“ Address: Shipley / Saltaire / West Yorkshire / BD18 3LB, UK „
Salts Mill is a good way to get an injection of culture, pass a couple of hours on a rainy day or to pick up a gift or something for you that's just a little bit different.
It's in Saltaire, just 4 miles from Bradford and a short drive further on from the M606 and open 7 days a week. The former seat of leading Industrialist Sir Titus Salt's empire, the whole village is a World Heritage Site and offers a glimpse into the community of work and living that was built up here in the revolutionary heyday of the 18th and 19th Centuries.
Comprising one colossal mill building, one of several along the River Aire, the Mill has a large car park, and is sited adjacent to the Saltaire railway station (on the Leeds and Bradford Forster Square lines), and across a small bridge to Saltaire village, replete with art and craft shops, galleries, cafes and the like. Behind the Mill you will find Shipley Glen, a vast expanse of wooded and rolling parkland.
We've been several times now as it offers a good mix of shopping and Arts to enjoy, and is fairly unique in scope and setting, offering an ideal day trip destination to take guests to. It can get a bit chilly inside the cavernous mill so be sure to grab a jacket!
The basement level is taken up by a soft furnishings store with a Middle Eastern leaning - plenty of silks, cushions and chaises here, set amongst soft music and a relaxed ambience.
The ground floor is mostly shopping, selling all the high quality art supplies and brushes that any budding artist could desire. The walls display some art work by Bradford born David Hockney, including "Nude" of 1984 which is a montage of hundreds of photographs of various parts of the body placed together to create a huge nude piece - very clever!
On the First floor there's a large bookshop and card shop except, uniquely, most of the cards are hand made by individuals so you're unlikely to find the designs elsewhere. A section of the bookshop is given over to children, with more fun and creative books and gift sets than you thought existed and a play area where you can sit and read to your growing offspring.
Further on in an adjoining wing, the ladies will certainly enjoy a perusal of the jewellery shop as it's pretty pricey but the designs are all very "contemporary" so unlike anything you'll see in most regular jewellers. Lot of great gift ideas!
More my cup of tea is the Allan Austin outdoor shop with lots of boots, clothing and rucksacks for hill walking and trekking and even has a small children's department. Here is also where you'll find a quiet little café serving delectable cakes, hot drinks and the odd light bite. Both of these are behind the jewellery shop and next to another small gallery that leads off the side of the diner.
The home ware department is quite big, and very very flash; the sort of place from which you'd aspire to be able to furnish your kitchen. A mixture of modern designer items and retro bespoke designs abound. With stylish and quirky dining tables and uniquely designed chairs, some upwards of £1500, it's nice to look and dream..
So if like me, all this shopping and art has left you in need of refreshments, there's the diner on this floor. A massive area linked to the wings of the mill on this floor, the diner seats several hundred and has a full menu range and a nice opne kitchen where you can see the array of chefs at work.
The top floor which I don't often bother to visit has an antiques shop, a very smart bespoke gent's tailor, the Opera Café: an elegant bistro setting on the top floor, with award winning plates, and a series of theatre sets based on some operatic greats such as Cosi Fan Tutti.
In the building next to the mill, there's also a really good, and rather large bike shop with a variety of brands available, and all the accessories required to tackle any terrain.
(This review is also posted on Trivago).
Salts Mill In the Heritage village of Saltaire, Shipley, West Yorkshire is a former working mill. Owned by Sir Titus Salt. It was mainly used as a textile mill.
Now the mill is a historic building and people come from everywhere as the mill is now open to the public and is home to several different companies, including:
Pace, who make sky boxes and other electonic items have a large part of the mill.
The 1853 gallery, this is home to over 300 pictures of the bradford born artist David Hockney.
The Home, This shop sells items mainly for the kitchen.
Salts Diner, serves nice food, bit pricey. Kimberly Walsh's(from Girls Aloud) sister works here.
Skopos mill and furniture shop, sells things like cushions, and tables etc.
Also in the mill is an area which sells costume jewellery, and there is also a large range of childrens and adults books.
Its free entry into the mill and worth a look round, even if you dont buy anything you can still see the history inside it.
