Map of the Week: A ‘village in uproar’ and the war of Bower’s dog

033 A

Recently a map introduced me to another strange unknown fragment of local history. Legal actions seem to be the explanation of several depositions in the Local Studies Library reserve collection, but after the passage of many decades it can be very difficult to establish what such actions were about, or who won, or why anyone ever thought the issues were important enough to spend a small fortune on lawyers’ fees. I am in a slightly better position with the case of Ferrand v Milligan (1845) since I believe I can provide answers to the first two questions at least, and possibly the third.

The whole map, of which this is a detail, is additionally marked ‘Plaintiff’s plan No 1’ and so it was evidently once used by Mr Ferrand or his legal team. No railway lines are marked which would suggest a date prior to 1847. In fact it closely resembles the Fox map of the area from 1830 which presumably was redrawn for the purposes of litigation. It is immediately obvious that St Ives is not in its present location. The valuable website of the Friends of St Ives confirms that this house swapped names with Harden Grange a decade or more later, in 1858. The importance of this fact is that the name ‘Harden Grange’ that was used in reports of this case, and which appears on the maps or in my account, was the building we think of today as St Ives. Aside from maps my other researches have been in the pages of contemporary local newspapers.

I am certain that the plaintiff in Ferrand v Milligan was William Busfeild Ferrand (1809-1889), landowner, magistrate, and at this time the Conservative MP for Knaresborough. He lived at Harden Grange and was a friend of Richard Oastler. William’s mother was called Sarah Ferrand. As often happened in the nineteenth century William adopted her surname in 1839 in order to receive a large estate from his maternal uncle. This bequest was ultimately transmitted through his mother when she herself died in 1854. The estate he obtained included both St Ives and Harden Grange, where he was living at the time of the action. The principle defendant is variously named as Mr Milligan or Robert Milligan: who was he? Evidently he must have had at least a modest competence to undertake the expense of litigation and the 1851 census suggests he was Robert Milligan, aged 32, of Harden Mill, worsted spinner. A man of this name had certainly been operating the water and steam powered worsted mill since 1842. There was also a Walter Milligan, aged 57 and born in Scotland, a worsted & alpaca manufacturer of 38 Myrtle Place, Bingley. I think that the two men were probably son and father. Walter Milligan & Son are listed as the proprietors of Harden Mill in many reports until 1861. I should add that Robert Milligan is quite certainly not the contemporary ‘travelling Scotchman’ and Liberal MP of that name who was also Bradford’s first Mayor. This important figure in Bradford’s history had his estate at Rawdon. If Robert Milligan of Harden Mill was indeed the man then he and William Ferrand had been acquainted in happier times. From 1842 there is a pleasant story concerning the properties of both men being visited by children from a Wesleyan Sunday School outing.

William Busfeild Ferrand does not always seem to have been popular with the editors of local newspapers. This should be taken into consideration when reading the initial account of events, published by The Bradford Observer and Halifax, Huddersfield, and Keighley Reporter under the title of ‘a village in uproar’, on 18 May 1843. It describes how a certain James Bower walked, with a terrier dog at his heels, along a road through Harden Grange Fold. There he was allegedly seized by Mr Ferrand and his servants while the terrier was ‘worried to death’ by their dogs. I’m relieved to say that, despite the title I’ve adopted, the poor terrier shed the only blood spilled in these events. Because of local indignation the whole episode was reported to Mr R Milligan, who was then Surveyor of the Highways, and he it was who insisted on the right of the public to use the road concerned.

After that things got rapidly out of hand. Robert Milligan proceeded to break down the gate that led on to the road, and to walk ostentatiously down it with a crowd looking on. Mr Ferrand, it was said, hired men to guard what he evidently considered to be his own property. If necessary his rights were to be protected ‘by force’. An emergency meeting of the ratepayers of Harden was summoned and held in Bingley churchyard. Mr Milligan’s conduct was cordially approved by the gathering. Mr Holden of Cullingworth (the future Sir Isaac Holden but then merely the manager of Townend’s Worsted Mill) proposed a motion empowering Milligan ‘to take such steps in law as may be found necessary for defending the right of the public to use the said road’. An attempt by Mr Middlebrook, a recent Highway Surveyor and friend of William Ferrand, to put any expenses involved squarely on the shoulders of Milligan, rather than the ratepayers, was defeated. The newspaper report was very partisan to the inhabitants of Harden who were praised for resisting ‘oppressive encroachments’.

The inevitable legal case was heard at York Spring Assizes in March 1844 before Judge Coltman; bizarrely William Ferrand JP MP had already been sworn in as a member of the Grand Jury for these assizes. It is clear from reports that the action was for trespass against Milligan, and others, in order to try whether the road which went through the grounds of Harden Grange was indeed a public highway or not. Mr Baines represented the defendants and examined no fewer than 31 witnesses! Mr Knowles for the plaintiff admitted that some local residents and their carts were accustomed to use the road, which ran through a considerable portion of the Harden Grange estate, but he disputed that they had a ‘right’ so to do. He explained that the road had been created in Major Ferrand’s time (c.1797) when he was a tenant, and also that William Ferrand was not actually the owner of Harden Grange but ‘entail expectant on his mother’s death’. He further stated his belief that Mr Milligan was animated in his actions by some private feeling, and finally he demanded in excess of 40 shillings damages. The unfortunate jury were then locked away from 7.00 pm until 4.00 am the following morning! With nice judgment they found that there was indeed ‘no carriage road or public foot road’ in existence, but rather than £2 or more the plaintiff (William Ferrand that is) was awarded only the derisory sum of one farthing in damages.

This was not quite the end of the matter. In another bizarre twist there was an associated criminal case, against Milligan and his servants, which saw him hauled up for ‘riot and assault’. The plaintiff and his barrister seem to have understood that Milligan honestly believed he had a right of way past Harden Grange. Mr Ferrand stated that he wished to live in ‘peace and goodwill with his neighbours’ and as a result offered no evidence against him: consequently the prosecution failed. Rather ominously Mr Milligan said that ‘nothing had occurred yet that had shown him that he was mistaken’ and so unsurprisingly, a year later, he tried to renew the action. The legal point at issue was under what circumstances the road had been repaired in Major Ferrand’s day and whether repair was at his own expense, or that of the parish. There was also some doubt over whether this evidence was really admissible: a rather a complicated point for a non-lawyer like me to follow. In any event a further action was not allowed by the court. That didn’t restrain the Bradford & Wakefield Observer who reported that ‘in this weather’ it was dangerous to cross the path of William Ferrand on the moors about Harden Grange.

033 B

The original map identified in red the trackway which, I assume, the defendant was using without permission. This extended west from the ‘Lodge’ towards Harden Grange and Cuckoo Nest. It is interesting to note that the Fox 1830 map of the roads between Bingley and Keighley also shows the thoroughfare at issue.

033 C

Finally the first OS map of the area which was surveyed around 1847, after the action and the same year that William Ferrand lost his Knaresborough seat, does not mark the trackway as a private road but scarcely shows it at all. The triumph of local landed interest over geography perhaps?

Derek Barker, Local Studies Library Volunteer



Map of the Week: Dubb Mill, Bingley

032 A

This plan features a site at Dubb Lane, Bingley adjacent to the Leeds and Liverpool canal. It was drawn up by a surveyor, E.S.Knight, in 1853 when the freehold property was to be sold by auction at the Fleece Inn. Sale plans are a significant source of the Local Studies Library’s reserve collection maps, and the buildings or property surveyed in such plans are naturally displayed in far greater detail than in contemporary Ordnance Survey maps. This complete plan should generate a LSL classification of BIN 1853 KNI and indeed there is such a card in the map index file. I cannot find the plan itself however so possibly this reserve collection example is the only copy now available. The main building is clearly labelled Dubb Mill and shows a steam powered corn mill with an adjoining residence. To reinforce this material it was not difficult to find the same auction being advertised in the Leeds Mercury. The mill was apparently three stories high and the house, stables, mechanics’ and blacksmith’s shops were also listed. The grinding was seemingly undertaken by six pairs of French stones. The benefits of the location, close to the canal and railway, are made clear. Mr E.S. Knight, was a land surveyor of Queensgate in Bradford. Particulars concerning the property are said to be obtainable from George Beanland of Great Horton. Identifying him was my first difficulty. There is a man of this name in Horton at the time of the 1861 census who is an agent but George Beanland of Messrs. George, Joseph and John Beanland, corn and flour dealers of Beckside, is perhaps more likely to be the man involved. Unfortunately no owner or vendor of the corn mill is mentioned by name but at the time of the sale the yearly tenants are Messrs William England & Son, and the under-tenant one Jonathan Cryer. According to the London Gazette, in the following year the partnership of William England & Son of Bingley was dissolved and the assets were transferred to brothers Abraham and William England. Interestingly the newspaper advertisement promotes the idea of converting the corn mill to cotton or worsted spinning, which is very pertinent to my subsequent analysis.

