Saltaire Village, World Heritage Site
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Back button | Home | Interactive | Story Time | Sally and the Wardrobe Children, Part 3
Added to website: 12 May 2010

SALLY AND THE WARDROBE CHILDREN

Part Three

by Peter J. Bottomley

 [Read Part One] [Read Part Two]

“Dad, Dad come on, you said that you would take Paul and me for a look round the 1853 Salts mill, then to the cafe in the Opera restaurant for fish pie. Well? It’s just across the road, so you don`t need a car to get there” shouted Sally looking at her brother Paul and smirking.
    “He needs a car to go to the toilet”, Paul whispered.
    “I heard that, Paul, go on your fact finding tour, we need to know more about the history of Saltaire if we are going to solve Sally’s attic problems”, Mum whispered from the kitchen.
    “Get your coats on, I`m coming, where are my keys?” Dad asked feeling in his pockets.
    “You and your keys, they are exactly where you always put them, on the kitchen table by the microwave”.
    “Microwave? we didn’t have them when I was a lad and you were lucky to have a kitchen, we had a scullery head and an orange box for a table” Dad said in a mocking voice.
    “Come on you two stop messing about, I want to watch the film `Echo in the stones`, it’s showing in the mill, he added as he grabbed his keys.
    “Echo of the stones, Dad” Sally said as she walked out of their new house on Victoria Terrace.
    “Dads been doing some research in to Saltaire and Sir Titus Salt” Paul told Sally as they crossed Victoria Road.
    “I can tell, he gets bits from here and bits from there and puts them together and gets it all wrong, and Mums been on the Bradford archive site looking into who lived in our house, number 4a, I’m dreading what she comes up with, because I heard some more noises last night in my bedroom, there was also a smell of cocoa which made me thirsty”, Sally told Paul quietly so Dad didn’t hear as they walked down the steps and on to the cobbled road outside the mill.
    “Don`t start Sally! You make me go all cold and my eyes start watering when you talk of scary things” her brother answered. “Then I get a funny shivery feeling running down my back Ohhhh, Dad will sort it out, I hope, so let’s see what he’s found out, eh?”

    “These steps are well worn, a lot of workers and visitors have been up and down these” Dad said as he held on to the black iron railing on his way down, “Sparking clogs and all that stuff eh?
    “Oh! I hope we don’t get a history lesson, this research stuff is driving me mad, Mum and Dad were talking about all the things they had found out about Saltaire the other night and I couldn`t get to sleep for them”, Sally whispered just loudly enough so her dad would hear, “Dad you go and watch the film it’s not a long one and us two will look at the Hockney paintings” she then added loud enough so he did hear.
    “You could smell cocoa last night? We used to have that with ginger biscuits, a few years ago didn`t we? Why did we stop getting them? asked Paul, “Anyway when I go to bed I go straight to sleep I don`t hear Mum, Dad, ghost or poltergeist talking or moving things around in the dark”, he added in his scary voice.
    “You’re getting good at that scary voice Paul, come on let’s look at the paintings and stop trying to frighten me with things about my bedroom, they really happen you know”. Sally said as she walked in to the gallery.
    “Sal, do you understand what these are all about, all these photos put together in the wrong order? Paul asked in a puzzled voice,
“And all those paintings of a chair, I wouldn’t sit on it if it was real, it doesn`t look safe to me” he added with his head at a funny angle and his face twisted to one side.
    “Yes, we are doing it in my art class at school. You are too much of a sporty person to do art, aren’t you?”  Sally said with her head to one side and pulling a silly face just to mock her brother, “ David  Hockney wants people to discuss art and having all his work on show here helps artists, students like me and visitors to see and understand it better” she said cleverly.  
    “Go on then what’s it called clever clogs?” Paul asked as they walked down the gallery looking at different displays.
    “Cubism! that’s what it’s called”, came the answer but it wasn’t Sally who answered, it was Dad, he had watched the film and come back to find his two children staring at a big picture of the Grand Canyon and pulling funny faces.
    “Well done Dad! I didn’t know you were an art buff”. Sally said smiling at her dad.
    “Well you know, with my research on the net, I find out all sorts of useful stuff, most of it rubbish but some of it will come in very handy with my quiz on Monday at the pub” dad said smiling at the children as they looked at him shaking their heads.
   “Right then what’s next? Come on you two, lots to do and people to see”. Dad added as he walked off with his head to one side looking at the pictures.  “I see what you mean Paul they are very unusual but effective, I hope Sally’s art work will sell for as much as these would”.
    “I think she should draw misty, ghostly things or tables upside down with books and things stacked on top of them, you know Dad, like in the films”, Paul said in his best scary voice again, then turned to Sally and added, “They would go very well in this gallery, just look at that picture of two people sat at a table, see what I mean Dad?.
    “Stop it, leave me alone” Sally called out, “One of these days you will believe me and then see how you feel knowing that there are things that go bump in the night”.
   
