THERE is an ambiance of creativity.

In past times it is said some 3,000 workers would have been weaving away here, producing tens of thousands of yards of cloth daily - black and white images of that very activity are dotted around the creative spaces which are welcoming tourists and visitors who come along to see Saltaire’s iconic mill.

In its present form, the mill - transformed by the late Jonathan Silver who purchased it in the Eighties - is serving a new purpose as a place where people can browse and buy books, art work, jewellery, clothing or dine in the cafe and restaurant within.

It is testimony to Jonathan’s entrepreneurial spirit and investment that this wonderful place, created initially by another renowned entrepreneur, the philanthropist and businessman - Sir Titus Salt - who created the mill and surrounding model village for his workers, has continued to serve a purpose within the community it serves - and beyond.

The heavy duty fabric, the exposed rustic brickwork, solid timbers and huge stone flagged floors, are indicative of an Italianate structure that was built to last, to stand the test of time, but it also demonstrates how Salts Mill has evolved and developed and retained its important place in local history.

Of course, one of the draws for visitors is to see the artworks of Bradford’s very own David Hockney. Jonathan’s vision led to the opening of the 1853 Hockney art galleries while other areas were transformed into dining spaces, shopping and office space and it is here where we spent a pleasurable Sunday afternoon strolling around and immersing ourselves in this creative ambiance.

Perhaps it is the concept, of creating a place where you can view and appreciate such strikingly colourful and meaningful artwork or browse shelves of thought-provoking and informing words bound in all manner of books, that encourages you to relax as soon as you step foot through the door.

Salts Mill is a place where you can switch off, a place where there is no need to rush - you might miss something - somewhere to take your time and just experience the vision; the ambiance and the scenery and imagine, just imagine, the contrasting activities of Salts Mill as it is today.

The intense noise and vibrations generated by the powerful looms churning out fabrics and contributing to Bradford’s economic boom during its days as the one-time wool capital of the world have been replaced by the sounds of chatter and clanging cutlery in the dining spaces and, in other spaces, the quiet lull of concentration.

Having satisfied some curiosity of the quirky antiques and collectables showcased in glass cabinets and the vintage clothing and furniture dotted around this interesting emporium, we headed to along to the art space boasting David Hockney’s latest art works.

‘The Arrival of Spring,’ which launched last month (February) is David Hockney’s detailed artistic interpretation and appreciation of the changing seasons on Woldgate, near Bridlington through a collection of 49 works.

According to the wall-mounted description it is Hockney’s belief that it is one of his major works. The intricacy of each image depicting a specific day between Jan 1 and May 31 2011 and, what was even more fascinating, was the medium with which each was drawn - not by traditional method of brush and palette, but by iPad.

Capturing the scene is swifter on a tablet than watercolour - according to the artist. And the result? The clarity, the definition and the attention to detail is evident for all to see in this beautiful collection of images on display here - apparently the only place in the world where you can see all 49 pictures on the walls together.

‘The Arrival of Spring’ is atmospheric by the very nature of the subject - the contrasting colours depicting the time of year yet even in winter there is an intensity in the shades captured along a single track road running from Bridlington to Kilham.

Alongside ‘The Arrival of Spring’ is a changing display of other sketches the artist has created on the device, exhibited on large screens. A selection of these works are currently on display in Amsterdam where David Hockney is being honoured with an exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum ‘Hockney – Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature.’

For more information visit or call 01274 531163.