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Salt and Silver: A Story of Hope Paperback – 1 Dec 1998
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The story of the 19th century philanthropist who built Saltaire and the 1980s entrepreneur who brought it back to life.
Top customer reviews
Indeed it is ~ a story of hope! In this remarkable double biography, Jim Greenhalf, writer, newsman and poet, carries the reader on a journey through time over a period of almost 200 years. From the birth of Sir Titus Salt in 1803 to the death of Jonathan Silver in 1997, the story evolves of two exceptional men, their vision and drive to bring work and prosperity to Saltaire, a small corner of industrial Yorkshire.
Dipping into Salt and Silver is like a visit to Salts Mill, where the action takes place; both leave you uplifted and inspired by the dynamism which created it. Each chapter opens with a photograph of a mill door, taking the reader on a walk through the mill; a thoughtful piece of design. The stories of Sir Titus Salt, 'the textile tycoon who built Salts Mill, and Jonathan Silver, his 20th Century counterpart who rescued this amazing place from oblivion', are neatly interwoven with references to the social climate of the times.
From the beginning, the humanness of both the subjects and writer is apparent, and the punchy newsman's prose is punctuated by the poet's love of a well turned phrase. The attention to detail is fascinating, not fastidious. Salt and Silver were extraordinary entrepreneurs, gifted with insight, vision and skills to fuel the generation and regeneration of Saltaire. Jim Greenhalf has his own share of insight and vision which he uses to breathe life into his subject, to make you care about the outcome. His ability to see beyond the obvious, to use acute observational skills in a way which draws the reader in, to sniff out and then tell a good story, to blend the personal with narrative, and to merge the whole with a bigger picture of time and place, events in Europe and beyond, is second to none. Jim's writing weaves the past and present together in a unique way, as he does too in his collected poems The Dog's Not Laughing.
The revised and enlarged edition, coming only 6 months after the first, is full of colour with reproductions of some of David Hockney's more intimately conceived works, expanded chapters and notes, and a new final chapter written after the premature death of Jonathan Silver. Understated in this chapter is Jim's own response to the death of his friend; the consummate professional writer continues to report, though his sadness at heart comes through, especially in the poem dedicated to Jonathan which ends the book.
It is a good read, not just for those interested in Yorkshire or the people involved, but for anyone interested in history, social change, people, art and the creative use of language. Jim Greenhalf is an artist in words, drawn to those people who live creatively and who see in the present moment the seeds of the future as well as the roots of the past. Salt and Silver inspires hope for the future.