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Colin Coates, historian
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Colin Coates writes: The diary shows events in Saltaire from 100 years ago . The primary source of our information is the Shipley Times newspaper which was published every Friday throughout the war years.
We have where possible, used the exact wording from the newspaper. Where appropriate, there are links to soldiers' biographies and the snippets section.

UPDATE: February 2019

Colin Coates and his wife, Maree, have left the UK for Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia. The Saltaire War (and post-war) Diary will continue, along with Colin's other Saltaire researches. Wishing Colin and Maree every happiness for their new life, down-under.

November, 2018
Colin writes: As the World War One Diary draws to a close, I am about to open a new chapter in my life. After working for 46 years I have decided to retire at the end of 2018. Then in February 2019 I am going to live in Australia with my wife, Maree.

Whilst I will miss my friends in Saltaire it does not mean the end of my work exploring Saltaire’s fascinating history. As my research is done online there is no reason why I cannot continuing with it once we are settled in Australia.

With the help of Pamela Reynolds, I will be publishing a monthly diary recalling events from 100 years ago in Saltaire. This diary will start in January 2019. Biographies of Saltaire people form a large part of my work. I will be continuing this by writing biographies for those who worked in the mill at Saltaire.

I would like to thank Pamela for publishing my work on the Saltaire Village website. It is a website all those interested in Saltaire should be proud of. I intend adding to its content for many years to come.

Please feel free to contact me on with any comments or queries.

Saltaire Times March 1919

Victory Ball

Consistent with the large-hearted support which the cause of' the discharged and demobilised soldier and sailor has received at the hands of Shipley people has been the result, of tile seven days' campaign, which opened February 24th and concluded on March 2nd.
As intimated in last week’s Express the ex-Service men of Shipley will improve their club premises, and the funds raised during last week will enable them talk over old campaigning days amid every circumstance of comfort.
The big event of the week was Victory Ball last Friday evening (28 February) at the Victoria Hall, the Saltaire. The sale of tickets had exceeded the committee’s estimate, and the prevalence of the influenza, so often the skeleton at the feast had no adverse effect upon the attendance. The hall lends itself to simple schemes of decoration, and last Friday yellow muslin and white curtains were sufficient to produce a charming effect. Fancy costume predominated There were any amount of original ideas, always cleverly and often delicately portrayed.

Salt’s Hospital

Mr. Clifford Fry has announced his intention of resigning his position as honorary secretary of Sir Titus Salt’s Hospital.
The late Mr. Fry, his father, was clerk to the Governors for a number of years, and during two years of that period Mr. Clifford Fry, in consequence his father's poor health, acted as deputy-clerk. Upon the retirement of his father was invited to undertake the clerkship, but he promised instead to become honorary secretary if the Governors would appoint a new clerk, and the result was that Mr. Thomas Luxton was appointed.
Mr. Clifford Fry intended to retire before the outbreak of the war, but when the hospital was made an auxiliary to the St. Luke’s Military Hospital at Bradford additional responsibilities and heavier work resulted and Mr. Fry undertook to continue. It is only since the military released the institution that he has announced his desire to resign.
During the war about 1,700 wounded soldiers were treated at the hospital, and the resources of every branch of the hospital organisation were tested in consequence. is in the last four years that Mr. Fry’s services have been especially valuable, and the members of the Board have recorded in the following resolution their sense of appreciation: “That the Board accepts with the greatest possible regret the resignation of Mr. Clifford Fry in his position of honorary secretary of the Hospital from 31st March next. The Board desires to place on record its appreciation of the work done and interest shown in the institution by Mr. Fry for a number of years, both prior and since his appointment as honorary secretary. Such work has been most willingly and excellently done, and Mr, Fry's assistance during the period of the war has been invaluable and tended very largely to the success achieved by the institution.'’
Other tributes to Mr. Fry's services have been paid by Mrs. Titus Salt, one of the Governors (on behalf of herself and other members of her family), and by Mrs. F. Rhodes (in the name of the Local Comforts Fund Committee, of which she was hon. treasurer).

