Great Canal Journeys (2014) s05e03 Episode Script

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

1 'And I'm Timothy West.
' Beautiful.
'We've been husband and wife for over five decades.
' Amazing.
'We've been wedded to stage and screen for even longer.
' Great hairdo.
'But we share another passion '.
' Cast off, please.
Aye-aye, sir.
'Canals wind through our lives, carrying our treasured memories '.
of families growing up '.
of moments of wonder '.
and hidden beauty' Is this the most remote canal we've ever been on? It probably is, yes.
of love '.
and laughter.
' Sorry about that.
'Things are a bit harder for me these days.
' I'm not strong enough.
But we get by.
We're at the summit! Hooray! Pru has a slight condition and it does mean she has difficulty remembering things.
CRASHING Oh, my darling, I'm so sorry.
I didn't cast you off.
One has to recognise that Pru's domestic life is getting a little narrower by the day.
Well, it can be a nuisance, but it doesn't stop me remembering how to open a locked gate or make the skipper a cup of tea.
OK, cast off.
'This time, we'll explore new countries' The Rialto! Of course.
make new memories' This is canal perfection, isn't it? '.
and return to old haunts.
' Beautiful countryside though, isn't it? It's lovely.
'But one thing stays the same 'We're always together.
' Let's stay right here.
So peaceful.
This time, we take a journey to rediscover our northern roots My great-grandfather had a wool business in Bradford.
and tackle the mighty Leeds and Liverpool, the longest single canal in the country.
One that's bound up with both of our families' histories.
Of course, you're a Bradford boy yourself, aren't you? I was born in Bradford, yes.
To celebrate the Leeds and Liverpool's 200th anniversary .
we'll travel along its most dramatic stretch .
wending our way up over the Pennines and down through the Dales.
I don't suppose this landscape has changed since the canal was built.
We'll journey through the heart of a once world-beating textile industry.
I remember going in there and the women at each loom, and the noise.
And we'll explore how the people we chose to love and to marry can shape lives for generations to come.
If your family in the wool business turned out slightly differently, you could have married a mill owner, couldn't you? Instead of marrying a penniless actor.
I think I did quite well, actually! We start our voyage in the Pennine hills of Lancashire.
At nearly 500 feet above sea level, we're at the canal's highest point.
We'll be following the route we followed on our last visit over 30 years ago.
Do you remember coming along here in the '80s, it must have been, when we were at the West Yorkshire Playhouse? When the season was over, we came all the way up the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
It is a wonderful canal, isn't it? Yes, lovely.
Longest canal in Great Britain.
127 miles long.
Built about 200 years ago.
Very expensive.
And quite useful.
Oh, very, very useful, commercially, yeah.
Well, there we are, there's the boat.
Go down backwards.
Oh, really? No, I'm fine.
Wow, palatial! A bath! Yeah, hmm.
I can sit in there having my bath, while you cook the scrambled eggs.
Aye-aye, sir.
Well, time we got off, I think.
All right.
Pru, give us a push off, will you? All right? Further.
That should do it.
I haven't got long enough legs.
Thank you.
Beginning in the Pennines, we descend through the Dales into the old market town of Skipton.
Heading east, we'll tackle the famous Staircase Locks at Bingley before arriving at the mill town of Saltaire.
We'll pass by the defunct Bradford arm, before ending our journey back in open country.
The Leeds and Liverpool was hewn through the rock of the Pennine hills and took over 40 years and £1 billion in today's money to build.
Completed in 1816, it connected once-remote mill towns with markets on the other side of the world.
Carrying mainly coal, cotton, wool, and limestone, it remained commercially successful well into the 1950s.
We've barely left our mooring when Tim announces the bad news.
Well, we're coming up to the Foulridge Tunnel.
Oh, is it very long? It's a mile long.
Oh, I'll be scared stiff.
Yes, I know you don't like tunnels.
I love canal journeys, but I've always hated the bits where you go underground.
I have a constant fear I'll be buried alive.
It was built during the French Revolution, so it has stood the test of time.
Telling me it's a very, very old tunnel doesn't actually help.
Here we go, on the way to dusty death.
BANGING Tim, that's not helping.
BANG Sorry.
A bit on the narrow side.
It was too expensive to make the tunnel wide enough to contain a towpath, so the horses went over the top and the chaps had to lie on the roof and leg it through.
