Sir Titus Salt was a textile mill owner and one of the largest employers in Bradford. Industrial expansion had caused Bradford to grow massively in the first half of the 19th century. Industry also produced high levels of pollution which caused serious health problems in the local population. Unlike most industrialists Salt was concerned about this damage to health.
In 1848 Salt became mayor of Bradford, and attempted persuade the council to force local factory owners to take measures against the damage they were causing to local health. The council was unwilling to take action and Salt decided to leave Bradford.
In 1850 he announced plans to build a model industrial community called Saltaire at a nearby beauty spot. Saltaire was built in twenty years. Its textile mill was the largest and most modern in Europe. Measures were taken to reduce noise, dust and dirt from the factory floor. Non-polluting smoke burners were used to protect the air quality in the neighbourhood.
The workers were provided with housing, a park, church, school, hospital, library and a range of shops for the workers. Homes were supplied with fresh water and gas and each had an outside toilet. Public baths and wash-houses were built to ensure good sanitation levels.