    After fish pie, ice cream, and tea for all three of them, the kids looked at dad with a pint of beer.
    “Well! no car, I might as well have a quick pint of Saltaire beer to wash the fish down with, it’s very nice” Dad said with a smile.
    “This outing was supposed to be a fact finding mission and to buy some books on Saltaires history, not a booze up Dad” Sally said with a shake of her head.
    “Booze up! come to the Monday quiz then you’ll see a booze up my girl” Dad answered
    “No thanks Dad” Sally said then added “No wonder his team never wins they are too busy drinking and I bet they miss half the questions” she said to Paul.

    “Did you know that Sir Titus Salt took 2500 of his workers’ to the Manchester art exhibition in 1857, and they each paid 1 shilling to get in to the Old Trafford site?, plus they were the first people to listen to the `Halle Orchestra` because that’s where it was originally started by Charles Halle”, Dad said as they walked round looking at other paintings, pictures and listening to music in the 1853 gallery.
    “No, we didn’t know that, did we Paul” asked Sally in a surprised voice, “I wonder if the people who lived in our house then went on the trip?”
    “No Dad! and we didn’t expect you to know all this stuff you keep coming out with, have you eaten a book about Saltaire?” laughed Paul looking at his Dad in amazement.
    “Well! I know a lot more since your Mum and I have been looking into the history of our house, and trying to sort out the things that Sally seems to hear in her bedroom, and I can tell you this, learning about all the things that have gone on, in and around Saltaire in the past is very interesting and addictive”.

   “Come on Dad tell us some more, so you really think that Sally does hear things in the night?”  Paul asked his Dad.
    “Well then! where do I start? Before Sir Titus Salt bought this area it was just fields and the roundabout was called `Four lanes end`, the river and canal were just the place to build a mill and a new village to house your workers, look after them and train them to work in the mill, So Titus Salt bought three acres and started to build the mill in 1851. It had the longest spinning room in Europe and he opened it on September 20th 1853 on his 50th birthday. Then the villages 850 houses, church, hospital, library and school were built from 1854 to 1868. Other buildings have been built as well and Saltaire became what we know it as today. Titus Salt was the Lord Mayor of Bradford in 1848 to 1849 and Liberal MP in 1859 for this area. In 1869 Queen Victoria made him a Baronet, then he could be called `Sir Titus` which is what we know him as today. He had a very eventful life and died in his house, ‘Crow Nest’ near Halifax in December 1876 at the age of 73. He was buried in Saltaire Congregational Church in the mausoleum at the far left hand side of the church; his wife and some other family members are buried there as well”.
    “Wow! Dad you sound like our history teacher, too much to take in at once” Sally said.
    “Anything else we should know? Like people who have passed away but haven’t totally gone and are living in Sal`s bedroom?” Paul asked, while laughing and looking at his sister who was pulling a face and sticking her tongue out.
    “Yes well!  There were, some famous people were around when Sir Titus was living, you know, people like the Duke of Wellington, Napoleon Bonaparte, Florence Nightingale and Charles Dickens, who wrote about Sir Titus Salt and his cloth made from alpaca in a weekly magazine called `Household Words`, it explained about new inventions that were coming out and serialised some famous novels from 1850 to 1859. Do you want to know some more, eh?” asked Dad.
    “So our house was built in what year?” Paul asked
    “Well, Mum says it was in the old gas works and built in 1857, so like I said before it is 150 years old, plus she has found out about the names of some of the people who lived in it before us, so when we get back home we will have a family meeting to talk about them, ok with you Sally?” Dad said as they walked down past the two tall redwood trees in the grounds of the church near their home.
    “Yes it’s ok with me; I have got to find out if the things I hear are real or just in my head”. Sally answered in a worried voice then added, “All this spookiness is driving me mad”.
    “Sounds ok to me, but can we have hot cocoa and ginger biscuits while we talk Dad?” Paul butted in with a sly look at Sally, “ok with you Sally?” he added in a voice like his Dads.
    “What are you two on about? Dad asked sternly as they turned on to Victoria Terrace.
Silence, as the two children looked at each other.

