Search for a ‘ragged school’

BRA c1865 PLA

This is a plan from Bradford Local Studies Library, Reserve Collection: its main purpose is to record the position of a new street to be created from the Thornton Road/Aldermanbury junction. The new road is clearly Godwin Street although when actually constructed this thoroughfare was not so strictly parallel to Wade Street as the plan would suggest. The name Godwin was given in honour of Alderman Godwin, a recent mayor, and had been decided upon in 1866 (Bradford Observer, November 15 1866). My main interest is in the buildings and features that were to be swept away by the reorganisation. The Lord of the Manor had the medieval right to a corn-milling monopoly at the Soke Mill (later known as Queens Mill), which had stood above Aldermanbury for centuries. Bradford Corporation finally bought out this right in 1870. Soke Mill Goit took water from the Bradford Beck which provided power for the mill. The weir and Bye wash, clearly marked on the plan, were evidently mechanisms to regulate the flow of water through the Soke Mill’s waterwheels, although steam power was also available to the millers. The goit, like the Bradford Beck, is now culverted. The cluster of buildings round the mill includes a blacksmith’s forge, a mechanics shop and several stables. More surprisingly perhaps there is also a small school.

The plan is undated but mapping the creation of Godwin Street ensures a date before 1866. The buildings, including the school, between the Soke Mill and weir were constructed after the 1851 OS map of the area. In fact roads and buildings in the area were re-fashioned several times between the years 1850-75, and you would need to be a much better local historian than me to provide a full account of the changes. Reform Street, seen here as a small stump, extended fully down to Thornton Road in an 1861 map and the district was known as St Helena. In an 1870 Bradford Borough map Wade Street has now been laid out, but on a different alignment to the lower half of the earlier Reform Street. This topography is similar on our plan. I had hoped that dating the small school might be helpful in dating the plan but first, what type of school was it?

Clearly the school building is not the famous Bradford Grammar School. Board Schools were associated with the name of WE Forster, MP for Bradford and Minister for Education, but Forster’s Education Act was only passed in 1870 and the plan must pre-date that by around 5 years at least. Sunday Schools had been in existence since the late eighteenth century but non-conformist Sunday Schools were generally in the chapels or rooms adjoining, and the location of Anglican Schools are well-known and do not include Mill Bank. The same objection applies to Parochial Schools which were founded in Bradford after 1841 to educate the children of ‘the poor and working class’ in the principles of the Established Church. The Vicar, the Rev Dr Scoresby, was instrumental in their establishment in Heaton, Manningham, Eccleshill and elsewhere. None were situated near Mill Bank. The only possibility would seem to be a ‘ragged school’. This is a name applied to independently established nineteenth century charity schools which provided at least a degree of free education and often food, clothing and lodging for those too poor to pay. They were often found in the working-class areas of industrial towns. The term ‘ragged school’ is believed to have first been used by the London City Mission in 1840. By the mid-1850s a ‘Bradford Ragged School’ is described in Cropper Lane, Westgate which was soon being supported by the great and good of the borough. By the early-1860s there was a second ragged school nearby in Rebecca Street, Westgate. John James (History of Bradford) describes this as a larger replacement for the Cropper Lane institution. Rebecca Street still runs parallel to Westgate, south of Infirmary Field, and Cropper Lane is mapped connecting the city end of Rebecca Street to Westgate, close to St Thomas’s Church. There was a third school established in the Broomfields district which John James states was opened in 1858. None of these could, of course, explain the building on our plan. Although unmentioned by James evidently Messrs Ellis & Priestman first started an industrial & ragged school in ‘the neighbourhood of their mill’ in 1846 (Bradford Observer 17 September 1846). Ellis & Priestman were corn millers, the two men being related as brothers-in-law. The partnership had been recorded as in existence since the 1830s when, as Quakers, they were reported as opposing the payment of Church of England dues. They were listed as corn millers at Queens Mill, Mill Bank in the 1850 Ibbetson’s Directory so that the school in the plan is in a very plausible position. A subsequent newspaper report describes it as a ‘large garret’ for ‘destitute and vagrant’ children: no less than 160 were on the books.

The University of Leeds Special Collections has correspondence indicating that John Priestman was later instrumental in establishing a Quaker Day School, in 1850. The First Day School used the same premises as the Ragged School, but on Sundays, to teach reading, spelling and scripture knowledge. Some 69 children from very poor families in the local area were admitted. Writing was not taught until 1854, and evening classes began a few years later. John Priestman was the first superintendent of the school and on resigning in 1859, he was replaced by a George Holt. In 1862, the whole school moved into purpose-built rooms at the Bradford Meeting House in Wakefield Road.

There can be little doubt that this is the school indicated on the map and the surveying for its production must have been undertaken between 1861-62. The Queens Mill (and associated estate at Brown Royd Farm, Thornton Road) had been offered for sale on 27 November 1845. This Manningham Estate contained the reservoir that controlled the water flow in the goit. The mill building was seemingly not sold since the following year Ellis & Priestman set up their school in its neighbourhood. Possibly it was at this stage that they turned to their second career as textile manufacturers. What happened to Ellis and Priestman? In 1847 James Ellis travelled through Connemara with other Quakers witnessing the dire effects of the potato famine. The following year he sold up in Bradford and moved to Letterfrack in Ireland with his second wife Mary. He provided work and education for local people but was forced to return after about 10 years due to illness. John Priestman (1805-1866) lived at a house, now long demolished, named Whetley Hill. He was devoted to peace, and was an enemy to none but strong drink. As I have said he was initially a flour miller and then a successful stuff weaver (John Priestman & Co.). He died at Whetley Hill in 1866 but his wife and sons continued in residence for a few years longer.


Death by Excess of Joy

If, like me, you see a very clear distinction between fact and fiction and if, also like me, you list WG Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn among your very favourite books then clearly you have a problem. Is the work, which reads like a walking diary written by a man whose well-stocked mind constantly reexamines episodes from his past and trains of thought stimulated by his journey, really factual? It is described as a novel although you have to work very hard to identify episodes or characters that are fictitious. The unnamed narrator who tramps round Suffolk appears to be Sebald himself, but this is not made explicit and in fact the journey is probably made in the author’s imagination rather than in reality. The work was written in German, the author’s native language, and published in 1995 although the narrator has no evident difficulty in reading English literature nor in speaking to English country people. Sebald died many years ago, and tragically young, in Norwich so there is no possibility of further help in understanding this important book.

