The aim of the piece of coursework is to compare and contrast the lives of the working class living in Saltaire and other industrial towns such as Bradford and Halifax. I will describe how the quality of life in Saltaire is far in excess of that of most other towns.
The first thing I want to describe is the housing facilities. Generally the houses in Saltaire were cleaner, safe and nicer than the ones in Bradford. Compared to the slums that made the houses in Bradford, Saltaire provides plumbing and clean water. The inhabitants no longer had to drink dirty, polluted water that came from a river that had been polluted with human and animal sewerage and “is the colour of ink” – source 6.
On average there were 20-30 people living in a house in Bradford, over half of them livid in a cellar that was probably only 24ft square. This gave them no privacy and the risk of contracting diseases form the other people increased dramatically. They slept on the floor; this was probably covered in sewerage and vomit from the sick and dieing. Only 5 people on average lived in the houses in Saltaire and because of their regular inspections, they were clean and tidy. Even though the houses where simple and cheap by our standards today, they were luxurious to the people that lived there, “Better than anything that could be found in Bradford” – source 11.
None of the houses in Saltaire were back-to-back houses. The houses in Bradford that the working class family could afford were all back-to-back. Because of the packing of houses in such a small space, the streets in most industrial towns were small; one could almost call them alleyways. The unplanned, sporadic growth of most industrial towns caused the houses and streets plans to be “hellish” as George Worth said. In comparison, the houses in Saltaire were well planned, light and airy. They also have a nice atmosphere and were aesthetically pleasing. The roads were wide and let a lot of light in. Unlike the littered slums in Bradford, the streets in Saltaire were clean. Each occupant made sure that the stretch of path in front of their house was cleans and “a real effort was made to provide healthy and sanitary conditions ” – source 2.
Instead of the privy that polluted the streets, overflowed and was share by a whole neighbourhood, each house in Saltaire had its own outside toilet in the back garden making it “a healthier place to live in” – source 11.
The Saltaire institute provided a recreational place where you did not have to get drunk to pass the time. Also because of this there were less drunkard brawls and disputes. In the institute you had the opportunity for refreshment and education. You could also talk with the other inhabitants of Saltaire. Most working class people went to pubs to pass the time and so a lot of fights happened in most industrial towns.
When an old occupant became unable to work, or a citizen became to ill to work, they had to either rely on family or die, if the lived in Bradford. Not so in Saltaire. If you were old you were taken care of in the Almshouses. The Almshouses were free. If you lived in one of the 45 Almshouses you got the equivalent of a pension to live on.
The park in Saltaire was the favourite place to relax. Even the strict rules did not stop enjoying them-selves. With the flowing river near, it was wonderful. There were two exits to the park, “In” and “Out”. Named this for obvious reason, you went in one and out the other. Some of the rules included, “No Animals” and “No loud noise.”
The hospital in Saltaire was a novelty. If you lived in Bradford you would not have a hospital in such a close proximity. Depending on where you lived you may have to walk for miles to your nearest hospital.
All the streets in Saltaire were open-ended, they all ended in views. Not all views of more, like in Bradford, but views of countryside, trees and nature. This gave Saltaire a pleasant atmosphere that the centre of Bradford was no match for.
One of the strict rules enforces was that you were not allowed to hand your washing out. For this there were conveniences. These conveniences were wash and bath houses, Board school, Sunday school, station and others. There were also allotments supplied that made growing vegetables and plants possible.
From the evidence I have gathered, I believe that Saltaire provided a standard of living that was far in excess of other towns in England. Sir Titus Salt provided his workers with a village that was clean, safe and healthy. It was, as Jack Reynolds put “full of possibilities!”