I think that we can be sure of the mill’s earliest possible date of construction since it is so closely aligned on the canal. This canal section was completed by 1774. The shape of the site, and its position adjacent to a canal bridge, makes it easy to identify in other maps even if the buildings are unnamed. There is no doubt that the mill is present in the earliest map available to me, the 1819 Fox plan of Bingley, but if Dubb Mill was always powered in the same way it cannot have been as old as the canal since the first steam powered corn mill was only built in Bristol five years after the canal was opened. Moreover the 1819 building block plan does not seem to allow for the engine and boiler house, yet what other power supply could there have been? I should say that it was by no means unknown for corn mills to be converted to textile mills, although was rare for conversions to move in the opposite direction.  Some 35 years after the mill sale, in the OS 25 inch map of 1889, there is simply a warehouse at this situation which appears to be part of Britannia Mills. At that date, if you crossed the bridge and walked along the towpath on the opposite side of the canal in the direction of Bingley town centre, you would pass Ebor Mills (worsted) to reach a second worsted mill by then itself called Dubb Mill.

032 B

A few years before our plan, in the first OS map (surveyed in the late 1840s), the older Dubb Mill is naturally present although no indication is given of its function. At the position where in 1889 there was situated what I might call ‘new’ Dubb Mill there are three buildings labelled as cotton mills. A later map suggests that these units were also called Dubb Mills, which must surely have caused confusion. It may come as a surprise that cotton is being processed in an area so strongly associated with worsteds but in fact Keighley was a centre for the cotton industry in the early 19th century.

Establishing the history and ownership of the Dubb corn mill up to the time of its 1853 sale was the problem I set myself. An obvious source of information was Harry Speight (Chronicles and Stories of Old Bingley, 1898). He mentions a man called Robert Ellis, who seems to have been the brother of Bradford Quaker James Ellis. Robert took ‘the old Dubb corn mill’ about 1818 and was joined by James in 1822. Is this the same Quaker James Ellis who was so active in famine relief in Connemara in the late 1840s? Probably: Ellis & Priestman were partners in corn milling at Queen’s Mill, Mill Bank, Bradford which I believe vanished when Sunbridge Road was constructed. Speight also describes the construction of an ‘early worsted mill’ with an attached residence by Joseph and Samuel Moulding. This would certainly be an accurate description of the building on our plan in all respects except for the type of mill involved.

Speight wrote that about 1825 William Anderton took part of this mill but soon began building premises of his own in Dubb Lane for wool combing and spinning. These later buildings, he wrote, were later occupied by ‘the Ellises’ who raised and enlarged them for cotton spinning, and a new mill was built on the opposite side of the road which for some years (in the late 19th century this would be) was occupied by Samuel Rushforth JP. We seem then to have four mills to explain: the old Dubb corn mill, an early worsted mill constructed by the Mouldings, the Anderton-Ellis mill, and the Rushworth new mill which is perhaps the ‘new’ Dubb Mill. I’m not claiming that they all were in in operation simultaneously, nor that they retained one function during the full periods of their existence. I cannot see that the brothers Ellis took on our corn mill since Speight describes their corn mill as ‘old’ in 1818 when ours was spanking new. If our mill was constructed for textile manufacturing is it likely that the building would subsequently have returned totally to grain processing? The best evidence that touches on this point is the 1865 Smith Gotthardt plan of Bingley.


032 C

The detail is inverted but allowing for this you can clearly see that twelve years after the 1853 sale our mill is still present and is unquestionably labelled as Moulding Mill and the cotton processing units as Dubb Mill. It seems likely then that Speight’s second statement is correct and some members of the Ellis family actually moved to the Anderton worsted mill. I tried to obtain further information about these mills from the on-line 19th century copies of the Bradford Observer and Leeds Mercury. Unfortunately many entries and advertisements simply mention ‘commodious mills at Dubb’, providing neither mill name nor owner. Nor did trade directories provide simple answers. The 1822 Baines directory at least suggested that several characters in our story have an interest in the licensed trade: J & S Moulding were at the Shoulder of Mutton, Bingley and W Anderton at the Pack Horse, Cullingworth. I know that Mr William Anderton (1793-1884) certainly came from Cullingworth, even if he wasn’t the publican mentioned in my last sentence. His Bingley enterprise features in the Factories Inquiry Commission of 1834. His premises were described as steam powered and undertaking worsted yarn spinning. There were 56 people employed (16 under 12 years of age) which seems reasonable for a small mill. The employees’ hours of work were 6 am-7.30 pm. The machinery was stopped for a dinner break of 45 minutes at noon. There were six holidays per year (8 days total) when whole factory ‘stood’ and no wages were paid. Anderton’s mill is described as Dubb Mill, Bingley ‘a mill erected in 1819’ so I am reasonably sure this is the mill in our plan.

Inconveniently 1842 White’s Leeds & Clothing District directory does not record any corn millers working in Dubb, but William Anderton and Joseph Moulding are given separate entries as worsted spinners & manufacturers. Helpfully there is a small item in the Bradford Observer from 1848 to the effect that asignees of John Robinson, a Moulding tenant, were trying to sell power looms and machinery but this attempted sale would be prevented by ‘executors of the late Joseph Moulding’. It seems unlikely that such a building would have been re-equipped as a corn mill before being sold five years later but I cannot think of another explanation that fits. In 1843 a Joseph Moulding (1775-1843) of Dubb was buried at Bingley Parish Church.

Meanwhile life at William Anderton’s mill was not without incident. In 1850 the Bradford Observer recorded an assault on Fanny Broadly which arose from a ‘dispute over bobbins’ at Dubb. In the census of 1851 William Anderton is living at Wellington House, Wellington Street. He describes himself as a worsted spinner & manufacturer employing 240 males 265 females. This sounds like a reasonably large operation and must surely indicate new premises. Remarkably 30 years later William Anderton was still alive, at the age of 88, and living with his daughter Mary and son in law John Brigg (another textile man) at Broomfield House, Keighley. As I have mentioned Anderton’s mills were taken over by the Ellises of Castlefields Mill for cotton spinning, and their operation presumably represents the cotton mills present on the first OS map of the area. At the end of the century the name Dubb Mill is associated with Samuel Rushworth JP, woolspinner and manufacturer. Rushworth was a famous teetotaller who died in 1896 aged 52. His mill must have been the new construction mentioned by Speight. I assume that this is the new Dubb Mill on the 1889 OS map.

I have tried to pull all this together. There must have been an old corn mill in Bingley, possibly close enough to the river Aire to use water as a power source. Castlefields Mill was constructed in the late 18th century and by 1805 was run by Lister Ellis who stayed until 1829. In 1818-19 Messrs Joseph & Samuel Moulding constructed the first Dubb Mill. If it was a worsted mill hand-combing and weaving seem quite likely at that period. William Anderton may have later been involved with this building but by 1825 he was building his own mill nearby in Dibb Lane for wool-combing and spinning. William and James Ellis took this over for cotton spinning and Anderton must have used other premises. In the later 19th century Samuel Rushforth, who had started life working for Anderton, adapted the cotton mills and rebuilt a new Dubb Mill. My guess is that once steam power was introduced at the old Dubb mill it could function either as a corn mill or worsted mill and performed as both at various times. It clearly survived until 1865 but was later converted into warehouse, or rebuilt in that capacity by 1889. I know that interest in local history is very strong in Bingley and I’m hopeful that somebody will be able to put me right on aspects of this complicated story especially the matter of how many men called Ellis were there, and what exactly were their relationships.

Derek Barker, Local Studies Library volunteer

Further Reading

George Ingle, Yorkshire Cotton: the Yorkshire Cotton Industry, 1780-1835: Carnegie Publishing, 1997.
A very readable introduction although there is no mention of any mills in Dubb.

Colum Giles & Ian H Goodall, Yorkshire Textile Mills 1770-1930: RCHME & WYAS, 1992.
A beautifully illustrated general guide but one that does not answer any of my questions.


Map of the week: Boldshay Hall Estate, Barkerend

Fig 031 A


It is always an exciting moment when an important two hundred year old map, which does not appear to represent a copy of one already in the publicly accessible collection, turns up among the Local Studies Library’s reserve material.  The title of this map indicates that it produced for Colonel Thomas George Fitzgerald, who was a large landowner in Bradford until his death in the mid-nineteenth century. Local Studies has plans of his holdings elsewhere in the city, but no other copy of this plan of Boldshay Hall as far as I can see. The West Yorkshire Archives also has many documents relating to the estate.