I cannot myself see any pattern to the selection of anecdotes except that few if any have a cheerful outcome and nobody lives ‘happily ever after’: Sir Roger Casement, the horrors of the Belgian Congo, Joseph Conrad, Herring fishing, the Opium Wars, the frustrated love affair between Charlotte Ives and Chateaubriand, the destruction of the once important port of Dunwich, and the secret wartime activities of Orfordness. Sebald clearly experiences brooding menace in a Suffolk landscape which I have found only beautiful and friendly. The destruction of individuals, and the environment, are important elements in the work. The author can move from delight to destruction with great adroitness. A factual account of nett silk production ends with the adoption of sericulture by the Nazis. Most of the characters whose blighted lives are recounted, at length in some cases, are gifted eccentrics: Edward Fitzgerald (author of Omar Khayyam but little else), the poet Algernon Swinburne, the Dowager Chinese empress Tz’u-hsi, and an extraordinary Irish family called Ashbury (can they be real?). Finally there is Major Le Strange who grows more and more odd and reclusive having liberated Belsen concentration camp at the end of second world war. When he dies he leaves his whole estate to his housekeeper, with whom he had taken his meals in complete silence for 40 years.

It is hard to envision why the book’s title was selected except that his journey was circular and to produce the planet’s beautiful ring system a moon had to die (in literature if not in astronomy). If Sebald was writing from memory alone his was an amazing feat but it is hard to imagine, if this were the case, how he could have come across the only story he tells that originates in the West Riding, namely that of Mrs Dixon who died of joy in Silsden. In Sebald’s account she has a stroke when her son turns up unexpectedly at her door and dies of it. There are elements of truth in his account but he has manipulated the story slightly to enhance the principle that great happiness brings with it a scorpion’s sting. As far as I can gather from contemporary press reports the true facts are as follows.

In August 1877 Thomas Dixon, who had been 9 years in America, heard of the death of his father back in Silsden, WRY. He resolved to return to England as soon as he had settled his affairs. He informed his mother, who still lived in Silsden, of his plans. About a year later he sailed to the UK, presumably to the port of Liverpool and travelled home on the railway, arriving at Steeton (the nearest station) by the evening mail. He caught an omnibus to the stop near to his mother’s house on a hill. This is named as Walker’s Place in one account. Since she was not at home he informed a neighbour, Mrs Steel, who carried a message to the Bethesda Chapel where Judith Dixon was attending a prayer meeting. Mrs Dixon immediately left the meeting and returned home. She was agitated and felt the need to sit down. Oddly she had to ask if Thomas ‘really was her son’. Shortly after being told that he was she died. She was known to have suffered from pre-existing palpitations of the heart and a stroke is not mentioned.

Over the next few days these facts, or a portion of these facts, were reprinted in several provincial newspapers. They state that they are quoting from a news item originally printed in the Leeds Mercury. This is a perfectly logical source although at present I cannot locate the original article. Using the resources of Ancestry UK I can confirm that a woman of the name Judith Dixon (nee Clarkson) was buried on 4 June 1878 at the parish church of St James, having been born in 1819. In the 1861 census Abram Dixon (nail maker) 44 and his wife Judith Dixon were living with their son Thomas (and another son & daughter) at 50 Back or Beck Hill, Silsden. The couple had married in 1846. Although Thomas was only 14 he was already a nail maker himself, Silsden being a center of handmade cut nail production. Abraham certainly died in 1877 at the age of 60 and was buried at the parish church on 4 August. I can’t trace Thomas’s death so maybe he returned to the USA after burying his mother.

Sebald evidently took the opposite view from Shakespeare who found that the toad ‘ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head’. But Rings of Saturn is haunting and memorable and might, they say, have earned the author the Nobel prize for literature had he lived. Perhaps walks in Suffolk tell Das Lied von der Erde every bit as well as Chinese poems.

See Brian A Oard:

The Midland Hotel


The corner block of the Midland Hotel is a very prominent Bradford landmark, with a modernised main entrance now opening onto the bottom of Cheapside. The above image was taken from the modern access point to Forster Square Station looking back down Cheapside to the back of the hotel, just visible behind the tree. After a long period in the doldrums the hotel is being refurbished back to its former late-Victorian glory. Recently I was fortunate enough to be shown round by two members of staff and I now know a certain amount about the history of the hotel. It is a grade II listed building originally designed by Midland Railway architect Charles Trubshaw (1840-1917). The demolition of pre-existing buildings, and the erection of the hotel, seem to have taken place in the years 1885-90. The year 1890 is normally given for the hotel’s opening and I have certainly been able to trace references to it in the press back to early 1890. It was clearly designed to link to the adjoining Midland Station (later called Forster Square Station) although this was some decades older. I understand that the two buildings were still visibly connected until 1960. The station itself has undergone several incarnations and redevelopments, and you don’t have to search very far in nineteenth century plans, or local newspapers, to find land purchases by the railway company or claims for compensation against them.

The main hotel block is constructed of polished sandstone ashlar. It has four storeys, a mansard roof and an octagonal corner tower. The tower dome is now felted but was originally covered in copper which must have given it a very striking appearance. Even a non-expert like myself can see much evidence of Neo-Classicism in the design and the knowledgeable also can point to features displaying French influence.


The original main entrance took you straight from the station platform between booking offices and waiting room. You passed through a passage to reception lined with beautiful ceramic glazed tiles. The tiles are still in place and I assume were made at the Burmantofts works in Leeds, although I should be grateful to have this confirmed if any reader knows for certain. The effect is not quite the equal of the magnificent tiled hall café at Leeds Central Library but nonetheless is well worth visiting. In the case of Midland Station I gather its six platforms were covered by a iron and glass span which survived until the 1950s, before being replaced by a new design with improved ventilation. The Midland Railway company eventually became part of LMS and then British Railways. I find subsequent railway developments in this region to be a bit baffling.