   Then Paul told his Dad that Sally had been smelling things as well as hearing things again in her bedroom.
   “The sooner we get this sorted the better, come on Sally there is nothing to be frightened about in our house”, Dad said as he gave her a big hug.
    “My thoughts exactly, I know you will get to the bottom of it Dad” Sally said as she cuddled up to him and smirked at Paul.
    “Oh! You’re a cool customer now Sally, just wait and see tonight if your bed is stood on its end with your dolls dangling from the headboard” Paul answered in a frightening voice.
    “Stop it right now you two! There must be a straight forward answer to the things Sally hears or smells” Dad spoke out with a loud voice and closed one eye.
    Silence again.
    When he spoke and looked like that, the children knew it was time to be quiet.
   As they opened the front door the smell of hot cocoa wafted out.
    “Not you as well?” Dad called out.
    “What? I just thought that we hadn`t had cocoa and ginger biscuits for a long time and I would surprise you when you got home, what’s wrong with that?” Mum asked.
     “See Dad, I bet she smelt it last night in her sleep and subconsciously thought that she would make some today”, Paul said as he put the tele on and sat down.
   “Big word that, have you eaten a dictionary while you were out son”, Mum asked and laughed at Paul.
   “Leave me alone! I need a sleep after all that fish pie and the stuff dad told us about our haunted house and Saltaire”, Paul said with a yawn.
    “Go to bed if you want to sleep” Sally told her brother “I hope you hear things and just see what it’s like, then we will find out how brave you are Paul” Sally called out from the stairs as she went up to her room.
    “Seeing as everyone`s tired, we will have a talk in the morning about the history, eh?” Mum shouted.
    “Yes! But wake me up for cocoa and ginger biscuits at supper time” Paul yawned as he curled up on the couch.

     “What are we going to do about the thing`s Sally hears, Tom?” Sue asked her husband.
     “Well, I think we should get Sally to draw a picture of what she can see from her bedroom window and put her name on it, and then I will put it under the floor boards and I will sleep in her room and see what happens, what do you think about that Sue?” Tom said.
    “I go all cold and shivery, when I think of things like this, you never know what it might start, but something has to be done, so let’s get on with it. Sally can do the drawing in the morning and you can put it under the floor whenever you want” Sue said in a shaky voice.
    “I hope you two knowww what you’re doing”, came a spooky voice from the front room, both Tom and Sue jumped up only to see Paul smirking at the kitchen doorway.
    “You crack pot! You frightened both of us then, phew!” Dad looked at Paul and shook his head, “Get out of here you daft devil”.
     “See what I mean, we are all on edge, the sooner the better we get to the bottom of this the easier it will be for all of us”, Mum said to Tom and Paul.
    OK! That’s settled then, Dad said with authority.
    Silence and some shaking of heads was the only reply he got.

    To be continued    no 3

 

 

   

 
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