Physically the map is a tinted, rolled, estate plan but it is dusty, in poor condition, and needed some repair before it could be handled safely. It was found in a group that seem to have come from Bradford Council. The next map was a post-war plan of Bradford’s twinned city Mönchengladbach, more recent by about 140 years! The unnamed building you can see a little south east of Boldshay is Miry Shay (or Miryshay) an older seventeenth century house. This has long been demolished but in the early nineteenth century had been the property of JH (John Henry) Smyth MP (1780-1822) whose family had owned it, and the Bradford Soke Mill, for generations. Smyth had died before the map was surveyed, and hence is referred to as ‘late’. The West Yorkshire Archives have a good deal of information about the Smyth family too. By the time of the 1852 Ordnance Survey map there was a large colliery just south of Miry Shay called Bunkers Hill. The land ownership in this area is made clearer by a second, later, LSL map which also illustrates that the name Bunkers Hill was in fact applied to a series of collieries along Barkerend Road.  The ‘Col. Smyth’ in this map is John George Smyth (1815-1869) MP for York and Colonel of the 2nd West Yorkshire Militia who lived at Heath Hall, Wakefield. His land holdings north of Barkerend Road are now a substantial part of Bradford Moor Golf Club.


Fig 031 B

The original Boldshay Hall Estate plan is dated 1828 and was drawn by Joseph Smith, of whom I will say more later. Boldshay Hall itself was built circa 1740 and at this early period was associated with the name of Samuel Hemingway and his son Henry Hemingway, who were both lawyers. The estate itself is presumed to be far older. Remarkably the hall still exists on Byron Street, surrounded by Victorian housing, and is Grade II listed. The gardens, fields, and coal mines which once enclosed it have long ago vanished completely.

As you would expect some previous owners of this historic building are described by William Scruton in Pen & Pencil Buildings of Old Bradford, and of course by William Cudworth. The estate passed to the Lister family of Horton Hall since Samuel Lister’s sister, Elizabeth Lister, had married Henry Hemingway. Their daughter, and Samuel Lister’s niece, Mary Hemingway married a Dr James Crowther MD of Leeds. After the death of Samuel Lister, and his second wife, Dr and Mrs Crowther inherited all the Lister estates and in due course their own daughter Elizabeth Crowther (1788-1838) became the Mrs Fitzgerald of the map’s title. Colonel Fitzgerald is Thomas George Fitzgerald, of Turlough, Ireland (1778-1850) who in 1819 had taken Elizabeth Crowther as his second wife at St George’s Hanover Square. Fitzgerald’s first wife also had a strong Bradford connection. Ten years earlier, in 1809 at St Peter’s, he had married Delia (1780-1817), daughter of Joshua Field, of Heaton Hall, and sister of John Wilmer Field. Two daughters died young but they had one son who took over their Irish estates. I should really like to know how Colonel Fitzgerald kept meeting Bradford heiresses and winning their hearts.

Fig 031 D

The hall itself is the large building in the centre of the group. I assume the rest are stables, farm buildings and coach houses; note the presence of an ice house. The agent for the estate, and other Fitzgerald properties, was Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith must have surveyed this map. He was succeeded by his son George Belk Smith who had designed the Bradford – Eccleshill turnpike in 1826. There are pencil annotations which are hard to read but seem, at least in part, to be records of the years in which certain parcels of land were acquired for the estate. I would like to know how long the Fitzgeralds lived at Boldshay Hall. After the death of Colonel Fitzgerald the estate passed to his son Major Henry Thomas George Fitzgerald (1820-1890) who had been born and baptised in Bradford but probably didn’t live here; his address is usually given at Maperton House, Somerset, which the Fitzgeralds also owned. Baines directory of 1822 confirms that Colonel Fitzgerald was in residence at that date but by the time Fitzgerald died in 1850 the Leeds Mercury recorded that he was ‘formerly of Boldshay Hall’. The 1828 map itself includes a list of tenants with their holdings, but nobody is leasing the hall where presumably, six years after the directory was published, the family still lived. It would appear likely that Colonel and Mrs Fitzgerald moved to Maperton House in the late 1820s. Could the resultant need for records of their local land holdings have been the reason that the map was originally created?

Interestingly around this time Boldshay Gardens became a place of public resort. The fact that they were no longer open for this purpose was formally announced in the Leeds Mercury in 1839. As I have mentioned before I am not a family historian and I am slightly puzzled by exactly who lived at Boldshay Hall after the Fitzgeralds. One of the map’s listed tenants is James Cousen. A man of this name is a partner in Rawson, Cousen & Co who were coal masters. This company owned the various Bunkers Hill collieries by the 1830s. His son, another James, (of Cousen, Thackrey & Co, stone-merchants of the canal basin) was given the address of ‘Boldshay’ in the press announcement issued when he died in 1830.  Possibly Boldshay Hall was subdivided since a local merchant named John Mann (1808-1845) was also giving Boldshay as his address by 1834. According to the Bradford Observer the same man won a prize for his lettuce at the Bradford Grand Floral & Horticultural Society in 1841. John Mann died in 1845 at the early age of 37. Probably James Cousen and John Mann were related. One family historian gives James Cousen’s second wife the name of Elizabeth Mann.  James Cousen senior still lived at the hall when he died at the age of 83 in 1844. I have also seen James Cousen’s name linked with Miry Shay although the only contemporary resident of this house I am certain of from press announcements is a Joseph Dalby, farmer, who died there in 1834.

The 1841 census makes the situation slightly clearer. At Boldshay Hall live John Mann (30) and wife Anne (who was to survive him by fifty years), two children and four servants. Andrew Newell, a gardener, lives at Boldshay Gardens. Miry Shay is more complicated. James Cousen, coal merchant, and his wife Elizabeth are certainly resident, but so also are a collection of coal miners, agricultural labourers, worsted weavers. and assorted descendants of the Dalbys. Understandably I have a personal weakness for Barkerend so exploring this map has been a real pleasure even if I have not found all the answers.

Derek Barker, Local Studies Library Volunteer

Map of the week: A track into history

I’m not really a railway enthusiast so I must start with an apology to those readers who are, and say that I would welcome your guidance. I don’t find the early history of Bradford’s rail links an easy topic since the companies involved seem to change their names, and move the location of their stations, quite frequently. Naturally the creation of early railway lines generated maps and plans, many of which have survived. Even here I have a problem since tracks appear on maps which are notionally of an earlier date. Despite these difficulties I want to describe the early lines entering Bradford from the south because of  the interesting light they shed on the city’s industrial past.

Map of the Week 30 A

The first image is a detail from the 1852 Ordnance Survey map. It shows Bowling junction, although this is not named. Two, seemingly single, rail tracks, are mapped. The first is the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway line which connected Halifax to Bradford, and its terminus Drake Street (later Exchange) Station which opened in 1850. The second line moving off to the right went from Bowling junction to Leeds, via Laisterdyke, and was opened a few years later in 1854. It was operated by the same company and, I presume, allowed trains to travel from Leeds to Halifax direct, by-passing Bradford completely. The track no longer exists but the line is visible on aerial photographs.

I am interested that at the junction a ‘limestone quarry’ is mapped. Limestone strata do not reach the surface in the city area but there was nonetheless an early lime-burning industry based on the extraction of boulders from glacial moraines in the Aire valley. Boulder pits were certainly established in Bingley by the early seventeenth century. It looks as if glacial erratic limestone boulders were found elsewhere, being exploited in the same way. In this case the digging of a railway cutting presumably exposed the valuable mineral. Plausibly these boulders were taken to the nearby Bowling Iron Company where crushed lime was used as a flux in iron smelting. Slightly further north is Spring Wood. The name has almost certainly nothing whatever to do with a water supply. ‘Spring’ was applied to a tree that had been cut off at ground level for coppicing. So Spring Wood was presumably an area of old coppice woodland. William Cudworth records that there was once also a Springwood Coal Pit, but the wood itself soon disappears from maps.