By the final decade of the nineteenth century the hotel was prestigious enough for Lord Salisbury to be entertained for lunch there by the Bradford & County Conservative Club. This was in 1895, the year that the Marquess became prime minister for the third time. The Midland’s greatest claim to, a rather sad, fame is being the location, in 1905, of the death of distinguished actor Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905). Irving had been performing as Thomas Becket in a farewell tour at the Theatre Royal, Bradford when he collapsed, possibly after suffering a stroke. He was taken to the Midland Hotel where he finally succumbed. The place of his demise is still pointed out.

I have wondered what buildings had to be demolished to accommodate the Midland Hotel. These were described in the press as a ‘row of shops, inns, warehouses little and big, which formed the inartistic fringe of one side of Cheapside and lower Kirkgate’:


To locate small businesses the best resources are Bradford Trade Directories; some are available on-line and many more are accessible at the Local Studies Library. In 1898 the Midland Hotel is the only building in Cheapside between Kirkgate and School Street. The White’s Directory of 1887 also shows no ‘even numbered’ premises in Cheapside at all. Presumably the site has been cleared and the hotel is in the process of erection at that date. The next image shows the area in question by way of an undated plan from the Local Studies Library reserve collection. It must be later than 1874 when Beckett’s Bank was opened, but earlier than 1885 and the construction of the hotel; around 1880 would seem plausible.

New Doc 2018-04-16_3

The Post Office 1883 and 1879-80 Directories should be helpful in interpreting the plan; we are interested in the block between Bermondsey and Cheapside, and along Cheapside between Kirkgate, the other arm of Bermondsey and Cannon Street, just off the top of the plan. The Brown Cow is at 8 Kirkgate and is managed by E Ostcliffe. The directory places Henry Bentley & Co, brewers, at 2 Cheapside: is this coincidence? Bentleys were a quite well-known Huddersfield based brewing company but since they share an address with Morgan & Morgan, solicitors, I assume we are looking at office accommodation rather than actual brewing.

The main land-owners on the plan are Simon Townend, George Hargreaves & others, and George Harrison & others. To identify these I used the earlier 1879-80 Post Office Directory. George Harrison & Sons were printers at 14,16 Cheapside. There is no Simon Townend but G & W Townend are wool merchants at 22 Cheapside. George Hargreaves isn’t present at all. In 1883 no business have addresses between 2 and 24 Cheapside. Is it possible that pre-construction land purchase is already taking place? In 1879 the situation seems to have been more interesting. Number 2 Cheapside contained the offices of two firms of architects, Hope & Jardine and Milnes & France. Then there were a gunmaker, a bootmaker and George Harrison & Sons, the printers, before a series of the premises of wool men commenced. The gunmaker is Charles Golden, 55, who lived nearby at Hallfield Road with a wife and five children at the time of the 1881 census. Generally however the census is not helpful. I can only find entries for 48 & 46 in the upper part of Cheapside. Presumably the lower part of the road was non-residential. Of the 1879 business concerns the survivors to 1883 were: Henry Rhodes (wireworker), Henry Seed (wool merchant), Stead & Hutton (plumbers), Whaley & Greenwood (wool staplers) and Berendt & Ree (wool merchants). All these were in the upper part of Cheapside. Things are very different now.

Eastbrook House


Since the mid-nineteenth century the district of Little Germany has been one of Bradford’s architectural glories, but I have become interested in its earlier history. During most of the eighteenth century the area was pasture with a few cottages; much of the ownership was vested in the Vicar of Bradford. Some of the land, like so much of the city, was mined for coal although I know of no records that identify the exact location of the collieries. Changes occurred at the end of the century associated with the name Edmund Peckover.

Edmund was born in 1757 at Fakenham being descended from an old Quaker family. I am not sure what tempted him away from rural Norfolk: Horace Hird believed that ‘he could see at an early date that Bradford was going to play a dominating part in the world of wool’. If this is true then Edmund was percipient indeed since the city’s textile triumphs were a generation or two in the future. Another possibility is that his future partner, John Hustler (1715-90) of Undercliffe House, Eccleshill, was already acquainted with his fellow Quakers of the Peckover family and encouraged the move. Nobody was to be more influential than Hustler in promoting the growth of Bradford and its connection with the outside world through its canal (1774-77). He was also instrumental in the building of the now demolished Piece Hall (1773).

Whatever the circumstances of his arrival Edmund seems to have rapidly evolved into a prosperous merchant and wool stapler with warehouses in Canal Road. Although initially in partnership with John Hustler he later (Cudworth says in 1795) commenced banking on his own behalf. In 1803 he was joined in this enterprise by his cousin, Charles Harris, in the firm of Peckover, Harris & Co. Edmund never married and had no children of his own. The new company evolved into the Bradford Old Bank at Bank Street and then, in 1813, Kirkgate whereupon the Bank Street accommodation was offered for sale. Switching from wool-stapling to banking was not so very surprising since many Quaker families (Gurney, Gibson, Barclay, Hoare) were involved in such financial institutions. In the year 1803 Edmond was to be an important figure in supporting legislation enabling a commission to undertake various local government responsibilities such as night-watchmen, water supply and scavenging. He died in Bradford in 1810 at the early age of 53, still a bachelor. His name is commemorated in Peckover Street in Little Germany which you can see on the illustrated Council information sign. After his death Charles’s two brothers, Henry (1812) and Alfred (1824) became partners at the bank.

In 1797 Peckover had purchased an estate close to the centre of Bradford which had previously been glebe land. He began to construct a town house for himself called Eastbrook House (the East Brook being one of the tributaries of the Bradford Beck). The house was surrounded by a park and had a lake several hundred yards long. From the eventual lease advertisements (Leeds Mercury 1811) we know that the estate consisted of an orchard, gardens and 20 acres of meadow. The house had a dining room, breakfast room, drawing room, six good ‘lodging rooms and dressing rooms’, with attics, cellars and adequate accommodation for servants including a butler’s pantry. It was furnished by Gillows of Lancaster and London who were a famous furniture-making firm as yet un-united with Warings. The extent of the property shows well in the Bradford map of 1802. Eastbrook House is the central block marked ‘hall’.

