Milner Field was a large mansion set within its own parkland grounds on the northern slope of the Aire valley one mile to the north west of the mill and model village of Saltaire Nr Shipley in West Yorkshire, England.
The house was commissioned by Titus Salt Jnr, the youngest son of the famous Victorian wool baron and philanthropist Sir Titus Salt, and built in 1869 to the plans of Thomas Harris.
Sir Titus built up a highly successful business weaving cloth in the grim mills of Bradford. He had always been concerned about the workers within the township, which had one of the worst records in Britain for poor living and working conditions and short life expectancy. These concerns were behind his plan to construct a new mill and village well away from the squalor and pollution of Bradford.
He built his mill one mile north east of the town of Shipley on the banks of the River Aire.
Workers cottages and houses soon followed, he named his enterprise Saltaire.
Today Saltaire is still a very impressive place to visit. In its heyday it was nothing short of miraculous. People travelled from miles around to see the gargantuan mill and adjoining settlement.
Titus Salt made a vast fortune from his mill at Saltaire and earned a lasting reputation as one of the great Victorian Paternalists..
After Sir Titus's death in 1876 it was Titus Jnr who took up the reigns of the business empire.
Under his leadership the fortunes of the family and Saltaire fared well, for a while.
Titus Jnr and his family enjoyed an idyllic life at Milner Field. They were at the pinnacle of West Yorkshire society and this position was further enhanced by two royal visits. Alas this opulent lifestyle was not to last.
Changes in the fashion market caused a downturn in demand for the type of material produced by Salts Mill. Trade tariffs in America saw one of their main export markets virtually dry up. An expensive venture into coal mining and iron production in America may also have added to Titus Jnr's bad fortune. More money was lost on the Royal Yorkshire Jubilee Exhibition in 1887.
Titus Jnr had been diagnosed with a weak heart condition in 1885. These troubles no doubt placed an extra strain on an already unwell man. Titus Jnr was found unconscious in the billiard room of Milner Field on Saturday 19th November 1887 and was pronounced dead shortly after.
Although Titus Jnr had only enjoyed the house for 18 years it is perhaps better that he did not live to see its fate.
There now befell a series of unfortunate events and turns of bad luck which would gain the house a grim reputation.
James Roberts became the owner of Saltaire and eventually bought Milner Field from Titus Jnr's widow, Catherine.
Although Roberts ran the mill enterprise very successfully and was well liked in Saltaire bad luck seemed to dog his family.
His eldest son died of pneumonia in 1898.
His youngest son drowned while on holiday in Ireland in 1904.
His second son Bertram died of a nervous illness in 1912.
His remaining son was badly injured in the great war and was unable to work again.
On top of this his married daughter Alice was involved in a national scandal involving the death of an amorous admirer.
Subsequent owners of Milner Field also encountered bouts of misfortune and ill health. There were several unusual and unexpected deaths among the owners families leading to the house gaining a sinister reputation and making it difficult to lease or sell.
Two failed auction attempts would find the house unoccupied and untended. The once grand property was now used as a source of spare roofing and building materials for the mill during the first and second world wars.
In the 1950s an attempt was made to flatten the house by dynamite. This failed, a testament to the quality of the original builders. It was subsequently razed to the ground by demolition gangs. At the present time, 2013, the parkland has been much reduced in area.
All that remains of the house are a few piles of rubble, scanty traces of the mosaic floor from the giant conservatory and the openings to the partially filled in cellars, which once ran under the entirety of the house.
The entire site is completely overgrown and there is much debate as to its future.
The only saving grace to the story is the North Lodge, which has been lovingly and tastefully renovated and gives a hint at what the house may have looked like.