Women of Bradford: Heritage walk

Manningham Library

001Manningham Library

Manningham Library was the start of this fascinating guided heritage walk by Helen Broadhead on 21st April.

This historic building was first opened in 1910. Four decorative stone works on the front of the building feature great writers: Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton and Wordsworth.

Today as part of Bradford Library Service this library offers the full rage of library services including books in a range of languages, children’s activities, free internet access, daily newspapers and access to local and family history information.

Manningham Tradesmen’s Homes

Nowadays these houses provide retirement accommodation. However these beautiful houses and chapel that form a peaceful oasis in the centre of this bustling area of Bradford were built for a special purpose: to house ‘decayed tradesmen’.

The charity commission website states:


The plaque reads:

Tradesman's homes 3


Lilycroft Primary School


The plaque reads:

‘Miriam Lord 1885 – 1968 Champion of the Nursery Children. She was the first head teacher in 1921 of the Lilycroft Open Air Nursery School with its emphasis on outdoor play, visitors came from across the world to see the new nursery movement in action. The school is behind the primary school. Erected 2007.’

Her work was influenced by Margaret McMillan who worked on the Bradford School Board and aimed to get free school meals and milk into schools.

Bradford Local studies Library is now sited on the side of the building now known a Margaret McMillan Tower.

Manningham Mills

Manningham Mills strike centenary

The plaque reads:

‘Manningham mills Strike Centenary 1890-1990. At this place in December 1890 began the Manningham Mills strike which lasted until April 1891. This led to the founding of the Bradford Labour Union which in turn saw the formation of the new national independent Labour Party in Bradford three years later.’

Manningham Mills was otherwise known as Lister’s Mill. This was once the largest silk factory in the world. It was built by Samuel Cunliffe Lister to replace the original Manningham Mills that were destroyed by fire in 1871. At its height, Listers employed 11,000 men, women and children.

The chimney of the mill is 249 feet (76 m) high, and can be seen from many areas of Bradford

Manningham Mills

Bradford Children’s Hospital

Bradford Children’s Hospital on St Mary’s Road, Manningham, the hospital first opened in October 1890.

The hospital, with its distinctive round wards, touched the lives of many Bradford families over the generations.

Now this fine building has found a new purpose as a Shia Mosque.

Thank you to Helen Broadhead for this journey of discovery around the streets of Manningham and for sharing her thorough research and knowledge of the local area. Helen’s guided walk around these iconic locations in Bradford was full of the stories of inspirational women and men who lived, worked and campaigned in the city for social improvements and justice.


Treasure of the week no. 20 – Decayed tradesmen, fags of the family & stained glass windows

JND 194/14 (Please quote this number if requesting this item)

jnd 194 14 001

BRADFORD TRADESMEN’S HOME. Lily Croft, Manningham21st Annual Report, with list of Donors and Subscribers.  Bradford: W. Byles and Sons, Printers. 24 pages plus 10 engravings, 1889.

Caring for the elderly has ever been with us. Before state pensions, the National Heath Service, and local authority Social Services, the problem concerned many of Bradford’s leading citizens. Many Benevolent Societies were established and the success of the Tradesmen’s Benevolent Society charted here, in building houses for pensioners, is an inspiring story.

‘The idea of a Home for decayed Tradesmen was suggested by the administration of the affairs of the Tradesmen’s Benevolent Institution. Very early in the history of that Charity it became painfully evident that the mere annuity was insufficient to relieve the necessities of the recipients. With the most frugal management it could barely supply the means of sustenance, so that, with respect to what is equally important for the aged and the careworn – a peaceful home – they must shift as best they could. The pensioners must either be lodgers in the poorest and most unhealthy localities, exposed to every disturbance likely to destroy that calm so necessary for man’s final preparation, or they must dwell with their married children, where there may be equal annoyance, and a sense of dependence – where the grandfather is often made the fag of the family, the grandmother the incessant nurse, – and where in bad times the first resource is to forestall the pensioner’s annuity.’