Eastbrook 1802

The further development of the estate only began after Edmund Peckover’s death. His partner Charles Harris seems to have attempted to lease the house but eventually he evidently decided to live there himself, although at his retirement (in 1840) he moved to Fulford Grange, York where he died in 1847. The original Eastbrook Hall (Methodist) was built in 1825 on land purchased from Harris although this was replaced in 1903 by the more familiar Edwardian building. In 1832 a Quaker School was built nearby in Chapel Street on land given by Harris. This was opposite the first Temperance Hall built in 1837 (again on land given by Harris).


Despite the sales and gifts of land it can be seen from the first OS map, surveyed around the time of Charles Harris’s death, that the estate was left largely intact. Much of the adjacent land was the property of the Rev. Godfrey Wright who has featured several times in my accounts of Bradford nineteenth century history. Charles Harris’s brother Henry is well known to those of us who live in Heaton since for a long period he leased Heaton Hall and was known for his philanthropic work. His brother Alfred Harris took the lead in creating Bradford Fever Hospital off Leeds Road, and laid its foundation stone.

Eastbrook 1847 OS

Eastbrook House had always been close to the Barkerend Bradford Union Workhouse (built 1790) but the map reveals how closely coal mining, in the shape of Bunker’s Hill colliery, had intruded on the estate. There were open country views only to the east. It may be that instability due to the mining led to the removal of the Bradford Workhouse to the St Luke’s Hospital site in the mid-nineteenth century. The final map shows how dramatically the built environment changed in the next 40 years. Modern Peckover Street marks the southern boundary of the old estate and the eastern border almost reaches Garnett Street. Harris Street and East Parade run through the centre.

Eastbrook 1889 OS

Eastbrook Hall, formerly the Methodist ‘Cathedral’ of the North, was opened in 1904 but had stood empty since the 1980s. A major fire in 1996 left it derelict, burnt out and roofless. Restoration was finally completed, as apartments, in 2008. Much of the old estate is occupied by Little Germany, which is a 20-acre conservation area in the heart of the city. Is anything left of Eastbrook House itself? Horace Hird, writing in 1972, recorded that a remnant remained in the shape of three arched windows and a little tower, once part of the southeast wall. An hour’s walk up and down in the rain revealed no sign of it today, so perhaps it has followed the rest of the estate into oblivion. The area’s warehouses, or even its simple Victorian houses, are well worth investigating however.



Having totally failed to find Horace Hird’s tower and arched windows I was corrected, not for the first time, by local photographer and historian Kieran Wilkinson. By following his directions they are not difficult to locate. You need to walk right to the top of East Parade and turn left onto the Shipley Airedale Road. The are protected by a metal gate and fence. Kieran also provided me with this Google Street View link:,-1.7437166,3a,75y,255.39h,105.49t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sMdmt0Rq90YFB0L7HK7y64Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656


Further Reading

Horace Hird, Bradford Remembrancer, McDonalrd Book Co., 1972.

Susan Duxbury-Neumann, Little Germany: a history of Bradford’s Germans, Amberley, 2015.

Peter Higginbotham, Barkerend workhouse:

Bradford physicists

There is no doubt that the greatest Bradford born scientist, and the winner of its only Nobel prize (in 1947), was Sir Edward Appleton (1892-1965). He studied at St John’s College, Cambridge and eventually held chairs at Kings College London and the University of Cambridge. He was also a Reith Lecturer. He died in Edinburgh where for some years he had been Vice-Chancellor of the University. Sir Edward is most famous for his work on the ionosphere which, he found, had the property of reflecting radio waves. This work had important consequences during the wartime development of RADAR.

Only slightly less eminent, but almost forgotten today, was astronomer Alfred Fowler (1868-1940). He was born in Wilsden, the seventh son of Hiram & Eliza Fowler (born Hill). Rather remarkably, given his later intellectual eminence, neither of Alfred’s parents could write; both making their marks on their certificate when they married in 1849 at Bradford Parish Church. It is easy to find the family in the 1871 census. Hiram and Eliza were cotton warp dressers, and Alfred’s oldest brother Walker was already a worsted weaver at 13 years of age. Alfred himself was three years old and by then he had a younger brother, William. The family moved to Keighley in the mid-1870s and the 1881 census finds them at 9 Bassett St. Hiram died in 1886 but by then Alfred had moved on having, at the early age of 14 (1882), won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science, South Kensington.

The Normal School of Science evolved into Imperial College London, and Alfred Fowler was to work there all his life rising to be the holder of an Assistant Chair of Physics. One of his students may have been HG Wells who studied at Imperial College. Alfred was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1910, this being only one of many awards and medals he received during his career. He was made a CBE in 1935. Alfred married Isabella Orr in Keighley in 1893 and the couple had two children Beatrice Hilda (who married an art teacher Archibald Ward) and Norman Russell.

A gas can be ionised by heat or an electric current. Outer electrons are stripped away and the ion will then emit light of wavelengths characteristic of the atom or molecule concerned. This is said to be its emission spectrum. These characteristic lines can be detected by the scientific instrument called the spectroscope. A spectroscope uses a prism or defraction grating to split light from a radiant object, like a star, into its component wavelengths. This process enabled astronomers to recognise many elements in stars by their characteristic emission lines. Alfred Fowler was a great expert on spectroscopy especially as it related to sunspots and stars. He identified lines in a helium spectrum (Pickering-Fowler Series) which were used by Niels Bohr in his theory of atomic structure. He also identified ozone in the earth’s upper atmosphere and carbon monoxide in comets. He was President of the Royal Astronomical Society 1919-21. Alfred Fowler died in Brentford following a stroke in the early part of the Second World War. Isabella long outlived him.

