Alan's latest book is now available to buy

Alan's new book Sir Titus Salt and Sons - A Farming Legacy chronicles the previously unknown impact that the Salt family had on Agriculture and Farming from the 1860s to the 1890s. Whilst known for their manufacturing exploits in Bradford and at Saltaire, it has only recently been realized that the Salts were also involved in model farms and agricultural during the era known as the "high farming" period of Victorian agricultural improvement.

Alan's compilation of his own research with that of living members of the Salt family and also research carried out by other historians, throws new light on a previously unrealized aspect of Salt family history. Specific comment about this is made in their Forewords to the book  by Nick Salt, great grandson of Titus Salt Jr and by Pat Ainger great grand daughter of Herbert Salt.

Click this link to view the recent article published by the Telegraph and Argus.

Where to purchase Alan's books in West Yorkshire:

Both Sir Titus Salt and Sons - A Farming Legacy and Bingley A Living History can be purchased from the following locations:

The Bingley Gallery. Visit their website here

Card Emporium, Chapel Street, Bingley.

Visit their Facebook page here

Little Yorkshire Gift Company, Main Street, Bingley

Visit their Facebook page here

Woodbank Nurseries, Harden. Visit their website here

Bingley - A Living History

Online retailers:

Click the links below to order your copies of Alan's books, these will be posted out to you.

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Saltaire Heritage
Open Day Weekend

Milner Field Farm: 8th & 9th September 2018

Click the images on the right to download our flyer and preoder form.

Simply fill in the form, and return it to us to order your books at the special discounted price.

About Alan Cattell

Local Historian, Researcher, Author and Speaker primarily on History in Bingley but including surrounding towns and villages.

Author of Bingley and Surrounds - Forgotten Moments from History (2011) Published by Overt Marketing Ltd.

Author of Bingley - A Living History, (2016) and Sir Titus Salt and Sons - A Farming Legacy (2017) published by Chris Thorpe Graphic Design. Alan's approach to local history as regards his talks, articles and books is simplicity in seeking a "middle road" between too much information and too few images, or too many images and very little information.

What he seeks to do is to provide his readers and audience with resources which bring history visually out of the archives and "into the living room" of those interested in knowing a little more about the area they live in. As such he doesn't want to saturate his audience with information overload.

He is a great believer in "living history" with his most valuable resources being the people who have been involved at first-hand or have had relatives involved in events and have given him accounts of these as a primary source of information. Examples of these can be found in the Living History section of this website.

This is after all their history and your history and Alan hopes that his approach will stimulate you to research and explore your own "moments" from history before they are lost, and share them with family and friends.

Sir Titus Salt and Sons
A Farming Legacy

Bingley - A Living History

Bingley - A Living History

This book builds on recent research by local historians and two members of the Salt family to show that besides Manufacturing,












In reading the book also use the Chronological Timeline to trace key events in the Salt family approach to Agricultural Improvement in the Victorian Age.

“Traditionally, researchers have focussed on the manufacturing side of Titus Salt’s business. Alan’s account places the agricultural side of the Salt’s nicely in its historical context, that of the ‘golden age’ of farming. This account, alongside the traditional narratives, gives a much more rounded account of the life and business of Titus Salt and his sons”.

Pat Ainger

“I am grateful that Alan has taken the time to gather together and correlate research carried out by a number of people into the farming interests and developments of various members of the Salt family. In doing so he has additionally combined this with his own research to create a fascinating book, which has revealed a pleasantly unexpected aspect of some of the other roots of my family history”.

Nick Salt

In their Forewords to the book Nick Salt the Great-Grandson of Titus Salt Jr and Pat Ainger the
Great-Grandaughter of Herbert Salt note:

Sir Titus Salt and four of his sons were also involved in Agriculture and Farming.

Discover the changing historical face of Bingley between 1800 - 2016

A fascinating compilation of research, interesting narrative and range of photographs which give a real sense of time and place.

Alan's previous book “Bingley and Surrounds - Forgotten Moments from History” outlined the building up of the road, canal and rail infrastructure in Bingley and the change from agriculture to industrialisation and transition from village to town. The main aspects of governance in this period were the Lord of the Manor and the Vestry.

This new book is intended to capture the further changes in governance brought about by the Bingley Improvement Commissioners (1847) and Bingley Urban District Council (1894). They were responsible for building up further infrastructure in the town to include gas, electricity and sanitation provision, plus other services to cater for a growing population.

The book is divided into four sections, the content of which is summarised below:

Section One - Governance including Chronological Time Lines - Change

Section Two - Photographs of Bingley Town Centre Capturing the Changes

Section Three - Places and People

Section Four - Living History

Copies of Alan's first
book are still available

Click the cover on the right to download your free sample of Bingley and Surrounds - Forgotten Moments from History.

