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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, February 25, 2005
    Salt of the world
    Titus Salt gifted a Yorkshire wool town a masterpiece of Italiantine architecture - the astonishing Salts Mill. Having built his fortune on the Alpaca wool he first discovered at a Liverpool warehouse in 1834. I spent some of today in Saltaire. It's a wonderful place. Edge of Shipley. Breathtaking architecture in the so-called grim north.

    Though the pub we supped in later was Royston-Vesey-Local these dripping valleys embrace the world. They owe their development to a South American relative of the camel; today the Salt buildings are matched by the impressive mosques which signal Bradford's multifaith mix; which sit alongside multinational shopping sheds and outlets of McDonald's Corporation of Oak Brook, Illinois.

    Saltaire is a World Heritage Site. Like Liverpool waterfront, to which Saltaire connects via the Leeds-Liverpool canal. World Heritage status seems to focus on buildings; but as now, so right back through urban history - the real heritage must be what emerges from the interface between these very different world cultures, clashing and collaborating.