Wilsden Parish Council now wishes to crowdfund a blue plaque in Alfred Fowler’s honour. More information about this and Alfred’s life can be found at:


The hunt for Joseph Lee

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The tombstones at St Paul’s Parish Church, Shipley have been re-sited against the perimeter wall. In this position they are very easy to examine and on several occasions I have been struck by the unique design which I have illustrated. It seems to be a geometrical proof of Pythagoras’s theorem. As a logo it would be highly appropriate for a mathematics teacher and, carelessly, I have always assumed that the grave marker was dedicated to Joseph Lee, a famous nineteenth century Heaton schoolmaster. This was completely wrong since the dates don’t fit at all. It seemed timely to establish exactly who was commemorated here. I believe I have now extracted most of the facts. In my story there are two men named Joseph Lee (father and son) and I shall label them sen. and jun. Joseph Lee sen. was variously a worsted manufacturer, a farmer, a woolstapler in Bradford and finally, after retirement perhaps, he became a farmer once more. It appears that the stone was principally intended to record two men:

In affectionate remembrance of  Joseph Lee of Bradford  who died Jan 10 1865 Aged 54 Years. Also of EA Barrett, Solicitor, Bradford who died April 6 1867 in the 53 year of his age

It seemed best to begin with EA Barrett since I had a profession which aids identification enormously. In the Lunds 1856 trade directory there was:

Edward Alexander Barratt, solicitor. Agent to Phoenix Fire Office etc. 3 Bridge St, r. Westfield House, Scholes, Cleckheaton

An earlier directory, Ibbetson 1850, also lists attorneys who include: ‘Barret, Edward Alexander; Charles Street’. Edward Alexander was born at Morton Banks, Bingley. He was mentioned in the Bradford Observer on several occasions in a purely professional capacity. In 1849 he was appointed Master Extraordinary of High Court of Chancery (whatever that means) and later, in connection with a case, his chambers are said to be at Hustler’s Buildings. He was admitted as a Freemason to Bradford’s Lodge of Hope in 1853, and he was certainly buried at St Paul’s, Shipley. The only slight puzzle was that his death took place in Newton le Willows and was registered in Warrington, Lancs. In his will he left an estate worth less than £450 to his wife.

It is Edward Alexander’s wife who provides some explanation of the tombstone dedication. She had been born Mary Matilda Lee and had been baptised at Holy Trinity, Low Moor in 1815, the daughter of Joseph Lee sen. & Judith Lee. Joseph gives his occupation as farmer. This is the record of her marriage in 1844 at St Peter’s Parish Church, Bradford.

Edward Alexander Barrett 30 Bachelor Father: John Barrett, solicitor

Mary Matilda Lee 29 Spinster. Father: Joseph Lee, woolstapler

The Joseph Lee on the tombstone cannot be Edward Alexander’s father in law but could easily have been a younger relative. Following their marriage Edward Alexander and Mary Matilda feature in the 1851 and 1861 censuses:

In 1851, Summerseat Place, Horton 

Edward Alexander Barrett 36, Attorney & Solicitor b Bingley. Mary Matilda Barrett 35 b. North Bierley

 In 1861, 95 Little Horton Lane.

Edward Alexander Barrett 46 b. Bingley. Mary M Barrett 46 b. Wibsey

The couple don’t seem to have had any children of their own but in 1861 a niece and a nephew are living with them. The niece is called Juliana and is 13 years of age. Edward Alexander died in 1867. By 1881 his widow is living, like me, in Heaton. Her address was 8 Heaton Grove, a very pleasant place. With her are a variety of nephews and nieces with the surname Smith including Juliana (32), and an unmarried 30 year old niece called Emma Lee. Both these two young ladies were born in America, possibly ‘Mass’. This is perfectly plausible since Bradford had strong links with Lawrence, Massachusetts, another textile town. Our last sight of her is at age 76 in the 1891 census when she is living with her sister Juliana Fairbanks in Manningham.

To explore the Lee family I looked again at the wedding record. As I knew Mary Matilda’s father was called Joseph Lee sen. He is easy to find three years earlier in the 1841 Bradford census:

Joseph Lee 65 woolstapler

Joseph Lee 20

Mary Lee 25

Juliana Lee 15

Charles Lee 15

Something illegible 10

I assume that Mary Lee is Mary Matilda Lee so immediately there is a second man, Joseph Lee jun., who must have been born around 1820. From the tombstone Joseph would be expected to have been born in 1811 but birthdates in the 1841 census are often imprecise. It is quite possible that there is a baptism record for him:

Wibsey Chapel 1810 Joseph son of Joseph Lee, Woodside, manufacturer

If this is correct, which I think it is, an older sister Emma is missing from the census record since she had already married. Wibsey is adjacent to North Bierley and Low Moor. Mary Matilda was to give both Wibsey and North Bierley as her places of birth. We can learn a little more about Joseph jun. from a death notice in the Bradford Observer in January 1865: ‘Joseph Lee, stuff finisher, Spring Row Manningham’. Lee is a common surname: the Lunds Directory of 1856 includes 20 but only one Joseph:

 Joseph Lee 13 Infirmary St (no occupation is given)

Infirmary Street is in Manningham and not very far from Spring Row which still exists. Knowing of the importance in Freemasonry of squares and angles I wondered if this might explain Pythagoras. But Joseph Lee jun. wasn’t a freemason at Lodge of Hope although if Edward Alexander designed the gravestone he might have added the right-angled triangle on his own account. The last possible information about our man comes from the 1861 census. Emma born in the USA confirms it is the right family.

Joseph Lee 50 years, 148 Salt St Manningham, Stuff presser b. Yorks

Wife Eleanor 32 b. Ireland

Emma 10 b.USA

Theresa 1 b. Yorks

Salt Street still exists and is close to Infirmary Street and Spring Row. Stuff is worsted cloth, a Bradford speciality. Pressing it seems a bit of a come down for a woolstapler’s son perhaps. Bradford had a large Irish community so having an Irish wife is no problem although they may equally well have met in the US since I cannot find their marriage in the Bradford records. Could Joseph have been travelling in the US on his father’s account when Emma was born? What the relationship between Joseph Lee and Edward Alexander Barrett might have been is pure speculation but ‘in death they were not divided’.

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Can we make any progress with the other people commemorated?

