Film ID: YFA 5630 Video of YFA_5630 This Wonderful Creation 1976 THIS WONDERFUL CREATION 1976 Visitor TabsDescription This educational film explores the history and development of Saltaire, the Victorian model town established by Titus Salt in 1851. The film follows Melanie Hall and Nancy Brearley as they walk around the village and learn about its sights. Title – This Wonderful Creation, produced by J. Eric Hall The film opens with a young girl looking at an open book titled ‘Saltaire: A Short History written by Denis Lishman’ Title – Featuring Melanie Hall and Nancy Brearley A young woman sits with a young girl. A series of street signs are shown, including Helen, Amelia, Edward, Mary, Herbert, and William Henry Streets. In Saltaire library, the pair look through pictures of historical buildings and the history of Saltaire. Further street signs are shown and the woman points out details in the book. Washing flutters in the back yards of terraced houses. An engraving of Titus Salt, founder of Saltaire, is seen, followed by signs for Lockwood St and Mawson St. A pointer indicates details from a large illustration of the Salt textile mill, including a horse-drawn cart arriving at the entrance and a barge being taken up a nearby waterway. The mill is seen in its present condition, home to Salts Ltd. Inside, women operate large spinning looms and other textile machinery. Others are seen chalking patterns onto large swathes of fabric. Outside, a barge is driven along the canal, a train approaches and vehicles enter the factory premises. The woman and girl walk along George St, looking at ‘for sale’ signs and into back gardens. A woman enters The Village Wash, a launderette, and the girl climbs onto railings to watch a train pass by. They visit the Llama Shop and observe barges from a bridge over the river. They watch the water flow over the weir by the factory. Men are seen playing a game of cricket. The pair eat ice creams in a vibrant garden and look at a statue of Sir Titus Salt. People play tennis and lawn bowls. Shoppers browse the small high street. Inside F.B. Feather, the butcher’s shop, a butcher prepares cuts of meat and serves customers. Firth’s bakery, Grimley’s chemist, F.H. Tinsley the greengrocer, and J.A. Cushworth the bookmakers are also seen. The front page of the Shipley Express from Wednesday 29th September 1976 is shown, with the headline “Sir Titus Salt’s Wishes Upheld”. The story details the failure of an attempt to establish an alcohol license in Saltaire. The woman and girl visit the buildings of Sir Titus Salt’s hospital, opened in September 1868. Residents chat and feed the birds. Inside the United Reformed Church, formerly the Congregational Church, the pair look at the ornate ceiling decorations and organ. A procession of Scouts and Guides enters from outside. Salt Grammar School is seen, with pupils coming and going. The film ends with another view of the engraving of Titus Salt, and shots from earlier of the village. Title – This Wonderful Creation Title – The End Context Back to Victorian times: a rich employer provides decent housing, a hospital, a library, a school, a boathouse, alms-houses and public baths. A beautifully made homage to Titus Salt and his model village of Saltaire, with a highly informative commentary, and filmed in the gentle pace typical of its maker, Eric Hall. Although made in the mid-1970s, Saltaire appears here as idyllic as it must have seemed upon its creation. Despite the control of paternal elitism, the Victorian philanthropist illustrated here makes for an interesting comparison to the view of employees taken by the typical entrepreneur of today. Eric Hall began making films on the local customs, people and places of Yorkshire in 1929. He was at one time Chairman of the North East Region of the Institute of Amateur Cinematographers and President of Bradford Cine Circle. For a major capitalist, Titus Salt was certainly progressive for his time, but the paean of praise given by Eric Hall needs to be tempered by Salt’s employment of child labour and his big brother style of policing his workers. There are conflicting accounts given why he wouldn’t have pubs in Saltaire as he wasn’t opposed to alcohol. Some say it was because of a fear of debauchery, others that he didn’t want his workers plotting in them. Salts Mill closed in 1986, and the hospital closed in 1979.