Oh, God.
A mile.
But if you had any idea of making me leg it through the tunnel for you, I suppose you might have a strike on your hands.
Relief, relief, I must say.
Wahey! There we are.
And we haven't used our legs at all.
Do you want me to moor? Yes, please.
I think a late morning pick-me-up is in order.
Oh, what a wonderful sight.
Hello, swan.
Happy nesting.
Now we're through that tunnel, I'm rather enjoying being back up north.
I may have been born in Surrey but my family roots are in this neck of the woods.
Well, Ma was born in Bradford.
Dad was a Lancashire boy.
For generations, the Scales family business was in textiles.
They were proper northerners, but my mum broke with tradition and ran off to the theatre and ended up living in Surrey.
Her sister married a posh man who had a mill in Huddersfield.
I just remember we stayed with my rich aunt in mid-Yorkshire, outside Huddersfield, and their telephone number was Kirkburton 74.
Well, of course, you're a Bradford boy yourself, aren't you? I was born in Bradford, yes.
Were your parents on tour at the time? Yes.
Even though I was born up here, my northern roots are not as deep as Pru's.
Both my parents were touring actors who played in theatres all over the country.
And my dad happened to be performing at the Prince's Theatre, Bradford, when I was born.
If I'd been born later, then it might have been in Eastbourne or Blackburn.
So, we are both northerners, aren't we? Yeah, even though we've been living in darkest Wandsworth for the last 45 years.
Well, that's NORTH Battersea, isn't it? To the north.
Down the hatch.
Pru's rich uncle ran a mill called Kaye and Stewart, and like most of the textile mills, it relied on the canal to supply it with coal and raw materials.
Pru has vivid memories of visiting the mill when she was a child.
Sadly, I can't take her back because, along with most of the textile industry, it shut down in the 1970s.
So instead, we're visiting Queen Street, near Burnley, the last surviving steam-powered weaving mill.
Ah! Ah! I'm hoping it'll bring some long-forgotten memories to the surface.
I had a rich uncle who had a wool mill in Huddersfield.
I remember going in there and the women at each loom and the noise IMITATES YORKSHIRE ACCENT: And I think that's why they talk like that in Yorkshire because they couldn't understand each other otherwise.
You know? They were ever so friendly and used to spoil me rotten.
They didn't know I was their boss's niece.
It was hard, gruelling work running the machines for 12 hours a day but skilful too.
It was nearly 80 years ago when I last visited the mill.
Yet I keep expecting to see the mill girls working at the looms.
But, no, they've all long gone.
Just memories are left, echoes of the past.
Today, this mill operates as a museum, as a reminder of a industry that, at its height, employed three-quarters of a million people.
Running nearly 1,000 looms needs a lot of power which was delivered by two coal-fired boilers.
Hey, hello, Michael.
Hello, Tim.
Nice to see you.
Nice to see you.
Cor blimey.
Two lovely hot fires.
Ah! There were once dozens of mills like this in Lancashire and Yorkshire, all of them needing coal.
This one burnt six tonnes a day.
You all right? Yes.
You're dropping a lot.
Oh, thank you.
Supplying the mills like Queen Street with coal kept the Leeds and Liverpool Canal constantly busy for over a century.
Got a good head of steam now, so I think we can get the engine running.
It's the moment I've been waiting for - a chance to inspect the 500hp William Roberts steam engine.
She's a beauty, isn't she? Poetry.
Installed in 1895, she seems almost as good as new.
Tim is delighted to be entrusted with such an important job.
Marks out of ten for his oiling? His oiling technique? Not bad for his first attempt.
I think we'll give him four and be generous.
Four out of ten for your oiling technique, darling.
Four out of ten, I know.
Not wonderful.
When I retire and they don't want me to do any more acting any more, I'd like to do this for the rest of my life.
And I hope to get better at it.
Not make so much mess.
You'd better leave that to the professionals, Timmy, at least for today.
We'd better get boating if we're to reach our mooring before nightfall.
OK, yes, could you cast off? Right.
We're at Greenberfield now, which is the actual summit of the canal.
So is this one of the highest canals in the country? Yeah.
We've reached the Yorkshire border now, my mum's home county.
All right, Pruey? Shall we go down for a glass of wine? OK.
They say the past is a different country, but after all I've seen and recalled today, it feels like my past could be just over the other side of the hill.