In memory of Alfred William Lee, Of Bradford who departed this life Nov 16 1858 aged 27 years. Also of Annette Matilda Pickles The beloved daughter of Joseph & Emma Pickles, niece of the above who departed this life Jan 26 1861 In the 18 year of her age

Also of Annette Matilda Pickles Who died Dec? 1871 aged 18 months

They would all seem to have been related to Mary Matilda Barrett (born Lee), 1815-1898, whose parents (you will remember) were Joseph Lee and Judith Lee. They had a large family and the members important in this search were:

Emma Lee

Joseph Lee (1810-65)

Mary Matilda Lee

Juliana Sophia Lee,  born Ghent, Belgium

Alfred William Lee,  born France

In 1836 Joseph Pickles, cordwainer, married Emma Lee at the Bradford Parish church. Emma was a child of Joseph and Judith Lee born in 1813 and baptised at Cleckheaton although Joseph sen. stated that he was a worsted manufacturer of Woodside Wibsey. Annette Matilda Pickles was the daughter of Emma and Joseph born in 1843 according to the tombstone. In the 1851 census she was living with her grandparents. I’m not sure why this was since her parents reappear in the 1871 census, a decade after her death in 1861.

24 Spring Row, Manningham 

Joseph Pickles         57           Cordwainer

Emma Pickles          57           Wife

Emily S                   26 unm    Book-binder                    Daut

Herbert C                24 mar     Stuff warehouseman       Son

Eliza L                     23 mar                                           Daut

Annette M Pickles    10/12                                            Grandd

Mary J Lee              11    Scholar                                   Niece

Sadly the 10 months old baby was to die within a few months and is also buried in Shipley. In 1849 the Bradford Observer recorded that at Halifax Parish Church a Joseph Fairbanks married Juliana Sophia, youngest daughter of Mr Joseph Lee, Wester Croft, Halifax. Despite the change of wife the address confirms this record from the 1851 Census.

 7 Wester Croft, Shelf

Joseph Lee              65    Head Farmer of 20 acres b. N.Bierley

Judith Lee               59    Farmer’s wife b. Idle

Alfred William Lee    19    Son  b. France (British Subject)

Annett Matilda Pickles 7  Granddaughter  b.Manningham

So I think I have identified Alfred William Lee and the elder Annette Matilda Pickles from the tombstone. There is plenty of work left to do if a dedicated family historian were to develop an interest in this family.



The House of Treasures: Cliffe Castle Museum, Keighley



Before the local government reorganisation of 1974 museums and galleries in Bradford, Keighley and Ilkley had an entirely separate existence. After 1974 they all fell within the area and responsibility of Bradford Metropolitan District Council. The Manor House at Ilkley recently closed as a museum, although hopefully it will remain as a community space run by a Volunteer Trust. Bradford MDC is responsible for four principle sites: Cartwright Hall Gallery, Bradford Industrial Museum, Bolling Hall and Cliffe Castle, Keighley. There are, of course, also museums of regional note which are not run by the local authority, such as Haworth Parsonage, The Peace Museum, Salt’s Gallery and Bradford Media Museum. The roles of museums and galleries within the city of Bradford have naturally changed over the years, and since 2008 financial constraints have been a constant presence.

Cliffe Castle Museum at Keighley is remarkable for the range of its exhibits and for the delightful park in which it is situated. The Grade II listed building, then called Cliffe Hall, was built around 1828-35 in the Gothic style for attorney Christopher Netherwood, who had a reputation for extravagance. Inevitably he ran into financial difficulties and in 1848 the house was acquired by his tenant, wealthy textile manufacturer and merchant Henry Isaac Butterfield (1819-1910). Butterfield employed George Smith, a Bradford architect. In the 1870s they transformed the building by adding towers, a ballroom, an ornate entrance and various conservatories; he also purchased several adjacent plots of land to enlarge the park. Henry Isaac Butterfield had married Mary Roosevelt Burke who was related to the US President Teddy Roosevelt. The couple lived in Paris and Nice, and were extremely well connected. Their son is said to have received many packing cases from his father filled with extraordinary artefacts with which to equip his Keighley house. Henry Isaac spent much time in the USA and Europe, and in fact it was this son, Sir Frederick Butterfield (1858-1943), who after 1910 made Cliffe Castle his permanent home. Frederick must also have been a remarkable man. He had degrees from Leipzig and Oxford Universities and, at various times, was a US Consul and a Mayor of Keighley. He was knighted in 1922.

In due course Sir Frederick had a daughter of his own, Marie-Louise Roosevelt Butterfield, who as a child had been a friend of Lewis Carroll. She succeeded to the estate on her father’s death in 1943. By marriage Marie-Louise became the Countess of Manvers living at Thoresby Hall, Nottinghamshire, the historic home of the Pierrepont family. She was a talented artist and paintings of the interior of her childhood home at Keighley have enabled the authentic restoration of several rooms. Countess Manvers died in 1984. In 1949 the building and park were acquired by Keighley Corporation with the assistance Sir Bracewell Smith. Conversion to a public museum, which opened in 1959, entailed the demolition of some parts of the house, for example the winter gardens and one of the original towers, but a great deal was preserved. Much of the house contents were sold off but over the years it has been possible to purchase back significant amounts of this original material although some items, Chinese ceramics and paintings for example, were of such value that this will never be possible. Several rooms have been restored to their original beauty. Perhaps the most extraordinary single item is a malachite fireplace, returned to its original position only in the last few years. The Butterfields’ ballroom is now a unique collection of Victorian stuffed birds and animals. Such a collection could never be assembled today since ideas over the appropriate presentation of natural history have changed so radically. 


Although Keighley history and life is understandably the strongest thread at Cliffe Castle there are also quite strong ties with the City of Bradford. The much admired mineral collection (which must be the finest in a provincial museum) came largely from George Hinchcliffe’s private collection in Heaton, Bradford. There is a separate collection of Coal Measures fossils which are an essential resource for those interested in West Yorkshire coal mining. As an example of the far sighted imagination of the staff the geological ages of the earth are represented by a beautiful tapestry, if that is the correct technical term.

