SALTAIRE is set to celebrate 20 years as a World Heritage Site.

On December 13, 2001, the celebrated West Yorkshire Victorian model village along with Derwent Valley Mills in Derbyshire and New Lanark Scotland was granted the prestigious designation by UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

The three globally significant textile mills and their industrial villages represent how Britain moved from cottage industries to factories spearheading the industrial revolution which later spread across the world.

World Heritage Site status is one of the most powerful international tools for heritage preservation and one of UNESCO's most successful programmes.

Over time, the World Heritage Convention has become the most universal instrument in heritage conservation globally.

Saltaire is recognised for its international influence on town planning and is considered to be an outstanding example of a mid-19th century model town demonstrating the social and economic impact of the textile industry.

The village takes its name from its founder, Sir Titus Salt and the River Aire, which runs through the village.

Salt made his fortune in the Bradford textile industry, manufacturing fine woollen fabrics.

Determined to escape the polluted and overcrowded town centre for greener pastures, he made a bold decision to relocate his business and his employees.

Local architects, Henry Lockwood and Richard Mawson, were employed to plan a new community where Salt’s workforce would be healthier, happier and more productive.

Work began in 1851 and continued until 1876. Salts Mill, a vast and ultra-efficient textile factory, was the first building to be complete in 1853.

Lockwood and Mawson designed the entire village in a classical style, inspired by the Italian Renaissance.

Their finest work was the Saltaire Congregational Church (now the United Reformed Church), set in a spacious landscaped garden and its ornamental bell tower can be seen in views throughout the village.

Once complete, the village comprised of over 800 high-quality homes, two churches, a school, adult education institute, park, hospital, baths and wash house and almshouses for the elderly.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council's portfolio holder for regeneration, planning and transport, said: “Bradford district is blessed with some incredible historical sites and we are delighted that Saltaire was recognised as being of global significance.

“The council and our partners will continue to work together to celebrate and preserve our precious heritage which is available for everyone to enjoy.”