Map of the Week 30 B

The next plan is from the Local Studies Library reserve collection. If you imagine it turned 90º  clockwise it is clearly the same view as before. You can easily identify the two railway tracks and also the Bowling Dye works. The name of the company involved here is West Riding Union Railway. As I understand it this title was only employed for a brief period around 1845-47. This and other evidence suggests that this map is a few years earlier than that of the OS map we have examined. This map shows the Bowling Iron Company colliery tramway very clearly. This took coal to the Bowling Depot on Queens Street where I assume it was available to local merchants. The Bowling Dye Works and the Bowling New Dye House were both parts of the Ripley family enterprises (Edward Ripley & Co). What are obviously missing are the large reservoir and dye pits which are such a prominent feature in the OS map. When were these created? The Bradford Observer reports a large sale of land in this area, including that piece accommodating the Dye Works, in 1850. The vendor isn’t stated but might well be the Bowling Iron Company. Probably the dye works boss, the famous Sir Wm. Henry Ripley, purchased land at this time to allow for the expansion of his business and the assurance of adequate soft water supplies, which included a reservoir. Cudworth records a 100 acre purchase by the Ripley company and also states that a contractor called Samuel Pearson constructed reservoirs for Bowling Dye Works and Bowling Iron Works at a date ‘early in the fifties’. We shall hear more of Samuel Pearson shortly. Marked on this map are marked a variety of planned new streets. Were these streets ever constructed? Presumably not. After 1863-64 Ripleyville, consisting of 200 houses with schools, was constructed by Sir Henry but the alignment of these streets on the 1887 borough map looks quite different.

Map of the Week 30 C

This third map shows an area slightly further north. There have been additional train track developments. The Great Northern Railway had opened its service to Leeds from Adolphus Street station in 1854 but the rival Midland Railway service, via Shipley, ended at a station more convenient to the town centre depriving GNR of customers. In consequence, around 1867, a track loop was constructed connecting the GNR line to the L&Y track at Mill Lane junction and allowing passengers from Leeds access to Exchange Station. Nearby St Dunstan’s passenger transfer station was also opened. The loop is clearly visible on the map north of Ripleyville. In describing the work involved in taking the GNR railway line from the Exchange Station towards Leeds, Horace Hird (Bradford in History, 1968) again mentions the activities of Samuel Pearson & Son who took over responsibility for the material excavated from the necessary cutting. The cutting spoil created a ‘great mound’ and for 15 years 60 men were employed making drain pipes, chimney pots and bricks from this material. Their Broomfield brick works is clearly indicated on the map above the loop. The line seen curving away to the left edge of the map, opposite the brick works, services a series of coal drops which are still visible, in a ruinous state, off Mill Lane today.

Samuel Pearson was a Cleckheaton brick-maker who founded a contracting dynasty. His contracting business started in Silver Street, off Tabbs Lane, Scholes, in 1856. By 1860-63 Messrs. S. Pearson & Son were established at the Broomfield Works, Mill Lane (near St Dunstan’s) for the manufacture of building bricks, sanitary tubes and terracotta goods. The works can be identified on the 1871 map of Bradford but closed shortly before the 1887 map was published, the ‘spoil bank’ being exhausted. The site is described as a ‘disused brick-works’ by the time of the 1895 OS map. Within a generation Pearson’s had became an international contractor and was particularly associated with Mexico during the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz. Canals, railways and oil were among the company’s many interests. After being created a baronet Samuel Pearson’s grandson, Weetman Pearson, became the first Viscount Cowdray in 1917. The family seat became Cowdray House and park, near Midhurst in West Sussex.


For the final plan I return to the LSL Reserve Collection. Essentially it shows the same area as the last. The plan is undated but the railway companies have their pre-nationalisation names, so it is earlier than 1948. Wakefield Road is referred to as the A650 and local historian Maggie Fleming suggests that this nomenclature makes the plan later than 1920. St Dunstan’s Station is still present, and in fact had another thirty years of life before closing in 1952. The site of Broomfield brick works is blank, and is today a car park. The purpose of this plan seems to have been to show the course of a new road joining Bolling Road to Upper Castle Street. This is another thoroughfare that was never constructed.



Derek Barker, Local Studies Library Volunteer




Map of the Week: Toads and Chapels

In the 170 years since Bradford became a borough, in 1847, its centre has changed almost beyond recognition. New buildings have been erected and old ones demolished. The Bradford Beck has progressively vanished underground into culverts.  New roads have been created (Sunbridge Road being a good example), while others have been repositioned, lengthened, or have disappeared entirely. Change has been a continuous process but it was accelerated in the 1960s when there was a wholesale city centre redevelopment associated with the name of SG Wardley, the City surveyor and engineer. I should like to recount something of this story by describing the events that befell a thoroughfare called Chapel Lane.

Map of the Week 028 A Final

Image 1

I thought I had made a good start with the this first plan, which is widely reproduced and purports to date from 1800. Here it is easy to see the acute angle made by the Turls (Tyrrel Street) and Chapel Lane/Toad Lane. Toad Lane is an odd name but it is not unique; there are, or were, Toad Lanes in Bingley, Newark and Rochdale. Possibly the name is a corruption of ‘t’owld’ lane: certainly in Bradford the lane is drawn, but not named, on a map as early as c1722. On the above plan building (3) is the Unitarian Chapel which was certainly in existence at this time. An existing town hall is numbered (35) on the map but there is a small puzzle here. The Act of Parliament that appointed commissioners for levying rates, and improving Bradford roads and lighting, was only passed in 1805 and no town hall was to be built for decades. I am very obliged to local historian Kieran Wilkinson who explained this apparent anomaly by telling me that the map of 1800 is not contemporary but was a creation of the late nineteenth century, and marked places both where important local buildings were in 1800, and would be in the future. Let us instead look at a detail from a map that is believed to be contemporary, that of 1802, which is available in the Local Studies Library.

Map of the Week 028 B Final

Image 2

I do not think that there is much doubt that the second plan was the origin of the first, but there are some difficulties here too. Firstly Toad Lane is not mentioned. Kieran tells me that the shortening of Toad Lane, to that unnamed portion that leaves Chapel Lane at a right angle to join Bowling Green, happened in August 1804. The town’s board of commissioners changed both it and the names of a number of other roads in the town (Bank Street, Bridge Street, Market Street and Well Street being introduced as names then). Secondly although there is a Chapel Lane there is no obvious chapel. In his Pen & Pencil Pictures of Old Bradford William Scruton gives a full account of this building, originally constructed in 1717. Much of its material came from Howley Hall, Batley and the land on which it stood was donated by the Sharp family of Horton Hall. The names was originally the Toad Lane Presbyterian Chapel. The old chapel lasted about 150 years and for much of this time was located ‘amid green fields’. The chapel was replaced by a larger more modern structure in 1869, and finally demolished a century later. The most notable figure to be connected with the institution was Rev. Joseph Dawson who is closely associated with the exploitation of the mineral wealth of Low Moor. One possible explanation of the difference between the two maps is that the 1800 marks the position of the 1869 rebuild whereas in 1802 the chapel formed part of the block drawn immediately south of the first section of Chapel Lane. Unfortunately this simple explanation cannot be correct. A chapel, but with no denomination provided, is mapped here c1722, which is in accordance with Scruton’s statement, and the following detail from a map of 1825, surveyed by L Atkinson, clearly illustrates the same building. Here the building numbered (8) is identified on the map rubric as the Unitarian Chapel.

Map of the Week 028 C Final

Image 3

I have already mention the Bradford commissioners. This early embryo town council are said to have originally met at the Bull’s Head Inn, Westgate. At the first meeting according to historian Horace Hird, Lord Mayor (1951-52), the commissioners drew up that list of Bradford roads. The same commissioners moved to the ‘Station House’ in Swaine Street after it was erected in 1838. They did not change landlord since the Bull’s Head and the Station House were both built on land leased from Rev. Godfrey Wright who regularly features in this articles.  The final building I want to mention is the Bowling Green Hotel, which completes what I shall call ‘the central triangle’. This hotel was located at the end of Bridge Street. Cudworth mentions that in the 1830s its owner was a Mrs Susannah Ward, widow of Joseph Ward. William Scruton pushes the Bowling Green’s existence still further back into the seventeenth century. He regarded it as ‘the best inn of the town’. It was used by the Royal Mail and the open space in front of the inn, which presumably was once a bowling green, came to be employed for political meetings. The road names remain unchanged until the mid-nineteenth century, which is represented by the next map from the Local Studies Library reserve collection.

Map of the Week 028 D Final

Image 4

It is perfectly clear that there has been extensive construction in the central triangle.  The Bradford Observer (1844) observed that the premises of DH Smith at the corner of Toad Lane were ‘striking and elegant’. Elsewhere a ‘Smith’s Tavern and Beer-house’ is noted which I assume was the same building. Other developments were evidently far from elegant. In 1847 the Poor Law Commissioners considered Chapel Lane a possible site for a ‘vagrants yard’, and in 1855 a ton and a half of ‘vile bones’ were removed from the premises of John Boyd. The Lund’s 1856 Directory of Bradford lists John Boyd as a ‘rag dealer’. The same source gives Rev. JH Ryland as the non-resident minister at the chapel. There is also an architects’ partnership (Stott & Illingworth) and a painter (John Edwards), but otherwise the Chapel Lane residents are all tradesmen: plumbers, hair dressers, bootmakers, saddlers, pawnbrokers and so forth. Was the ‘Old Foundry’ (Cliff’s Foundry) drawn on the second map still functioning in the town centre? According to Hird it was.

