Book Review – Heraldic Shields in the Banqueting Hall of Bradford City Hall.

Heraldic Shields in the Banqueting Hall of Bradford City Hall. Researched and written by Janet Senior; window photography by Steve Reeder. City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, 2016. 28 pages. £5.00. Available from City Hall Reception or from the author (

Available from Bradford Libraries

Heraldic Shields

This slim booklet is a treasure; a full colour informative and beautifully produced treasure of local history. Heraldic shields may seem an esoteric subject for most of us, and the fact that so few people will ever get to see the ones featured here, high up in the exclusive City Hall Banqueting Hall, is a reason to ignore them. But the beautiful photography of Steve Reeder, and the informative prose of historian Janet Senior, make this an enjoyable browse.

This booklet, apart from a brief introduction, consists of 86 full-colour photographs of hand-painted glass windows in the form of heraldic shields, mostly the work of the stained glass relief artist Henry Gustave Hiller, which were painted at different periods in the early 20th century. Each shield represents the coat of arms of a prominent local personage or family, or in a few cases, a figure of early national importance. In the book, each image is accompanied by a brief note on the person or family concerned. Edmund Peckover, H W Ripley, Sir Henry Mitchell and Alderman W E B Priestley are examples of local persons of note; the Rawsons, the Peckovers and the Ferrands examples of prominent local families; while John of Gaunt, Phillippa of Hainault, and the Duke of Northumberland are examples of national figures. Janet explains that both John of Gaunt and Phillippa (wife of King Edward III) were both, for a while, owners of the Honor of Pontefract, of which Bradford was a part; while Bradford was part of the Percy ‘Fee’ in the 12th and 13th centuries (Percy being the family name of the Dukes of Northumberland). Less exotically, but maybe more usefully, we learn that Charles Harris, along with his uncle, Edmund Peckover, founded the Bradford Old Bank; that Roland Paley was an iron merchant who, with John Stranger, founded the Bowling Iron Works; and that the first Lord Cranbrook was the politician Gathorne Gathorne-Hardy, son of John Hardy, one of the owners of Low Moor Iron Works.

Janet found no trace of why or how these particular people or families were selected and ‘It is not clear if the heraldic shields actually belong to all the families represented.’ It seems, however, that the artist got the wrong shield for the Prince of Wales (that of the Stuart Prince of Wales rather than of the Prince and Princess of Wales who visited Bradford in 1904)!

This is an attractive booklet of great interest. All profits will go to the Lord Mayor’s Fund.

Bob Duckett

Map of the Week: Bolton Woods

These two sections from a Bradford Local Studies Library map are part of a sale plan of the Bolton Hall Estate dating from 1882. Among other things it advertises the availability of building land and stone quarries. The right side of image 1 joins the left of image 2. The map as a whole marks a transitional stage between rural and industrialised phases in the district. Some woodland remains but quarries are in action, roads are being laid out, and houses have been built. Frizinghall mill is drawn although this and its reservoir no longer exist. The Bradford canal spur has also gone now, although the canal bridges remain. The railway line already existed in 1882 and it would appear that the extension of Canal Road to Shipley is being suggested.

Map of the Week 020 AMap of the Week 020 B

I have to admit that I am not sure of the precise boundaries of Bolton Woods. It is to your right as you travel up Canal Road from Bradford to Shipley although the very high ground is occupied by the much more ancient townships of Bolton, Idle, and Wrose. The designation ‘Bolton Woods’  appears on the 1851 OS map but is probably naming the woodland only. I think we can be certain that Bolton Woods was neither an old community, nor a planned one: it ‘just growed’. William Cudworth treats the area as part of Bolton township and two more recent authors have developed his account:

        A History of Bolton in Bradford-Dale: RC Allan (ed), 1927, p.107.

        The Story of Bolton Woods and St Laurence’s Church : Mary Lister, 1980.