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Local industries, like lime, quarrying and brick-making, are also extremely well covered. Many of the archaeological exhibits must originate from Sidney Jackson’s collection, when he was the famous curator at Cartwright Hall in the 1950-60s. His collection of carved stone heads still have a presence but whether they have a ‘Celtic’ origin as Jackson believed is open to question. Today Cartwright Hall is solely an art gallery, but Cliffe Castle itself has a significant collection of paintings in a rotunda gallery. Objects of especial archaeological note at Cliffe Castle are: the Stanbury Bronze Age cremation burial, cup & ring marked stones, Neolithic & Bronze Age axes, the Riddlesden Hoard of Roman denarii, and the Silsden Hoard of Iron Age gold coins.


Over the last two years there has been a HLF funded conservation project in the park. This has seen the restoration of original buildings, conservatories, water-features, and statues of the park. All have been brought back to their original Victorian splendour and the much-loved café is restored to its former glory. If you don’t know Cliffe Castle I cannot believe you would regret an outing; the extraordinary collection of Victorian stained glass is worth a visit on its own.


History on a Glass Slide

Nearly sixty years ago I was a schoolboy with an enthusiasm for chemistry, natural history, and zoology. Like several of my school-friends I consequently developed an interest in microscopy. At that time obtaining a pre-War brass microscope, with excellent optics, was not too difficult nor too expensive. The first examples I owned were bought for me by my supportive father as a generous return for some minor academic success. Learning about the subject was relatively straightforward since the local library stocked a selection of books on the subject. I doubt if this would still be true today but then today we have the silicon chip.

Obtaining mounted specimens for examination was not quite so easy. I still have a small collection of aged glass slides obtained second or third hand in my home town, but eventually I learned to prepare quite reasonable specimens myself, at school or at home. At university and medical school, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, microscopy was a very useful skill and I collected a great many prepared slides exhibiting various aspects of human morbid histology. As a hobby the pleasures of microscopy gradually diminished; my last regular exposure must have consisted of the polarised light examination of geological specimens during the first year of my degree course in archaeological sciences (2004). Recently I have started to wonder if the microscope slides I collected so many years ago had any historical interest.


The provenance of several of these slides, like the above plant stem section, was easy to establish. They were produced by a man called Furze and are nearly 170 years old! John Noakes Furze (1817-1859) was a London microscopist. An excellent article concerning him by Brian Stevenson is available on-line:

Furze seemingly had an Oxford education and a career in brewing. His microscopic slides are known by their distinctive green oval labels. I assume that selling them constituted a business venture, and they are known to have been produced by skilled and professional makers. Sadly Furze died a relatively young man in 1859. My own examples of his products date from 1852 & 53.

A number of my glass slides lack sticky labels and the specimen information is drawn directly onto the glass with a diamond point. The thin glass covering the specimens look rather irregular and may have been hand made. These slides appear to be even older that Furze’s. One of them mentions a creature discovered by a ‘Prof. Amici’ and I have tracked down a microscopist of this name to Modena, Italy in 1839. The creature concerned would seem to be some type of diatom.


Another slide mentions fossil wood from Van Diemen’s Land. This place has officially been Tasmania since 1856. I have a separate group of slides representing animal pathology and histology, presumably once the property of a zoologist or vet. They can be approximately dated by some of the dyes used to stain the specimens. Carmine is an ancient dye obtained from scale insects, and haematoxylin is also natural being obtained from South American logwood. It has been used as a cell nuclear stain since the 1850s. Eosin and methylene blue are synthetic products of the 1870s. Specimens stained with all these dyes are probably no older than the late nineteenth century; an example is this section of spleen treated with picric acid and carmine.


Those interested in microscopy in the twentieth century will recall the name of Flatters & Garnett Ltd. This Manchester based scientific instrument company operated in the years 1901-1967 and had an extensive catalogue based mail-order business. The founders of the company (Abraham Flatters and Charles Garnett) were Victorians of the generation after John Furze. They operated from several premises but their famous address was Oxford Road. I have a small collection of their microscope slides in addition to the older examples.

In the Bradford Observer the first use of the word ‘microscope’ occurs in the 1830s. It seems that public exhibition of magnified objects was very popular, using a hydro-oxygen microscope which I assume could produce a bright projectable image. By 1842 the Leeds Philosophical & Literary Society were hearing serious lectures on the subject of ‘Late discoveries by the microscope’. The first locally published use of the word ‘microscope’ itself I can find is in 1839 when one instrument was an item listed for sale along with the rest of the contents of The Lodge, Westgate, ‘home of Mrs Captain Priestley’. I know that a number of microscopical societies grew up later in the nineteenth century. For example Manchester Microscopical & Natural History Society was founded in 1880. All things considered this hobby might well be worth taking up again.


Tracks into history

1852 Bowling Dye House

I’m not really a railway enthusiast so I had better start with an apology to any readers who are. Frankly I don’t find the early history of Bradford’s rail links an easy topic; the companies involved seem constantly to change names and move the location of their stations. Very naturally the creation of early railway lines generated maps and plans, many of which have survived. Even here I have a problem since tracks seem to 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.

The first image is a detail from the 1852 Ordnance Survey map. This shows Bowling junction, although it 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. The line no longer exists but the track is visible on aerial photographs. There are two noteworthy features. At the junction a limestone quarry is mapped. Limestone strata do not reach the surface in the Bradford 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 well established in Bingley by the early seventeenth century. It looks as if glacial erratic limestone boulders were found elsewhere and were exploited in the same way; in this case the digging of a railway cutting exposed valuable lime. 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 the water supply. ‘Spring’ was applied to a tree that had been cut off at ground level for coppicing. So the area indicated on the map was presumably an area of old coppice woodland. William Cudworth records that there was once a Springwood Coal Pit, but the wood itself soon disappears from maps.

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 names of the railway 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.

Ripleyville Roads 4

This second map shows the Bowling Iron Company colliery railway very clearly, which 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 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. Historian William 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. In pink 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 and schools, was constructed by Sir Henry but the alignment of the streets in the 1887 borough map looks quite different.