Bingley & Surrounds - A Forgotten Moments from History

Download a free sample
of Alan's book

Click the Image on the left to download your free sample containing pages from Bingley - A Living history.

Book reviews

Critical Acclaim for Bingley Local History Author

Sir Titus Salt and Sons - A Farming legacy by Alan Cattell.

Several weeks ago the Telegraph and Argus covered the launch of a new book by Bingley author Alan Cattell titled Sir Titus Salt and Sons - A Farming Legacy (2017). The book details the extent to which the Salt family were involved in farming in addition to their known background in manufacturing locally.

Since the launch, the book has received critical acclaim from a number of sources. Bradford Libraries, University of Reading Rural Studies Department and the Edinburgh Book Depository on behalf of the British Lending Library have all requested copies of the book for their shelves.

Additionally the book has been reviewed by two local historians and authors and comment is made in the book by two descendents of the Salt family, Nick Salt great grandson of Titus Salt Jr and Pat Ainger great granddaughter of Herbert Salt.

Maggie Smith, Trustee of the Saltaire World Heritage Education Association (which is responsible for managing the Saltaire Archive) says in her review of the book:

"I am deeply satisfied by Alan’s new book – Sir Titus Salt and Sons; A Farming Legacy. This book not only provides completely new knowledge about the Salt family’s involvement in agriculture but offers new insights into the lives of some of Sir Titus Salt’s sons, William Henry, Edward and Herbert who have rarely been subjects in literature or known about – apart from being recorded in Saltaire’s street names.

Much has been written about Sir Titus Salt and Titus Salt Junior but almost nothing about Titus Salt Junior’s siblings and this book also provides interesting incidental information about George Salt, despite his not being involved in agriculture directly.

This well written and researched work provides a cohesive overview of how the Industrial Revolution was accompanied by much improvement in farming practices based on a similar, focused attention to achieving efficiency of building design,  materials and labour. It is rare that a book captures an entirely new insight to important subjects but this one does that in a superbly focused way.

The collaboration with Saltaire’s historians and Salt family members is clearly delineated and the work will add much to our understanding of Saltaire’s heritage. I recommend that anyone with an interest in Saltaire or the Salt family read this book".

Alan will be donating his research and a digital copy of the book to the Shipley College, Saltaire Archives.

Heather Claydon (Baldwin/ Longbottom) of Bingley and District Local History Society has also reviewed the book and makes the following comment:

"Sir Titus Salt and Titus Salt Jnr are the names that all of us who live locally generally associate with Saltaire.

However after reading this book I now know that the whole Salt family made a remarkable contribution to the community. Textiles were a large part of the story but the farming legacy - the creation of model farms at Milner Field and Ferniehurst made a marked impact on our locality and much further afield.

This book provides a detailed description of the hard working Salt family members from the mid 1800s. Herbert, William Henry, Edward and Titus Jr are all given their place within this living family history. Their dedication and interest in agriculture made them prominent and influential members of society, worthy of Alan's meticulous research. I learned about many  different facets of their lives ,homes and hobbies through the descriptive text, excellent photographs (many from family archives) and the Chronological Timeline.

Alan has left no stone unturned. I highly recommend this very reasonably priced book to scholars, environmentalists and all who have an interest in local history and appreciate the research and work of a local history author. How fitting that the Forewords by Nick Salt and Pat Ainger, both Salts descendants, show that they too have been inspired to keep the legacy alive. This book is a true literary gem".

Bingley – A Living History by Alan Cattell.

If you’ve ever asked yourself : ‘Whatever happened to.....?’
I urge you to read Alan Cattell’s new book ‘Bingley – A Living History’

It is so easy to think that the people and places we may have known or read about are simply a part of the past. However, Alan has been inspired to introduce relatives of families such as Salts, Roberts, Hoyle – and many more – and to update us with current lives.

Alan’s book is a welcome addition to a relatively small number of local history books of Bingley. I read it with great interest (as a minor local historian myself) and was impressed by the wealth of detail in an excellent format and layout. Each of the 90 accounts contain photographs and descriptions – often in time-line style.

It is apparent from the bibliography alone that Alan has gone the ‘extra mile’ to enlighten us, the readers, about Bingley history from the time of the Improvement Commissioners (1894) to present day.

His research is meticulous Events and mills, cinemas, shops, buildings, farms and PEOPLE are all portrayed in this well-indexed and truly living history. As I turned the pages I discovered the answers to many of my questions and I found it very difficult to put the book down.

I can certainly recommend it as the most vibrant, fascinating, up to date local history I have read. I know I will pick it up on a regular basis to refresh my memory of heritage or environment.

This book is too good to miss and at a very reasonable price it would make an excellent keepsake or gift for all age groups and past or present Bingley-ites or scholars.

As with his previous publications, Alan is generously making donations to charity – especially Manorlands – Sue Ryder.