A proposal was made to erect thirty houses, to be tenanted, free of rent, rates, and taxes, by pensioners of the Tradesmen’s Benevolent Society and others, to be elected by the donors to the fund. A site for the building was purchased at Lilycroft, Manningham, plans of the houses were prepared and adopted,  and in due time the foundation stone was laid by Sir Titus Salt, who donated two thousand guineas. The thirty houses were all occupied by 1870 and during 1877 and 1878 another block of thirteen houses were erected. There was a lofty hall that could seat 300 persons, a hall that was beautifully enriched with memorials in stained glass of several departed friends of the Institution.


Map of the Week: A View from the Bridge

The Queens Road bridge, which carries the traffic from Manningham over Canal Road towards Bolton, Eccleshill and Idle, was in place when the 1889 OS map of the area was surveyed. The Local Studies Library reserve collection has a map from 1880 which seems to have been part of the preparatory planning for this structure. Early users, descending from Manningham, would have seen on their right the railway line and Valley Road coming from Bradford, very much as now. To their left, approximately where a stone reclamation site is now located, was Manningham Station. This pre-dated the bridge and was, in the years 1868-1965, the first stop out of Bradford on the Midland Railway (later LMS) line. Manningham and Frizinghall stations were closed, well within living memory, by Dr Beeching. Subsequently Frizinghall station has been reopened.

The three maps included in this article, though all undated, are clearly from the mid-twentieth century.  Their relatively late origin has one great advantage inasmuch as their interpretation can be supported with photography.

The first map shows the situation on the city side of the bridge. To display the annotations correctly it has to be displayed with the city centre to the left of the map which doesn’t feel right to me. Valley Road should be running across the top of the plan but is not drawn. The canal is evidently ‘disused’ which places our plan quite certainly after 1922. The arrangement of the buildings resembles the 1930s OS maps quite closely, so that is a probable date.

Map of the Week 021 A

The curved building that is aligned on Station Road, unnamed in this map, is a wool-combing mill. The blue waterway is the Bradford Beck and the idea behind the map, which is not explained, may have been to show how the beck could be culverted and taken under Canal Road at a time when a new sewer was being constructed. The six circles, and the ancillary buildings between them, represent the Bradford Gas Works. You can see this arrangement clearly in an image on the Britain From Above website:

Valley Road Gas Works

Strangely the 1936 OS map does not name the Gas Works but does indicate that it was served by a network of railway lines which presumably distributed coal, arriving on trucks from the Midland Railway, to the coke ovens.

The second plan shows the same area but is orientated more naturally.

Map of the Week 021 B

The map is undated but in the list below the railway is identified as London Midland & Scottish so it clearly pre-dates nationalisation in 1948.  It is stamped ‘SG Wardley, City surveyor & engineer’.  I believe Wardley was in post around 1946-1960s.  Readers who have known Bradford longer than me will have their own views about whether the major city plan that he espoused produced bloom or blight. The great advantage of the second map is that land occupiers are clearly identified:

1 London Midland & Scottish Railway Company

2 Bradford Corporation

3 Bradford Corporation Street Drainage & Works

4 Bradford Woolcombers Mutual Association Ltd

5 Beck Properties Ltd

6 J F Raspin Ltd

7 The Bradford Corporation, Gas Committee

8 Wm. Whitaker & Co Ltd

9 R Clough & Co Ltd

10 The Bradford Corporation, Electricity Committee

Contemporary trade directories reveal that Raspin’s and Clough’s were both firms of commission wool-combers. The well-known Wm. Whitaker & Co Ltd were brewers until the 1920s but by the 1950s were bottlers and wine & spirit merchants. Unfortunately my limited research cannot place them securely in this position nor explain why they needed such a small patch of land. Can anybody help? Between Raspin’s mill and the Gas Works were three long-vanished roads: Hopwood St, Valley St and Valley Row. Small portions of the Bradford Beck are shown and the relationship of Canal Road with Valley Road is much clearer than in the first map. Towards the end of the 1930s gas production was abandoned at the Valley Road works which became exclusively a distribution centre. Production continued at Birks Hall works, Laisterdyke, eventually the largest in Yorkshire.