The new unnamed cut-through joining Chapel Lane and Tyrrel Street  is Bower Gate. Toad Lane makes an acute angle with Norfolk Street. Kieran Wilkinson tells me that Toad Lane was ‘stopped up’ in 1869 to assist with the subsequent Town Hall development. The Bradford Daily Telegraph of 10 September 1873 recalled that Toad Lane was a ‘narrow passage… immediately behind Garth’s warehouse’. According to the Bradford Observer of 17 March 1869, the width of Toad Lane was only three and a half yards. The next development, which I have already hinted at, represented a huge change. Bradford Borough Council decided that a purpose built Town Hall was required to support the rapidly growing urban area. A number of sites were considered but Chapel Lane or the Bowling Green were the front runners. Finally a competition was launched to design a hall to be built on the Chapel Lane site. The winning design was opened by the Mayor, Matthew Thompson, in 1873. The architects were the famous partnership of Lockwood & Mawson who had already designed the Wool Exchange (1867). The contractor was John Ives of Shipley. In his book Bradford in History Horace Hird described the whole process and provided illustrations of the runners-up. It seems that all the considered designs were for Gothic buildings including a tower. The stone for the winning design came from Cliff Wood quarries but at present I do not have sources for the glass, metal work and ornamental marbles, nor the million bricks incorporated into the structure. The Unitarian Chapel and Chapel Lane itself were left alone during this development, but Bradford became a city in 1897 and the increase in council business required an extension to the Town Hall, opened in 1909. This provided more committee rooms and a banqueting hall. The designer was Richard Norman Shaw. As you can see from the map below only a stub of Chapel Lane remained after the completion of this extension, and the chapel is now south of Town Hall Square. A further extension was constructed in 1914 but this does not seem to have affected the plan of the building which is essentially the same in the 1930 OS map with Chapel Lane now opening off Norfolk Street. The nearby Alhambra Theatre was to be built at the same time.

Map of the Week 028 E Final

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Understandably these events drastically reduced the number of occupants of Chapel Lane. Even before the extension was built the PO 1898 Directory indicates that, besides the city’s conditioning house, health office and water testing department, there were just five textile related premises, and a produce merchant. Chapel Lane and the Unitarian chapel survived until the reorganisations of the late 1960s when wholesale clearances took place. These must have been required to create the space that became Centenary Square, the Magistrates Court and Coroner’s Office building, the Norfolk Gardens and the Hall Ings extension. The court building, which was opened in 1972, retains ‘The Tyrls’ as its address. What remained of Chapel Lane ultimately gave way for Norfolk Gardens. However Kieran feels that it is arguable that some of Chapel Lane remains within the Town Hall as there is an outside area between the original Town Hall and the extension which was part of this lane.


Derek Barker, Local Studies Library Volunteer


Map of the Week 027: What was going on in Great Horton?

If you are reading this article you probably find maps and plans as interesting as I do. You will certainly understand how easy it is to get distracted, while writing a brief report, by trying to identify all the recorded features and resolve some of the inevitable puzzles. The first image is a detail of a map in the reserve collection which is in poor condition. The parent map is the one produced of the Borough of Bradford in 1873 by Walker & Virr, which is especially valuable since it falls evenly between the two first Ordnance Survey maps of the 1850s and 1890s. The twenty years that preceeded the Walker & Virr map brought huge changes to Horton. In 1850 the community had been surrounded by many coal and ironstone pits, both functioning and disused. Tramways conveyed their products to the Low Moor Ironworks for conversion into best Yorkshire wrought iron. By the 1870s the seams were exhausted, the pits were closed, and there had been considerable housing development.

Map of the Week 027 A

A map detail showing Great Horton watercourses and main sewers

This map was in a group that evidently came to the Local Studies Library from the city’s Surveyors and Engineers Department. Its purpose is clearly recorded, this being to record Bradford’s main sewerage system and to show storm overflows. The main sewers collected both foul water and surface water. During a rainstorm they could become completely filled. Under those circumstances the plan was for the excess to flow into alternative sewers and ultimately watercourses like the Bradford Beck; not a pretty thought. The positions of the storm overflows are more easily displayed in a second map detail.

Map of the Week 027 B

A detail from the same map showing sewers in the area between Thornton Road and Legrams Lane

The Borough Surveyor (B.Walker) employed this map. It was clearly being used for at least a decade after its first publication since pencil annotations are dated for the years 1881-83. Having dated the map and identified its use I thought that there were three features of particular interest: the Old Mill, Bracken Hall, and the brick works.

The longer watercourse in the first image is the Horton Beck which provided the water for the Old Mill. A little further down stream, out of sight, was a second corn mill called the New Mill. I assume that the Old Mill started life as a manorial watermill, like Bowling Mill or the Bradford Soke Mill. William Cudworth records that in the nineteenth century the Lord of the Manor of Horton was Sir Watts Horton and then, after his death, his son in law Captain Charles Horton Rhyss. His property came up for sale in 1858 when William Cousen of Cross Lane Mill purchased the lordship. The Old Mill, its farm, and the water rights went to Samuel Dracup a noted textile engineer. He, it appears, eventually converted Old Mill to be a textile mill. I am more interested in an earlier tenant of Old Mill recorded in the Ibbetson’s 1845 Bradford directory, John Beanland. He was the son of Joseph Beanland who was a corn miller and colliery proprietor at Beanland’s Collieries, Fairweather Green. Cudworth says he belonged to a Heaton family. There was certainly a James Beanland (1768-1852), of Firth Carr, Heaton who exploited coal in Frizinghall.

Cudworth describes the impressive looking Bracken Hall as being of a fairly recent origin. I’m sure Cudworth is correct since the Hall is not present on the 1852 OS map of the area. It was inhabited by William Ramsden who was the owner, with his brother John, of Cliffe Mill. This was a Horton worsted mill which can be seen in the centre left of the first map. Bracken Hall was described as being ‘surrounded by a thriving plantation’ which is certainly the appearance that this map records. In the 1881 census William Bracken (54) and his wife Sarah (57) were living at the Hall rather modestly, with only a cook and a housemaid. I am not sure when the house was demolished. It certainly survived into the twentieth century but is missing from the 1930s OS maps. Before the construction of the Hall there were fields and a pre-existing farmhouse which I assume is the small building called Bracken Hill on the OS 1852 map. The land was owned by Mrs Ann Giles who possessed much property in Great Horton including Haycliffe Hill and Southfield Lane with the fields in between. The means by which she acquired her estate was quite complicated. Hannah Gilpin Sharp (1743-1823) of Horton Hall bequeathed her mansion, with all her land in Bradford, to her nephew, Captain Thomas Gilpin and his male heirs, and in ‘default of issue’ to her niece Ann Kitchen. Captain Gilpin, after enjoying the estates for only three years, died at Madeira in the year 1826 without ever having been married. So Ann Kitchen came into the property. In 1828 she married a clerk in Somerset House, as her second husband. Cudworth records him as Edward Giles, but I believe that Edmund is the correct name and the couple were united at St Pancras Old Church. Here their son, another Edmund, was baptised the following year. Ann Giles lived in Tavistock Place but her husband died in 1832 leaving his infant son as heir to the Horton estates. At the age of 25 this son Edmund eventually went to Australia, being enamoured of sea life, but only lived three days after landing in the colony. In 1839 an Act had been passed for disposing of the Giles estate at Horton, owing to the great increase of buildings in the immediate vicinity. Land belonging to ‘Mrs Giles’ are common on maps of Bradford and Horton. In the 1851 census she and Edmund were staying with her daughter by her first marriage, Ann Haines, who was ultimately to inherit her estate.

It seems that I may have fallen at the final hurdle since I cannot identify the owner of the brickworks. In the 1880s Great Horton had no less than three brickworks: Beldon Road, Haycliffe Road and this mapped works in the High Street. The Beldon Road works was owned by the Bradford Brick & Tile Company in the years 1875-1927. The Haycliffe Road works were linked in 1871 with an E.Hopkinson (Wm. Holdsworth manager) and in the years 1875-1883 William Holdsworth seems to be the owner himself. The High Street brick-works was the earliest but its existence may have been brief since it is attested only by maps of 1873 and 1882. It does not feature in the libraries’s stock of Trade Directories. One possibility is that it belonged to Robert Bown ‘coal merchant and brickmaker’ whose bankrupcy was reported in the Bradford Observer in March 1864. Twenty thousand bricks from the ‘Horton yard’ were to be auctioned. A coal merchant of that name lived in Little Horton in the 1861 census. Even if this is true who kept the building going for at least another ten years?

