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Third installment: It is twenty years since Jonathan Silver bought Salts Mill; Roger Clarke got the true story of those years from Maggie Silver.

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Jonathan Silver Last month we learned how the mercurial Jonathan with his extraordinary energy put together the best in goods, service and the arts to create a unique attraction for visitors.

He was a hard headed businessman, always on the lookout for a bargain. He had always had a lot of commercial nous and an instinct for a good deal. He was ever the opportunist, never working to a pre-conceived plan and always thinking in unconventional ways; often with a sense of mischief to temper his goal getting.

In 1990 Pace Micro-electronics were attracted to the Mill. (The firm has occupied the first floor ever since.) Jonathan ploughed back the revenues gained from Pace to develop other parts of the building. In 1993 he opened the Slats Clothing Company on the second floor. A production of West Side Story and the first of many exhibitions of David Hockney’s paintings added early cultural attractions, while gala evenings with Alan Bennett, David Hockney, Tony Harrison and Victoria Wood raised £6,000 for charity. With his unique sense of drama and timing, Jonathan publicised the Mill on a nationwide scale, through all the media outlets available. Success seemed assured. But these bright, forward looking years were to be marred by tragedy. In 1995, Jonathan contracted pancreatic cancer. He died on September 25th 1997, a month before his forty-eighth birthday. Maggie described his final months to me.

To be continued... Go to previous | next


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