Saltaire Village, World Heritage Site




The Saltaire Sentinel
Saltaire Village World Heritage Site
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Back button | Home | Saltaire Sentinel index | October 2007

Saltaire people: FRANK AND ILMA SENIOR

In June, 2005, Frank and Ilma Senior celebrated their Diamond Wedding anniversary.  Frank is now 87 years, and Ilma (whose name is Finnish), is 84 years old.  They have both spent most of their lives in Shipley and Saltaire, and both worked in Salts Mill.

Ilma’s family on her mother’s side were Sykes, a large family who all lived in Saltaire and worked in the Mill.  On her father’s side were the Watmoughs.  She was born in Windsor Road in a fish and chip shop, owned by her parents. This housing was demolished in 1967, and Asda supermarket was built on the site in 1984.  At 14, like most young people in the area, she went into Salts Mill – first in the burling and mending, and then into the Office.  She attended Business School in the evenings to gain her RSA qualifications.

Conscription into the ATS came in 1942, in the Accounts section.  Returning home in 1945, she and Frank married, and a year later their only son, Geoffrey was born.  Ilma remained at home until 1962, when a favour to a relative led her back to Salts for a “temporary” job to do some stocktaking – which lasted until she retired in 1975!

Frank was born at 3, Katherine Street, Saltaire.   His father was a loom tuner and his mother a weaver at Salts Mill.  When he left school at 14 years he started work there himself.  He was first a bobbin tube piler for 3 months, then on the gatehouse as errand boy,  then in the Enquiry Office and finally in the Design Dept and the Sales Costing Office before entering the RAF where he trained as ground crew, maintaining the aircraft.  After being stationed in this country, the inevitable posting overseas came with a long haul by sea to Port Said (the Mediterranean was effectively closed to shipping, and a trip around the Cape was necessary).  He returned home in 1945 and demobbed in March, 1946, to return to Salts Mill as a Sales Costing Clerk once again.  By 1957 he had become Costing Manager for finished fabric, where he remained until his retirement in 1983.

Frank had lived with his parents in Edward Street, Saltaire (which they were offered for £250 as sitting tenants by Gresswells estate agents), but after the War he and Ilma moved to Earl Street (which ran off St Pauls Road) and lived there between 1946 and 1960.  They still remember, with nostalgia, the community spirit there. These back to back houses are now demolished.  Since 1960 they have lived in Marlborough Road.  They recall that before the War Marlborough Road had huge ornate metal gates at the bottom, which were dismantled in the 1930’s. 

(Do any other  Sentinel readers remember them, or have photographs?)




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