was the only one that could take in raw wool on one end and put out finished fabric from the other end.  The work must have been hard and unions helped look out for workers' rights.  Strikes were harshly dealt with but the workers at Saltaire respected their benefactor enough to dedicate a statue to him in the church.  Titus believed in temperance, not for himself, just for his workers.  He knew what "demon rum" could do to the workers so he wouldn't permit a tavern in his town.  Instead he encouraged people to visit the leisure center where they could work off their extra energy.  Today one of the local watering holes is called appropriately "Don't Tell Titus!"


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