I know where this canal leads on the map, but I didn't expect this voyage to take me back so deeply into my own memory.
We're on a voyage over the Pennine Hills, travelling on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, which this year is celebrating its 200th anniversary.
It's also a journey into our own family history, and today we'll cross over into Mum's home county.
OK? Oh, right, yeah.
So, now we're going into Yorkshire.
So we're leaving the cotton country, going into wool country.
Oh, yes, there's some quite young lambs.
OK, cast off.
We're off.
But, before we reach Yorkshire, there's the small matter of the three locks at Greenberfield.
Luckily for me, there are some volunteers on hand to help.
Thank you very much - that's usually my job.
Oh, no problem.
Take it easy.
I'll do the winding.
Thank you.
I do steer sometimes.
But he's rather better on the rudder than I am, I think, probably.
I'm a bit more energetic, perhaps.
You know? I run faster between the Between the locks, yes.
Oh, we're there.
Both of our families have strong links with this neck of the woods, and Pru seems especially at home up here.
She's definitely got some of her old spirit back today.
I think we're seeing the best of Pru's condition when she's on the boat.
She loves it, and she likes to feel that she's still useful.
What do you want done with that rope? Leave it where it is.
Familiar environment Right.
is most important, and she's begun to think of the canals as, sort of, a second home, really.
Watch out, Pruey.
Ooh! We're making our way from Greenberfield in Lancashire, crossing into Yorkshire, and winding our way to the market town of Skipton.
Thank you so much.
We're winding about here.
This bit is called the curlies.
The curlies? Yeah, cos it does follow the contours of the land, to avoid any more locks.
Beautiful countryside, though, isn't it? It's lovely.
Lovely open hills and SHE IMITATES A COW What was it? Cows.
Oh, cows.
Oh, right.
Cos you're really good at animals, aren't you, noises? Yes.
Pity I'm not better at people, but there you are.
Well, yeah.
Hello, cows.
You're part of the landscape.
I've always loved the raw beauty of this countryside.
I spent time up here, just outside Huddersfield, when I was a little girl, during the war.
As well as running a successful mill, my rich uncle owned a small farm.
I remember, at springtime, my brother and I used to help bring the new-born lambs down off the hills.
Aah, this place Those memories are part of who I am.
I feel like a Yorkshire lass, really.
Because I spent a great section of my childhood in Yorkshire, I feel like a Yorkshire girl.
I'm beginning to understand how these untamed hills and wild moors could leave such a deep impression on Pru.
From the Bronte sisters, to Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, this landscape has also left its indelible mark on our nation's literature.
Hi there.
More recently, it's inspired one of our finest modern poets, Yorkshireman Simon Armitage.
That's a good bit of steering.
Some of this landscape's familiar because four or five years ago I walked the Pennine Way Yeah.
as a troubadour.
I didn't take any money with me, and I just gave a reading Well done, you.
every night, yeah.
I still think of myself as a strolling player.
I'm happiest when I'm going from place to place, you know? Is that a connection with, with the canal, do you think? It's a similar thing? Maybe it is, yes.
Maybe it's why I love canals, yeah.
He's a travel freak.
I don't like opening the front door to put the milk bottles out.
It's amazing we have lasted so long, really.
After a while, though, on tour, don't you get the urge just to go home, and sit down and say "that's it for a while"? No.
No, I don't, really.
I don't like being in one place.
I think I inherited it from my dad, who was, for most of his life, on tour.
And that's the reason I was born in Bradford, actually, because he was playing locally.
I only live about, sort of, four or five miles from where I was born, in a village called Marsden Marsden? I know Marsden.
High up, really, in the moors.
I gradually came to realise that Marsden was this collection point for water.
A sort of drip for the whole of the valley.
So there were the reservoirs and they were feeding the industry and the canals.
Where I grew up, it was on what they called the watershed, and people always used to talk about this idea that if a drop of water fell just one inch that way it would end up in the Atlantic, and if it fell just one inch the other way it would end up in the North Sea.
I suppose it's a bit like that with the canal.
Exactly like this canal.
The water runs either east to Leeds or west to Liverpool, ending up in two different seas.
I'm going to I'm going to read you a poem Please.
About water.
It's not too early in the day for poetry, is it? No, never.
