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Subject theme - Leisure

Entertainment, sport and the great outdoors

Although Saltaire was founded as an industrial village - a mill with housing and amenties for its workers - there has been time for leisure as well as work.

The Collection contains many items on a wide range of entertainment enjoyed by workers and residents, their sporting activities, and their enjoyment of parks, gardens, allotments, and other open spaces.

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Victoria Hall has provided a magnificent venue for many different types of entertainment. We have: posters and programmes for the ambitious productions of the amateur Saltaire Philharmonic Society; photographs, tickets, accounts and letters related to the Saltaire Conversazione, a major annual social event; and more recent events including the Bradford Beer Festival and dramatic retellings of the history of Saltaire.

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It wasn't all work at Salts Mill. The owners arranged excursions for the workers, most notably a grand day out to Blackppol in 1953 to celebrate the centenary of the opening of Salts Mill. There were also work-related social groups, such as the Salts Silver Band.

There have been many other plays and concerts, such as those associated with the Congregational Church, fund raising for Sir Titus Salt's Hospital and dramatic and musical performances throughout the village and park.

Entertainment continues up to the present as documented in the Saltaire Review and represented by the hugely successful annual Saltaire Festival.

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The Collection has many items documenting the story of sport in the village. The Saltaire Cricket Club has been based in Roberts Park since 1869 and is still going strong.

Salts Mill had its own sports grounds and associated teams, including cricket and football (notably a somewhat rare-for-the-time women's team known as the 'Burling Beauties').

The Salt High School also had several teams, including football, cricket and hockey, from its earliest days. We have some stern-faced photographs to show how seriously the players took their sport.

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Open spaces

Roberts Park

Saltaire Park opened in 1871 just over the River Aire from Salts Mill; James Roberts gifted the park to Bradford Corporation in 1920, renaming it Roberts Park after his deceased son Bertram.

As well as being the home of Saltaire Cricket Club, the park has been used for many recreational activities, including sports days, musical concerts at the bandstand, festivals, watching a future queen planting a tree, or just relaxation.

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Shipley Glen

Nearby Shipley Glen has been another open space popular with the people of Saltaire for leisure activities. As well as simply enjoying the fresh air of the hill top, from the late nineteenth century a tramway transported visitors to a 'Pleasure ground' with a calming Japanese garden (originally part of the Royal Yorkshire Jubilee Exhibition) and the latest in exciting rides, including a 'switchback rollercoaster'.

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Within the village itself there have been many allotments for residents to use. Some are still here today, but their story is complicated as revealed in some recent research by the Saltaire History Club.

View all allotment-related items

View all open spaces-related items

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