mEAndering, out and about, sEAsons

sEAsons…a living Advent


As some of you may know I live in a small market town in West Yorkshire, that is really no more than a large village, where the Pennine Moors rise steeply above us and mill chimneys are dotted around the landscape.   Like many similar places that you may be familiar with such as Holmfirth (Last of the Summer Wine country), Hebden Bridge and Halifax these places expanded from nothing more than small hamlets during the Industrial Revolution with the building of the ‘dark satanic’ mills for the woollen, cotton and silk industry.
Titus Salt was one of the many people of this era, often influenced by a religious faith, who not only built mills and factories but also provided decent housing for their workers.  Titus Salt went one step further and created a whole village namely Saltaire which is near the city of Bradford.
When we first married we lived in an old 4 storey terrace of similar mill worker’s houses over the other side of our village and they are now quite rightly listed.  There is a small park called the ‘People’s pleasure grounds’ accessed by the bridge over the stream at the bottom of the gardens – all part of the provision for the mill workers.
I mention all this because yesterday we braved the weather to visit Saltaire Village, we hadn’t been for some years, it is now a world heritage site and I desperately wanted to see the Living Advent windows. Every year 24 of the houses take part and a window is illuminated with a festive scene with one scene being ‘opened’ daily in sequence from 1st of December until 24th December and then remaining to view until 5th January.
As you can see from the first few photos the mill is enormous and no longer used for textiles but houses an Art Gallery including a collection of David Hockney paintings, a large restaurant and three floors of books, homewares, furniture and clothing.  The homewares section has display cabinets of design classics – crockery, cutlery and glasses that most people will remember from the different eras that are now very much collectible.
 The china, dishes, pots and pans on sale are all selected for their design and quality and although some items are very expensive some are much more affordable (especially at the moment whilst certain items are much reduced).  I was in absolute heaven – I could easily have come home with almost everything in the shop but decided that I would make a mental note of anything that I felt might be useful or just plain beautiful to have and plan another trip there another day.
Before going in the mill we had a wander around the streets – there is a stretch of shops along the main road down to the mill with craft shops, restaurants and cafes – beyond this is the tight network of terraced housing built on a grid system and all the streets are named after his wife, sons and daughters, Caroline, William Henry, George, Amelia, Edward, Fanny, Herbert, Whitlam, Mary, Helen and Ada.

Some houses had larger gardens, some smaller and some of them open straight onto the pavement – I expect this represented your standing in life and the importance of the work you did at the mill.  Every house was looking very festive and I particularly loved some of the wonderful colour combinations.
What would have been little corner shops and general stores are to be found at the end of many of the streets.  This one has been turned into a Bridal shop and we also discovered the local Spa.

It was so bitterly cold and wet but we walked up and down the streets with me snapping away every time we came upon another Advent window.  As it was only mid afternoon the first few were not yet illuminated but I wanted to capture as many of them as I could.  But scroll further down and you will see they come alive after dark when we went out again after the lights had been switched on.



Even the ordinary stained glass in the windows and doors of these houses look extremely festive.

And lastly we came upon Victoria Hall, originally named Saltaire Institute, such a grand building for a village I thought it deserved a photo before we came home – apparently it cost £25,000 when it was built between 1867 and 1871 and contained a main hall seating 800, a lecture room, two art rooms, a laboratory, a gymnasium, a library of 8,500 books and a reading room.
It is currently used as a venue for weddings and conferences.

This is now my last post of the Christmas season – tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and then the start of a whole new year stretching ahead of us.  I have a few ideas in mind, a lot of reading still to do and plenty of decisions to make. 
2018 feels like it might be a good year.

Happy New Year to all my readers. x

18 thoughts on “sEAsons…a living Advent”

    1. I am looking forward to the new year – I like a fresh start – the years seem to go past so quickly now. I had forgotten how much I loved Saltaire it is such a long time since we went but next visit will be on a warmer day!


    1. I quite liked the greyness as it added to the mood of the mill town and how it would have felt for the mill workers when they lived there. I loved the fact the restaurant on the main street in contrast was so colourful against the grey.
      Happy New Year Mary.


  1. Viv..thank you for the tour. What a sight and such creativity! I’ve heard of advent calendars, but never advent windows. How nice that the town comes together to do this and for you to show.


  2. I loved the tour, thank you Viv. Wonderfully festive! I’m now thinking how much fun it would be to create an Advent window… Also impressed that you have snow falling down your blog! 🙂


    1. The snow comes free with WordPress – but it is quite pretty!
      I am thinking I will do my own next year – I would also like to try and introduce the idea to our village – not sure who the committee is that runs our Christmas lighting but from what I can see of the village lights that we have at the moment they do need help!!


  3. I love Saltaire. I used to have a friend that lived in one of the houses there many years ago. I last visited Salt’s Mill maybe 8-10 years ago, but would love to go again if I’m ever in the area. I love the philanthropic history of such communities. They must have been very progressive in their time.


    1. It must be as long since we went and they have altered the approach to the mill itself you no longer reach it by the main village street unless on foot – it threw us a little to begin with – now I have been it will not be long before we go again.


  4. I loved this! I’ve heard of Saltaire and am generally fascinated by model villages…
    Plus I have some wool called Titus (named for Titus Salt, no doubt, as it’s Yorkshire wool!) 😉
    My English grandparents were from Yorkshire and I hope to do a grand tour up there in a year or two with my mom on the trail of our family tree, as it’smany years since I was there. Definitely plan to visit Saltaire, it’s gorgeous. Thankyou!


    1. Yorkshire is such a large and diverse county – I was born here and have spent the majority of my life in Yorkshire and still have not seen all of it. Titus is a good old fashioned name but hasn’t made a come back yet like some of the other boys names!


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