Be glad of these freshwater tears Each pearl droplet some salty old sea bullet, Airlifted out of the waves, Then laundered and sieved, Recast as a soft bead and returned 'Tis no mean feat to catch one raindrop clean in the mouth, To take one drop on the tongue Tasting cloud pollen, grain of the heavens, raw sky.
Where are we aiming to end up tonight? Skipton.
Oh, right.
We've got to go through the Bank Newton locks.
I keep forgetting how short these locks are, compared to the ones down south.
You're into it and .
hitting the end before you know where you are.
But they're very broad, built for the wide beam working boats that once plied of these waters.
This is a man-sized canal, a man-sized lock.
So, on this stretch, we're sharing lock wheeling duties.
All right, Pruey? Pru's at the controls now.
I'm not worried.
Thank you.
Very confident skipper.
Just hope she remembers to pick me up(!) Pull the tiller over to this way.
I I am doing.
And now throw me a rope.
Go into neutral.
Put the tiller well over.
The other way, other way.
What? Tiller well over.
I'm I'm well over.
I do know how to steer.
I have been doing this for 40 years.
So, we got through the windswept dales.
I don't suppose this landscape has changed since the canal was built, has it? No, not much.
Not much.
You know, if you were a working boatman, carrying coal from Liverpool to the mills of Bradford, you'd be looking forward to a nice warming pub in Skipton.
Well, I'm looking forward to that, actually.
Were just coming up to a swing bridge now.
Swing bridges have always been in use on this canal.
They were a much cheaper option to stone bridges.
I'm stronger than I look.
It's a heavy bridge.
There's a boat coming down, so they'll They'll want it open.
Here comes yet another reminder of my past.
There's a boat called Sweet Basil.
Oh, God, do you think they'll recognise me and make a terrible joke? Thank you for doing the bridge.
Well done.
Yes, that was good.
Yeah, that's a typical old mill.
Coming into Skipton now.
There'll be a lot of them.
Our family had a mill just like that.
My great-grandfather had a wool business called Scales' Wool And Stuff.
So, if your family in the wool business had turned out slightly differently, you might have married a mill owner, mightn't you? No way.
My mum broke away and became an actress, you see? Oh, well, instead of marrying a mill owner you've married a penniless actor.
I think I did quite well, actually.
We're right bang in the centre of Skipton now.
The first stretch of canal opened here in 1773, so the town has a long canal tradition.
Thank you.
In Skipton boatyards, broad and narrow beam boats would have been maintained and also painted in the style that's unique to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, known as brightwork.
Ginny Barlow is one of only a handful of artists carrying on this tradition.
This is beautiful.
I love lettering.
I think this is so satisfying.
Is there something special about the Leeds and Liverpool? It had different boats, which had their own really unique style of decoration on Yeah.
Traditionally, here, in Leeds and Liverpool, the shadowing of the lettering should always go from the right and downwards.
Yes, yes, always down to the right.
That's interesting, cos that boat over there, it does just the opposite, doesn't it? Yes.
We'll have to have words with them about that.
One of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal's primary functions was to service the textile industry.
In return, the mills of Yorkshire and Lancashire helped to give the canal's boats their distinctive colourful look.
Because this was the textile industry up here, and they used the dyes Ah, yes.
for dying the textiles, so they'd have had those bright colours.
These days, we're lucky.
We can just open a tin of paint and use it, but they made up all their own Their own paints.
paint colours, yes.
Yes, out of raw ingredients.
And where did you learn to do it? When I was living up on the Leeds and Liverpool, I was really lucky to be introduced to an old guy called Sam Yates, who was one of the original painters at the boatyards.
So you're a unique person, really, aren't you? Yeah, I hope there are a few of us around, but I don't think there are many.
Bye-bye, and good luck.
It's great to see people keeping these old traditions alive.
In fact, we're about to keep one going ourselves.
Oh, beautiful.
There we are.
Thank you very much.
Thank you very, very much.
A pie and a pint, and the pouring rain.
Well, that's Yorkshire for you, isn't it? It is.
Of course, being a relative of the bosses, you wouldn't be here, would you? Sipping Yeah.
You'd be in the other bar, wouldn't you? No, I wouldn't.
I'm a Yorkshire lass at heart, and I'll drink my wine where I please.
And down beside this lovely old canal is just grand.
We are on a voyage around the Leeds and Liverpool canal.