If you would like to learn more about historic Horton I can recommend:

Derek Barker, Local Studies Library Volunteer.

Map of the Week: Field House Estate

The first two plans preserve a microcosm of industrial life of the mid-nineteenth century, in an area of Bradford not previously examined in this series. The Local Studies Library reserve map collection has two versions of the Field House Estate plan and I have provided a detail from each. They identify the estate as one of the many pieces of Bradford property belonging to the Rev. Godfrey Wright, who has featured more than once in these columns.

Map of the Week 026 A

A:Iron stone workings’ 1858-1860.

Map of the Week 026 B

B: Coal deposits exploited in several years between 1850-1860.

When were the plans originally drawn up? Plan B is actually dated 1847. I  assume both were created in advance of mining to record future areas of ironstone and coal extraction. Perhaps the operator, or Godfrey Wright’s agent, was responsible for them when the minerals were accessed in the decade after 1850. Two shadowy railway lines are clearly visible on both maps. The upper is marked Great Northern Railway Co. with ‘from Bradford’ on the left and ‘to Leeds’ on the right: the Adolphus Street to Leeds Central route then. The lower line is again G.N.R. and is marked ‘from Halifax’ in very poor script on the left, and again ‘to Leeds’ on the right. I am not a railway expert but I assume the second was the Bowling Junction-Laisterdyke line (opened 1854) which must have permitted Halifax-Leeds trains to bypass Bradford. Quite large portions of the line are still visible on modern aerial photographs but the rails themselves have been taken up. The two lines come together just off the plans to the right. From the date of the maps I think we can be certain that the railway information was a late addition, but in any case you can see the railway lines are drawn across the pre-existing field boundaries.

If any reader can immediately identify the correct placement of this area in modern Bradford I shall be very impressed.  It is easier if you mentally rotate the maps by 45 degrees to the left which brings north to the top centre. The road on the left of the plans, running from eleven to five, is Bowling Back Lane. In this section, when corrected oriented north to south, Leeds Road, the Bradford-Leeds railway line and Bowling Back Lane are running roughly parallel. It was probably not a very beautiful area. Cudworth describes Bowling Back Lane as: ‘pretty well cut up with railways and cinder heaps’. It is not easy to link plan features to those on the first OS map of the area which in theory would have been surveyed at about the same time, in the late 1840s. Field House and two associated gardens are represented by the cluster of rectangles in the lower centre of map B. There’s no doubt about the written name although the ‘F’ is difficult to distinguish from the long ‘s’ of house. Field House is much smaller on the OS map. Probably there was demolition when the railway line was created.

At the bottom of map B is a carriage road off Bowling Back Lane which is labelled ‘to Birks Hall’. This road is truncated on map A. Birks Hall had existed at least since the seventeenth century when it was occupied by a member of the Richardson family. Later it belonged to Benjamin Rawson, but newspapers contemporary with the maps seem to suggest that in the mid-nineteenth century it was in multiple occupancy. Notable residents were Letitia Steadman (widow of William DD, of Horton College) who died there in 1837. In 1845-46 William Murgatroyd, who was promoting railway routes, lived there. Nothing of Birks Hall appears on our two plans, nor the associated Golden Fleece Inn. The estate was sold in 1847 and ultimately became the site of a Bradford gasworks in 1877, which remained in use until the arrival of North Sea gas. Plan C was presumably surveyed just before this happened and is from a collection at  Bradford Industrial Museum. It is on a different orientation to the first two but you will see that the left edge of the more modern plan joins the right edge of plans 1 and 2 and a good deal of housing development has taken place here.

Map of the Week 026 C

C: Site of the intended Birkshall Gasworks

The older plans show a total of three tracks leaving Bowling Back Lane or the Birks Hall road and heading north. In the centre is an access way to Field House itself. If I am correct the ‘Old Wagon Road’ was a mineral tramway used by the Bowling Iron Company. In his unpublished account Derek Pickles calls it ‘Golden Lion’ and says: ‘this line was one of the earliest put down by the Company. It ran from the (Bowling Iron) Works, across Bowling Back Lane, along the line of what is now Hammerton Street to coal staithes at the rear of the Golden Lion Hotel in Leeds Road.’  It is clear from the OS map that arches had been created on the railway embankments to allow the tramway to pass beneath them. The third track, Pit Road, as a name which is fairly common in mining areas. This one ran to New Leeds, the name applied to the development immediately south of Leeds Road. Today Birkshall Street and Hammerton Street are in approximately the position of these three tracks.

To examine the two extraction industries shown it is easiest to start on the right of the first two maps with a diamond shaped area. This is evidently underground and is accessed by shafts and galleries. Across it runs a ‘gall’ or throw, that is a geological fault. An area of unworkable material is labelled as coal in one map and stone in the other. Stone must mean ‘ironstone’ although the more common sandstone was mined, as well as quarried, in some parts of Bradford. To the left of this diamond is a much larger, roughly triangular, area of exploitation crossed by a long ‘breach’. I have seen this word before in local mine maps and I assume it represents a larger fault. Plan A shows ironstone working and plan B a much larger area for coal mining. The combination of iron  ore and coal would suggest that the famous Black Bed coal seam was being accessed but a note elsewhere on Plan B helpfully identifies ‘blackbed workings’. Modern borehole reports, from reasonably near the site, suggest that the seam is 20-30m deep. The mined products were surely sent to the premises of the Bowling Iron Company just to the south.

The mining is shown to be extensive, but not unrestricted. In the pillar and stall technique miners left columns of coal to support the gallery roof. Miners could be even more cautious. In Map A a strip along Bowling Back Lane was shown unmined ‘for support for buildings’. The fact that this is being done must indicate that the mined seam is fairly shallow. It is difficult to suggest a date for the conclusion of mining in this area. For one thing I cannot identify the colliery’s name. The first OS map shows a Birks Hall Colliery south of the track to Birks Hall itself, but this is seemingly not part the Field House Estate. Field House does not appear to show any mining activity at all on the first OS map although the 1850 Bradford map shows some ‘old pits’. One explanation would be that the activity on this ground began soon after the OS surveyors had left. The Godfrey Wright died in 1862 and it is possible than the plans were completed because of this event. Wright would never have operated the mines personally, but who did? The Jones Mercantile Directory of the following year lists over 100 coal proprietors and merchants in Bradford which indicates the extent of the industry. In the 1851 census two families live at Field House. The head of one is Abraham Rodgers, 65,  coal dealer employing 30 men. Could he be the colliery operator? I have tried to find out more about him. If he also spelled his name Abm Rogers I can also locate him 10 years later in Wortley when he is a ‘coal miner and proprietor’. Sadly he doesn’t seem to feature in any of the Trade Directories I have consulted which is an unsatisfactory conclusion to the study of these fascinating plans.

Derek Barker, Local Studies Library volunteer








Map of the Week 25: East Bierley

I was not born in West Yorkshire which is an excuse for periodically getting lost in the urban areas south of Bradford. The most recent occasion led to my discovering a real gem, the village of East Bierley. It has an almost rural air with a village green and a well-known cricket club. It is no surprise to learn that it has been a conservation area since 1981, in recognition of ‘special architectural or historic interest’, since the village has a substantial number of lovely eighteenth and early-nineteenth century stone built properties. Admittedly East Bierley is ‘over the border’ in Kirklees but in the past it had significant coal and wool links with Bradford, and the Local Studies Library reserve map collection has a very detailed plan of the village recording both the names of fields and land-owners.

Map of the Week 025 A

A plan of East Bierley and the surrounding fields. The absence of the railway line and paucity of coal mining activity may date it to the late 1830s.

I’ve included a view of almost the entire plan and also a detail showing the village centre which should be clearer. The plan is extensively annotated in both pen and pencil. It was clearly a working copy of some type, possibly a land agent’s plan. The pattern of fields and buildings in this plan very closely resembles the first Ordnance Survey map of the area which was surveyed in 1847. So my first thought was that our plan might also represents the situation in the late 1840s. It could pre-date the OS map since it does not include the Great Northern Railway line section from Birkenshaw & Tong to Dudley Hill stations. This raises an interesting and slightly mysterious point. There is an extremely helpful website which records the lost railways of West Yorkshire:

The expert enthusiasts managing this site believe that this section of track, part of a Gildersome to Laisterdyke line, was opened in 1856 which makes its appearance on an 1852 OS map edition surprising. Possibly revised sheets of the first OS map were issued to allow for such major developments.

Map of the Week 025 B

A detail showing East Bierley properties, some of the land-owners and ‘Bell Pit Hills’.