Both these books are available in the Local Studies Library although the second is kept in the stacks and will have to be fetched by a member of staff. Mary Lister (1922-85) was a noted local historian who was ex-President of the Bradford Historical & Antiquarian Society, and taught at Hanson School. As a further source of information I am indebted to Tony Woods for the unpublished findings of his study into the district’s coal mining.

There is general agreement then that the history of Bolton Woods is quite recent. Before 200 years ago the district was simply noted for fields and a magnificent woodland. There were no roads, only trails through the trees. Peat could be cut there for fuel and the was some question of whether the inhabitants of Bolton had the right of turbary on land lying about Bolton Old Hall. In 1624 Bolton Manor became the property of Thomas Walker. The Old Manor House was soon demolished and Bolton Old Hall erected a short distance away. The Stanhopes of Eccleshill bought the Bolton Hall Estate from Thomas Walker in 1648. Bolton Woods was one of the many districts of Bradford where coal extraction may well have had medieval roots. In 1699 Cudworth describes various freeholders entering into an agreement to extract coal. Coal features again in a 1746 lease: near Hollins Close John Whitaker leased land for £6-10s with a condition of the lease being an undertaking to remove the coal-pit hill when it was dispensed with. By 1750 land around Bolton Grange Field was apparently much broken up by attempting to get coals through trenches or ‘Day-holes’.

An Enclosure Act operated at Bolton Woods in 1819, and in 1825 Bolton Road was constructed.  By 1840 Walter Scott-Stanhope had inherited the estate and then sold it to his cousin Richard Watson of Springwood, Manchester. Watson’s Scottish bailiff equipped the farm and, according to Cudworth, by his efforts made it one of the best in the district. At first he grew wheat but later suggested that building stone might be more profitably extracted. The first modern quarry in Bolton Woods was opened by John Holmes and Thomas Dawson in 1853. In the later nineteenth century more organised extraction of the Hard & Soft Bed coal seams was undertaken in Bolton Woods. Shafts and ‘old shafts’ are present on early OS maps but no named collieries are indicated. In the late 1850s there seem to have been two companies: Handforth & Co, and Messrs Brogden & Co. Their enterprise was  known as Bolton Wood Colliery which had been leased by Richard Watson. It was under Navy Croft, Far Ellar Carr, Mid Ellar Carr, Nr Ellar Carr, Rough Ing, and part of the Woods.

You can identify these fields on the lovely sketch map Mary Lister drew for her publication. It shows the same area as the sale plan but is 25 years earlier and has a slight different orientation. Essentially it shows the land on which the village was later developed. The field name ‘Delf Close’ suggests that stone extraction pre-dated the nineteenth century; delph being a local name for quarry.

Map of the Week 020 C

Messrs Brogden was perhaps a partnership of miners extracting coal but their enterprise was dissolved by mutual consent (Bradford Observer, 18 June 1859). The majority of the men involved could not write but the literate James Brogden had been underground steward at Bunker Hill Colliery on Barkerend Road. A well-known Bradford brick-maker, Edward Gittins, is also involved at Bolton Brick Works in 1861 although I don’t know in what capacity. E. Handforth & Co. are listed as fire-brick and sanitary tube makers two years later in a single trade directory (1863). Elsewhere Handforth is listed as a ‘colliery owner and fire-brick manufacturer’. It is probable that the company bought up Bolton Wood Colliery and added a Firebrick works. In 1865 E. Handforth & Co were advertising in the Leeds Mercury for a firebrick moulder at Frizinghall, near Shipley. They seem to have sold up in 1867. The only product I can attest is a firebrick marked [..FORTH & CO BOLTON WOOD]. The extraction of coal was not always easy. Mr Woodhead of Eccleshill Potteries operated a mine in a field facing Home Farm in Hodgson Fold. It was worked by a horse-gin but failed due to flooding. In her book Lister mentions that a Bolton ‘Clay and Firebrick Works’, existed on the Shipley side of the Woods in a piece of land known as ‘Rough Ing’. When it closed it was replaced by Bolton Woods Shed (Woolcombers) which you can see on the first plan.

