Sir Titus Salt


Sir Titus Salt was born at Morley near Leeds [1st September 1803], the eldest child of Daniel Salt. He was baptised at Batley [27th February 1805].

He attended Batley Grammar School.

He worked for 2 years as a woolstapler with Rouse & Son in Bradford and then joined the family firm, Daniel Salt & Son.

He became a pioneering Bradford wool-manufacturer who discovered a method of processing Russian Donskoi wool, and – in 1836 – alpaca wool, a rejected consignment of which he came across at Liverpool. He later combined alpaca with cotton and silk.

Around 1820, he planned to build a mill at Wakefield, but he had to abandon the plan after local opposition. He was also interested in building a mill complex on the land off Wakefield Road, Brighouse, which later became Armytage Road Industrial Estate, Brighouse.

In 1851, he founded a mill which later became the focus of the model town at Saltaire, near Bradford.

The town had Salt's Model Mill, housing – 820 houses in 1872 – baths, wash-houses, schools, a Wesleyan chapel, a Congregational Church, a Club and Institute – with lecture hall, laboratory, and library – a 14-acre park, but no pub as he was a teetotaller.

In 1830, he married Caroline Whitlam at Grimsby.


  1. William Henry
  2. George
  3. Amelia [1836-1???] who married Henry Wright JP of Kensington at Lightcliffe Congregational Church [2nd April 1873]
  4. Edward [1837-1903] who married Mary Jane Susan Elgood of Leicester
  5. Herbert [1840-1912]
  6. Fanny Caroline [1841-1861] who died of tuberculosis at Crow Nest
  7. Titus
  8. Whitlam [1846-1851]
  9. Mary [1849-1851]
  10. Helen
  11. Ada

Both Whitlam and Mary were born at Crow Nest and died there of scarlet fever. They were buried at Bramley Lane Congregational Church and were exhumed 10 years later and buried in the family mausoleum at Saltaire Congregational Church.

Many of the streets in Saltaire were named after his family and friends.

He became involved in the social life of Bradford, teaching in Sunday school and promoting educational classes.

With 5 mills in Bradford, he was concerned about the smoke pollution in the city.

In 1842, he found that the Rodda Smoke Burner produced very little pollution, and had these installed in all his factories. Other Bradford mill-owners refused to accept that smoke from their factories was injurious to people's health, and would not install the burner. Realising that the Council were not going to take action, he moved out of Bradford to build Saltaire.

At the Great Exhibition, he received a prize for a complete series of alpaca and mohair manufactures. When the exhibition had finished and the building was put up for sale, Salt considered buying it for use as a weaving shed at Saltaire, but it was not thought to be big enough.

From 1844-1858, he rented Crow Nest Mansion, Lightcliffe from Sutherland-Walker He installed the lake in the grounds. He entertained Dr David Livingstone at the house.

When Sutherland-Walker wanted the house for himself, Salt went to live at Methley Hall.

In 1857, he was appointed JP for the West Riding.

In 1867, when Sutherland-Walker left, he bought the house for £26,500 and lived there until his death.

He gave large banquets at Crow Nest for his workers, notably for his employees on his 50th and 70th birthdays.

In 1856, a banquet was attended by 3,000 people who consumed 1380 lbs of beef, 1300 lbs of ham, 520 lbs of tongue and pies, 200 lbs of butter, 700 lbs of sugar, and 50 lbs of tea.

In 1873, 4,200 workers from Saltaire and guests were invited to his 70th birthday celebrations at Crow Nest.

In 1848, he became Bradford's second mayor, and in 1859 he was elected Liberal MP for Bradford.

In 1861, he resigned and Edward Akroyd was invited to stand for election.

In 1868, he was created a Knight of the Legion of Honour by the Emperor Napoleon III.

In 1869, he was created a Baronet.

The family crest, which appears on the gatehouse at Crow Nest, features an alpaca and the Latin motto


He refused to allow his workers to join trade unions and disagreed with Richard Oastler, John Fielden and others who wanted to pass legislation on child labour.

It has been estimated that during his life he had donated more than £500,000 to good causes, and after his death, his family was shocked when they discovered that his fortune was gone.

See Bailiffe Bridge Working Men's Club, Bleak House, Lightcliffe, Booth Independent Congregational Church, Halifax, Bradford & Keighley Insurance Company, Lightcliffe Congregational Church, Lightcliffe United Reformed Church and West Yorkshire Railway Company

© Malcolm Bull 2020
Revised 07:50 /20th February 2020 / mms5 / 9206

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