Sir Titus Salt
20th September 1803 – 29th December 1876
Titus Salt was born into the family of a successful wool-stapler, whose firm he joined in 1824, and which soon grew to be the largest employer in Bradford. He had strong views on the need for workers to have good working conditions and decent housing, and he promoted cleanliness and hygiene at every opportunity. The low polluting Rodda smoke burners that he introduced to his factories were a model of such thinking. His 1836 experiments with the hitherto ignored Alpaca Wool produced a beautiful lustrous cloth that became very fashionable.
After becoming Mayor of Bradford in 1848, Titus Salt tried to get the Council to be progressive in matters of pollution and hygiene, but when he failed to persuade them, he moved his business to Saltaire, and began to build a model community, which took twenty years to finish.
Saltaire contained a variety of workers’ houses, an institute, public bath houses, and a church. Although Sir Titus supported universal suffrage, and did not believe the 1832 Reform Act had gone far enough, he distrusted trades unions, and banned them from his Mills.
At the time of his death, his family found that most of his vast fortune had been given away on good deeds. Titus and his brother Henry joined the Harrogate Club as visitors in 1857-8, being amongst the earliest such members.
by Malcolm Neesam 2011