I support him wholeheartedly and hope that you will too.

Heather Claydon (Baldwin/Longbottom)
Bingley and District Local History Society


Bingley Teacher Training College (1909 - 1978)

Bingley Market and The Little Siege of Bingley

Bingley Boiler Explosion (1869)

Bingley Baths and the Hindenburg (1936) over Bingley

Politics, Plays and Parachutes - Bingley's Feisty Women

Women Firemen, Firelighters and Flames

800 Years of Bingley Market

Politics, Plays and Parachutes - Bingley's Feisty Women

Happy Valley Harden and Shipley Glen Entertainments

Milner Field Farm and the Milner Pond Drowning

Bingley Teacher Training College (1909 - 1978)

Bingley Boiler Explosion - Cause and Effect

Shipley Glen - Early Days and Developments

That's Entertainment - Happy Valley and Shipley Glen

Bingley and District Local History Society

Bingley and District Local History Society

Bingley and District Local History Society

Bingley and District Local History Society

Bingley Womens Institute

Bingley Womens Institute

Cullingworth Local History Group

Cullingworth Local History Group

Cullingworth Local History Group

Saltaire History Club

Soroptomists International Bingley

Wharfedale Family History Group

Baildon History Club

Grassington Friendship Club

2018 talks calendar:

Barry Watson - Bingley's World Record Channel Swimmer Bingley Local History Society

Thursday, 8th February, 2018


The Pre-Raphaelites Discover Bingley

Cullingworth History Group

Wednesday, 25th April, 2018

Talks Portfolio

Bingley 1920s and 1930s

Bingley Baths and the Hindenburg over Bingley - Opening of the Swimming Pool and Princess Hall in 1927 and the events leading to the Hindenburg flying down the Aire Valley three times during 1936.


Bingley Boiler Explosion

Detailing the events leading up to the explosion in 1869 and the cause and the outcomes of the explosion which killed 15 schoolchildren and bobbin makers and injured many others.


Bingley and the BBC

Why did Wilfred Pickles come to Bingley in 1946 to broadcast the first ever edition of his famous Have a Go radio programme? This talk explores the lead up to the event and looks at the personalities (local and national) involved in the eventual broadcast.


Bingley's Feisty Women - Politics, Plays and Parachutes

Outlining the lives of an active and Leading Suffragette living in Bingley,  a Silent Film and Theatre Actress who was the daughter of a Bingley mill owner AND a Woman Aeronaut who died at Haworth Gala in 1906 whilst performing a charity parachute descent.


Bingleys World Record English Channel Swimmer

In 1964 Barry Watson of Crossflatts achieved a World Record for swimming the Channel from France which was not broken until 1981. This talk traces the background to Barry's successful attempt and his memories of the events during and after his swim. Barry himself may be available to come to the talk.


Shipley Glen - Early Days and the Development of Entertainment

Covering the early discovery of The Glen by Church and Temperance groups and the later development of more sophisticated entertainment and rides on the Glen and on Prod Lane.

Bingley Teacher Training College

An illustrated talk, CD and photographs covering the opening, intervening years and closure of the college between 1909 and 1978.


Disraeli Visits Bingley (1844)

The future Prime Minister visited Bingley to support William Busfeild Ferrand, open new Allotments in Bingley and carry out research (including a visit to Druids Altar into one of his political novels. This talk examines the events surrounding his visit.


Firemen, Firelighters and Flames

The History of the Bingley Fire Service and continuing the Fire theme - the early history of Magnet Joinery in Bingley and the major fire  which led to the demise of Happy Valley Entertainment Park, Goit Stock, Harden.


That's Entertainment

A double talk (1) Happy Valley - Goit Stock Mill, Harden and Entertainment Park (2) Shipley Glen - The development of the Glen and the Japanese Gardens as an entertainment venue.


The Little Siege of Bingley 1848

Detailing the cause and events of the Siege which involved the Chartist Movement, local Magistrates /Police and Chelsea Pensioner Militia, and led to the arrest and imprisonment of local Chartists in York Prison.


The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy in Bingley

In the early 1860's Bingley and its locality became home to the designs and works of a number of significant Pre Raphaelite artists and sculptors. In this talk links to William Morris, Burges, Norman Shaw, Rossetti amongst  others are made with reference to their work in local churches and landowners houses.

Talks Format, Books and Fees

Alan's talks are generally one hour in length. However they can be tailored to fit into the timescale required by the host and can also include an amalgamation of topics from his Talks Portfolio if required.

He supports his presentations with a variety of images from his large collection of photographs. Whilst he will bring along his own memory stick containing the images, he generally requires the host organisation to provide a laptop, video projector and screen (or suitable wall). Should these not be available he will provide a small collection of images to hand round the audience to illustrate his talk.