PO 1887 Broomfield

This third map shows an area slightly further north. There have been further train track developments. The Great Northern Railway had opened its service to Leeds from Adolphus Street station in 1854 but the separate 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 and joining the L&Y track at Mill Lane junction, and nearby St Dunstan’s passenger transfer station was 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) mentions the activities of Samuel Pearson & Son who took over responsibility for the material excavated from the necessary cutting. Their Broomfield brick works is clearly indicated on the map above the loop. The cutting material created a 'great mound' and for 15 years 60 men were employed making drain pipes, chimney pots and bricks from this material. 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, off Mill Lane, in a ruinous state, today.

The Lund Directory of 1856 gives 'Broomfields' as the address of William Poulter, another Bradford brick-maker who lived quite near in Edward Street. Perhaps he first worked this site. Samuel Pearson himself 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.

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For the final plan we return to the LSL Reserve Collection. It shows essentially 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 Broomfields brick works is a 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 also was never constructed.

Stone Terrace to Plate Glass: The evolution of the University of Bradford site

1852 Uni area

The UK’s ‘clearing system’ for university places is, at this very moment, determining the future education of thousands of young men and women. Those who will be lucky enough to walk the stately streets, grassy banks, and leafy paths within the University of Bradford campus, as I was in 2004-08, will hardly believe what a challenge to its future existence this institution faced even before it was truly born. The university began its life officially in 1966, the year I commenced my own first brush with higher education at a fenland academy. Prime Minister Harold Wilson was its midwife, and first Chancellor. Prior to that time the Bradford institution had a decade of life as a College of Advanced Technology (CAT). The CAT had, in turn, evolved from the Bradford Technical College which had been in existence since the 1870s, being founded by Sir Henry Mitchell. Education for adults in Bradford has even longer roots which can be traced back to the Mechanics Institute founded 50 years earlier.

Much of this part of the university’s history is shared with that of Bradford College. This is a FE and HE provider, also on Great Horton Road but a little closer to the city centre. Its impressive original building was opened in 1882 by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII). The College already offers externally validated degree courses and, I understand, is hoping soon to become a fully independent body. How the Technical College came to split into both College and University I do not know: ‘old, unhappy, far off things’ I imagine. If its ambitions are fully realised will the two institutions one day form the physically closest pair of universities existing within a single British city? Anyway I’d now like to turn to the physical site on which the university is placed.

A good start to the analysis of the site is this detail from the first OS map of the area from 1852, placed at the top of this article. Although ‘Shear Bridge’ is a clue you would be forgiven for finding this map somewhat puzzling. The map is covered by long vanished field boundaries, presumably of drystone wall. The fields themselves have the regular shapes of enclosures. All the principle roads have different names. Great Horton Road was simply known as Horton Road, Longside Road was then Lady Lane and Richmond Road, now at the very heart of the university, was called Chancellor Street. Note the long vanished cricket ground on the opposite side of Horton Road; at this time overarm bowling was not yet legal! Bradford maps of this age are usually covered by old mining and quarrying sites. Here these extractive industries are rather modestly represented by a single old quarry at the top left. It is important to note Ashfield Terrace since this also appears in a second map from a generation earlier which is held by the Bradford Local Studies Library.

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This detail shows Ashfield Place in the 1840s when Great Horton Road was the Leeds & Halifax Old Turnpike. You can just make out Norcroft Street at the top, which is Richmond Road in another of its previous incarnations (note the kink). The name Norcroft survives to the present day, but applied to a different roadway. The various unnamed streets don’t seem eventually to have been created in exactly these positions. The original landowners are mentioned. Colonel Thomas George Fitzgerald of Turlough, Ireland, who married Elizabeth the daughter of Dr James Crowther MD of Bolshay Hall. The names of both men appear on the full map. On the back is written the name of ‘Mrs Giles’. Ann Giles came, by a rather circuitous route, into much of the property once owned by the Sharp family of Horton Hall. In 1839 an Act was passed for disposing of the Giles estate at Horton, owing to the great increase of buildings in the immediate vicinity. The property extended over many portions of Horton, including that fringing both sides of Horton Lane and the site of the future workhouse (now St Luke’s Hospital). On the left of the map is a waterway. The Bradford Beck proper flows into the city to the south of Thornton Road and, out of sight in culverts, it turns almost 90 degrees about and flows out towards Shipley to meet the River Aire. This map shows its main tributary, the West Brook (itself formed from the junction of Horton Beck and Shear Beck) which was still visible in my day gently washing the front of the Phoenix Building, where the Archaeological Science Department was based. It eventually joins the Bradford Beck near the site of the old Bee Hive Worsted Mills, Thornton Road. In the third map of 1905 you should be able to make out the Bee Hive Mills. The Technical College is now built and opposite it is Bradford School of Art. Richmond Road has finally acquired its modern name.

1905 Uni area

The site of the future university buildings, the land between Richmond Road and Shearbridge Road, is now filled with terrace housing. This has long been demolished but fragments emerge when modern excavations are undertaken for new buildings. From the amount of iron making slag that also appears I would guess that the ground levels have been altered on several parts of the site. The final map is one of a large series, perhaps from the early 1960s and held by the LSL, in which the termination of a planned M606 motorway is drawn at Staygate roundabout, together with a variety of new city duel carriageways. Some were constructed, others remained merely a dream in the planners’ eye: fortunately for the future university as it turned out.

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This plan seems to have been based on the 1957 OS map and I was surprised to learn how long the housing and business premises survived on the future campus site. I hope you can make out a ghostly roundabout at the bottom left. There a substantial road would leave Morley Road at right angles and travel along Claremont chewing up gardens in its passage. It appears to pass in a cutting under Great Horton Road and then down Richmond Road itself. The gradient is quite steep here and the presence of hachures suggests that the road would soon have been elevated onto an embankment. It would finally sweep round right to a major double roundabout at the junction of Listerhills Road and Thornton Road. Those of you that know the area will appreciate that none of this ever even flickered into existence. Possible other plans for demolishing the housing and building the university made the planners in the 1960s think again. You simple cannot have dreaming spires, or dreaming reinforced concrete and plate glass, so close to an elevated section of a major road.