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Titus Salt Junior, 1843-1887

Leading businessman and philanthropist

Titus Salt Junior was the fifth and youngest son of Sir Titus Salt. He was generally regarded as being the son who was the most likely to inherit his father’s business acumen and to take on a similar role in political and public life.

Titus Junior had an enormous impact on provision of education in Saltaire, but sadly his last endeavour hastened his death.

Early life, marriage and paternthood

Titus Junior was born in 1843, the youngest of seven surviving children in the Salt family.

Titus Junior married Catherine Crossley, daughter of the wealthy Halifax carpet manufacturer, Joseph Crossley, in 1866. They honeymooned in Venice and Switzerland and initially lived at Baildon Lodge. 

The couple had four children, Gordon Locksley Salt (born 1866); Harold Crossley Salt (born 1868); Lawrence Titus Whitlam Salt (born 1874) and Mary Isabel Salt (born 1876).

2018.3.15.2: Catherine Salt (1880s)
2018.3.15.2: Catherine Salt (1880s)

Milner Field House and Estate

A2-045: South face of Milner Field house in about 1885
A2-045: South face of Milner Field house in about 1885

Within a year of their marriage Titus Junior purchased 161 acres of rich arable pasture together with an old mansion house, two farm houses, a coach house and stables, collectively known known as the Milner Field Estate. Situated on a hill above Saltaire in the area of Gilstead in Bingley. It was a short carriage ride’s distance from Salts Mill.

The old mansion on the estate was pulled down and Titus Junior commissioned a little-known architect, Thomas Harris, to design a grand new house that was completely different in design to the Italianate style of Salts Mill and Saltaire. 

When the extensive new house was completed its interior was as grand as its exterior. Extensive conservatories had been constructed, large landscaped and kitchen gardens and a model farm were established, and a boating lake was well stocked with trout. A coach road was established to create ready access to Saltaire and Salts Mill. 

Working for the family firm

Titus Junior entered the family firm in 1863 aged twenty years. Within two years of his involvement his eldest brother, William Henry and a non-family partner, William Evans Glyde, had retired from the business.

Two other brothers George and Edward Salt remained in the family firm, but their sibling Herbert Salt never entered the business and was a farmer for most of his long life. 

It was to be Titus Junior who entered fully into the public life of the local area and who played a major part in the final stages of the development of Saltaire and its public amenities.

2018.41.1: Titus Salt Junior
2018.41.1: Titus Salt Junior

Social and political activities

C2a-018_001: Conversazione in Victoria Hall
C2a-018: Conversazione in Victoria Hall

As early as July 1865, Titus Junior was reported as donating money to the foundation and building of the Northern Counties Asylum. He rapidly extended his political, charitable and public profile.

In 1867 he was appointed as a trustee of the Bradford Infirmary and Dispensary fund; donated money for the proposed Bradford Fever Hospital; was appointed a vice president of the Royal Albert Asylum for Idiots and Imbeciles of the Northern Counties; contributed money to a new lifeboat station in Milford Haven and was recorded as attending several meetings of the local Liberal Party. 

He went on to be elected as a Bradford Town Councillor (East Ward), to chair the Shipley Schools Board for many years, and to attend many Bradford Council sub-committee meetings. He  initiated many social events of which the best known are probably the annual three-day Conversazione and the public ‘magic lantern’ shows in the Saltaire Club and Institute

His experimented with the newly invented telephone, with lines between Milner Field and Salts Mill and later to Halifax.

School and Institute

In 1868, the new ‘Salt Schools’ for children aged 8 to 13 years were completed half way up Victoria Road with extensive external grounds. These schools could accommodate 750 children. 

At the same time, building work began on a grand new building across the road that was named ‘the Saltaire Club and Institute’ (known today as Victoria Hall). In a printed circular addressed to the people of Saltaire in May 1870, Titus Junior explained that his father’s purpose in creating this multi-purpose building was to provide a ‘social club and an educational institute to supply the advantages of a public house without its evils and that the provisions of the Saltaire Institute were to be for innocent and intelligent recreation  including a reading room; a library; a chess and draughts room; a smoking room; a billiard room; a bagatelle room; a lecture hall seating 600 people; lecture theatres for 150 people; a science laboratory; a school of Art; various classrooms; a curator’s house; a gymnasium and rifle drill rooms’.