The weather forecast for bank holiday was not looking good. Time to get my thinking cap on and come up with somewhere to take our visiting friends that would not be affected by the inclement weather. Then I remembered a recommendation by my sister; Salts Mill in Shipley, Yorkshire, about an hour's drive away.
The mill is a thriving centre for art, industry and commerce and it all started with Jonathan Silver and the 1853 Gallery. The gallery so called because that was the year the Victorian Mill was originally opened for manufacturing fabrics. The mill closed down in 1986 and lay derelict for a year until bought by Silver. He opened the gallery to the public in the autumn of the same year. He wanted to create a permanent exhibition of pictures by his long-standing friend, local boy, David Hockney.
On arriving at Salts Mill we found ourselves drawn by the music into the 1853 Gallery on the ground floor. The music being opera which suited the mood of the surroundings. Having crossed an enormous doormat, with the words Illingworth Morris and Co stamped we were met by some of Hockney's early work. Dating back to art school, etchings such as the set of illustrations from Grimm's Fairy Tales. There are lithographs like portraits of many of his friends and photomontages of landscapes and people. I have to admit to not knowing a great deal about Hockney's work, but what I saw, I liked very much. Silver was also a collector of Burmantoft ceramics from the local pottery in Leeds and much of this is on display. Each floor has a shop and this floor sold a fabulous range of artists' materials, art books cards, and stationery.
The second floor houses Salts Bookshop, an enormous collection of art and travel books and a wonderful display of children's' books. There is a special area for Tin Tin fans, which pleased my husband, no end; a space rocket full of Herges adventures sent him into his second childhood. Copies of original books like The Secret Garden, Rupert and Enid Blyton's Famous Five all beautifully illustrated were my favourites. Exclusive to the bookshop is a range of over 100 David Hockney posters. Beautiful reproductions of Simon Palmer's Saltaire Paintings are also available; the originals are on display later in Gallery 2 on the same floor. Now carefully restored they have pride of place in the History of Saltaire Exhibition. Here you can learn about Sir Titus Salt's mill and model village from 1853 to the present day.
The third floor houses one of the mill's three eateries, Café in the Opera. Lovers of fish and seafood dishes can enjoy lunch here with a glass of wine or two. This is a very interesting and colourful place. The café walls are like a stage set and are designed by Hockney. Scenes from "The Magic Flute", "A Rake's Progress" and "La Rossignol" are wonderfully original and classic Hockney The lighting and wonderful flower displays by Opera Florist make this a magical place and the service was excellent too. Opera Florists sits next to the café and the wide selection of tropical and unusual flowers and displays are on sale to the public.
Other areas worth mentioning - Zebra in the basement stocks everything from uniquely designed hand made rugs, furnishings and colourful fabrics with an African feel. Home - sells luxurious, bizarre and expensive items for the home. Everything from bath oil, kitchenware and furniture. I needed a new ladle but I soon but it back on the shelf when I read the price of £62! There is also a small gallery selling hand made jewellery by Kath Libbert. If you want something a little unusual, you're sure to find it here, but again at a price.
I mentioned Café Opera where the price for a fish lunch will set you back around £10 plus drinks. There is also a diner serving pasta, pizza and meat. We grabbed a panini and coffee in the Expresso Bar which also served home made soup, cakes and pastries as well as traditionally brewed dandelion and burdock, ginger beer and lemonade.
When you come out of the mill, it's worth a stroll into the village of Saltaire. Although we had planned for a rainy day, it was warm and sunny and a walk through the pretty park and along the canal was very welcome.
There is no entrance charge to Salts Mill and parking is free. Disabled parking is right outside the gallery and there is a ramp up to the entrance and lifts on every floor. The mill even provides the loan of a wheelchair.
Salts Mill is a great place to visit especially on a rainy day. The art and book sections should interest most children but this isn't a hands on gallery and younger children may well be bored. It is however great for adults wanting something a little different. I can now recognised the work of Hockney and I think he's ok!
If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend you visit!
Formerly a textile production mill for woollen cloth and alpacea, the mill is now home to an art gallery, several shops, restaurants, and small businesses.