Isn’t it amazing how certain smells can whisk you back through decades of memory? This week I visited the mighty Salts Mill near Bradford and as soon as I walked into the vast mill, which amongst other things houses a selection of David Hockney’s work, I was reminded of my childhood. Not that I was sent to work in the mill as child – I’m not THAT old. I used to visit my dad at work as a weaving overlooker in the mills of the Heavy Woollen District. The smell of those great, rumbling, well-oiled machines and endless miles of cloth lingers at Salts Mill despite there being little production in this section of the massive complex for many years. It’s probably a strange welcome for any middle-class arty types seeking a Hockney experience and who have never previously set foot in a mill. But they cannot fail to be impressed with such impressive architecture on such a great scale. Titus Salt was certainly a man of vision and the more I walk around his mill and village, the more admiration I have for him.

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  1. Chris

    One of the mills in that area (not sure if it was Salts), had a chimney collapse in the Victorian period. Luckily many workers were on their lunch break and gone back to their homes across the road and only a few were injured, rather than the hundreds if it had been a few minutes earlier or later.

  2. Paul Booth

    David Hockney was in sparkling form last night on BBC 4 explaining how classical painters often used cameras or glasses to assist them in making paintings become more like photographs. Fascinating stuff. My only complaint about David’s masterly performance is that sometimes he slips from his perfectly clear rich Bradford accent into a disconcerting Californian twang!


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