Having left the Dales behind us, we're now nearing Yorkshire's mill towns.
Once home to Britain's mighty textile industry, which at its height generated one quarter of the nation's wealth.
It's near here that Pru has strong family connections.
We're just passing Worsted Mills, which specialised in providing army uniforms.
Army uniforms? Yeah.
My uncle's mill made khaki during the war.
Today, the Leeds and Liverpool is a tranquil haven from modern life.
But two centuries ago, this was a brand-new industrial superhighway, opening up the countryside to new industry and connecting it to distant lands.
You would take a fast packet boat from here to connect to the steamers to Liverpool and therefore you could begin a voyage here to the United States.
We have more modest ambitions for our journey today.
Meandering through Airedale, bound for Keighley, we'll switch to another form of transport for a short detour to Haworth, home of the Bronte sisters.
And back on the canal, we'll tackle Britain's steepest locks before ending the day outside Bingley.
We'd like two returns to Haworth, please.
That's third class, isn't it? It certainly is.
60 please.
50p for a platform ticket.
That's right.
It used to be a penny.
But if you are seeing someone off, you have to pay 50p to give them a kiss.
Well, I don't think they're too fussy about that.
Do you not? Thank you.
Whereas Pru's family roots lie in Yorkshire, mine are not really tied to any particular place, but rather to one particular play.
This was used recently for a remake of the Ghost Train.
Was it? Yes.
Actually, I owe my being to the Ghost Train.
Do you? Yes, because my parents met on a tour of it.
Well, like us, except it wasn't the Ghost Train.
Just like us.
Yeah, yeah.
It's a great old story.
A number of passengers get abandoned in a country station in Cornwall and the old stationmaster tells them this story about the ghost train that haunts the line.
I tell you that there ain't no train run on these metals from seven at night till ten in the morning and whatever it be, it don't never start from Truro and it never runs into St Anne's.
If it be a natural thing, where do it come from? Where do it go? Folks in these parts run a mile if they hear the train in the night.
They do say as to look upon the ghost train .
do mean death.
TRAIN SCREECHES This must be a great moment for you.
Oh, yes, I'm keen on steam trains, real ones at least.
Like canals, they were part of the transport and industrial revolutions that from the early 19th century were transforming people's lives all over the country.
And not always for the better.
What are you reading from? Shirley, which is a novel by Charlotte Bronte.
It's all about the coming of the textile mills in this area and the effect it had upon the home weavers because a lot of them were thrown out of work by the mechanisation.
Charlotte Bronte is, of course, most famous for her novel Jane Eyre, but Shirley is a lesser-known masterpiece and is set against the turmoil caused to a rural community by the coming of the machine age.
Something, of course, my family were deeply involved in.
Ought I to feel guilty about my uncle? In the wool mill? Well, he did employ quite a lot of people.
Well, that's all right then.
Arriving at Haworth, we are heading for the Bronte sisters' home at the top of the town.
Those Bronte girls had to do that walk every day.
Well, us Yorkshire lasses were tough.
We're meeting Ann Dinsdale, collections manager at the Bronte parsonage.
This is the house that the Bronte sisters lived in for virtually all of their lives and it was in this house that they wrote their famous novels including Charlotte's Jane Eyre, Emily's Wuthering Heights and Anne's novel, The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall.
This is the main room of the house.
This is where the sisters would have actually written their novels, at this table.
They used to walk around in the evening, didn't they, to read to each other.
That's right, yeah.
They had a nightly ritual of walking round the table and reading aloud from their writing and discussing their writing projects.
And when the other two sisters died, Charlotte used to go on.
That's right.
In fact, Emily died on the sofa in this room and Charlotte would come back down every evening and continue her habit of walking round the table.
It was against this backdrop of family tragedy that Charlotte Bronte wrote Shirley.
Everyone knows Jane Eyre, but very, very few people know Shirley.
Yeah, that's right.
Charlotte clearly felt that she needed to write a sort of condition of England novel but it's actually set right back at the beginning of the 19th century.
She wrote about the mills at the time that there was a lot of Luddite activity taking place in Yorkshire.
Yes, exactly.
She drew from the experiences of her father, who was a curate during the Luddite rebellions when weavers who felt threatened by the coming of mechanised looms smashed machinery and burnt down mills.
