The mill was opened on 20 September 1853, the 50th birthday of Titus Salt. A full description of the opening, from which most of the following information has been taken, appeared in the Bradford Observer of 22 September, where it was described as “one of the most gigantic and splendid festivals that ever occurred in the annals of Industry.”
Luncheon was provided for about 3,200 people who were conveyed from Bradford to Saltaire in special trains. The guests included the Lord Lieutenant of the West Riding, local MPs’, magistrates, mayors and clergymen, and business and personal friends of Titus Salt, and about 2500 of his workpeople. Flags flew from the roof of the mill, and an arch of laurel and flowers surrounded the West entrance. The guests were conducted through the principal rooms to the Combing shed where 28 long tables had been set up. The columns which supported the roof were decorated with pink and white draperies flags, banners, evergreens and flowers. The food provided included a baron of beef weighing 300 lbs, 40 hindquarters of beef, 40 chines of beef. 100 legs of mutton, 10 lambs, 120 veal and game pies, 60 dishes of game, 30 dishes of roast chicken and turkey and 40 dishes of potted meat. There were also sweet dishes, fruit and numerous bottles of wine. 7000 knives and forks were required, and 4000 tumblers, 6000 wine glasses and 7000 champagne and other glasses. The meal lasted just over an hour and was followed by toasts and speeches.
Music and dancing were next provided for the company, and trains then transported them back to Bradford. In the evening a Soiree Musicale, consisting of songs and instrumental selections, was presented at the recently opened Sr. George’s Hall in Bradford.
Taken from Bradford Libraries Saltaire Resources Pack