It would be wrong to assume that the annotations are necessarily contemporary with the plan but there are some indications that this is the case. Not all the land-owners’ names are legible but I can recognise: Joseph Waterhouse, Joseph Speight, William Booth, Joseph Binns, John Woodcock, John Firth and James Verity. I have tried to identify some of these individuals in trade directories and the censuses for 1841 and 1851. It seems that East Bierley is linked to Hunsworth for recording purposes. The 1851 census indicated that by the mid-nineteenth century coal or ironstone miner was the commonest occupation in the village, and there was even a single 11 year old ‘pit boy’. The second commonest occupation was wool-comber, this being an essential part of the worsted process. Nearby Birkenshaw Mill and Wilson Mill both wove worsted cloth. There were residents employed in other textile trades such as spinners and power-loom weavers. Next in frequency were farmers and finally a grocer, a druggist, and two boot and shoe makers. Family history really deserves prolonged study, rather than the quick assessment which is all that I provide. What I can say is that Joseph Speight, William Booth, John Woodcock, John Firth and James Verity can all be identified as farmers in the 1841 census but only John Firth survives to 1851. I therefore think that it is reasonable to date the addition of the annotations to the early 1840s.

The plan maker seems to be more concerned with with the surface land ownership than the mineral resources underground. This makes it possible that the plan itself was originally drawn up as early as the 1830s before the Bowling Iron Company leased the right to mine coal in this area. Certainly by the time of the first OS map there were several working and abandoned coal mines existing within the area of the plan, also ironstone pits and a tramway taking material to Bowling Iron Works. On our plan there are just two, quite subtle, references to ‘black diamonds’. One is a ‘pit’ noted above and slightly to the left of the pinfold where stray animals were kept. The other is a field name at the top centre of the detail, in the occupation of Joseph Waterhouse. The name recorded for this is ‘Bell Pit Hills’. Bell pits are commonly encountered in accounts of early mining. In this method a short shaft was sunk down to a shallow seam and its base was then expanded as the mineral was removed, creating a bell-like profile. When unsafe, because of potential roof collapse, the bell was abandoned and a new shaft sunk nearby. Each bell was filled in turn by waste dug out of its successor. Since the exact situation underground cannot be determined from surface remains ‘shallow shaft mining’ is now the preferred term.

Map of the Week 025 C

A detail of the plan included in Derek Pickles’s unpublished work showing the pits and tramways near East Bierley at their maximum extent. The triangles are pits which, in many cases, are numbered since their names are unknown.

In his very detailed study of mineral tramways, curated by Bradford Industrial Museum, Derek Pickles recorded that ‘in 1839 the (Bowling Iron) Company leased 1200 acres of land in Toftshaw and Hunsworth from the Earl of Scarborough, and began to work pits in the area’. The Earl was at that time Lord of the Manor. It is possible then that the original plan pre-dates this event. The shallowest seam in the East Bierley area was called the Blocking Bed (or Toftshaw Bed) Coal. At nearby Toftshaw Colliery, which was open  between 1913-1950, the Blocking Bed Coal was found at 26.5m and the deeper Shertcliffe Coal seam at 87m depth. Other bore hole reports available from the British Geological Survey suggest that more usually Shertcliffe Coal was at 30m depth in this area, and was widely exploited. The fact that there were also ironstone miners and ironstone pits in East Bierley suggests that the ironstone containing Black Bed Coal seam was also being accessed about 67m below the Shertcliffe Coal. Derek Pickles recorded that the Bowling Iron Company already had shafts of 95m depth to reach the Better Bed coal but when it ‘extended its operations into Hunsworth, Toftshaw and Tong much larger and deeper pits were sunk’. The enterprise was not without risk: at one of the company’s pits in 1847 the Bradford Observer reports a firedamp (methane) explosion with one miner killed and several others burned.

Otherwise peaceful East Bierley does not seemed to have occupied contemporary newspapers over much around the time of the plan. In 1838 the community contributed delegates, and a flag, to a Chartist meeting on Hartshead Moor which was addressed by Peter Bussey and Feargus O’Connor. In 1842 James Verity, one of the landowners, together with James Binns, were sworn in as constables. The following year a Bradford branch of the Leeds to Manchester railway was being considered and in 1844, at the Lister’s Arms in Manchester Road, William Patchett won a main prize at a flower show with a dark-laced pink called ‘Lady Milner’. In 1856 John Willey, representing Hunsworth, was elected a Poor Law Guardian of the North Bierley Union. He lived at Moor House, East Bierley which you should be able to make out on the right of the larger plan. His son was Francis Willey (1st Baron Barnby) a very successful international Bradford wool merchant in the late nineteenth century.


Derek Barker, Local Studies Library volunteer

Map of the Week: Bradford in the mid-nineteenth century

For this article I have drawn on details from two maps in the Local Studies Library reserve collection. Often I have to estimate the dates of plans and maps so it is a relief to have this information provided for once. Both maps have Bradford’s railway connection from the north-west at their heart.

The first is described as ‘Regina v The Midland. Railway Company, plaintiff’s plan, showing Commercial Street previous to 1849’. The second is entitled as a ‘plan of part of the Borough of Bradford showing the Midland Railway Station and Approaches, 1863’.  The maps can be reasonably regarded as showing the situation at the time of the 1851 and 1861 censuses. An even better match for the second map is the Jones Mercantile Bradford Directory 1863, made available on line by the Bradford Family History Society:

In 1847, just before the date of the older map, Bradford had become a Borough.  In the mid-nineteenth century the skeleton of the modern city was in the process of erection.  Bradford Infirmary had been  built on its Westgate site in 1844. The building has been long demolished but Infirmary Field survives as a green space. In the 1850s St George’s Hall, Peel Park, and Sir Titus Salt’s Saltaire were all created. The first work on Little Germany was being done in the 1860s, as the second map was being surveyed, but would continue for several decades.

The Bradford canal had opened much earlier in 1774 and ended at a canal basin and a large warehouse. These locations show well on the earlier map. Nearby, at the end of Well Street, is a large coal staithe. This had been present for many years and also features in a map of c.1825 where it is identified as ‘J.J. & Co’. Sadly I cannot identify the owner. The movement of coal was an important consideration in the minds of the original canal promoters, but water transport of goods was in large part superseded by the railway. The Leeds-Bradford Railway, in which George Hudson ‘the Railway King’ was closely involved, arrived via Shipley in 1846. The route to Keighley was created the following year. To construct the line’s terminus Dunkirk Street was razed to the ground and on 5 March 1846 the Bradford Observer noted the ‘deserted and desolate’ street. Two years earlier a famous resident had died there at the age of 46 years. This was Reuben Holder who was noted, as the same newspaper observed, for ‘eccentric rhymes with which….he was wont to create lights and shadows for the monotonous occupations of brick maker and bill sticker.’

Our map showing the situation in 1849 describes the building as ‘Leeds & Bradford Railway Station now called Midland Station’ which strongly suggests that the great Midland Railway Company acquired the line soon after that year. The 1850 Bradford directory still uses the Leeds-Bradford name and gives the address as ‘bottom of Kirkgate’. Its superintendent is Mr M Crabtree. The map would seem to have been drawn up for litigation purposes but what the action actually involved I cannot establish. The whole district between the station and Cheapside seems to have been known as Bermondsey in 1849 and this appellation survives as a road in 1863. Is the name Bermondsey ever used today?

On the left of the 1863 map you can see Trafalgar Street with its well-known brewery. The Trafalgar Steam Brewery had been founded in the 1850s and in this period was associated with the name of Cllr. Charles Waller. The company regularly advertised its porter, mild, and bitter beers in the pages of local newspapers. It survived until the 1930s, but I’m really not sure what they did with the steam. Manor Row had been constructed in 1820. The map of 1863 clearly shows the place where Manor Row and North Parade divide. On this spot one of Bradford’s most iconic buildings, the Yorkshire Penny Bank (1895), was eventually constructed, the architect being James Ledingham. Opposite this junction was the Bradford Grammar School with School (or Grammar School) Street.  John Richards was its headmaster in the 1850s. I believe the the history of the school stretches back into the Tudor period but the building in North Parade or Manor Row was constructed in 1820. There is known to have been an earlier school building near the cathedral.  BGS has occupied its Keighley Road site, once the centre of the Clockhouse estate, since shortly after the Second World War.

Salem Street, with its listed early nineteenth century terraced houses, was presumably named after the nearby Congregationalist Chapel. ‘Salem’ is a shortened form of Jerusalem and was a popular name for non-Conformist places of worship. This classical revival building was constructed in 1835-6 using ashlar sandstone. It was one of the earliest designs of the Lockwood & Mawson architectural partnership who later moved on to St George’s Hall and Saltaire.  I have included William Mawson’s portrait from his obelisk at Undercliffe cemetery.

