You can easily reach Sir Titus Salt’s fascinating model town at Saltaire in West Yorkshire on a week’s narrowboat holiday from Drifters’ base at Sowerby Bridge.
Saltaire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal near Bradford, was founded by Sir Titus Salt, a leading industrialist in the woollen industry in 1851.
Salt, a visionary who wanted his workforce to be healthier, happier and more productive, moved his five mills to the new green site away from the overcrowded town centre of Bradford, housing them in beautiful Italianate buildings. He built neat stone houses for his workers with community facilities including wash-houses, a hospital, an institution for recreation and education with a library, reading room, concert hall, billiard room, science laboratory and gymnasium. He also built a village school for the children of the workers, almshouses, allotments, a park and a boathouse.
Today, the extraordinary town of Saltaire is a popular tourist destination with guided walks, events, shops, restaurants, cafes and galleries, including the wonderful David Hockney Gallery. A special exhibition of Hockney’s three 27-foot-long pictures of Bessingby Road, Bridlington is on display this summer at Salts Mill, plus other Yorkshire landscapes and recent portraits of his family and friends.
As well as visiting Saltaire, on your week’s canal boat holiday from Sowerby Bridge you could also visit: the new Barbara Hepworth Museum at Wakefield; the Stanley Ferry Aqueduct (like a miniature Sydney Harbour Bridge); Leeds and its regenerated waterfront; and the Bingley Five Rise of locks, one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways.
Canal boat hire from Drifters’ base at Sowerby Bridge starts at £515 for a week, £335 for a short break.