It’s bloody typical that I’ve travelled around America, Australia, New Zealand and Italy and the place I feel most at home is a small little suburb of Bradford made up of terraced houses and an old Mill, but that’s how it is. Saltaire is my happy place. I must have been a mill worker there in a previous life, or even Mrs Titus Salt.
Cue a little history lesson. Saltaire was built by Titus Salt in 1851, he was one of the leaders of the Yorkshire textile industry. He built the huge mill and the village around it to house the workers. The village was pretty fancy for its day and workers were pretty lucky to be working and living in Saltaire rather than in a Bradford slum. There were wash houses, a hospital and a school and a rather fancy town hall which now houses great craft fairs.
The mill has now been converted into shops, an art gallery and a really good diner. It is quite literally heaven.
The first shop is full of sophisticated picture books that you convince yourself you need for your coffee table and also art books and supplies. Every time I go I end up feeling annoyed with myself that I don’t sketch and paint and way too easily get absorbed into taking on new hobbies. On our most recent visit we left with a book on calligraphy and all the pens and ink and paper needed to get started. We spent a whole evening doing it once we got home, Max of course is ridiculously good at it, while I might be a little too left handed for it. I am feeling quite competitive about it though so won’t give up trying. I want to atleast be able to write ‘Merry Christmas’ in fancy writing by the end of the year.
On the next floor there’s the book shop of dreams! Ooo it’s good! Could spend a full day and a months wages in there. There’s books on everything and special edition of books and the most amazing children’s book section. I do love children’s books there’s something so magic about them and I love buying meaningful children’s books for people as gifts. The interior design section and the cookery book sections are also amazing!
Theres also the diner on this floor where the food is fab, would be rude to visit Salt’s Mill and not eat lunch there, really good pizzas, and salads and cakes.
(Beetroot, Butternut Squash and Goat’s cheese pizza, literally all my favourite things together. And a really good beer from the Saltaire brewery).
Theres also a home shop on this floor, a really edgy one, full of stuff you’re not sure where it would go or what you’d do with that but stuff you just really really want. I bought a match box with a dove on last time we went. Did I need it? No. Did I think I needed it? Yes.
They have a great selection of mugs, candles and soaps in this shop too which anyone who knows me knows are my favourite things. They also have a cabinet full of crockery antiques and we were really chuffed to see our tea and coffee jars in there. Our little charity shop find would be worth a fortune if we ever wanted to part with them (except my mum did some really dodgy wood staining on their lids).
There’s a full antiques shop here too which is literally just like acorn antiques. I don’t have any photos of it because there was a no photos sign and Max has NO flexibility to rules. I think the antiques shop might be my favourite bit though, full of stuff you’d never actually want in your house but you really want to look at and touch. Last time we went I was very bemused about the Cath Kidston luggage tag being in there, I have one of them, which I remember getting for my birthday, I must be old!
The top floor is the art gallery which has a permanent David Hockney exhibition of pictures of Yorkshire he’s drawn on his iPad. I’m far from an art expert but I like them. We even have a copy of one on our living room wall. They’re really impressive, all I really do on my iPad is play FarmVille and Internet shop.
So there we go, I hope I’ve sold it to you and you’re planning a trip. It’s the perfect rainy day out and I particularly recommend going in the weeks before Christmas, it’s so festive and lovely!
And I’ll keep on holding out for Max buying me my Saltaire terrace house. (subtle hint).