The ground now covered by village part of Bolton Woods was a part of the Bolton Old Hall estate purchased from Alfred Barton by three men called Holmes, Pullen & Constable as a building speculation for £11,000. John Pullen subsequently sold off Bolton Woods in small lots. Wilkinson Shann built first row of houses in Shann St. During this period the quarries were progressively developed and attracted workers to the area. The light yellow stone was purchased by Leeds for paving slabs and was used for buildings such as Manchester Town Hall and the Bradford Eye & Ear Hospital. In 1870 the construction of the defecation works at Frizinghall created additional employment opportunities and at the same time JT Riddiough opened a saw mill. In 1871  a highly influential man, Harry Stockdale, came to Bolton Woods from Long Preston. He was a builder and brick-maker and with George Lang he constructed Bolton Hall Road. In 1874 he was elected a councillor and was influential in the building of Bolton Woods first school. In a Yorkshire Directory for 1875 one entry for Shipley reads:  ‘Harry Stockdale, Bolton Woods Brick & Tile Works’. In the same year Mr H Stockdale was prosecuted for smoke nuisance from his brick kiln. Did he buy the premises of Handforth & Co? Strangely on 17 August 1878, the Leeds Mercury recorded that he appeared in court summoned by Bradford Corporation for the sum of £63.10s: this being the unpaid cost of sanitary works at his properties at Livingstone Road. Apparently he flew into a temper in the court, but was reprimanded and ordered to pay. Something unpleasant had clearly happened to a celebrated Bolton Woods resident. He died early in 1881. In the years before 1914 brick-making took place near the present children’s playground. There were also two rather rarer forms of industrial activity: a factory making glass marbles for Codd bottles and the Guana Fertilizer Works. The last coal-mining in Bolton Woods was in 1923 when Slater Bros worked a large day-hole in the hillside to north-west of Hodgson Fold. Apparently they had access to a 3 feet thick seam of poor quality coal but their colliery was soon abandoned. In 1956 Bolton Woods farm was finally sold for housing.

Derek Barker, Local Studies Library Volunteer

Map of the week: A Bolling Hall mineral plan

Maps and plans offer one of the best ways of reconstructing Bradford’s industrial history. Recently I found a 200 year old example at the Local Studies Library which was highly relevant to the history of the Bolling Hall estate. Victorian hand-writing is not always easy to read but, with small adjustments to spelling and capitalisation, the plan is headed: ‘Copy of the plan of Black Bed coal and ironstone made by Mr Hinchcliffe showing the Black Bed coal left for the protection of Bolling Hall and its buildings pursuant to the agreement of 18th November 1814‘.

Map of the Week 010

The fragile plan is not easy to interpret. Pink blocks represent Bolling Hall and its attendant out-buildings. Many of the black lines are property and field boundaries. Some of these make sense today, others presumably delineate parcels of land associated with the out-buildings. This whole central area is slightly paler in colour than the region outside the precinct boundary, which is darker and I assume represents winnable coal. This is most apparent if you start at the house and continue towards the bottom right of the plan. The wavy line, in an inverted V shape to the right, is probably a geological fault. In his description of the area historian William Cudworth reported a Bolling Hall fault which threw minerals ‘down 28 yards to the south’.

Bolling Hall is a Grade 1 listed building given by the last owner, Mr GA Paley, to the City of Bradford in 1912. The gift was associated with the purchase of land for nearby Bolling Girls High School, now demolished. A good deal of refurbishment has been undertaken since, including the creation of some formal gardens facing the entrance. Architecturally the hall is complex. A medieval pele tower at the south-west front contains the modern entrance and is believed to date from c1370. The south-east front Georgian bay was created in 1779-80 and (with its sash windows) contrasts sharply with the 17th century masonry present elsewhere. Historically the building is associated with two important families, the Bollings and the Tempests, but who occupied the hall at the time of this plan?

