Earlier posts

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

Saturday, 31 July 2021

Yorkshire pretty

Yorkshire holiday 1

Hooray, I've been on holiday! Only a short break and not all that far away, but a holiday nevertheless - somewhere different! My ultimate destination was the coastal area around Whitby, North Yorkshire. En route, I stopped for a couple of hours in the village of Thornton Le Dale. Nestled on the edge of the North York Moors National Park, it must be one of the prettiest villages in Yorkshire, centred around a village green and with little streams running alongside the houses. I don't think I've ever been before. The main road to the coast bypasses it but it was a detour worth making. 

It reminded me a little of Bourton on the Water in the Cotswolds, where I visited a couple of years ago (see HERE). That too has a shallow stream running through it. Perhaps the memory was triggered more by the weather, as (just as it was when I was in Bourton on the Water) it was a scorching hot day. There were plenty of people enjoying the sunshine and cooling off in the stream, though nothing like the crowds in the Costwolds. 

The first photo shows Beck Isle, the most famous (and most photographed) cottage in the village, a picturesque thatched cottage, immaculately kept and with a colourful garden. Built in the 17th century and extended in the 20th, it has featured on innumerable chocolate boxes and jigsaw puzzles.  There are, however, many other attractive properties, some of them dating back to the 1600s. 

It is a delightful place, especially on a sunny summer's day. 


Friday, 30 July 2021

We're going on another...

We're going on another hunt... this time for lions. It's well known that Saltaire has four huge lion statues in the square in front of the Victoria Hall. I've shown all of them on my blog at various times. Perhaps fewer people know that there are more secretive lions around the village. One of them glowers down at visitors to the United Reformed Church, but you have to know where to look to notice it. There's one on the other side too, even harder to see. 

Then there's the Belwarp lion on the side of Salts Mill. (I haven't been to see him lately so this is an old photo of mine.) Belwarp was a trade name for the high quality, woollen twill serge cloths made in Salts Mill. They were often used for military uniforms. 

Thursday, 29 July 2021

A different eye

All photos © Phil Reeds

I mentioned yesterday that I hosted a camera club visit to Saltaire recently. One of our members, Phil Reeds, has kindly agreed that I can share a selection of his photos here. It is refreshing for me to see how a different 'eye' views my familiar scenes. It's a while since I really noticed the variety of chimney pots - and I've never taken the shadows on the steps down to Salts Mill, or that view of the United Reformed Church's pillared porch, despite having hundreds of photos of the church. I think it's an interesting selection of images, pulled together by the touches of blue. It has re-inspired me to seek out some more vignettes from the village, trying to look again with fresh eyes. Thanks Phil. 

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

We're going on....

We're going on an alpaca hunt! 

I hosted a camera club meet-up in Saltaire recently. It was a sunny, very hot day and about as good for taking photos as the previous outing I hosted (which was rained off!) - but for different reasons. Such bright sunshine makes for harsh shadows and high contrast. People went off with their cameras undeterred. I decided I'd go on a hunt for some of the many alpacas depicted around the village. Interestingly, I discovered that most of them are in the newer parts of the village, built in the 1860s, so it seems the Salts didn't start to 'honour' the source of their wealth for a while after the Mill was built. (I have explained in a previous post that it was the discovery of a way to spin and weave alpaca wool into lustrous cloth that really made Sir Titus his fortune.) 

I'd be interested to know how many local people have noticed all of these? There may be more that I've missed. I know there is an alpaca statue in the church, but the church is currently closed so I couldn't capture that one. In most cases the animals are incorporated along with the Salts coat of arms, which features a chevron, two mullets (stars) and an ostrich holding a horseshoe. (For a full description of that and the meaning of the symbols, see HERE).


Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Shadow play

Colour? Or mono? Either way, the fire escape on the front of the Victoria Mills apartments must be original to the old textile mill and throws some great shadows in strong sunshine. 

Monday, 26 July 2021


Bright red is such a shouty colour, isn't it? No wonder it is used to indicate danger and to draw attention to things. Our fire engines are red, so are most of our post-boxes. The old-fashioned and much beloved telephone boxes used to be red, as did London's buses.  It can be a photographer's friend... sometimes a person in a red coat can be just the thing to add a bit of spice and a focal point to an image. Often, it's a photographer's nightmare: a bit of red plastic needing to be cloned out of an otherwise peaceful beach scene. 

