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Image: Michael de Greasley
Anne Foster & Leslie Lumb

Research by Roger Clarke

Anne and Leslie married on 10th August 1946 at the Bradford Registry Office. They now live in New Zealand. Here's what Saltaire was like when they married.

The request...

Louisa Irving's grandparents, Anne and Leslie Lumb were married in Bradford on 10 August 1946 and later emigrated to New Zealand where they raised their family. Louisa wrote to me from New Zealand, where they still live, to ask if I could let her know what life was like in Saltaire at the time of her grandparents wedding. Her plan was to surprise her grandparents with some nostalgia at their 60th wedding anniversary party. My research is below. There are also some memories of Anne Lumb and some photographs of the happy celebration.

Image: Anne and Leslie Lumb

The research...

My first steps were to visit the Library in Bradford. They have copies of the Shipley Times and Express for 3rd, 14th and 21st August, 1946, and Telegraph and Argus newspapers for that time. Their email address is and you may like to contact them to see if they can send you copies (photocopies that is). They charge 80p per A3 sheet, and there will probably be postage and package charges. Each Times has about 12 pages.

Since the most evocative memories tend to be triggered by parts of the popular culture of the time, another contact might be Eden Camp near Malton, which specialises in wartime memorabillia. I know that they have a tape or perhaps a CD of wartime popular music, and you might create the right atmosphere at the celebration if you were able to play some. Their email address is

4 million demobbed...

To create the right atmosphere you have to realise that 4 million men were demobilised (demobbed) between June, 1945 and December, 1946, and that 305,000 servicemen had lost their lives in the conflict. Everyone knew someone who had been killed. In addition, food and fuel were in short supply and there was still rationing right through to late in the decade. Queues were inevitable outside food shops, and your grandmother will remember them well.

What life was like in 1946...

  • Average wages at the time were about £7 per week for a skilled man and £5 for unskilled.
  • Saltaire houses were being sold for around £300 each. There were blackleaded ranges, with open coal fires, ovens and hot water boilers built in in the living room, and a small gas ring in the kitchen + a set pot or copper boiler for washing. You had to light a fire under the boiler in order to wash your clothes.
  • There was a tin (zinc) bath hung at the back of the house, which would be brought into the living room on Friday night, filled with hot water, and all the family would have bathed (whether they needed it or not!).
  • Houses had been owner-occupied since being sold off by the Mill in 1933.
  • Your grandparents will remember the shops on Victoria Road, including Vimto's at Number 1 and Feather's butchers at Number 10.
  • At Victoria Hall, Ronnie Lomas and his 10 piece orchestra played at regular dances.
  • Local cinemas were well attended. On 3rd August, 1946, the Glenroyal was showing "Shanghai Gesture" starring Victor Mature and Walter Huston, and the Gaumont featured "The Dolly Sisters" with Betty Grable. Favourite actors were James Mason, Stewart Granger, Margaret Lockwood and Anna Neagle.
  • Bertram Mills Circus and Menagerie opened in Peel Park, Bradford on 19th August, 1946, so your grandparents would have missed them!
  • Favourite songs of the year were "Anything you can do, I can do better" and "Down in the Valley".
  • Beer was 16d a pint, it cost 3d to post a letter, 20 Player's Medium cigarettes wewre 3/2d, a dozen eggs were 29d, Brook Bond Dividend tea was 1/7d for half a pound, sugar was two and a half d for a pound, a man's suit cost 7 pounds, a woman's dress 5 pounds, and an Austin 7 car was 597 pounds new.
  • Favourite radio programmes included Housewives Choice, Mrs Dale's Diary, Dick Barton, Special Agent, and Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh. Don't worry, your grandparents will recognise them immediately!!
  • In 1946, Victoria Hall was where you went to renew your Ration Book. Butter and margerine were still on ration, and for the first time bread was rationed to 4oz a day for an adult (in July, 1946).
  • Your grandparents got out just in time!! On Friday, 24th January, 1947, snow began to fall and continued until 16th March. The River Thames froze over and there was a fuel crisis because coal could not be moved to the power stations. When the thaw eventually came there were widespread floods.
  • I hope that these researches go some way to providing a really happy day for you all.
    Let me know the outcome.

Roger Clarke

Louisa Irving:

We had a wonderful day celebrating and reminiscing about old times.   They received a card from the Queen of England, a card from the New Zealand Prime Minister and other cabinet members.  They received many bouquets of flowers and cards from friends they have made over the years.  We celebrated with family at my aunty and uncles house - my grandma and granddad have a lovely house at the bottom of their property so it was nice and easy for them to get there. This property was bought on arrival in NZ and has been in our family 40 years.

My grandparents owned a fish and chip shop on Norwood Avenue Shipley which they sold before they came here.  My cousins and I have all been to Yorkshire and have visited Saltaire - my mum and I had lunch in the pub on the river bank and got a parking ticket on the main street!!  My mum and uncle went to Albert Rd junior school - both were born in Shipley Maternity home. 

We have family still living in Queensbury and my great uncle (who was part owner of the fish shop) passed away recently - he never made it to New Zealand but loved to hear tales of our life on this side of the world.  Technology made the world a lot smaller and my grandparents emailed him right up until he passed away - we have video clips of him meeting his great nieces.

Let me know if there is anything else specifically you would  like to know and we would be happy to help

Again thanks for everything - they absolutely loved your information about war times in Saltaire

Best regards

Memories of Saltaire by Anne Lumb, nee Foster

There used to be an optician in the middle of Gordon Terrace and by the tram stop at the corner there was a hairdresser called Tillotson’s  

Down Victoria Road at the top there were Alms Houses, back to backs and further down on the left hand side there was a row of shops and Reddys Café was on the corner of, I think it was Titus Street, there was a Chemist Chop on the opposite corner. 

Reddy’s Café was upstairs, the shop was downstairs.  During the war soldiers came up and I was working in the back room with an urn and cups etc most of the local people worked in Salt Mill there were all terrace houses with outside toilets.  The bread and cakes to be sold in Reddy’s were delivered daily from the parent shop and bakery opposite the tram shed beside the picture house.

Park Grove went up on the right of Saltaire picture house and Les’s family rented a house there once.  Les worked at the bottom of Hirst Lane, at Wigglesworth’s making pulleys in the foundry, he was an apprentice molder. Also at the bottom of Hirst Lane, turn left and there was a grocer’s shop where I once worked.

 There was the Rosse Hotel - where the roundabout at Saltaire now is - and up the side there were small back to back terrace houses where my mother and father lived.  There was also Chell’s Butcher Shop up the left hand side of the Rosse Hotel and at the bottom of the little terrace houses there was a Fish & Chip shop around the corner from the Butcher’s, and the fish & chips were beautiful.  At the back of the pub there was a small factory where I worked for a short time making electric lamps of some kind.  

Anne and Leslie Lumb on their Diamond wedding anniversary.

Patience pays off - the newspaper article appearing in New Zealand.

Leslie and Anne Lumb

Anne and Leslie Lumb's family - here celebrating with them on their anniversary.






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