I live in West Yorkshire and a mere half hour’s drive from the wonderful village of Saltaire with its glorious Victorian mill buildings and associated housing with railway, River Aire and Leeds Liverpool canal all passing through. It is a place frozen in time with its marvellous cobbled streets and back alleys and outbuildings.
Its founder was the philanthropist and wool industrialist Sir Titus Salt. Built in 1851, he moved his workers from five nearby mills in Bradford to enjoy unparalleled improvements in their quality of living, with houses furnished with tap water and bath-houses, a hospital, a children’s school, a gymnasium, a library and reading room, and leisure spaces.
Today the village has UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The impressive main mill building houses several shops selling books, artist materials and outdoor wear. There is a restaurant area and café, so that a day visit with camera is a joy.
Its art gallery regularly has exhibitions, currently showing monochrome images of Bradford over several decades by Ian Beesley, and especially supports the renowned painter David Hockney, born in Bradford. At present there is a display of his latest 295 ft long painting entitled ‘A Year in Normandie’ – read more here – along with many other paintings by him.
I have visited Saltaire many times, photographing its mill building, almshouses, United Reform Church, hospital and institute buildings, but also the areas encompassing the canal, railway, parks and local woodland.
These images are taken from a single day when I had deliberately decided to visit on a very wet day to take full advantage of the effect of rain on the cobbled surfaces and reflections from puddles. Although this raised challenges with my non-waterproofed cameras, the atmosphere I hoped to capture was, I felt, very appropriate to the subject.
I chose a recently acquired Olympus OM10 loaded with Ilford SFX film. With its extended sensitivity to red light. I was keen to compare the results of this film with those from my infra-red converted Sony Alpha 7 mirrorless camera, thinking the two to be complimentary, and so they proved to be.
This restaurant image was taken with a Thingyfy pinhole attached to the Sony on a coffee break to dry out a little.
The lady is descending the magnificently strong, spiral staircase that gives access to the various floors of the mill.
For those wishing to know more about Saltaire, a huge amount of information is available here: https://saltairevillage.info/
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