Towards the end of the 18th century the owner was Captain Sir Charles Wood, a Royal Navy officer, a painting of whom is still displayed on the main staircase. Captain Wood died of wounds in the far east and was succeeded by his son Sir Francis Lindley Wood (1771-1846). In 1794 Sir Francis gave the nearby Bowling Iron Company permission to mine coal and iron ore under his whole estate. Both as a land-owner and Lord of the Manor of Bowling Sir Francis controlled access to an immensely profitable asset. After five years he evidently grew tired of being surrounded by mines and spoil tips, however rich they made him, and he moved to another of his houses, Hemsworth Hall near Barnsley. Bolling Hall and its estate was sold outright to the BIC in 1816 and was allotted to its partners. Thomas Mason had it until 1834 then it passed to J G Paley. It remained in the possession of the Paley family until gifted to the City.

BIC had been established in 1780. It smelted iron ore found in the roof of the Black Bed coal seam, both of these minerals being mentioned in the plan rubric. A deeper coal seam, the Better Bed, made sulphur and phosphorous-free coke which was ideal for iron smelting. This seam is not mentioned on this plan, nor is the shallower Crow Coal. The removal of the Black Bed and its ironstone naturally left a gap into which the overburden of rock could collapse, resulting in surface subsidence. The common practice was to leave pillars of minerals unmined to support the roof. Under especially sensitive areas, which included churches and the mine-owner’s house, no mining at all took place. To indicate such restraint must be the purpose of this plan.

Where were the nearest coal or ironstone mines? The first OS map of Bradford (1852) shows a line of ‘old pits’ both north and south of New Hey Lane (now Road). The  Bolling Hall mine may have been closer still. About half-way between the bottom right corner of the house and the bottom right corner of the map is a small square containing a dot. I’m sure this represents a coal shaft. How deep was it? Fortunately opposite the north gate of Bowling Park (at SE 1698 3157) was a colliery called Waterloo Pit. This is only a few hundred metres away from the hall itself and fortunately the depths of coal seams at this location are recorded on the British Geological Survey website. They are:

Crow Coal            9.8m

Black Bed           28.3m

Better Bed         63.1m

The hall is at the same altitude as the Waterloo Pit (150m above ODL) so I think we can be sure that in the region of the plan the Black Bed coal was being mined, or not as the case may be, at about 30m depth.

Both the Bowling and Low Moor Iron companies exploited the same seams of coal and iron ore which extended over the whole of south Bradford and the surrounding areas. Huge networks of tramways and mineral ways grew up to bring the precious substances to the coke ovens and blast furnaces. To charge a blast furnace you also needed limestone to help the slag to separate. In the first OS map, close to the railway line at Bowling junction, is a ‘limestone quarry’. If there were limestone bedrock at this point then it would be more than a kilometre buried, so clearly we are dealing with a surface glacial deposit. The extraction of erratic limestone boulders from glacial moraine is recognised elsewhere in the Bradford district.

We are left with the problem of who was Mr Hinchcliffe? The only contemporary man of this name mentioned by William Cudworth, or present in Baines’s 1822 Directory, was Joseph Hinchcliffe who was a well-known local schoolmaster. Could surveying have been one of his skills? But the surname is a common one and could be that of an unknown BIC employee. Eventually local iron ore was exhausted and when this plan was being drawn the iron industry in Bradford had only about a century of existence left. Ore could be brought by sea from more favourable reserves abroad but transport costs ensured that only shore based blast furnaces, like those at Scunthorpe, survived. A century later still the deep-mining of coal in the UK was completely finished. This situation would have been inconceivable to Mr Hinchcliffe in 1814, whoever he was.

Derek Barker, Local Studies Library Volunteer