Salts Mill is arguably the defining feature of Saltaire. Within the Grade II listed gigantic Victorian warehouse mill complex you can now visit large galleries featuring work by the locally born artist David Hockney among others as well as shopping for books, kitchenware, furniture and posters. The space also houses some of the most aesthetically pleasing office spaces in the area. Like many of Saltaire’s notable sites, Salts Mill is a harmonious combination of Victorian spaces being given a new life with modern uses, while still celebrating the building’s origins.
Exhibiting work by his friend and fellow Bradfordian David Hockney
The Mill was originally built by Sir Titus Salt, whose vision and politics took the project beyond any textile mill of its kind at the time. Salt built the entire model village of Saltaire alongside his colossal vertically integrated cloth manufacturing operation. Over 1000 people benefitted from the modern and sanitary housing provided with their jobs and had a much better quality of life than urban mill workers because of their proximity to green spaces. The mill continued to produce cloth until 1986 until when another inventive mind, Jonathan Silver, brought new life into Salts Mill, exhibiting work by his friend and fellow Bradfordian David Hockney. From then on, the mill has grown to house multiple businesses and a vast collection of artworks and prints.
Vast expanses of space and exposed stone feel welcoming rather than imposing
As you walk through the levels of beautifully designed furniture, visual art and every kitchen utensil you didn’t realise you needed the vast expanses of space and exposed stone manage to feel welcoming rather than imposing. We aren’t used to having so much space to explore and the residents of Salts Mill do an amazing job of letting this expanse be a feature of the building’s interior design rather than feeling the need to fill it. It is unlike any shopping experience you’ll come across in the North. Equally, the gallery space really allows the artworks to speak. Due to the cavernous nature of the rooms, as you come to each piece you feel more closely connected to it, like floating islands that you visit as you walk past.