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Image: Michael de Greasley See also the Three Historians' blog on New Lanark to Saltaire
Background information to the trip

Dave Shaw writes: Hello to those activists & supporters involved in Saltaire's history who may be interested in a trip that David King & I are making next week to Dayton Tennessee. [The trip was made in 2012.]

It's very little known, but the Salt family created & invested heavily in a coal & iron company that members of the family created in Dayton, Tennessee (the Dayton Coal & Iron Co). The company's registered office was at the Mill in Saltaire, but the venture had nothing to do with textiles. The "venture" (the word is used in an 1887 newspaper obituary for Titus Jr) involved the establishment of mining/ furnacing/ railroad services/ workers housing etc etc, & had its origins in the 1870s - when Sir Titus was still alive. The company didn't get into production until the 1880s, under the direction of Titus Jr & Charles Stead. The family's interest in the venture came to an end the week before the collapse of Salts Mill in the 1890s, when all financial interest in Dayton was surrendered to a Glasgow based company who had by then been brought into the venture as partners.

In the 1870s Sir Titus had possession of the land in question, which passes through Richland Creek near Dayton. (The circumstances that led to this possession are very interesting in their own right). The land is about to be inaugurated as part of the Cumberland Trail (a long distance footpath running nearly 300 miles from Cumberland Gap to Chattanooga, (see ), & David King & I will be attending the opening ceremony which takes place on 4 May (Denys's 94th birthday!). In the preceeding week we'll be meeting local historians to learn as much as we can, & with a view to strengthening what contacts we already have.

We travel out on Tues 24 Apr, return on 7 May, 2012. Our trip is being helped by the kind hospitality of an old school chum - Old Hansonian George Wignall & his family - who now live in Oak Ridge, 30 mile up the road from Dayton.

Please let us know if you have particular thoughts on any of the above - & thanks for reading this.

Best wishes
Dave Shaw


Day 1: The Adventure Begins…
Wed 25th April

We arrived safely at Knoxville Airport on Tuesday evening to a warm welcome from our hosts for the first two days of the Dayton Venture 2012. As we walked through to the terminal’s baggage collection area, two placard waving supporters were there waiting for us – George & Andrea Wignall, now residents of nearby Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

George is a former Bradfordian – an Old Hansonian who pursued a successful career in polymer sciences during his appointment at the prestigious Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Laboratory had evolved from the USA’s 1940s Manhatten Project which was created to develop a nuclear capability before the Germans did so.

Bradford in the 19th century underwent an enormous expansion in its population – around 100,000 in three decades. So great was the USA’s commitment to the Manhatten Project that Oak Ridge’s population grew from a few hundred in 1941 to 75,000 in little more than two years, much of it done in top secret, within secure boundaries (“A City Behind a Fence”). The housing programme included fascinating prefabricated dwellings – many still standing - which are worth careful study in their own right.

Dave Shaw outside the Manhatten Project Guest House

Manhattan Project Guest House

Oak Ridge Housing

Oak Ridge Housing

Our first day has been spent with George, Andrea, & Andrea’s mother Sally – a lovely trio who showed us round the sites of Oak Ridge. Perfect hosts – we cannot thank them enough for their hospitality!

The Welcoming Party - George & Andrea Wignall and Andrea's mother, Sally

Tomorrow we move 40 miles down the road to Dayton – the heart of our Tennessee travels, where the Salts launched their second major venture in the 1880s.

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