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Bare in a crisp woodland sunset

Milner Field: The Revenge of Titus Salt Junior

It was August 1988, clad in a pink and black suit, younger me was working on reception for an accountant's practice in Bradford as an agency temp, whilst their regular receptionist was on leave. I loved the variety of temping and things had got eerily interesting that hot afternoon.

I always carried a pack of oracle cards with me and several of the regular staff had asked for readings in the lunch hour. One lady produced a book that she was sending to her son who was living in Australia. That book was about Saltaire which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one chapter of it was devoted to a house that had once been the home of Titus Salt Junior, where he had entertained royalty back in the 1880s.

I was intrigued even back then and often looked over at the woods from the train, where the rubble of the house was supposed to be.

The house had developed a bad reputation due to an excessive number of deaths among its residents. It did not sell in 1922 and failed to do so again in 1930 after which it began to fall into rack and ruin. What remained of the structure was pulled down over 50 years ago, though some rubble, broken-down out-house walls and dangerous cellars can still be seen today.

I have to say that prior to its revival by Jonathan Silver, Salts was just another dilapidated mill. As far as I know, part of it still ran in the early 80s, before the 'Final Countdown'. Entrepreneur and wealthy businessman Jonathan Silver revived the fortunes of the mill, turning it into a David Hockney art gallery and place of world renoun, however Mr Silver died, which perhaps could be added to the strange forces operating in the area.

Titus Salt Junior was found dead in the billiard room of Milner Field in 1887 apparently his death was caused by a weak heart. Despite the Salt family having obtained a baronetcy, almost a must have for large mill owners in those days the Salt family fortunes dwindled.

Nothing much happened to the Salt family who lived at Milner Field but the real stuff kicked off after they left in the early 1900's. Was Titus Salt Junior wreaking revenge on those he felt had stolen his beautiful house?

Mr Roberts a Managing Director of Salts (later another 'Sir' from a baronetcy created in 1909) still lived to a decent age as did his wife and what happened to his family could have been natural; one son was ill and died at a house called The Knoll another drowned whilst on holiday in Ireland and the other son was injured during the World War I. However, all in all, Mr and Mrs Roberts escaped any real bother to their personal selves, went to live in a castle in Scotland and that was that.

Messrs Gates and Hollins, when directors and together with their wives, lived and died quite quickly next, but Mr Gates wife was already very ill and Mr Gates himself injured his foot elsewhere. Mr Hollins, the next director, and his wife possibly got a more inexplicable deal.

Was Titus Salt Junior playing up again at the loss of his house? Titus Junior put so much love and pride in to his house and the mill, was he annoyed that the Salt family had lost the mill and his beloved Milner Field? Did his spirit wish to avenge himself on those he believed had taken Salt's mill from his family, right down to Mr Silver himself?

This is one theory that is well worth looking in to. I haven't gone in to the history of Milner Field in this article because it is well documented elsewhere, I'm assuming readers know something of the fearsome reputation of the house.

There was an older Manor House called Milner Field on the site before it was pulled down in 1869 to build the new Milner Field. There is no record of any manifestations in this house. Were the spirits of old Milner Field angry at this fine Tudor Manor being pulled down and replaced by a Victorian house calling itself Milner Field? Did they set out for revenge?

Whatever bad luck happened had something to do with the 'new build' Milner Field and its occupants. Was the house cursed by poor and aggrieved mill workers who had fallen foul of the powerful Salts Mill directors and perhaps been cast in to poverty? They were literally 'slaves of the mill' in their model village, in danger of losing their home as well as their job if they put a foot wrong.

Why do the people of Saltaire and the surrounding area try to dissuade visitors from going to the ruins of Milner Field? Are other strange, secretive practices at work in the area of the ruined house during the hours of darkness?

Was Milner Field really a secret Ministry of Defence Base in World War II and if so just what was going on there and does that have something to do with the secretive silence that locals procure?

There is a giant can of worms still very active and alive around the site of Milner Field and maybe this still has some impact on Salt's Mill today. Many questions remain unanswered and have been whitewashed over; are current residents deliberately concealing an inherited knowledge as to the real truth of the Milner Field property and the 'traditions' of the site?

The Milner Field House Website delves deeper into the mysteries of Milner Field and explores the strange experiences of a local psychic medium.