Earlier posts

Earlier posts
This blog is a continuation of an older one. To explore previous posts please click the photo above.

Saturday 18 May 2024

Lovely shrubbery

This gorgeous deep purple-blue shrub is some kind of Ceanothus, I believe. It caught my eye and I thought it looked especially glorious against the backdrop of two of the larger and more ornate Saltaire houses (semi-detached) on Albert Road.

Further up the same road, this white blossom had a very sweet fragrance. I'm not sure what it is... perhaps a Choisya of some kind?

Friday 17 May 2024


Bradford School of Art had an outdoor exhibition in the grounds of Saltaire's church as part of the Arts Trail, and I was impressed by the quality and innovation of the pieces. Students from the Foundation Degree (FdA) Textiles Practice took the theme of 'Connections - People and Place' to explore what gives people a sense of connection to place, through home, work and play. 

Jane Blackburn had taken inspiration from maps of the area to produce various household items - aprons, teatowels - that I would think could be commercially very successful. 

Liz Buckles had created 'Magic in the Air' - a series of textile panels celebrating some of the small, everyday things that help connect us to our community and environment. She had made them into storyboards for children and, at intervals during the day, children were invited to come and engage with the storytelling. Charming. 

Diana Spoors had been inspired by photos and stories of Salts Mill's workers' centenary trip by train to Blackpool in 1953, and had created a vibrant deckchair to celebrate a day at the seaside. 

Päivi Raine had used Salts mausoleum as the base for 'Unseen', her cyanotype on fabric, reflecting that the ordinary millworkers, many of them women, have no statues, mausoleums or streets named in their honour, despite being indispensable to the success of the mills - the vital cogs of the textile industry both here in the past and currently in many places around the world. 

Thursday 16 May 2024

Lost mills and memories

Also in Salts Mill's roof space, as part of the Arts Trail, two textile pieces pay homage to the history of our textile mills and their workforce. There is currently a focus on collecting the memories of Bradford's older mill workers, to map the area's heritage and acknowledge its diverse communities.

The one shown above and below was called 'Layering Cultures' by Alison Walsh, representing the voices of the many migrant workers who came to work in our mills in the 20th century. She has created a multi-layered bolt of cloth incorporating pieces from clothing worn by millworkers, combining hand and machine stitching and text. I don't know that you can read it but one of the lines of text says: 'And I remember there was snow all over'.

The other piece: 'A Cloth for the Lost Mills' by Hannah Lamb and Hannah Robson, is a large, finely woven and printed cloth, inspired by site visits to some of the lost or derelict textile mills in the area. It references the skill and dexterity of the workers and motifs from some of the mill buildings. Once created, they took the cloth to some of the lost mill sites and it was photographed by Carolyn Mendelsohn. 

Wednesday 15 May 2024

People Powered

During the Arts Trail, printers were working in the roof space in Salts Mill. They have a base in Saltaire where they have The People Powered Press, the biggest letterpress printing press in the world, which they use for printing large scale letterpress works, in collaboration with numerous community groups, schools, artists and writers. They have also devised a flexible, modular type system called Brico, consisting of four shapes that can be used to design letters in unique styles. Visitors were having a go at designing and then inking up and printing letters, albeit on a smaller printing machine. 

Some displays in the huge roof space showed words that had been designed and printed by various community groups. 

'Home, safety, freedom' was a powerful statement created by members of BIASAN (Bradford Immigration and Asylum Support Network), who were reflecting on what their home in Bradford means to them. It was displayed in Bradford's City Park in 2022. 

'I have heard the ice cracking' was taken from the work of children at Saltaire Primary School, writing poems about their concerns and hopes for our environment and planet. 


Tuesday 14 May 2024

Artists in situ

One of Saltaire Arts Trail's particular 'selling points' is the opportunity to visit some of the houses within the village that open their doors as mini art galleries. Sometimes they have 'artists in residence' actually working. The talented David Starley can usually be found immersed in a new painting. No prizes for identifying the subject of his current piece - yes, I'm pretty sure that's Bolton Abbey. 

In another garden, the environmental artist Winston Plowes was carefully constructing an intricate 'land art' pattern from seeds and stems. You may remember I tracked down the remains of a mandala he did in Hirst Woods last year ( HERE) .

Monday 13 May 2024

Having a breather

Thankfully the weather was pretty good for this year's Saltaire Arts Trail and it was nice to see people exploring the exhibitions, the Makers' Fair and the Open Houses, and relaxing in the gardens of the Victoria Hall. There were fewer Open Houses this year and it all felt (to me) more manageable and less overwhelming. It's much better to be able to take your time to appreciate the artwork on display, rather than rushing from one place to the next, trying to see everything. 