C2b-172 Photograph of Victoria Hall taken from the Salts School
C2b-172 Photograph of Victoria Hall taken from the Salts School

Promoting education

F1a_085_001: Shipley School Board Report on First three years
F1a_085_001: Shipley School Board Report on First three years

Titus Junior was passionate and vociferous in his work to organise the new Salt schools and to ensure some additional ‘day’ school provision and ‘post 13 years’ night school facilities in the Institute.

He recognised the importaneence of improving elementary education for children under 9 years of age and argued the case for a Shipley Schools Board which was established in 1874 with himself as Chairman. With his wife Catherine he promoted the Kindergarten method of education for young children – initiated by Friedrich Froebel, a German pedagogue – a method that was to become widespread practice in English schools. 

A lecture he organised on the Kindergarten method was held in December 1877 in Victoria Hall and a new elementary school on Albert Road opened with 815 scholars on Monday 28 January 1878.

New School of Art and Science and the Royal Yorkshire Exhibition

In October 1886 Titus Junior proposed a plan to ‘raise a memorial to his father’ by building a new School of Art and Science to be erected on land behind the Institute. He also  proposed an international exhibition at Saltaire to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in 1887. The ticket sales from the exhibition, to run from May to October 1887, were to help defray the building costs together with public subscriptions.

He announced that the new building would be designed by Messrs. Lockwood and Mawson in the Italianate Style, that it would house fourteen large classrooms, have a 70 feet by 40 feet central hall, and a gallery would run around all of this. The building was completed by April 1887.

Titus Junior, as chair of the Royal Yorkshire Jubilee Exhibition committee met Aldermen in Bradford Town Hall in January 1887 to further the plans for the exhibition. These included a reception for royal visitors who he had arranged to attend and perform the inauguration ceremony for the new school and to open the exhibition.

The royal visitors were Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter Beatrice and her husband, Prince Henry of Battenberg. They  stayed as guests of Titus Junior and his wife Catherine at Milner Field, arriving on May 5, 1887.

2018. Arrival of Princess Beatrice for the opening of new School of Art and Science
2018. Arrival of Princess Beatrice for the opening of new School of Art and Science


2018.3.15.1: Titus Salt Junior, 1880s
2018.3.15.1: Titus Salt Junior, 1880s

Sadly, in the event, the Royal Exhibition ticket sales and subscriptions did not cover the cost of the new School of Art and Science. Titus Junior was very aware of the financial problems his efforts resulted in for the Saltaire schools, in which he had invested so much of his time and energy. 

On 18 November 1887 he was due to preside over a meeting of the executive committee for the exhibition at Salts Mill in the afternoon. At 12 noon, ‘due to feeling indisposed’, he sent his apologies for not being able to attend and he left for Milner Field where he had lunch, took a walk around the grounds and returned to the house at 3.45 pm.

According to reports at the time, he entered the smoking room to rest himself but was ‘taken immediately worse’ and his butler summoned Catherine. When she reached her husband’s side, he was unconscious and very shortly afterwards died.


The obituaries for Titus Junior were long and praiseworthy. He was noted as having ‘inherited much of that business acumen and enterprise so conspicuously displayed by his father’ and he was seen as pursuing his father’s goals to promote the social and intellectual well-being of the people ‘amongst whom he lived’.

He was praised for his establishment of a fine group of Saltaire schools and for supporting the innovative methods of education established in the Albert Road Board School. 

The ‘New School of Art and Science’ had a long history of providing technical education and is now known as the Exhibition Building and is part of Shipley College. It is much more Titus Junior’s legacy than that of his father. 

Titus Junior should be remembered with great affection at the very least for the exemplary work he did to develop and promote education in Saltaire for all age groups of learners.

E1b-009a: Albert Road Board School infant class, 1910
E1b-009a: Albert Road Board School infant class, 1910

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