Does the evidence you have studied suggest that sir Titus Salt’s motives for building Saltaire were paternalist or Capitalist?

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Sir Titus Salt was the son of Daniel Salt. Daniel salt as the time of Titus’s birth was a farmer but before had many occupations, which were successful like iron founder, dry Salter and white cloth merchant. Daniel salt main aim in life was to make as much money as possible in life. Titus salt was born on the 20th September 1803 at the old manor house.

In his childhood and youth, Titus Salt was described to be as “a bright boy for his years: full of fun when with those of whom he knew well, but shy with strangers”.

This one of the reasons there is a debate of why saltaire exists because Titus salt was not an excellent public speaker and was terrible at writing speeches. Salt was a man of mystery. Even though he was Bradford most successful businessman and very active in the town as he was an alderman, Mayor and MP for Bradford, he was very private.

Salt hated making speeches and writing letters weren’t very appealing. There is a lack of primary evidence because of this skill he lacked and it is difficult to find out Salts reasons for building Saltaire, if they were paternalistic or capitalistic.

Many historians argue that Salt was a paternalist and a capitalist. Capitalist meaning that he was only in this business for wealth and to have a high status. Some argue that salt was paternalist which meant that he care for the destitute, sick and old.

There is still a debate, which has difference of opinions of why saltaire was built.

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This is because the thought of Saltaire having to make a speech was excruciating for him. He did not even have the ability to write any diaries or journals because he was terrible at it. Even though Titus was actively involved in politic when he was in the House of Commons for two year he did not make a speech in a debate even once.

Many newspapers are generally in favour that Salt was philanthropic gentleman but this could be simply because Salt mainly funded most local newspapers. However it must not be overlooked because there is other evidence such as books, which support this.

Saltaire was built near a close town in Bradford called Shipley. It was built by Titus salt. He had named it Saltaire because of his name and that the village was located near the River Aire. Salt had chosen this location because of the main water supply, which was needed for his business; the land and it had good communications. It was also essential for getting goods into Saltaire. It also had a canal, which went from Leeds to Liverpool. It also had a railway, which brought workers to the mill. Finished products could be taken from Bradford to the port of hull and into Europe. This is indisputably a capitalistic move as it clear that Salts mill was first built and foremost near the river goods could be instantly taken to Europe to make lots of money.

As Salt built the mill first, it shows that his main goal was to make money.

The land which saltaire was built on was not Salts first choice. He was actually interested in investing the Greenholme Estate in Burley-in- Whafedale. But he arrived too late at the solicitors. The development of the mill started in 1851 and was completed and opened on the Salt’s birthday, which was 20th September 1853.

Salt did not just build a basic village for his workers but one that had all necessities like a church, a washhouse, a school and many others. Many other employers had built a village but nothing of this kind. This points out a philanthropic and considerate view.

Maybe salt had built saltaire for his religious reasons. He was a devout Christian or Congregationalist and has retained a close connection with the church. In source C states ‘ Sic vos, non vobis, ie, not for yourself but for others’. This most shows his paternalistic views. He had built almshouses for the old and destitute.

He may have built it the village far away from Bradford to get away from the unhealthy conditions and high taxes. He had workers brought here so they would live in clean and healthy conditions. Healthy workers mean that less people are sick and more people would come to work. And therefore more money is made. So if everybody had a decent place to live, with a decent wage, then surely this will make his or her life easier and less complicated. People will want to live there and will enjoy working in the factory and it turn Titus made more money. The factory also had a railway station, which could also transport goods, and so less money is loss.

However, it may have just been an act as Salt had rules, which the workers had to abide by if they wanted to stay. People living in the almshouses were made to stay in the house and were not allowed to make extra money or leave the house for more than 24 hours and if they did they had to get written consent for no longer than 48 hours. Workers did receive better facilities but their freedom was taken away as they were living in a policed state where Salts men constantly watched them. To use even the washhouses required money to use and even then he made profits. Many workers did not speak against in case they were afraid they would be chucked back out into the ‘filthy, wretched’ streets.

It is believed that Salt saw that there were a number of other villages like his that was still to be built were developed. “. The activities of humane and paternalistic employers and these could have obviously suggested the idea”. Maybe he wanted be with the competition and build better factories than the rest. Therefore Salt built Saltaire in order to ensure he remained in competition with other businesses.

Salt was also a capitalist because it is believed that Salt would wake up early in the morning to go down to the factory before 7am so he could make an extra �1,00 pounds a day. This shows that he had an urge to make money and therefore conformed to get more money.

Just before Saltaire had been built, a manufacturer from Halifax called Edward Ackroyd had quoted that he had to “protect himself from a sudden withdrawal of labour”. This meant that he needed to keep the workforce content meaning not to let the workforce get out of control. This is why probably Salt made a village with brilliant sewage system and all together a fantastic village, which was clean and healthy to please the workers so they do not revolt and keep the workers under control. He did this because he feared that there maybe strikes.

