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: Old Frizinghall

Bradford local historians are most fortunate in having the Local Studies Library and the West Yorkshire Archives (Bradford) under the same roof, each with helpful and dedicated staff. To illustrate the value of this I shall trace the history of a single building starting with the Local Studies Library reserve map collection which provides a detailed plan of the area between Bradford and Shipley. The plan is completely unlabelled but field boundaries and properties are meticulously drawn. A detail is included here which shows the canal and Bradford Beck at the bottom. A continuous line (red in the original) near the map centre must represent the railway to be opened by the Leeds & Bradford (later Midland) Railway Company in 1846. The discontinuous lines lines on either side were presumably an estimate of the land needed to be acquired by the company. The date of the map would be the early 1840s. From comparison with the first OS map of the area, surveyed a few years later, the track did follow exactly this route.

Map of the Week 029 A

You would need to know this area very intimately to recognise the hamlet in the upper centre of the map as Frizinghall. This is now considered to be part of Heaton, which was not incorporated into the Borough of Bradford until 1882. To orientate yourself imagine you are standing in Bolton Woods: the direction of Bradford is to the left and Shipley to the right. The course of the beck has since been straightened and between it and the railway is the modern Canal Road, at roughly the position of the lower interrupted line. The thoroughfare drawn crossing the canal is Gaisby Lane. The next plan is a detail from a lovely Frizinghall map which is approximately contemporary with the first image. It is available in the LSL main collection.

Map of the Week 029 B

There was to be extensive house building over the next 50 years, probably after Frizinghall train station was opened in 1875, but many features on this map are still visible today. The three buildings in the lower third certainly still exist. The only one with public access fronts the turnpike road. This is the Black Swan public house; the triangle of land on which it sits was once called Swan Hill and is well above road level. The Black Swan must predate even this map by several centuries and is well worth a visit. From its car park the housing which looks like a laterally inverted L is also visible. The third building in the cluster is a private house then called the Old Hall.

 My personal favourite is the building in the middle of the blue coloured land opposite the ‘turn’ of turnpike; this is still easily visible from the road. Although latterly called ‘The Old Barn’ when it was a pub-restaurant, the property was known as ‘The Poplars’ for much of the twentieth century. Earlier than that it was ‘Carr Syke Farm’ or ‘Lower Carr Syke Farm’. The Carr Syke was a watercourse, the name deriving from the Norse meaning ‘the stream in the marshy ground’. In the late eighteenth century the Carr Syke Farm seems to have formed part of the estate of Benjamin Hird of Frizinghall which was sold to a Dr Joshua Walker of Leeds in 1795. The estate passed to Dr Walker’s daughter Margaret, and then by marriage to a well-known Quaker, William Leatham of Hemsworth Hall, Wakefield. I believe it was owned by his family for the next 80 years. In 1883 the property was then sold to Bradford Corporation by William Henry Leatham and others. Two years later the property was purchased from Bradford Corporation by the Clockhouse Estate who retained it well into the twentieth century. Much of this portion of the estate eventually became the location of Bradford Boys Grammar School.

If you wish to learn even more a distinguished local historian, Lillian Robinson, wrote a detailed account of Frizinghall (the place of her birth) in the years 1973-75. This work does not seem to have been published but typescript copies are available in the Library (B942 ROB). The notes on which this work is based are available in the Archives (WYB140) and are as useful as the completed work itself. Earlier still M. Blundell Heynemann had written an account for The Heaton Review in 1931. She had this to say: ‘on the right, down a paved path, is the entrance to the Poplars, the residence of Mr Wilkinson, the Clock House Estate Agent. A farm, now demolished, formerly stood facing the road and only the old barn and stables still remain. It was farmed by a Mr Greenwood who went there in 1877’. The Bradford historian Cudworth clearly mentions, without directly naming, Lower Carr Syke Farm because of its association with William Wilson who once leased it: ‘another old homestead at Frizinghall, enclosed in its own grounds, was for some time the residence of a most exemplary Quaker family, named Wilson, originally of Esholt. One of the members of this interesting family, named Willie or ‘Quaker’ Wilson (1767-1849), enjoyed a reputation throughout the entire kingdom for his many eminent qualities as a philanthropist.’  Wilson was apparently able to retire at fifty years of age (that is in 1817) with a fortune of many thousands of pounds. This he methodically gave away to the poor over the next 30 years. He died, much lamented, in November 1849, aged 82, and his remains were interred in the Friends’ burial-ground, Bradford.

With the next two images the Archives comes into its own. Both are rotated 90° anti-clockwise from the first two. We have moved back a generation to Joshua Walker Sr. (1713-1801) who was also a Bradford Quaker, and an apothecary; he seems to have been an amateur architectural enthusiast who drew many house plans. It was his son, Dr Joshua Walker (1746-1817) physician at Leeds Infirmary, who had bought the Carr Syke estate. One of his father’s undated plans, available in the Archives, is labelled ‘Lister Patience’s Farm’; Heaton & Manningham’. The field boundary pattern fits Lower Carr Syke Farm. In this plan the present building would appear to be originally a barn which has two cottages (now missing) in front of it.