Spiritualist Church
The Editor of the Shipley Times has received the following letter from Mr. Harry Claughton, secretary of the Saltaire Spiritualist Lyceum and Church: —Sir, I desire to thank you for the success that has attended the efforts of our Church' since placed our advertisement the columns of your valuable paper. Week by week we are visited by strangers who, until they saw our advertisement your paper, did not know there was a Spiritualist Church in Saltaire.

War Zone

Speaking on Saturday (22 March) evening at the Saltaire Congregational School, Mr. J W. Sowden, of Shipley, made his first public reference to what he saw in the war zone while member of the Government Textile Commission.
I am one of the few civilians (he said) have to now had the possibility and the privilege of seeing the amount of devastation done in the war in certain parts of Northern France and Belgium. I was deputed to represent the whole of the loom makers Yorkshire and Lancashire on Government Commission gentleman representing makers of spinning, weaving, dyeing, and finishing machinery for the manufacture of all classes of textile goods, with a view to reporting to our Government the possible needs of machinery in the devastated areas to replace the machinery taken away or wilfully broken up by the Germans.
I, along with the other members, have made report to the Government, and it will, I suppose, be published in due course. 1 can tell you I was horrified with what I saw visit. I saw empty weaving sheds, which bad been cleared out entirely of the whole of the machinery; one mill of over 800 looms, together with alt the preparing machinery and dyeing and finishing machinery, engine, boilers, shafting—nothing whatever was left but the bare walls. This machinery had been deliberately broken up and despatched to Germany as old metal. Another spinning mill had been cleared over 150,000 cotton spindles. I could relate scores similar cases, and when I say that if you took fifty mills as large as the Saltaire Mills and broke every bit of machinery in those fifty mills it would not represent the machinery stolen by the Germans.


Lecturing on “Dickens” last Thursday (20 March) evening to the members of the Shipley and District Workers’ Educational Association, Mr. F. J. Fuller, M.A. Headmaster of the Boys High School, Saltaire, emphasised Dickens's great power of observation and his habit of making written notes on the peculiarities of people whom he met.


The Saltaire Cricket Club are strengthening their team for the coming season. Barnes is staying, and the new players include Harry Turner (Laisterdyke), W. Holmes (Armley), R. C. Somers (Laisterdyke), and Sid Smith, who has been serving in Salonika.


Saltaire Grove played return friendly match with Secondary School on Saturday. The school team won the previous match two goals nil, but Saturday the result was a draw of two goals each. Whittaker and Eckles scored for the Grove, and Alty (2) tor the School.

Small Ads

FOR Sale, Large TOOL CHEST and Dog Kennel. —2, Myrtle Place, Saltaire.
(Colin’s note – In 1919 the occupants were Harold Baker and his wife Florrie. Harold served in WW1.)

WANTED, ERRAND BOY, one Just leaving school preferred.—B. Feather and Son, Boot Stores, 73. Bingley Road, Saltaire.

In Memoriam

KEIGHLEY.—In loving memory of our dear brother, Lance-Corporal Harry Keighley, killed in action March 31st, 1918. From his Sister and Brother-in-law, Laura and Willie.
KEIGHLEY.—In loving memory of our dear son and brother. Lance-Corporal Harry Keighley, East Yorkshire Regiment, who was killed in action Bousincourt, March 31st, 1918. Mother, Father, and Family. 63, George Street, Saltaire.


28 March 1919 – Elizabeth Green died after 20 minutes, Sarah Green died after 30 minutes. Both of 16 Jane Street.

Saltaire Times February 1919

The Double Event Team

The two sets of gold medals won last season in the Bradford Cricket League and the Priestley Charity Cup Competition by the champions, Saltaire, were presented on Saturday night (1 February) at the Wesleyan School, by Mr. J. J. Booth (President of the League), and Councillor T. Hill, J P., the recipients being: S. F. Barnes (captain), Robert Outram, Nathan Firth, Schofield Swithenbank, Harold Pratt, Alfred Wellburn, Wilfred Moody, John Slack. Percy Whitley, Harry Feather, Herbert Sedgewick, Robert Eastwood, Clem Smith, and Harold Hutton.

In recognition of the “double event,” the club committee presented a gold medal to Mr. George Birberk (President), Mr. Ernest Butterfield handing it over, and one to Robert Gill, the club's scorer for almost 30 years past, and who received a gold watch when he had completed 25 years. Mr. Gill has the longest scoring service in the league.