When salt started his work on his first, he could have consulted the best architects in the world to construct his mill but he choose the local Bradford architects Lockwood and Mawson. And he also made sure that none of his factory was built with wood and it was all fireproof resistant.

Titus expected his workers to be loyal and hardworking because he said that he had built Saltaire just for them. He also had a factory employing 1,000 men to make over �10,000 a day. Even during hardships times, instead of selecting skilled men, he chose men who were unskilled and employed around a 1,000 of them.

He wanted that this village would be something to remember him by when he dies. If he created a perfect village with no flaws or any signs of imperfections he would have been remembered as a great person if he died and not just any other employer. Salt was a religious man but he was not very modest. There is a slight sign of egotism as

He made crests and logos to represent him. And wherever you go in the village you can see signs like “TS” even in the church when there should be crosses.

Titus salt may have also been remembered as a paternalist. There are reasons for this and one reason is mainly for his religion. He believed that he had a moral duty to help the community.

Salt was a devout but was not a prejudiced man. The family had been following and kept a close with the congregational church.

When Salt was the alderman and Mayor, he saw many things that made him realised of what was wrong. He saw that alcohol was the main source of problems in Bradford and also prostitution. He was concerned about the misery that was caused by alcohol and encouraged many to go to alternatives places of entertainment.

When he designed Saltaire, he made sure that no pubs were created as it would create problems and other reason that a worker will never be drunk for missing work and will always be in good condition and produce more work.

Salt, as a former Town Mayor, Magistrate, MP and Alderman of Bradford had campaigned, unsuccessfully to introduce an “incorporation to pay for improvements”. He tried to make many changes but because he was not a very good speaker, they laws were never passed down and failed

Salt on the other hand had no choice but to be nice to his workers or else there would have been riots throughout Britain at this time. Because at the time there was a political upheaval and Bradford was at the centre of this. The pollution and unemployment rates were significant factors of the workers angst. The workers blamed them for the waste in the streams, the mills, the soot cloud in the sky.

When Salt created the mill, he saw that many other mills chimneys were emitting sulphurous fumes, salt installed smoke burners to the chimneystacks on his own mils to reduce pollution.

Salt cared for the impoverished and so he provided them with soup kitchens and built proper construction of sewage system and sanitation. Salt wanted to give the poor a better surroundings and give them a better life instead of this filthy dwelling they lived and maybe this was another one of the reasons Salt built Saltaire.

When he had constructed the mill, he also created houses and all sorts of building like institute and infirmary but among those he created almshouses. These were house for the old and destitute. They did not have to pay any rent to live in these houses.

At the time of hardship, he was so benevolent that he employed 1,000 unskilled men to work in his factory. This shows that maybe Salts decisions were genuinely paternalistic, instead of hiring skilled men, he saw the people who were in need of work and hired those instead. But it can also show that he wanted to gain publicity.

Some may say that Salt was a capitalist and others may say that he was a paternalist. He had created Saltaire for money. The fact that he had chosen the perfect location where there was river and a railway system. He also used to wake up earlier than his workers just to earn a few �1,000. Instead of consulting the best architects to construct his mill he chose local architects. And he made the factory fire resistant and the mill was not even assembling the mill with wood and thus we can see he is trying to save money. This could show that he was a capitalist.

Wealth was possibly one of Salts motives; to show it off, even though this is unlikely as Salt, who was never a very public man didn’t like to disclose such information. But his church and the mill were very extravagant buildings and the estimated total cost of the building can be measured in millions of pounds

There were some paternalistic reason but over all, salt was in the project for the money. Titus had enough money already, even if he didn’t make a model village.

He didn’t need it; maybe he thought that this village would be something to remember him by when he dies.

Because he built a village that was clean and healthy people would remember him. If he were just another factory owner in Bradford, not a lot of people would have been sorry that he died.

In conclusion, I am not entirely sure what Salts motives were as there is no substantial to confirm whether he was a paternalist more than a capitalist and other way round. Titus Salt could be called an enlightened capitalist, which would mean he was a mixture of both. He must have realised that keeping all the profits is not really good idea. He was morally concerned about the rights of his workers and his responsibility as employer. He saw there were many benefits for him building Saltaire both for him and his workers. The workers would feel satisfied while Salt making secure profits.

It can be believed that Salts religious beliefs also played an important factor in him being a paternalist and him being a wealthy man at the same time.

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Does the evidence you have studied suggest that sir Titus Salt’s motives for building Saltaire were paternalist or Capitalist?. (2019, Jan 04). Retrieved from

Does the evidence you have studied suggest that sir Titus Salt’s motives for building Saltaire were paternalist or Capitalist?
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