Map of the Week 029 C 

Another of Joshua Walker’s productions, WYA(B) 85D90 plan 45, is described as showing a ‘laithe house and yards’. There’s not much doubt that Lower Carr Syke Farm would have appeared very much like this when first arranged for human habitation. It is quite possible that the drawing does actually represent Lower Carr Syke Farm itself. The two cottage-like structures in the foreground could easily be those marked on the map of ‘Lister Patience’s farm’. I have not been able to trace ‘Lister Patience’, nor Patience Lister which sounds a more probable name. Can anyone help?

Map of the Week 029 D



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: Turf Tavern & Airedale College

Old plans of Heaton, my own part of Bradford, are not very common in the Local Studies Library map collection. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries a great deal of the land in the township was owned by the Field family. On the death of John Wilmer Field in 1837 this estate passed quietly, by virtue of the marriage of his daughter Mary, to the future Earl of Rosse. Land sales often generated surveyed plans and it is not surprising that the area identified in the first map was not part of the Rosse estate and so did change hands.


The 3rd Earl of Rosse died in 1867 so the map must be later than this date since his Countess is identified as a neighbouring landowner. She took over the direction of her Heaton and Shipley property until her own death in 1885. By this time portions of property was being offered for sale with villa development in mind. The present Earl of Rosse still maintains an archive at Birr Castle, Co. Offaly, Eire where many historic maps and documents are curated. But any questions readers might have about this area can almost certainly be solved more accessibly by consulting Heaton: the best place of all by the late Stanley King, the premier student of Heaton history. Several copies of his work are available on the library shelves.

Map of the Week 023 A

The map probably dates from c.1875 since it shows a block of land near the corner of Emm Lane and Keighley Road on which it was proposed to build Airedale College. This was to be dedicated to the training of Congregationalist ministers. An earlier college had been in existence at Undercliffe since 1831. The new premises at Heaton were opened in 1877 but the name was changed to United College in 1888, following the closure of a similar institution at Rotherham. The building is now part of the University of Bradford. Another part of the Emm Lane University Campus is an adjacent house named Heaton Mount which was built in 1863 by Robert Kell, whose name appears near the top of the map. Throughout this period Heaton did not form part of the Borough of Bradford; its incorporation was not until 1881. In fact the map even pre-dates the construction of Heaton’s first public sewer which, according to Stanley King, only occurred in 1877. The resulting sewage was discharged straight into the Bradford Beck which is really not a pretty thought. It looks as if the site destined for the college was part of a small parcel of land called the Turf Tavern Estate. The three field names are given as: Top Close, Quarry Field and Kitching Field.

The Local Studies Library has a second earlier map of 1840 which suggests that most of the area was then called Kitching Field, Kitching being a well-known local surname. Perhaps there was a small quarry here between 1840-75 that accounted for the name change. The Turf Tavern itself, briefly known recently as The Park, is present on this 1840 map and all the OS maps of Heaton. There is a datestone above the door carved with the year 1894, but this must indicate a rebuilding since the original structure was much older. Historian William Cudworth suggests that the tavern, and the nearby Branch Hotel (formerly the Coach & Horses), were both erected when the Bradford to Bingley turnpike was opened in 1825. He records that the builders of the Turf were William Clarke, a Heaton butcher, and his brother Joseph, a stonemason. Another brother, John Clarke, developed many delphs or quarries around Heaton village, although all evidence of those has long since vanished. The owner of the Turf Tavern estate at the time of the first map is likely to have been William Lister Marriner of Greengate House, Keighley. His family came into property around Frizinghall by marriage. Local historian Tony Woods has confirmed their possession of this area from the Heaton Local Board Rate Books 1860s-1881 (WYAS Bradford Archives BBT6/5/5/1-19). The same family also gave their name to Marriner’s Drive. This roadway is not present on the 1906 OS map but appears on the 1911 Rosse sale plan, without as yet any attendant houses.

Map of the Week 023 B

The sale plans, of which the third map is an example, were produced because in 1911 the 5th Earl sold off all his remaining property in Heaton and Shipley.

Map of the Week 023 C

What else does the first image show? Emm Lane was originally a track through Emm Field (perhaps originally Elm Field) when this was one of the three ‘great fields’ of Heaton in which farmers were allotted strips of land to cultivate. Nearby Manningham Park, now Lister Park, was originally a deer-park surrounding Manningham Hall, the home of the Cunliffe Lister family. The land was eventually purchased by Bradford as a public open space and Cartwright Hall, which opened in 1904, was built as an art gallery and museum. I’m not sure about the building in the extreme right of the map, above the words ‘to Bradford’. I think the same structure appears, sketchily drawn, at the bottom left of the second map. This area was called Carr Syke and there was known to be a turnpike toll house in this position. The fairly substantial building is drawn and identified in the Heaton tithe map but does not seem to be clearly indicated in the 1852 OS map for some reason. The Turf has recently been sold and I am not sure what future is planned for it. Hopeful the building will survive to feature in further Heaton maps.


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.


Click on map to enlarge

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.


Click on map to enlarge

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.