The Saltaire Art Gallery is a recent addition to our main street. It has been opened by artist and art teacher Nina Hunter, as a base for her Art School, where she runs workshops, and as a gallery for her own work and that of other artists.  Next door, the queue for coffee, sandwiches and burgers at Digin's Hut was quite long. I've never had food from there but it always seems popular. 

Sunday 12 May 2024

Local lushness

I took these photos on my walk down from where I now live to Saltaire village. I love the view across the valley to Hope Hill and Baildon Moor. For a suburban area, there's a surprising amount of lush green to enjoy, looking across beyond the church tower to the trees of Roberts Park and Shipley Glen. 

Further down in the village, Hope Hill rises as a backdrop, no doubt enjoyed by all the generations of residents and workers since Sir Titus Salt built the mill and the village in the 1850s. 

I've often wondered if Hope Hill was named after the verse in Psalms, or for a more prosaic reason. 

'I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.' Psalm 121: 1

I found a helpful meditation on those words HERE

Saturday 11 May 2024

Craft for Climate

Over 200 volunteers (from the local WI [Women's Institute] and various other groups) knitted a display to highlight climate change. Each scarf represents a year between 1853 (when Saltaire was founded) and 2023, from left to right and the colour signifies the average temperature in Bradford for that year. Shown in this way, it is very clear to see the warming trend and the soaring temperatures of the last few years.

Local schools had been involved too. The poster below was made by pupils from Saltaire Primary School. 

I made close-up images of the scarves around my own year of birth (cool - although the year after appears to have bucked the trend), that of my daughter (warmer) and those of my granddaughters (even warmer). The difference is plain to see and I find it shocking that we have been (are still being!) so slow to wake up to the damage we are doing to our planet. 

Friday 10 May 2024

The flower heist

There's always something interesting to see in Saltaire. I'm not really sure why these folks were carrying large flower arrangements up the street. I think it possible that they were members of a wedding party, emptying the church of the wedding flowers (though often the flowers are left in church to adorn the space for the Sunday services.) I'm sure it was entirely legitimate, anyway!  I don't normally take candid shots but it struck me as an image-worthy scene. 

Thursday 9 May 2024



There was a wedding in Saltaire's church. By the time I walked past, the wedding party had gone on to their reception but the main wedding car was still parked on the church drive. 

The  website of the 'Wedding Car Hire People' describes it thus: 

'This classic Ford Mustang wedding car spent most of its life in Oklahoma and was built on the 27th of November 1967. The interior is black leather and seats 3 passengers with seatbelts. The car is everything you'd imagine an American muscle car to be. It's loud, has incredible road presence and turns heads wherever it goes. The engine is the heart of the car and has had a complete overhaul and repaint, there are so many little details on this car such as the year it was made stitched into the car mats.'

What I mainly noticed was that it was a gorgeous colour. (And I thought it was a Ferrari at first! 😂😂. Well... horse logo. 😂)

Wednesday 8 May 2024

More rhododendrons

Rhododendrons are just coming into season. So showy, aren't they? In some of our wild areas (especially Scotland and Snowdonia) huge bushes of invasive Rhododendron ponticum have become a problem, spreading and crowding out native species, toxic to animals and spreading disease to other trees. (That's why there has been mass felling of trees on Bingley's St Ives estate.) The cultivars that grow in gardens like Harlow Carr are properly managed and cause few problems. 

Tuesday 7 May 2024

Spring bulbs

The two containers I planted with spring bulbs (narcissus and tulips) to grace my new apartment's balcony have been a lovely burst of colour. Their flowers have faded now, leaving the mess of leaves and stalks - at which point (not being 'a gardener') I never know quite what to do with them! 

They don't have that problem at RHS Harlow Carr and their planters were still a riot of bright colour. 

There were some Crown Imperials (Fritillaria imperialis) in one of the borders. Strange to my eyes, they remind me of birds - or hats! 

My photographer's eye (rather than perhaps a gardener's eye) enjoyed this lone and rather blowsy tulip, surrounded by interesting textures and shapes. 

Monday 6 May 2024

Prize specimens

Being one of the Royal Horticultural Society's show gardens, Harlow Carr has an army of gardeners and volunteers, so that 'weeds' don't get much of a look-in and most of the plants are in tip-top condition. It's satisfying therefore to pick out individual specimens, whether commonplace or rare, and study their structure and habit. The dicentra ('bleeding hearts') is a favourite of mine for its colour and graceful, arching stems.  

Hellebores have a long flowering season and vary a lot in their size, colour and 'shyness' - some show their flowers proudly and other bow to the ground timorously. I rather liked the almost black variety (foreground below).

Drumstick primulas are aptly named - and equally aptly sometimes called lollipop primulas. 

Apple blossom was in full swing - so pretty. 

Camellias have done well this year, since we've had very little frost. Rhododendrons are coming into flower, such flamboyant blooms in a variety of colours. 

Finally, I have no idea what this vine is - heart-shaped leaves with pink edges - but I thought it very attractive.