West Riding of Yorkshire

Saltaire United Reformed Church, West Riding of Yorkshire

The village of Saltaire is one of the best examples of a town built by one of the great Victorian entrepreneurs, in this case Sir Titus Salt, owner of the massive Salts Mill complex built for the wool industry in 1851. The town is a prime example of the model village which in many ways was the precursor of the Garden City and New Town movements of the 20th Century.

Salt, like so many of his contemporaries, was a non-comformist and when it came to building a church to be the focal point of his new village he chose to create what has been described as a “Cathedral of Congregationalism”.

Work began in 1859, paid for entirely by Sir Titus, with designs by Lockwood and Mawson who had designed a number of Italianate buildings in the area. They created a church so un-English looking that it is startling to find it in amongst the hills of West Yorkshire. The tower is a true work of art, especially when the sun reflects on the decorations below the cupola.

Salt himself is buried in the mausoleum that is attached to the church.

Although the Mill closed down in the 1980s, the village has re-invented itself as a tourist destination – the Mill contains shops, galleries and restaurants and the church is still a focal point in the village, just as Sir Titus envisaged.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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