Click on map to enlarge

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

Map of the Week: Little Germany

The district known as Little Germany  is close to Bradford Cathedral. It is unquestionably one of the glories of the city being famous for a unique collection of magnificent, stone-built, Victorian textile warehouses. In many cases their original occupiers were German merchants, which provided the  name. In 1977 John S Roberts produced an invaluable short pamphlet entitled Little Germany which was my personal introduction to the history of the area. More recently Susan Duxbury-Neuman published Little Germany: a History of Bradford’s Germans (Amberley, 2015) which is full of information about the warehouses, and the merchants that owned them, with much else besides. Despite the existence of these excellent accounts I wondered if anything in the Bradford Local Studies Library reserve map collection could provide a useful additional ‘taster’.

On the 1800 map of Bradford the future Little Germany was a green field site. Fortunately two roads of that period, Church Bank and Vicar Lane (earlier Dead Lane) have retained their names, which makes the placement of the location on more modern maps relatively easy. Leeds Road, which originally formed part of the Leeds-Halifax turnpike, was created in the late 1820s or early 1830s. The Library has several plans showing portions of adjacent land. Some of these are in excellent condition but one has been subject to considerable deterioration.

The first plan here is essentially of the lower part of Little Germany. It shows the first Bradford Mechanics Institute which was founded in 1832 being aligned on Leeds Road. The plan is annotated on the back as ‘Colliers Close’. I have found no other record of this name but it is perfectly credible since coal was mined all over the city, and Roberts reports that building on some of the Little Germany sites was difficult because of old mine workings.


A huge help in dating this first plan is that Bradford is referred to as a Borough, a status achieved in 1847. On the other hand the first OS map of the area, which was issued in 1851 and surveyed in the late 1840s, shows no sign of any new street development. If we said that the plan was from 1848-49 I do not suppose we should be far wrong. It is interesting to note that the area was the location of two blacksmiths and a joiner’s workshop. So in 50 eventful years the green fields of 1800 had been mined for coal, transected by a major road, and become the site of several small businesses and the first Mechanics Institute. Leeds Road on the plan, confusingly, is not the major route of that name but a short branch which was soon renamed Well Street. The name Lee Street was also soon changed, to Currer Street. There is a pencil annotation describing it as ‘Abram Street’, presumably another name that was considered. Field Street seems to have been so called originally and has retained its name. The owner of the land west of Vicar Lane, both north and south of Leeds Road, was Rev. Godfrey Wright (1780-1862). A detailed account of his life was included in the description of my previous map.

The second map is essentially the same but provides more information about the purchasers.


The names recorded do not seem to be the same as those who were associated with the famous Little Germany warehouses 10-20 years later. I’m not certain if the parcels of land were sold on or whether the original purchasers simply leased the warehouses. In any case individual buildings will have had many owners and occupiers since their construction. Augustus Silvestro (AS) Sichel were a Manchester textile firm. Augustus’s son, Sylvester Emil Sichel, later lived at Shipley Grange. As early as 1856 Sichel Bros were trading in Well Street. I’m not sure what their relationship was with Victor Sichel, manager of Reiss Brothers yarn and stuff merchants in Currer Street. Victor was the father of the Bradford artist Ernest Sichel (1862-1941). Both families originated in Frankfort am Main, Germany but were they directly related? Thomas Mills was a Bradford furniture merchant and upholsterer. Thomas Fison was in the partnership of Fison & Lister, wool merchants at Well Street. Nicholas Hermann Heydemann (1817-89) was both a cloth merchant and the German Consul. He is buried at Undercliffe cemetery. In 1859 on his land at 4 Currer Street the premises of Nathan Reichenheim, yarn merchants, was constructed. This is probably the oldest of the surviving buildings. In 1874 on GB Smith’s site at the junction of Field Street and Vicar Lane was built Law Russell’s magnificent Victorian warehouse. This was constructed by Bradford contractor Archibald Neill. Both these buildings were designed by the famous Bradford partnership of Lockwood & Mawson.

The third plan is severely damaged. The section reproduced indicates that the main interest of the surveyor was surface water drainage from Burnett St, Cator St, and the upper part of Currer Street.

Map of the Week 19C.jpg

The original land-owner is not recorded but these lands to the east of Vicar Lane were part of the Vicarage Trust. I do not know if the vicar at this period, John Burnett, benefited personally from land sales but he presumably gave his name to the street. Another series of purchasers are recorded. Leopold Reiss has already been mentioned as one half of Reiss Brothers. As far as I can tell William Bollans and James Wilman were both publicans in other parts of Bradford. Eli Milnes (1830-1899) was the leading warehouse architect. He designed several of the warehouses and the fact that one carries his EM monogram suggests that he was also involved in speculative construction. Not all the land-owners are traceable. Jacob Philipp & Co. seems to have puzzled Duxbury-Neuman and certainly defeated me.  Roberts explained that most of the building occurred in the period 1860-67. The Borough Map of 1871 shows the whole area completely filled with buildings. I imagine that by 1875 the appearance of Little Germany was very much as it is today although one or two later premises were still to be constructed. Most still survive and if you are not familiar with Little Germany do please experience its delights for yourselves.


Derek Barker, Local Studies Library Volunteer