THE Salt family’s farming history has been highlighted in a new book.

Alan Cattell’s work, Sir Titus Salt and Sons - A Farming Legacy, has shown that the Salt family, besides being known for their manufacturing exploits, were also at the forefront of the model farm movement in the period of high farming which took place in the 1860s to 1890s.

Titus Snr and sons, Edward, Herbert, Titus Jr and William Henry, all had model farms built on their estates. This process involved the wholesale demolition of inconvenient old farm buildings and their replacement by new structures that were designed to make the most efficient use of materials and labour.

Of these, Milner Field Farm at Gilstead and Ferniehurst Farm at Baildon still exist as farm buildings, a legacy which links the Saltaire Mill and both farms together.

Mr Cattell, 70, of Park Road, Bingley, said the Salts’ ancestors, including Nick Salt, the great-grandson of Sir Titus Salt, and Pat Ainger, great-granddaughter of Herbert Salt, were surprised about their model farm past.

Mr Cattell said his book will offer a new perspective on the Salts family.

He said: “People don’t realise the history behind these farms. They both still exist as farms.

“They were not just playing at it.

“Writers have previously concentrated on the manufacturing when they have written about the Salts.

“They were all at the forefront of the changes in agriculture.

“It had not been realised before that they had their own model farms.

“The Salts’ ancestors were surprised when they found out about it. Nick Salt was involved in trying to save Milner Field Farm.

“Previously the extent of the Salts involvement in farming has not been known, a fact which is commented on in the forewords to the book by Nick Salt and Pat Ainger.”

In his foreword for the book, Nick Salt wrote: “It is only relatively recently that I began to appreciate the deep involvement of my great-great grandfather, and other members of the Salt family in a wider range of industrial, political and philanthropic activities including agriculture and horticulture.

“I am grateful that Alan has now taken the time to gather together and correlate the research carried out by a number of people into the farming interests and developments of various members of the Salt family.”

The book also features a detailed timeline of the Salt family’s relationship with agriculture, which runs between 1846 and 1904.

It also includes research taken from articles in the Bradford Daily Telegraph from 1874 and 1893.

The book also includes photographs of Milner Field Farm between 1903 and 1960 and 1967 to 1971 and Ferniehurst Farm in 2015.

Mr Cattell is now researching his next two books, which will be released next year. They are on Bingley Teaching College and the entertainment provided at Shipley Glen Tramway.

It is Mr Cattell’s third book after he released Bingley - A Living History, including 90 accounts of life in the town between 1847 and the present day, last year.

Proceeds from the book will go to a number of good causes, including the Manorlands Hospice at Oxenhope.

The book, priced £6.99, will be available later this month from, the Little Yorkshire Gift Company and the Card Emporium, both based in Bingley.