I will occasionally have a spell where I go looking for a particular colour. Here are a few red things I found on my wanderings. 

Sunday, 25 July 2021

The old market square, Shipley

The Otley Road end of Kirkgate in Shipley was once known, I believe, as Stocks Hill because of the town's stocks, which stood in the old market place there. The modern day view is above and the view below is as it used to be before the redevelopment in the 1950s. The modernist market hall now stands where old shops used to be. The Sun Inn on the right is one of the few Victorian buildings still remaining, along with Barclays bank on the corner of Otley Road and some of the buildings in the background, down Westgate.

The old photo above is copyright to Dorothy Burrows, a lovely lady who gave a talk to my (then) camera club. She gifted me a number of her old photos on postcards, with permission to use them. I've been meaning for ages to recreate this view, and when I spotted all the lavender in bloom in the central reservation, it seemed like a good opportunity to take. 

Saturday, 24 July 2021


Less than a mile down the road from Saltaire, Shipley is our nearest small town, with a market, supermarkets and the usual crop of charity shops and chain stores (Wilkinsons, Boots, Superdrug, Iceland and Home Bargains to name a few). The town underwent significant redevelopment in the 1950s, when back-to-back houses, condemned as slums, were demolished and the centre was rebuilt with low rise retail units and the market hall with its Brutalist clocktower. Further redevelopment in the late 1970s meant that few of the original buildings survive, and some notable old manor houses were lost.  

It's a pity. I think things are often dealt with more sensitively these days and wholesale clearance is less common. It has left Shipley - in my view - a rather characterless place, utilitarian rather than attractive, though they do their best to brighten it up with floral displays and such like. I rarely take photos in town unless there is an event taking place, so one day I thought I'd remedy that with a few general views. 

The top photo shows the square, which hosts an outdoor market a couple of days a week and is backed by the indoor market hall. Below is a view looking down Kirkgate into the square, with the market hall on the left. 

Below is Wellcroft, a largely pedestrianised precinct, product of the late 70s/early 80s. On the right is the town's public library.

A gym sits above one of those shops that sells more or less everything! (Mostly cheap imported plasticky stuff.) 

Inevitably there is a Wetherspoon's pub, named after the local benefactor Sir Norman Rae, who gifted Northcliffe Park to the town. Market Street, alongside, is effectively Shipley's bus station, with most of the local bus routes having a stopping point here.  


Friday, 23 July 2021


I stopped to enjoy the little garden beside Hirst Lock, tended by volunteers and looking quite lush at the moment. In the background, I noticed two ladies sitting sketching. I don't know if I'm right but it seems that the long period of lockdown has encouraged more people to take up such hobbies, to pass the time. I wasn't bold enough to approach them to ask if I could look at their work or take a closer photo. Some days I have the courage, other days I don't! 

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Split level

The upstairs space at Salts Works, run by design studio Split, is being offered as a co-working space and meeting room, an alternative to the kitchen table / spare room / bit of windowsill that many people have had to use to work from during this past eighteen months. With desk space, a superfast internet connection, a kitchen and excellent free coffee, I imagine it may appeal to creative entrepreneurs who don't want to have to commute to Leeds but do want to escape from home, at least for a few days a week, into a warm, supportive and convenient shared community workspace.   

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

The People Powered Press

I recently mentioned (see HERE) the new Salts Works enterprise, run by design studio Split, who have taken over a building on Saltaire Road. They held a grand opening weekend recently, so I went along to have a look. 

The ground floor is the home of The People Powered Press, which holds the Guinness world record for the largest letterpress printing press of its kind in the world (see HERE).

A non-profit Community Interest Company, they work with community groups and individuals to make large scale letterpress works. They are also planning to run workshops related to writing and printing.  

On the Open Days, they were letting visitors have a go. I watched two young ladies printing a large poster and then I was able to have a try myself, inking the letters, placing the paper on top and then rolling the huge press across it to transfer the ink to the paper. It all felt very smooth and rather satisfying. All the 'ta' posters made will, apparently, be sent to hospitals and other services that have kept us going through the pandemic, as a way of saying 'Ta' (thank you).  