The final building on this map is the Valley Road Electricity Generating Station. I understand that its chimney was taller than the famous example at Manningham Mills. Its wooden-construction cooling towers were known as Davenport Towers. The works consumed millions of gallons of water, and hundreds of tons of coal, weekly. It had been built in 1896 and extended in 1939 and again in 1947.

In the Local Studies collection we have a plan of the whole Power Station of which the third map is a detail. The map is annotated ‘Electricity works, Canal Road’. The British Electricity Authority (Yorkshire Division) is recorded as the operator. I believe that this body was only in existence between 1948-55. The station was finally demolished in the mid-1970s.

Map of the Week 021 C


Derek Barker, Local Studies Library volunteer.

Map of the week: Manningham village

It can be very difficult to orient yourself correctly when examining an old map. Map-makers often did not identify the direction of north and a building that would have provided an obvious fixed point, such as the parish church in the centre of Bradford, may not be drawn. The names of roadways may not be given, or if they are included they may differ from those known today. A plan of Manningham from the reserve collection exemplifies such difficulties.

The first image constitutes about half the original map which is annotated ‘late Miss Booth’s property, Manningham’. The crucial fact is that the road labelled as Lilly Croft Lane is now called Heaton Road. This thoroughfare leads from Bradford to Heaton, as the map indicates, in a direction that is a few degrees west of due north. Today there is another Lilycroft Lane, which is the road entrance leaving Heaton Road to the left. The block at the top left of the plan is a row of cottages, no longer existing, which were in front of the first Manningham Mill. This mill was rebuilt by Samuel Cunliffe Lister in 1873 after a disastrous fire. The mill building itself, which would have permitted instant positional recognition, is not drawn.

Moving east we cross the property of E.C.L. Kaye. He was Samuel Cunliffe Lister’s brother who retired early and took no part in the commercial life of Bradford. The field patterns here resemble closely those of the first OS map of the area; this was surveyed in 1847-50 and so provides an approximate date for our map. Skinner Lane in Manningham village has kept its name and the property outlines that are drawn again resemble those of the the first OS map. The road leaving the village to the east, and reappearing on the second image, is Dewhirst Lane.


In the first OS map this is called Duce Lane. I assume that Dewhirst is formally correct but that ‘Duce’ was a contraction by which it was generally known. Today it is Oak Lane. Whatever its name the lane ends at property belonging to Thomas & Isaac Rhodes. Here it joins Esp Lane, often called Hesp Lane, which evolved into North Park Road when the land  surrounding Manningham Hall was developed as a public open space (Lister Park) after 1870. Where you may just be able to make out the words ‘to Bradford’, at the bottom right of the image, is approximately the position of the beautiful Manningham Park gates. The road shown here links to Manningham Lane – Keighley Road, which is not drawn.

So, who was the late Miss Booth? As so often Cudworth provides the answer. He writes: (Skinner Lane) ‘was formerly the only outlet from Manningham to Duce Lane (now Oak Lane) which obtained its name from one Dewhirst (locally pronounced Duce) having long been resident there. In one square house, which is still standing in Skinner Lane, lived Jonas Booth with his maiden sister Catherine. Booth was one of the old race of stuff-makers, his warehouse being in the rear of his house. He died in 1837 bequeathing his property to his sister, who died the following year.’ Our map therefore presumably dates from 1838-39.

Derek Barker, Local Studies Library Volunteer

Lister Park Lido

It is just over 100 years since the opening of the Lido in Lister Park.
It officially opened on 19th June 1915.

Opening Notice

Here is a description of the bath from the official opening programme.


THE entrance to the Bath is by a forecourt connected to one of the main avenues the park.

