Time Line History of the Church


Titus Salt is born in the Manor House in Morley. Bradford population is about 13,000.


1811Bradford is growing fast as the wool industry establishes itself. Population is now about 16,000.
1818Titus Salt leaves school to become an apprentice Wool Stapler who sorts the wool at the start of the wool manufactuing process.
1836Titus Salt discovers Alpaca goat hair in Liverpool Docks and combines it with Angora sheep wool to make a fine material. His business booms.
1838Titus Salt takes over five mills in Bradford from his father.
Titus Salt becomes Mayor of Bradford. 31,000 babies are born in Bradford and 26,000 people die. Housing in Bradford is very poor and unhygienic with toilets shared at the end of a street. One in every six babies dies before one year old.
1849A cholera epidemic kills many people in Bradford.
1852 – 1859Titus Salt purchases farm land adjacent to the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and the Midland Railway and builds one large mill and Saltaire village for his staff.
185627th September: The foundation stone of the Congregational Church is laid by Mrs Salt. A hermetically sealed bottle containing a coin, a copy of the Bradford Observer and a paper with an inscription and the signatures of many of the gentlemen present was deposited in the lower stone. It poured with rain and the religious service was held in the large hall.
185730th March: A meeting was held in the Dining Hall, Victoria Road to formally organise an Independent Congregational Church.
185730th April: A public service was held in the Dining Hall presided over by Rev J R Campbell, pastor from the church at Horton Lane. The service was followed by the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. This was the first formal service of the church.

Time Line Church 1859

Wednesday 13th April 11:00 am: Content for The Saltaire Congregational Church is built for £16,000 paid for by Titus Salt. The opening service and dedication of the church, led by Rev J R Campbell. An evening service was held the same day led by the Rev Samuel Martin of Westminster.

Image: Church interior, 1859.

186020th December: The Church was registered as a place of meeting for religious worship by a congregation of assembly of persons calling themselves Independent.
186116th January: The church was registered for the Solemnisation of Marriages.
187620th September: The last building to be completed housed The Sunday Schools.On 29th December, 1876, Sir Titus Salt died at his home. Bradford gave him a civic funeral, watched by 100,000 people. He is buried in the mausoleum on the South side of the church with entrance via the church.
1883A Boys Brigade was instituted.
189030th March: A Service was held to celebrate the renewal and enlargement of the church organ.
190029th April: The church was re-opened after redecoration.


April / May: The Jubilee of the formation of the church is held with special services.

Image: Church front in 1907.

192027th June: A service of Remembrance is held and the memorial obelisk in the church grounds is unveiled.
Circa 1939The Bells are removed from the tower to be used for munitions in the war. The original peal was installed in 1870.
19502nd September: A service to celebrate the reconstruction of the organ is held. The organ restoration is a memorial for those who died in the 1939-1945 War.

Time Line Old Manor House

20th September: A service is broadcast over the radio as a commemoration of the centenary of Salts Mills.


1953 radio broadcast

195727th April: Re-union supper attended by some 300 deacons, members, former members and old scholars of the church and Sunday School. The occasion was the centenary of the church’s foundation.
195821st September: Re-opening of the church and re-dedication services. This is possibly after tie rods have been fitted inside the church and renovation of ceiling fabric.

1959 BBC service


April: Celebrations of the centenary of the opening of the church building. A television broadcast service is transmitted on the 12th April.


1972The Congregationals and Presbyterians join to become the United Reformed Church. From then on, the church is known as Saltaire United Reformed Church.
November: Dry Rot was discovered in 1968 in the timbers in the church, and restoration is implemented culminating in a service of thanksgiving.
198531st October: The Church is listed as a Grade One building. This is the same as some Church of England Cathedrals such as Salisbury, Westminster, Lincoln and 47 other Grade One listed cathedrals.
1989March: Sir Anthony Salt agrees to be patron of the newly created organ fund appeal.
199117th February: Yorkshire Television broadcast a service.
26th October: The organ restoration is completed (By Michael Fletcher, Organ Builder and now, 2008, Director of Music at the church) and a service of re-dedication is held.
1993February: A major restoration appeal is launched.
1994April: The church starts to open on a regular basis for visiting public.
199918th September: The restoration is complete. The roof has been reslated, timbers in the roof strengthened or replaced, the West End has many stone blocks reseated, the cupola is releaded, the finial is replaced to match the original one (that had been blown down in the wind) and the grill around the bell chamber is replated with internal releading at the base of the bell chamber. A service of rededication of the church is held attended by several of the Salt family.
20029th April: The church has its first web site, www.saltaireurc.org.uk

New bells
20th September: The bicentenary of Sir Titus Salt’s birth is held in the Village of Saltaire and the Saltaire Festival is created. It is now held every year. To celebrate the event Mrs Maggie Silver of the Salt’s Foundation Trust donates a new ring of bells for the village and the church. A full peal is rung on the new bells during the festival and on the next day a service of dedication of the bells is held.Saltaire United Reformed Church becomes one of only four nonconformist churches in England with a ring of bells.



Saltaire Time Line 150th aniversary lunch

21st April: A service to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the church in Saltaire. A Victorian lunch is held to celebrate the occasion.


2008April: Another major restoration appeal is launched. The canopy around the tower base is in urgent need of attention, it is planned to incorporate disabled access that will carefully preserve the character of the building and the lower rooms need to be developed.
2009January: An award for Phase 1 of a restoration project is granted by English Heritage allowing work to commence on planning the next phase of restoration.
2010April: The first £260,000 is secured so allowing the phase one restoration to commence.  Scaffolding starts to rise around the canopy ready for it to be repaired.
2011January: The first phase of the restoration is completed but there is a problem with the hand rails which are still waiting to be correctly fitted in April. English Heritage provide a grant of £125,000 towards the second phase of the restoration which will clean the statues and effect minor repairs, restore the Victorian Windows and restore the Mausoleum.
2012The work on restoring the Mausoleum is is completed and the walls are seen as their original colours for the first time in 100 years.The Windows are restored and a protective transparent screen is fitted to protect the windows from future vandalism without detracting from their appearance.

November – New carpet installedDSC07123