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Sir Titus Salt (1) : His alpaca-wool mills near Bradford proved the social benefits of private enterprise in the right hands.
Sir Titus Salt
Part one

Based on the account in ‘Thrift’ by Samuel Smiles, and Spartacus Educational: Titus Salt.

Sir Titus Salt (1803-1876), Baronet, was a Victorian industrialist who made his fortune in the wool industry. His Christian principles and dislike of industrial slums led him to build a model village for his workforce by the River Aire.

ON a trip to Liverpool, shortly after taking over his father’s wool business in 1833, Titus Salt stumbled across some bales of alpaca-wool, then little-known in England. His father forbade him to buy them, but he did, and by 1850 his business had outgrown its Bradford premises.

Alpacas at Seat Farm, near Watermillock in Cumbria.

In 1853, to escape the city’s notorious pollution and overcrowding, Titus moved his entire operation to a pleasant site by the River Aire. He celebrated the opening, on his fiftieth birthday, with a party for 3,500 employees in the combing shed. “I hope” he told them “to see satisfaction, contentment, and happiness around me.”

Titus spent the next twenty years and £140,000* on building them a town to be happy in. There was a hospital, a library, and a concert hall, and running water; there were laundries and public baths, care-homes for pensioners, and schools with grassy playgrounds.

* At least £12 million today. See Measuring Worth.

Based on the account in ‘Thrift’ by Samuel Smiles, and Spartacus Educational: Titus Salt.

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Picture: © Roger May, Geograph. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0. View original
Some of the cottages built by Sir Titus Salt for his employees in Saltaire Mills near Shipley in Yorkshire.
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