I tweeted and posted on Facebook about the Multi Story Water theatrical tour with links to their WordPress blog here. I did say that I was thinking about going on the 4:30pm tour but I decided to get off to the 11:00am one instead. It was fun and well worth following the act through Saltaire, Shipley and Baildon. Actors played the parts of local people past and present.
We started off in Robert’s Park with “Martin Bijl” (manager of Robert’s Park) telling us about the park (“No primary colours to be found here!”) and “Neil Morrison” telling us about the plans for micro-generation of electricity at the weir and how it will save our future. We then moved on to the pavilion at Saltaire Cricket Club where we listened to “Billy Ricketts” tell us about changes over the time he has been the volunteer looking after the cricket ground. What made this a bit more interesting was the Billy was there. He is the man in the pale blue tee shirt and red floppy hat.
As usual you can click on any of the images and see them larger on flickr.
Further West along the river we heard about the discussions between Salts, Baildon Urban District Council and Shipley Council on the plans and building of the Coach Road estate. With mention of the political, social and engineering challenges of the site.
We also heard from some of the residents of the estate – people who had moved into the houses when they were built and are still living there.
It was great to see the actors put on their characters as they put on the different clothes.
We were encouraged to take in the views with frequent reference to how high the water was during the floods of November 2001. I am sure that the actors referred to the floods of October 2000 but I am pretty sure it was November 2001.
Here (below) the actor has just been telling us that the water was up to the top of his stick when he held it straight up.
I work at Salt’s Mill and below is one of the photos a colleague took during the flood. The water had been higher earlier. In this photo you can see that the trees on the mud bank had not yet been cleared for the refurb of the park.
At the Hirst Mill weir we also heard about why the Bradford Rowing Club is on the North bank and not the South.
Several people then had a relaxing trip in a canal boat through Hirst Lock down to Shipley. The rest of us walked along the tow-path.
After all joining up again the tour took us through Victoria Mill
and then down onto the river were we saw a few more of the sculptures on the Aire Sculpture trail.
The tour then took us further along the river to Lower Holme Mill were local residents told us of support from the local MP when organisations would not take responsibility and how the residents also did things for themselves. It is a shame that the developers are not taking on their social responsibility and replacing the solid fencing with something that would give the residents a better view out of the front windows.
The tour ended at Lower Holme Mill with a welcome bottle of chilled Saltaire Blonde courtesy of Saltaire Brewery.