Map of the Week 024 C

William Cudworth records that Salem’s minister during the mid-19th century was Rev J C Miall. A new chapel was opened in Oak Lane in 1888 after which the Manor Row building was reused as school board offices, and a school clinic for many years. It still exists as Kenburgh House. While considering churches the 1863 map shows Christ Church in Darley Street which was built as a chapel of ease for the Parish Church and consecrated in 1815. It was close to Bradford market but I believe that the site was eventually needed for a Darley Street extension. The building was demolished in 1879 and Rawson Square exists at its former site. The church was moved to nearby Eldon Place where it survived until 1940.

My limitations concerning Bradford theatre history have been exposed before but there clearly was a Duke Street Theatre in 1863. On this occasion I have retrieved information from Arthur Lloyd’s theatre website:

In 1841 the Liver Theatre, Duke Street, probably became Bradford’s first purpose built theatre. In 1844 it was remodelled and re-opened as Theatre Royal, Duke Street. The fact that it was widely known as the ‘wooden box’ may say something about its construction. In 1864 the Alexandra Theatre had opened in Manningham Lane. Five years later, when the Duke Street Theatre Royal finally fell victim to another series of Bradford street improvements, the Alexandra took over the discarded name.

If from Duke Street you continued down Piccadilly and across Kirkgate you would be walking down Piece Hall Yard. According to the City Heritage blue plaque the Bradford Piece Hall had been constructed in 1773. The development of a building for trading in ‘pieces’ of cloth had been proposed by the hugely influential Quaker merchant John Hustler who died in 1790. I’m not sure when the Piece Hall was demolished, in the late 1850s perhaps. Piece Hall Yard has been, since 1877, the location of the Bradford Club. Today the Club holds an importance for Bradford studies second only to the Local Studies Library itself, since it generously allows the Bradford Historical & Antiquarian Society and the Bradford U3A to hold their meetings within its gracious portals. John Hustler’s name survives in Hustlergate. In the newer map this is recorded as the site of the Old Market but the Gothic revival Wool Exchange, which survives largely as Waterstones, was built here a few years later, between 1864-67. It was another design of Lockwood & Mawson. The foundation stone laid by Lord Palmerston, and some magnificent glazed ceramic tiles, can still be seen in the Market Street pizza restaurant.


Naturally there is a great deal of history locked up in street names. Hustlergate has already been mentioned and Market Street must reflect the old market. But look at the streets at the top right of the second map. A water source is the obvious explanation for Well Street. The older map indicates that Collier Street (or Gate) was named for its closeness to the coal staithe. The Swaines and the Booths were wealthy local families and Charles St, Booth St, and Swaine St probably all derived their names from Charles Swaine Booth Sharp (1734-1805) who owned land in the area of Hall Ings and married Hannah Gilpin Sharp, who had inherited Abraham Sharp’s Horton estate via his niece Faith Sawrey. The name Brook St must reflect the course of the Bradford Beck. This is seemingly on the surface before 1849, but the 1851 and 1861 Bradford maps suggest that it was by then culverted and underground at this point. Only the names Well St and Market St have survived to the present day.

Derek Barker, Local Studies Library Volunteer

Map of the Week: Eccleshill – coal, iron, and waving wheat.

The ancient township of Eccleshill is well represented in the Local Studies Library reserve map collection, although many of the maps are in poor condition. The following images are details which I have enhanced to make them more visible. It is hard to believe today but the whole of Eccleshill was once mined for coal, with mining features commonly being seen on nineteenth century maps of the district. The seams that could be accessed included the Hard and Soft Beds (sometimes called the Upper and Lower Beds) which were widely exploited all over the north Bradford area. Above these in the geological sequence was the important vein of sandstone called the Elland Flags, which was extensively quarried. The well-known George Vint, with his various partners, owned quarries in nearby Idle extracting this valuable rock. Modern geology maps suggest that the centre of Eccleshill was high enough to include the Better Bed coal and fire-clay seams, positioned above the Elland Flags. The Better Bed was also extensively mined as coking coal in south Bradford for the iron-smelting industry at Bowling and Low Moor. William Cudworth, in his account of Eccleshill, mentions the Better Bed, and also an associated fire-clay and brick making industry based at Manor Potteries in Eccleshill.


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The first map shows the township field names with buildings and the names of their occupiers. At the bottom right is Eccleshill Hall built in 1713 and the home of the Stanhope (later Stott-Stanhope) family. As far as I know Lt.-Col. George Stott-Stanhope was the last family member to actually live there. He was a large landowner whose name frequently appears in local maps. He died in 1874 and the hall was demolished in 1878. Slightly to the left you should be able to make out the name J.A. Jowett. This was James Atkinson-Jowett (1817-1886) of the Clockhouse Estate, Manningham. The Clockhouse name survives as one of the Bradford Boys’ Grammar School buildings. James Atkinson-Jowett was the son of Nathan Atkinson-Jowett. Both men changed their surname from plain Atkinson in the 1860s in order to claim the large Jowett property inheritance. The field names are not likely to be easily visible but include: Windmill Field and Tenter Croft. A tenter croft, or ground, was an area used for drying newly woven woollens after fulling. The wet cloth was attached to frames called tenters by means of, naturally, tenter-hooks. Town Street, today called Victoria Road, divides at Bank Top into Norman Lane and Eccleshill Bank, named the ‘Old Turnpike Road’ in early maps. This division is very helpful in orientation, with portions of Eccleshill Bank being included in all the maps included here.

The second, rather clearer, map enables us to examine the northern part of Eccleshill. It is obvious that a planned street grid has been superimposed on an older map but I do not think that all those roads were actually constructed. On the right side of the map a railway line has appeared. The Eccleshill & Idle Railway was incorporated in 1866 and was assimilated into the GNR Laisterdyke to Shipley line. Eccleshill Station was closed to passengers in 1931. A land-owner whose name appears approximately in the centre of the map is described as the ‘late John Mitchell’. Eccleshill historian Ken Kenzie told me that John or Jonathan Mitchell was a coal merchant who once lived at Eccleshill Bank. He was clearly a big man in Eccleshill mining and, among others, ran Park Pits which were sold off in 1860 when he was in his 70s. On the map above his surname you may be able to make out the location of ‘Eccleshill Worsted Mill Company’ and above this, and to the left, ‘Engine Pit’. The enterprises of John Mitchell are well represented in the Local Studies map collection.


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The third image is taken from a plan dated 1847 and described as ‘coals leased to Mr John Mitchell, surveyed by Ingle & Smith’. Once again you can see Eccleshill Bank and the fine line grid above it represents underground mine galleries. I presume these were entered from the Engine Pit shaft. Elsewhere the map reveals extensive coal mining to the south-west of the township.


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The final map is the oldest and most damaged. In one area I can identify George Baron as a landowner. George Baron, of Drewton in the Wolds, was an earlier possessor of the Clockhouse Estate than the Atkinson-Jowetts. He inherited the estate from Sarah, last of the original Jowett family, and died in 1854. The West Yorkshire Archives (Bradford) has a huge collection of Jowett family documents (10D76/3/190). In box 6 of these is a lease dated 1842: ‘George Baron to John Mitchell, Eccleshill’. This document is a 28 year lease of Upper Bed and Lower Bed coals in the area of Greengates, Eccleshill. The price seems to be £60 per acre. This is somewhat north of the area discussed so far, but Greengates and Apperley Bridge were traditionally considered to be part of Eccleshill.



Click on map to enlarge

The short horizontal trackway at the top of the last map is called Green Lane. It joins a bridleway which is now Carr Bottom Lane. We have moved west since the curved roadway at the top left, marked Otley, is the far end of Eccleshill Bank where it joins the Dudley Hill & Killinghall turnpike. A number of coal shafts are present on the first OS map of the area (which is of approximately the same date) together with a limekiln at the end of the short track leading to Wheat Close. I’m not sure if these are drawn here or not since the script is so hard to read. What fascinates me about this map are the field names themselves. At the bottom right you may be able to make out Wheat Close and, below this, Cinder Hills. Today it is hard to imagine ripe wheat being harvested in Eccleshill although we have already mentioned Windmill Field which suggests subsequent grain processing. Cinder Hills is a name normally associated with heaps of iron-making slag. Pre-Industrial iron making has been suggested in other townships which now form part of Bradford: Harden, Baildon and Bierley for example. Faull & Moorhouse (West Yorkshire Survey to AD 1500) speculated that Eccleshill should join this list on the basis of two areas called ‘Cinderhills’ in old township maps.


Derek Barker, Local Studies Library Volunteer