From Salt to Silver publication photographs by Ian Beesley poems by Ian McMillan

Beesley, Ian and McMillan, Ian (2017) From Salt to Silver publication photographs by Ian Beesley poems by Ian McMillan. Salts Mill, Saltaire Bradford West Yorkshire. ISBN 978-0-9516950-1-2

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From Salt to Silver

I suppose it must have been sometime in the 1960s but I can remember waiting in Victoria Road for my aunty to come out of Salts mill, scanning the swarm of bustling faces, until I saw her strolling out the gates arm in arm laughing and joking with her friends. She worked here as a burler and mender a highly skilled job mending defects in woven cloth.

Twenty years later I walked through those gates to photograph the last days of production at Salts.
I had been commissioned by the newly opened and then called National Museum of Photography to document the demise of the textile trade and so in February of 1985 I made my first visit to Salts Mill.
The weaving shed was in full production and spinning was running shifts, I was given complete access to come and go as I pleased. I was a regular visitor for the next 18 months during which production ceased, the mill was stripped and eventually sold. Just a few of these images have been exhibited, the rest stored in my darkroom cupboards. In 2016 Maggie & Zoe Silver asked me to see what photographs I had. I was surprised to find that I have over 1000 negatives of Salts.

So thirty years later (with some new additions and poems by Ian McMillan) here they are, a small tribute to those who worked here when it was a textile mill, but more importantly it is a celebration of the development of Salts mill by the Silver family into a world famous hub of modern industry, creativity and enterprise.

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