West Yorkshire’s Saltaire village is such a well preserved example of a mid-19th century industrial settlement that it made the ideal filming location for The English Game. The Netflix mini-series, about the origins of modern football, filmed right down the main thoroughfare of Victoria Road, using a parade of heritage shops to emulate the town of Darwen in Lancashire. Some of the shop owners were even given the chance to appear in the series as extras.
Saltaire was built by philanthropic industrialist Sir Titus Salt in the 1850s to house the textile workers from his adjoining Salts Mill, which was used as a filming location for the 2022 sequel to the much loved classic film, The Railway Children Return. The village is full of Italianate architecture and is considered an exceptional, complete model for 19th-century paternalistic urban planning. The original workers’ housing, public buildings and quaint high street would have made filming here a delight for The English Game crew.
The imposing Salts Mill is still standing and was featured as a backdrop to the Saltaire scenes in The English Game. Cloth production at the mill ended in 1986 and it’s now been transformed into a popular heritage culture and shopping centre. It is home to a large collection of Yorkshire native David Hockney’s artwork, as well as restaurants, cafes and independent retailers.
In 2001, the village of Saltaire and its mill became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today it’s part of greater Bradford.