Left: Sir Titus Salt's coat-of-arms, with floral and foliate surround, flanked by two alpaca, on the Factory School pediment, Saltaire. Right: Relief of alpaca amid native vegetation, on a rusticated wall in Saltaire. Thomas Milnes. 1860s. Stone. Sir Titus Salt's model mill-town, near Bradford. Abraham Holroyd describes the former as "a handsome piece of sculpture, with coat of arms, supported by large alpaca and scroll ornament" (43). The carvings stamp Salt's proprietorship on the town, and indicate both the source of his wealth and the purpose of the enterprise — to produce more of his famous worsted from fine alpaca fleece. [Click on the images, and the one below, to enlarge them.]

The tympanum of Victoria Hall

Milnes had started his career as a stone-mason, and seems to have retained a love of this kind of stone-carving. The architectural sculpture on the Grade II*-listed Factory School and Victoria Hall is typical of his work in Saltaire. The work has been specifically identified as his: talking of the main and wing pediments of the school, for example, Holroyd says, "The sculpture in these pediments has been executed by Mr Milnes of London" (43). On the Victoria Hall tympanum is another example of his work: the Salt coat-of-arms, this time flanked by gracefully reclining females representing Art and Science, which are six feet in height (see Holroyd 54-55). Such carvings demonstrate Salt's wish not only to perpetuate his memory here, but also to make the buildings aesthetically pleasing for those who lived and worked in Saltaire.

Related Material

Image sources: photographs at the top left, and the lower one, were kindly contributed by Chris Bell, a four x great-nephew of the sculptor. The photograph on the top right is reproduced by kind permission of Chris Brown of the East Riding Media Library, slightly modified by the present author. Text by Jacqueline Banerjee, with very helpful research by Chris Bell.

Sources

Holroyd, Abraham. Saltaire and Its Founder. Facsimile of 3rd ed. 1873. Bradford: Piroisms Press in collaboration with Falcon Books, 2000.

Leach, Peter, and Nikolaus Pevsner. Yorkshire West Riding, Leeds, Bradford and the North. The Buildings of England series. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2009.

Saltaire: Conservation Area Assessment, March 2004. Bradford Metropolitan District Council. Web. 3 November 2015.

Victoria Hall Including Wall, Gate Piers and Sculpted Lions to Front Area, and Railings to Rear, Shipley." British Listed Buildings. Web. 3 November 2015.


Last modified 2 December 2015