A cricket ball, inscribed, presented to Mr. S. F. Barnes, the captain, a souvenir of the “hat trick” he performed at Park Avenue against Bankfoot in the final for the Priestley Cup last year, and the silver cup to the player under 18 scoring most runs the Second Division of the league in 1918 was awarded to Ernest Smith, of Saltaire, aged 17, whose total for the season was 336, an average 22.5.

The distribution of the medals and souvenirs attracted large number of the club’s supporters, 200 of whom had sat down to tea at four o'clock, and at the concert the programme was rendered by Mr. Harry Holmes (bass). Miss Lancaster (soprano), Mr. Gordon Illingworth (elocutionist), Mr. John Hudson (tenor), the Shipley Working Men's Club Glee Party, and Mr. V. Calverley (accompanist).

300 Soldiers Entertained

One of the finest treats given on a large scale to wounded soldiers to wounded soldiers took place at the Victoria Hall. Saltaire, Monday night, (3 February) when 325 patients at St. Luke’s, Field House, and Morton Banks Hospitals were entertained to a splendid tea and supper and an excellent concert by the Shipley District Master Butchers’ Association, whose wives and lady friends presided at be tables.

Mr. F. J. Holdsworth (President of the Association), and Cr. T. Hill, J.P. (Chairman of the- Shipley Urban Council) gave the men a hearty welcome and hoped they would have a good time. Before the guests left they were presented with apples, oranges, cigars, cigarettes, and tobacco.

Fire at Hirst Mills

Damage to the amount of £800 was done to materials and machinery by fire in the old wing of the Hirst Mills, Saltaire, last Thursday (30 January) morning, and this part of the building was also destroyed. The mills are run by Messrs. Glyn Thomas & Co. Ltd, flock bedding manufacturers, but we understand that they are not the owners. The smart work of the Brigade, under Captain Wilks, in getting a blaze well in hand in four hours or so and saving the new section of the mills, is much appreciated by the firm.

(Colin’s note - £800 is worth c£40,000 in 2019)

Lady Motor Driver Gives Lecture

In connection with the Hon. Evelina Haverfield’s and Sergeant Major Flora Sanders Comforts Fund for Serbian Soldiers and Prisoners, Miss Holme, of the Scottish Ladies Ambulance, gave an interesting lecture, illustrated by lantern slides on “Serbia and its People,” to the boys of the Saltaire Grammar School on Tuesday (11 February) afternoon.

The lecture recounted many thrilling episodes connected with her work of motor driver to the Ambulance during the time they were with the Serbian Forces. Most of the pictures shown were actual photos taken on the spot by Miss Holme, who managed to conceal both camera and pictures when the Ambulance staff were captured by the Germans.

A collection at the end of the lecture by the Principal (Mr Manning) realised £3 8s 6d.

Victoria Hall Bazaar

Great enthusiasm marked the opening of the three days Shipley second patriotic bazaar and whist drive on Wednesday (12 February) afternoon at the Victoria Hall, Saltaire. The place was smartly decorated, there was large gathering of workers and supporters, and Mr. H. Norman Kae, M.P. for the Shipley Division, came down from London perform the opening ceremony. Having done this, he subscribed £25 to the funds.

Altogether the event, which was re-opened yesterday afternoon, and concludes to-morrow with a big whist drive, promises to be every bit of the success for which the promoters are hoping and working.

The purpose for which the bazaar is being held is to raise funds for Sailors and Soldiers Pensions Fund, which commenced some time ago to augment, the Government pensions in cases of distress and where the pension is insufficient.

The fund is administered by a local committee appointed yearly, and every case is thoroughly examined and enquired into, and it is hoped to raise sufficient money provide for all needy cases, thereby keeping all from want. The expenses of the bazaar are practically nil, nearly the whole the outlay being defrayed by private subscriptions.

Labour Party Meeting

The origin of wars, means for their prevention, and Labour's place in international relationships were discussed by Mr. Philip Snowden in and address delivered on Sunday (16 February) evening at the Victoria Hall, Saltaire, under the auspices of the Shipley Divisional Labour Party and the Shipley Trades and Labour Council.