(I obtained their parents' permission to use these photos but have blanked out the girls' faces anyway.) 

They have their own specially created typeface for the letterpress: Graft. The letters' forms take inspiration from the north's rich industrial heritage, using the shape of a cross-section of a steel I-beam as the start point. Their aim is 'to amplify local voices' using this 'typeface for the north'. 

Tuesday, 20 July 2021


I noticed these bright rainbow banners in the window of the main Shipley College block, celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride month. 

The building was Saltaire's original Factory Schools, opened in 1868 to educate 750 children who worked in the mill and lived in the village. There were two schools side by side, boys and girls being educated separately. They had very advanced facilities for the time, with central heating and gas lighting. I always think that it's good that is has continued ever since as an educational establishment. 

The crest below the bell tower is the Salt Family crest - and more alpacas! 

Monday, 19 July 2021

Through a mill window

There are some interesting views from Salts Mill's windows. This is from the third floor of the West Mill, looking out towards Victoria Road and the Victoria Hall. 

On the other side of the wing, there is a lovely view of the New Mill's ornate tower.

Somewhere out the back, I was interested in the fancy ironwork. I've no idea what these brackets were used for, nor why they should be so ornate. (Although I think that's just the way they did things years ago. Why make it plain when it could be more attractive?) 

Sunday, 18 July 2021

Cooking up images

I've joined a small group of photographers who are seeking to explore some more creative work than just 'straight' photos. I've long enjoyed 'just playing', though I find it is very hard to be objective about the value of my own work, especially when I've spent a while creating it. Many times I've really liked something I've done at first and then a few days or weeks later, have concluded that it isn't that good. So it will be useful to have some input from other people who don't have the emotional attachment. 

Our camera club rules preclude using textures or images that are not our own, so - in case I eventually want to enter any images into competitions - I'm engaged on a quest to build a good portfolio of my own backgrounds and textures. With that in mind, I unearthed an old scratched baking tray.  

It proved quite a good texture to use. Here are two images that I made using the tray as a layer.


Saturday, 17 July 2021

At random

I often accumulate images from my local rambles that don't really fit together and yet that I quite like, for one reason or another. Mostly I have taken them because I've noticed something just a little different about a familiar scene, something that makes me stop and look. There are several rose bushes in the allotment that runs alongside Victoria Road, with Salts Mill in the background. I can't recall seeing this bright red rose flowering with so many blooms all at once. Such a super colour... 

Then I was charmed by the 'garden party' atmosphere in front of the Stable Block cottages, beside the church drive. I don't think they are actually having a garden party, but the residents have clearly decided to delineate an area of 'garden' with the poles and bunting, and there are often friends sitting having a chat over a cuppa at one or other of the tables.

Summer is the time for repairing and painting the outside of our homes. I spotted these two chaps busy in the alley behind Lockwood Street - one doing the painting and the other adding ballast and encouragement. 

Friday, 16 July 2021

The times, they are a-changing...

The modern Ortho-Care building that I've recently featured, built in 2012, sits beside the canal at the end of the Salts Mill site. Between that and the river is a large office building, opened in 1978, that until very recently belonged to the Civil Service and housed HMRC's (Revenue and Customs) banking centre, where tax and VAT cheques used to be processed. With the move to online banking, much of this became redundant. Civil Service reorganisation has led to the departments being moved to a brand new digital centre in Leeds, though the pandemic has rather confused those plans, meaning that most staff ended up working largely from home and the planned move was to some extent disrupted.

Shipley now waits to find out what will become of this site. There have been rumours it was earmarked for residential rather than business use. I can't imagine anyone would find a good use, long-term, for a large office block and a rather outdated data centre and light industrial unit. I may be wrong but I'd predict it standing empty and deteriorating for years and then being demolished in favour of, perhaps, a retirement apartment complex or an estate of town houses. (See HERE for an interesting aerial view of the site and its surroundings). Being so close to the river may be an issue, as the site flooded badly in 2015. 

The Victoria Mills complex (now apartments) stands next door and it's interesting to compare the longevity of the architectural styles from the 19th and 20th century. One built to last, the other not so much...