Quite often, clergymen were targets for Luddite violence so he developed the habit, which he retained for the rest of his life, of carrying a loaded pistol around with him which he would discharge through his bedroom window every morning.
Just to remind people.
She in fact lost her three siblings while she was writing the book.
But it is quite a fascinating book, and some of her finest writing is found in Shirley.
My relatives, the mill owners and the textile merchants, were just faded black and white photos on the mantelpiece, but visiting Haworth today has helped to bring them and their world back into focus.
And this canal is leading us into the heart of the old mill country.
Hello, ducks.
Ahead lies another remarkable creation from that era of turmoil and change.
Built in 1774, the Bingley Five Rise is a set of five interlinking locks that descend for 60 feet, forming the steepest lock flight in the country.
So don't trip.
Don't trip, no.
Being very heavy with the Gongoozler Sunday outing going on here, I think.
Oh, he's doing it for us.
Another boat coming out with us, which is nice.
You can't not share, can you? Hello.
Two narrow boats can use the locks at the same time, which saves water.
We'll do it together, yeah? Right.
There's a team of lock keepers running this flight, but I still like to lend a hand.
I'd forgotten about those side paddles, yes.
So how long have you been on this canal? Ten years on this canal now.
And ten years working the locks.
You have a family? No, not yet.
Oh, well, there's always time.
Oh, there is, there is.
I think Pru's forgotten all about me.
Timbo, are you still with me? What? Are you still with me? Yes.
That was my husband.
Well, we've been married 53 years now, so we've not much time left Well done.
HE LAUGHS Let's go down to the lakes.
to think again, you know.
Thank you very much.
Pru and I were once in a play together about a husband and wife who did have to think again about their marriage.
We were a married couple in JB Priestley's great play, When We Are Married.
About three Yorkshire couples who found out that the parson who married them was not properly licensed, and so all of their marriages are invalid.
Tim played Councillor Parker, who thinks it's a simple fix, but my character, Mrs Parker, is not so sure.
Now, don't you worry about this wedding business.
If there's been a slip-up, well, there's been a slip-up.
But I'll see you all right, Annie.
I'll see it all fixed up quietly, and then we'll go and get married again properly.
But I don't think I want to be married to you.
What? Well, you see, Albert, after 25 years of it, perhaps I've had enough.
Had enough? But I thought I was your wife, and I'd taken you for better or worse, and I had to put up with you.
Put up with me? Yes, put up with you.
Well, what's wrong with me? Well To begin with, you're very selfish, but then I suppose most men are.
You're idiotically conceited.
But then again, I suppose, so are most men.
But a lot of men, at least, are generous.
And you're very stingy.
And some men are amusing.
You're not at all amusing.
You're just very dull and dreary.
Yes, Albert, very dull, and very, very dreary.
And stingy.
Has someone been putting you up to this? No, Albert, I've thought it for a long time.
How long? Nearly 25 years.
We've been together over half a century.
So we have.
Well, then, maybe tonight Yes? It could be your turn to do the washing up! Easier said than done.
We're on the final stretch of our trip down the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
Pru? What? You're off, are you? Yes, we're off.
Today we head deep into mill country, visiting Saltaire.
The mills line the canal as we reach the Bradford turn-off, before going out into open countryside.
Your great-grandfather, Henry Scales, of Scales' Woollen Stuff .
was obviously a big magnate in the area.
Life might have been all right for Henry, but conditions for the average millworker were pretty grim.
We're now heading for a unique mill town, built by a man who wanted to change all that.
The great Titus Salt.
He used to have a few mills in Bradford, and he was very concerned that people were not looked after, so he built this wonderful town.
Saltaire? Not a very modest man, was he, to name a town after himself? Oh, I don't know, I think it's justifiable.
And there it is.
It's a great view, isn't it? Yes.
Extraordinary campanile up there, like Venice.
Hello, how lovely to see you.
To find out why Titus abandoned Bradford for this new canal-side location, we're meeting local historian Maria.
Titus Salt had to leave Bradford - it was the stinkiest, smelliest and most horrific place on the planet.
So he decided, in 1848, "I'm going to sell everything", and he brought all his workforce here.
He chose the site because there was this excellent Leeds and Liverpool Canal already here.
Oh, yes, of course.
So it was the perfect place, it made great economic sense.
And, of course, if you look, he built it on a grid-like system, like the new American cities.