The Bath is surrounded by a close-boarded fence, seven feet high, fixed on the top of an embankment which has been formed from the material excavated for the pond; trees are planted on the slopes of the embankment and around the Bath and next to the inner side of the fencing flower beds and shrubs have also been planted.

The Swimming Pond is 150 feet long by 60 feet wide and will hold 286,000 gallons or 1,300 tons of water. The depth is 3 ft. 4 ins. at the shallow end and 6 ft. 10 ins. at the deep end.

Settling tanks have been formed at the west end of the Bath for the purpose of intercepting the solid matter in the water from the stream by which the pond will be supplied, and the outlet of the pond will discharge into the stream.

Six separate flights of steps, giving access to the pond, are recessed in the gangways so as to avoid any obstruction to bathers.

A diving stage, at the deep end of the pond, has been erected so as to enable diving competitions to take place in accordance with the conditions which govern the English Championships and with all regulations relating to diving competitions. There is also a spring diving-board fixed to the gangway.

On three sides of the pond there is a galvanized iron handrail, and at the shallow end a sparge pipe has been fixed to be used as a spray and for cleansing the surface of the water.

Spittoons are arranged around the pond.

Life-buoys are placed in convenient positions around the pond for use in case of emergency.

Dressing boxes and sheds, to accommodate seventy persons, are arranged on each side of the bath, and the gangway is of such a width that additional dressing boxes can be erected it necessary.  There are two dressing rooms which can be used by swimming clubs or for the purposes of gala performances.

Six electric lamp standards have been fixed around the pond and two at the entrance for lighting purposes.

The main building is at the shallow end of the Bath and comprises entrance hall 11 feet wide, fitted up with two turnstiles and a collapsible gate, and on both sides of the entrance accommodation has been arranged for cycles.

Adjoining the entrance hall there is a small cafe with a projecting balcony, and from the balcony a full view of the bath can be obtained. There are balconies on each side of the cafe which can be used in connection therewith; a ladies’ retiring room is also provided as well as lavatory accommodation for men and women.

Staircases on each side of the entrance lead to the pond gangway, and from the gangway four flights of steps lead to the galleries and balconies.

The Attendant’s room is immediately under the entrance, and is placed so that the attendant has full supervision of the Bath.  The foot and shower baths are supplied with hot and cold water and adjoin the Attendant’s room.

There is seating accommodation in the galleries for 480 persons for swimming exhibitions or gala performances, and an additional 560 persons can be seated by providing chairs on the balconies.  There is also standing accommodation for 1,000 persons, and the total accommodation is 2,040.

The swimming pond has been constructed, and the water supply service arranged, under the supervision of the City Engineer and Surveyor (Mr. WHS. Dawson), and the remainder of the Bath to the designs and under the direction of the City Architect :Mr. W. Williamson, L.R.l.B.A.).


Lister Park Lido

In the 1930’s there was a marked decline in the popularity of the bath, the reason being that it did not comply with the standards of hygiene demanded by modern swimmers. Cold and unfiltered water, inadequate dressing accommodation. etc. all contributed towards this end.

Under these conditions. it became obvious that something more up-to-date should be provided to meet the reeds of the ever-increasing number of swimming enthusiasts.

Therefore. the City Council, acting on the recommendation of the Baths Committee decided, after most careful consideration, to carry out a scheme of modernisation.

A filtration, sterilisation and heating plant has was installed, capable of treating the entire contents of the pools in a period of six hours, thus ensuring, at all times, water having a high standard of purity and maintained at a temperature of approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit..

Surrounding the large swimming pool was a raised terrace on which sunbathers could recline, and to the rear of this were seats, arranged in tiers, for spectators, provision being made for the latter to obtain shelter during inclement weather. A spacious cafe with glass-fronted lounges was an added amenity. The new look lido was officially opened on 3rd May 1939.

In 1973 cutbacks meant the lido only opened briefly, and finally, in 1982, it was discovered repairs worth £60,000 were needed.  The baths closed in 1983 and were finally demolished in 1991.