If requested he can also bring along copies of his books for sale. These are £9.99 for the book published in 2011, and £12.99 for his new book, published in 2016, of which he will make a donation of £2 per book sold to the host organisation, for their funds.

Alan's fee is between £15 and £30 dependent on the length of the talk. On many occasions he will donate some or all of the fee to a local charity. Recently this has been Manorlands Hospice, Oxenhope.

Talks Feedback

Alan gave a presentation to the Baildon Local History Society recently. He was talking about the original Victorian/ Edwardian amusements at Shipley Glen as well as the more recent ones.

The talk was interesting throughout with Alan giving new insights into well known stories. The main theme of his talk was centred around ‘Living History’ where he had been able to talk to some of the people whose families had been involved in some of these activities, and people who had enjoyed visiting Shipley Glen in the past.

It was well illustrated and I was impressed by the use of archive film at the end.

The audience of around 25 (our usual attendance) enjoyed the evening and the meeting was rounded off with Alan answering a few questions and hearing a few reminiscences.

Mike Lawson

Joint Convenor , Baildon Local History Society.

20th December, 2016

Alan gave a fascinating talk on Happy Valley and Shipley Glen entertainments to our club of which 50 members arrived mostly ladies but it didn't seem to phase him Quite a few of them remembered Happy Valley and it brought a lot of good memories back.

His talk had quite a lot of humour and some wonderful old pictures even a short film taken in 1902.

None of us was born then I hasten to add all in all a very entertaining afternoon and we look forward to having Alan back in the near future.

Pat Shackleton (Treasurer of GFC)

Grassington Friendship Club.

October, 2017


Alan has an excellent reputation for the depth of his historical research using a wide variety of sources. His research, particularly on the Pre Raphaelites, Disraeli, Muriel Aked (Actress), The Hindenburg, Suffragettes and Magnet Joinery has received very positive response locally as it has revealed a number of previously unknown facts.

Recently he has been involved in researching the history of Milner Field Farm of which little was previously known or documented. To do this he has collaborated closely with the tenant farmers, the Downs family, who have farmed the land since 1902.

He is always interested in discussing research assignments and approaches if they help add to knowledge of Bingley and

surrounds local history. Where there is a cost for this and his time he will try to keep these to a minimum.

Alan is donating all the research he carries out to Bingley and District Local History Society, to be kept in their Archives. He has also donated research carried out including a financial donation for the creation of a Japanese Garden file in the Shipley College, Saltaire Archives. He has recently donated the research carried out on Milner Field Farm to the same Archive.

He has also carried out Family History research for a number of friends and family and again received very positive feedback about the scope and depth of his findings. He is open to discussing assignments of a similar nature.

Living History

Alan believes that much history lives in the present rather than the past, through the memories and anecdotes that people living in the local area pass down through family and friends. As such he has carried out interviews with a number of Bingley residents and others as part of his Living History approach, the results of which he will donate to the Bingley Local History Society Archives.

These have included:

Amanda Boxer - An actress performing at the Haymarket Theatre, London in 2015, providing background detail and in-house photographs of Bingley silent screen and theatre actress Muriel Aked from the 1930's

Arthur and Mary Pitchforth who have direct connections to Bingley Swimming Pool, Arthur through being born in the swimming pool house as son of the Pool Superintendant and Mary having worked there as a swimming instructor since 1960.

Tom Greenwood (Father of Sheila Donaldson of Bingley and District Local History Society) who recounted being at the opening of Bingley Swimming Pool in 1927 and also observed first -hand the Hindenburg airship flying over Milner Field South Lodge in 1936.

Doreen Thompson - Whose mother Doris was a student at Bingley Teacher Training College during the 1950's and recounts Doris's time there.

Michael Wild - Whose relative William Wild was one of the original stonemasons working on Bingley 5 Rise Locks in the 1774. Another relative, Elstub was the aunt of film comedian Peter Sellers who's father was born in Bradford. Michaels family emigrated from Bingley to the USA in 1902 and he still lives there.

Sue Brown - Member of the Green family who were Bingley Town Criers from the 1850's until the 1950's.

Barry Watson of Crossflatts who in 1964 set the World Record for the English Channel swim from France to England, which stood until 1981.

Stuart Clark - Whose family have lived in the Bingley area and worked as stonemasons since the 1500's. His Great Grandfather Thomas was also the first Huntsman for the Airedale Beagles.

Jamie Roberts - Great, great, grandson of Sir James Roberts who took over the running of Salts Mill in Saltaire.

David Downs - Whose family have been the tenant farmers on Milner Field Farm, part of the Milner Field Estate built by Titus Salt Junior, since 1902.

Nick Salt - Great, great, grandson Sir Titus Salt and great grandson of Titus Salt Jnr who built Milner Field Mansion.

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Bingley History Series

Bingley - A Living History
Bingley - A Living History