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About us

Preserving and promoting Saltaire's heritage

The Saltaire Collection is located in the model industrial village of Saltaire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site near Bradford, West Yorkshire. The Collection holds documents, research papers, maps, wills, images, objects, Salt and Roberts family items, and personal stories of workers and residents. These provide important insights into Saltaire’s heritage from its foundation in the mid nineteenth century until the present day.

The Saltaire Collection is held in trust for the the community by Shipley College. Since 2014 it has been managed by the Saltaire World Heritage Education Association, a charity with the core aim of advancing education for the public benefit relating to the heritage of Saltaire.

In the last few years the Saltaire Collection has successfully:

Catalogued 6000+ historical documents, maps, plans and images on a museums-standard database

Correctly stored archive items in acid free boxes and folders

Developed policies and procedures that meet national standards

Developed a wide range of learning resources

Received many visitors -international, national and regional - and assisted in new research

Established a new website holding the catalogue and many summary pieces about Saltaire’s heritage

About our aims

The Saltaire World Heritage Education Association (SWHEA) was registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) in October 2014. Our registration number is 1158756. 

Our purpose is to advance education relating to the industrial heritage of Saltaire. In particular:

  • Supporting learners of all ages to gain a better understanding of Saltaire’s heritage and, through that, to create a desire to preserve it for the future.
  • Encouraging further research into the heritage of Saltaire and the impacts of industrial change so as to enhance the existing historical collection and the learner experience.
These aims are set out in our constitution which also describes how the charity is structured and operates.
Saltaire Collection logo - transparent with white writing

About our activities

Visitors and display panels at the Heroes and heroines Exhibition presented by the Saltaire Collection 2019
Visitors and display panels at the Heroes and heroines Exhibition presented by the Saltaire Collection in 2019

Our regular activities include:

  • Accepting new items into the Collection
  • Cataloguing the collection on a professional database to museum Spectrum standards
  • Digitising contents of the Collection to improve public access and as an aid to preservation
  • Responding to requests for information from students, researchers and historians
  • Holding exhibitions of our items
  • Developing a website to widen access to the collection
  • Providing presentations and workshops to schools, post-16 learners and other visitors

We work closely with the heritage network of local authority and independent museums in Bradford and the wider region and work collaboratively with partners such as Historic England.

About our origins

Our story starts in 1984 when Dorothy Sharp started a new job in Saltaire Library, then housed in Victoria Hall in Saltaire. Moving to Shipley College, Dorothy developed various resources on the history of Saltaire, primarily for visiting schools.

Dorothy helped to collect new items, and became known as someone interested in donations of material related to the heritage of Saltaire. With support and donations from Shipley History Society and the Saltaire Memories Group the Collection started to grow.

C3b-522: Saltaire Resource Pack 1984
C3b-522: Saltaire Resource Pack 1984

About our growth

Denys Salt in Shipley College, 1995
Denys Salt who was a good friend of the Collection and donated many important Salt family items

In 1988 Salt’s Mill new owner Jonathan Silver provided free, temporary space in the Mill for a Resource Base where the early Collection could be housed and facilities could be provided for visiting school groups. 

The Resource Base closed in 1992 and the Collection moved to the library in the Exhibition Building of Shipley College. The librarians took on the role of accepting donations, arranging exhibitions and supporting visits by schools. Dorothy Sharp left her library post in 1994.

In the mid-1990s local historians made contact with  members of the Salt family, most prominently Denys Salt, who donated items and provided much valuable information on their ancestors and on Saltaire.

During the 2000s, the growing Collection attracted a stream of volunteers to help as guides, to put on exhibitions and to catalogue and care for the items. Shipley College established ‘Friends of Shipley College’ to recognise the volunteers and provide some access to College resources.

About becoming a charity

To protect the future of the Collection and to promote and expand its use by the public, the Saltaire World Heritage Education Association was founded in 2014 as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in partnership with the Saltaire United Reformed Church.

With a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund two part-time staff were employed between 2017 and 2019 to bring professional expertise to our work. This helped us to catalogue the Collection on a professional database, establish a website to promote our activities and give access to our items, and to develop support to learners.

Heritage Lottery Fund logo
Heritage Lottery Fund logo

About the future

B1-382.1: Salts Belwarp poster
B1-382.1: Salts Belwarp poster

We are working hard at the moment to achieve accredited museum status, to relocate to a publicly-accessible building in Saltaire by the end of 2025, to further develop our website, and to establish new partnerships with community groups in the Bradford district.

These are all major steps to continue to preserve, care-for and widely share the Saltaire Collection.

You may also be interested in

SWHEA Constitution

View or download a PDF of the Constitition of the Saltaire World Heritage Education Association

Contact us

Find out how to get in touch if you have a query about the Saltaire Collection or SWHEA

Visit us

Discover how to visit the Collection, where we are located and how to get to Saltaire

Get involved

Discover the opportunities for volunteering, donating items, and supporting the Saltaire Collection