‘A perfectionist. ‘ That is my opinion of Salt. Every feature of Saltaire was designed and constructed with massive care and detail. Salt had paid a lot of attention to the design of his mill. The mill had an Italian theme; there were many columns with prism shaped tops, and most famously the large and highly decorated chimney. There were many windows as he believed in keeping his workers happy and constant sun light coming through the windows was a definite plus to working in the mill.
The mill was built on a ‘Grand scale’ and reflects Salt’s ambitions in fame and fortune.It was the central feature to the community and could be seen from all over Saltaire. Salt also had an institute, which was central to the village and provided a night school for the workers in his mill.
Titus was a strong believer in education and he wanted his workers to improve their knowledge so that they could better their work skill and move on to a better paid job in the mill. The institute was also a place of entertainment with its stage it provided live entertainment and also lectures for his workers. Titus wanted the institute to be a place to wind down and relax. He liked to think as it as a ‘public house without its evils’.
The institute was also a large and grand building; out side it had Lions which were previously meant for Trafalgar square that had symbolic names. They were called, ‘Vigilance’, ‘Determination’, ‘War’ and ‘Peace’. These names were meant for inspiration and were of importance to his village. Salt wanted his workers to have the same opportunities he did. Titus’ church also had an Italian theme like his mill, it has extravagant design and detail, and it seated 600 and was designed in classical roman style. It was the first of the community buildings to be built, and is conveniently situated opposite the mill.Titus placed his church here to try and give his workers the incentive to attend masses (even though they were compulsory). Titus wanted to unite his work with religion, as religion played a large part in his upbringing and his rules that he set around Saltaire were largely to do with his religious beliefs.
The Church was decorated in gold and was professionally painted to add to the grandness and elegance of the Church, this also highlighted its importance. Saltaire Park, now named Robert’s Park, was built for the leisure of his people and workers, with pleasant surroundings including the River Aire running through it.Another feature was a bandstand facing a large statue of Salt which he liked to think was a way of letting the workers know he was always there with them, this could also be thought of as a sign of power, as if he had a constant watch over them which would have been a deterrent of rebellion and breaking his rules in the park. These rules included such things as ‘No excessive noise’, ‘No littering’ and ‘no drinking’. Titus wanted his park to be a place of relaxation scheduled entertainment and beauty.
Others could argue that he was controlling the workers leisure!Nevertheless, the provision of a central park gave opportunities for leisure. Other features to Saltaire include a hospital which he built to provide his workers with close healthcare, some people would think this to be an act of philanthropy, I however believe that this was a big publicity stunt and he only built it to ‘show off! ‘ as with the construction of this hospital, Saltaire became the first town with its own hospital. Salt could also now make sure his workers were in full health, again protecting his profits once more. He also built a school for his workers children.It taught domestic sciences to the girls and practical manual work to the boys, again this was preparing the boys for employment in Saltaire. Salt built houses for his workers and the sizes of which were dependant on individual income. This created a hierarchy of wealth.
On one hand this made people work hard to improve the quality of their living, which on the other hand would have made yet again more profit for Titus. If Titus was indeed a philanthropist surely profit would have not entered his mind in this feature and he would have provided identical housing for all his workers and promoted equality?The houses were clean, 2-3 bed roomed houses which were not back to back, which made it easier for Titus to set up a rubbish collection service to his tenants. Overseers were also employed by Salt to look over the workers to make sure they were treating their new homes properly and adhering to his rules, this could have been thought of as Salts own personal police system.
Salt had spent excessive funds on building high quality housing. Surely this does show a philanthropic side to his nature. The streets that the houses were on were all named after his own family, the royal family and his architects.Naming his streets after his family showed Salts belief in family and helped portray himself as a family man and show his paternalism which was often shown to his wider scale family, his workers.
The naming of his streets also showed patriotism as he called the streets after past and present monarchs at that time. Notably, Victoria after the then monarch. Conclusion It is clear from my visit to Saltaire and appropriate research that Salt had a vision of a community where his workers could not only work happily but also improve the quality of their own lives.Even though I cannot overlook this evidence of philanthropy, I still in my own opinion believe that Salt built Saltaire skilfully and that he had hidden ulterior motives for most of his buildings and that he was cleverly taking control of his workers and making more profit.
I think if he hadn’t taken such care of his workers, he wouldn’t have been able to enforce rules and not have people rebel, but because Salt looked after his workers, no-one questioned his decisions for fear of being fired and losing their house, health care, and education.