The speech was a criticism of the League of Nations policy of the Paris Conference, and at the same time a resume of Mr. Snowden’s position on war as a final solution of international controversy.

A large audience was presided over by Councillor N. J. Morton (Secretary of the Windhill Cooperative Society), and there were also on the platform Councillors T. W. Stamford and T. Blythe. Mr. and Mrs. Le Huray, and Messrs. T. Snowden, C.C., A, Mosby. W. Dickinson, S. Hird, A. Dixon, J. W. Jordan, S. Lancaster, and Jas. Smith (Organiser and Agent to the Divisional Labour Party).

The War Memorial Question

In the "Bradford Daily Argus” of Tuesday was the following “Gossip”:-The idea, of bringing the Saltaire lnstitute and Victoria Hall up to date, and of, making it the centre of the social and intellectual life the Shipley district, as a war memorial, has a strong rival in a scheme for converting the Grange (which has been occupied by Belgian refugees) into a maternity and child welfare centre, and of laying out the grounds as a public park.

Incidentally a much needed improvement the widening the junction Otley Road and Bradford would become practicable were the latter project adopted. All the same there is a growing feeling the town that the magnificent institute and hall at Saltaire ought to be changed from the white elephant they now are into some more serviceable type of animal.

The War at Sea – Naval Expert at Saltaire

By a lecture which delivered at the Victoria Hall, Saltaire, on Wednesday (19 February) under the auspices the Saltaire Institute Society, Mr. Harold Feber subscribed materiality to a gradually increasing public knowledge of the war activities of the British Navy.

Mr. Feber speaks simply and frankly on a subject with which he has a close practical association and is a recognised authority on. When Mr. Feber tells an audience—as he told his on Wednesday—that in 1910 the “Kaiser Wilhelm der Gross” was carrying 5.9 inch guns concealed below waiting for The Day,” and that the fact he was probably the first Englishman board to discover the fact, one receives an impression of the vast disclosures which may yet be made concerning the activities of ‘‘The Silent Service.”

Mr. Feber illustrated his lecture with a series of lantern slides, Mr. J. W. Calvert was a good lanternist.

Saltaire Times January 1919

Sample advert

Saltaire Diary, 1919, January

Transcription: F.A. AMATEUR CUP - ROUND TWO
(Northern League)
Saturday, January 26th
Kick-off 2.45 p.m.
Boys and Pensioners 6d.

Welcome for Captives
The Ladies Committee of the Shipley Prisoners of War Fund are informing the subscribers that the arrangement under which parcels were forwarded to the prisoners of war is no longer in operation, and that at a recent meeting of the committee it was decided to give the men as they return the benefit of the money, seeing that many of the men arrive home in a very weak condition.
There are about 100 Shipley, Windhill, and Saltaire men who are prisoners, and on 16 January the committee will entertain the returned men to tea, and at seven p.m. a reception and concert will be held in the Victoria Hall, to give them a welcome home.

Motor Ambulance

We understand that an effort is being made by the Shipley “special constables” to raise £1,000 for the purchase of a motor ambulance to be presented to the Shipley Urban Council by the “specials”.
Mr Percy Taylor, of Saltaire, who has been in charge of the “specials,” has received a donation of £100 from Sir Titus Salt, Bart., Sons and Co. Ltd.
(Colin’s note – In 1919 Peter lived at 3 Nab Lane in Shipley, not in Saltaire. £1,000 is worth c£51,000 in 2019)

Roberts Scholarship

Sir James Roberts, late of Milner Field, Bingley, now of Strathallan Castle, has intimated his wish to set up a fund of £2,000 for the provision of two leaving scholarships tenable at a university, at the Bingley Boys Grammar School, and the gift has been accepted by the school.
The scholarships are to be styled the “Roberts Scholarships,” and founded by Sir James in memory of his eldest two sons – Mr James William Roberts, who died in South Africa many years ago, and Mr Bertram F Roberts, who was associated with his father in the business at Saltaire Mills. Both the sons were pupils at the Bingley Grammar School.