Very military style.
Totally for control.
He wanted to control diseases, he wanted to control the people.
What was the life expectancy in Bradford? Life expectancy in Bradford went down to 20 years and 3 months.
And, of course, in Saltaire, because of good clean running water, paved roads, pavements and roads, gas, water in the house, toilets, it leapt up to well over 70 years.
Titus Salt's utopian vision dramatically improved the lives of these workers.
But he also wanted to improve their morals as well.
He built a grand church, which they were all expected to attend, swearing and drunkenness were banned, and, worst of all, there were no pubs in Saltaire.
But today there are over ten of them, including one called Don't Tell Titus.
People did like it, but after a while I think it gets a bit wearing, someone telling you what to do.
And when people are laughing at you, calling you a "treacle eater" because you live in treacle town, and the only decision you ever need to make is what side of the bread you put the treacle on, cos Salt does everything else for you, that tends to get a bit wearing.
Paternalistic and authoritarian he may have been, but you have to admire Titus Salt's ambition.
Of course, now we're coming up to our village hall.
The village hall? The village hall.
I know it looks like a town hall, but it's not.
A palace! And in the hall he gave them library, meeting rooms, music, dancing, everything.
Would you like to come through and have a look at our grand hall, here? TIM LAUGHS Look at that! It's amazing.
Staggering, isn't it? This is rather grand for a village hall, don't you think? Yes.
And, of course, it's got the advantage of this wonderful sprung floor.
You know, with the dancing and all the things that happened here, it couldn't be better.
And we've also got a plus - we've got our beautiful Wurlitzer organ.
WURLITZER PLAYS "MOON RIVER" May I have this dance? Yes, please.
PRU LAUGHS 'I certainly didn't marry him for his footwork!' I wish I understood your dancing.
Thank you.
Thank you.
It's time for us to head to the turn-off for the Bradford arm.
Oh, Tim, I'm going to need a hand.
I'm scared.
Oh! 'She can do it, but she's lost a bit of confidence recently.
' There you are.
Well done.
It's quite scary that, actually, isn't it? The look of the canal has changed amazingly, hasn't it? Yes.
You come down, follow the watercourse from therolling hills, the sheep into the working heart of West Yorkshire.
Here is where it all went on.
This must have been a familiar landscape to my family, my grandfather, to my mother even, when she was a young girl.
Look at that building, Tim.
Of course, it was all mills at one time.
And then there was a lot of disease, a lot of dirt .
a lot of danger.
Oh, yes.
We're nearing my mother's birthplace and, of course, the home of the Scales family.
Are we going to go to Bradford? I don't think we'll go into Bradford, no.
The I hardly know it.
The arm which was closed Yes.
it was closed by law, because it was so very, very unsavoury, and there was so much .
inflammable detritus flowing in the canal that the kids used to set light to it on Saturday nights.
The mills that lined the canal had so choked it with dyes and noxious chemicals that, in 1922, the Bradford arm was closed by government order.
And here's the arm, which the local papers called "a seething cauldron of impurity.
" It was that bad.
Dear, oh, dear.
Yes, all blocked off now.
Full of mess - trolleys and traffic cones.
It's a shame.
Wonderful city.
All our family history.
Bye-bye, Mum's hometown.
And mine.
Mum turned away from Bradford, and the course of her life, and mine, were irrevocably changed.
Leaving the old mill towns, and our own pasts behind, we emerge into open countryside.
Lovely weather for ducks, anyway.
And Apperley Bridge - the final stop on our voyage.
Pru Hello.
Come and have a drink.
Oh, yes, please.
So I found a little present for you.
I bought it in Skipton.
You remember? Oh, darling, thank you! Prunella Or Love In A Dutch Garden.
Cos your mum was in a production of it, wasn't she? Here, somewhere? Yes, in Bradford, when she was an amateur.
Fell in love with the leading man, who she didn't marry, but she kept the name for me.
Aw Mum was with the Liverpool Rep when she was spotted, and offered a small part in a West End play which launched her career.
But she gave it all up to look after my brother and me.
Well, cheers.
Cheers to your mum Oh .
and to Prunella.
Industries come and go, lives take a different turn.
But it's heartening to see that, even after two centuries, this canal is still going strong.
Wending its way over hill and dale, who knows whose destiny it will carry in the years to come?