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March 2020: West Norfolk

Welcome to West Norfolk, a truly special place of unspoilt charm and natural beauty, where tranquillity and relaxation are the order of the day.

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Historic Saltaire is basking in the glory of its new found status as a World Heritage Site and beginning a new chapter in its renaissance. Lying four miles from Bradford city centre, the village is a fine example of Victorian design and values. Saltaire was created by local wool baron Sir Titus Salt with the construction of a large mill in the 1850s. A few years later, Salt had built row upon row of mill houses for his workers together with a school, a hospital, two churches, a Sunday school, washhouse and shops. The result was colourfully described as "a paradise on the sylvan banks of the Aire, far from the stench and vice of the industrial city". The only omission - deliberately so - was a public house. A strict churchgoer he was determined to keep workers away from the demon drink!

In an expression of the time, the narrow streets of the village take their name from members of the Salt family and from Queen Victoria and Albert, the Prince Consort. The architects Salt commissioned to design the mill - Lockwood and Mawson - are also honoured in the local street naming. The United Reformed church, where Salt's remains are entombed, is said to be the most accurate example of Italianate architecture in England. Over 750,000 people a year visit Saltaire to stroll around the historic streets and browse the attractive shops and antique centre. Many head for Salts Mill, which houses the world's largest collection of work by Bradford-born international artist David Hockney, Salts diner and a range of upmarket shops. For families, there's the chance to ride on a Victorian tramway to a funfair on the slopes of Shipley Glen or take a cruise along the LEEDS-LIVERPOOL Canal. Walkers can enjoy the beautiful Roberts Park and the exhilarating woods and moorland.

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Recommended Books:

Old English Villages (Country S.)
Old English Villages (Country S.)
English Villages (Writer's Britain S.)
English Villages (Writer's Britain S.)
Illustrated Guide to Country Towns and... Domesday Heritage: Towns and Villages of...

Brit Quote:
Dare to be honest and fear no labour. - Robert Burns
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On this day:
Walter Raleigh is executed - 1618, Suez Conflict Begins - 1956, M25 fully opens - 1986
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