Oldest Overlooker

The early days of the Saltaire Mills are recalled by the death on 21 January of Mr John Hanson of 8 Glen View Terrace, Shipley, in his 86th year. He was in the employment of Mr Titus Salt (afterwards Sir Titus Salt) when that gentleman ran a mill in Bradford, and he removed to Shipley when the Salt family started the Saltaire Mills, working as a drawing and spinning overlooker. He was the oldest member of the Overlookers’ Union in the Bradford district.
He leaves three sons and three daughters, two of the latter living in Metheun, USA. When Mr Hanson was 74 years of age he visited his daughters in the States for 6 months. He was the eldest man on board ship, and his “sea-legs” were so good that he was fond of telling his friends afterwards that he never missed a meal crossing the “herring pond,” and he was also proud of the fact that he received a couple of Marconi-grams. In politics he was a Liberal. The funeral took place on Saturday 25 January at the Shipley Parish Church, following a service at St Peter’s Shipley.


Mr Alexander Watson paid a return visit to the Saltaire Institute on Wednesday night, (22 January). His programme was of a diversified character, including a Shakespearian selection, a couple of Kipling’s poems for children, a Barrie sketch; “The Coward” by Robert Surface; and Conan Doyle’s “The Guards Came Through.”
He prefaced the last named with one or two experiences of his own on the Somme when reciting at the soldiers’ entertainment.

Soldiers Entertained

The Rosse St. Baptist Women’s Own have entertained to tea the wounded soldiers from Sir Titus Salt’s Hospital, Saltaire, and the soldiers (serving and discharged) connected with that place of worship.
After tea, fruit, sums of money, matches, and cigarettes were given to the men, and musical items and games were indulged in.
The artistes were: - The Women’s Own, the Misses Holmes, Logan, Raistrick, Walker, Hewson, Greenwood, and Mrs Broadbent. Mr Black, who presided, extended a welcome to the men and Mr J T Riddihough expressed the appreciation of the soldiers and sailors.


At the Saltaire Congregational Church on Wednesday (29 January) the marriage took place of Mr George H Holdsworth, of 54 Leyburn Grove Shipley, eldest son of the late Mr and Mrs Frank Holdsworth, of Bradford, and Miss May Whiteley, of Aire View, Shipley.
The Rev. P. Drummond Pringle officiated. The bride was given away by her father, and Mr Harold Holdsworth (brother of the bridegroom) was best man. The bridesmaids were Miss Marjorie Whiteley (cousin of the bride) and the Misses Lilian and Marian Holdsworth (daughters of the bridegroom, who is a widower). The honeymoon is being spent in Devonshire. 

Whist Drive

In celebration of the termination of the war, and to mark the unusual conditions which brought into the public services so many ladies and gentlemen, the officials and staff of the various public departments in Shipley are arranging to hold a whist drive supper, and dance at the Victoria Hall, Saltaire, next Thursday (6 February) evening.

Art Exhibition

An Art Exhibition, a special feature of which is a valuable collection of engravings of the greatest British artists of the Victorian era is to be opened at the Technical School. Saltaire, to-morrow (Saturday 16 January) afternoon under the auspices of the Shipley Education Committee and the Shipley Workers’ Educational Association. In the evening an illustrated lecture will be given on “English Art.”


St Pauls 25 January - Edwin Firth, a dyers labourer aged 24, of 5 Jane Street, married  Sarah Ann Pitts, a drawer aged 23, of 34 Field Street, Shipley.


The death has taken place of Mr J W Helliwell, headmaster of Fewston Council School at the age of 55. He was a native of Saltaire and went to Fewston about twenty years ago.
(Colin’s note – Fewston is a village 10 miles north of Otley)


Feather – 21 January, at 19 Gordon Terrace, Enos Feather, the beloved husband of Eva Feather. Interred at Nab Wood Cemetery on Friday 24 January.

Midgley – 29 January, at 5 Higher School Street, William S Midgley, aged 53. Deeply mourned.


St Pauls 13 January – Edgar Crabtree, aged 11 months, of 8 Mary Street.  

In Memoriam

In ever loving memory devoted husband and father, Charles William Brown, of 41, George Street, who fell asleep January 9th, 1918, aged 67. From his sorrowing Wife and Daughters, Lilian and Maud. 41, George Street.



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