I know that I have mentioned on several occasions that I am lucky enough to be a volunteer in the Bradford Local Studies Library. My project is to review a large collection of maps, many in a very fragile condition, which form part of a reserve collection. When, in a year or so, the maps have been fully catalogued the library staff will decide how they are best managed in the future. As far as we can tell the maps were last studied over 50 years ago, and I am especially fortunate that many reflect Bradford’s mining and quarrying past.
The illustration is a detail taken from a sepia plan which shows the eastern part of Bradford some years before it became a borough in 1847. My first job is always to establish a date. The ‘new road’, running diagonally across the centre of the map was later to become known as Leeds Road. This dates the map to a period later than c.1825-30 during which years this roadway to Leeds was constructed by the Leeds & Halifax Turnpike Trust. Naturally it is helpful to compare an undated map with others of known date. In this instance the pattern created by the other ‘new roads’ portrayed also exists on the Bradford plan of 1830. Putting both pieces of evidence together we are presumably looking at a map from the late 1820s.
In the upper central area of the map is the Eastbrook coal staithe. Staithe is a dialect word in northern and eastern England, derived from Old Norse, and meaning a wharf or landing stage. Here it is being used to describe a place adjacent to a highway from which merchants can collect a coal supply for subsequent delivery to their customers. You may just be able to make out that the staithe here is marked J.S. & Co. Clearly this represents John Sturges (or Sturgess) & Co. which was the company that operated the blast furnaces of the Bowling Iron Works. There were two original partners of this name, father and son, but they were probably dead by the time the map was created.
Connecting the staithe to the iron works was the ‘new rail road’. This was in fact a mineral carrying tramway bringing coal in trucks, by rope haulage, from the iron works. Bowling Iron Company owned and operated many collieries and ironstone mines surrounding their works. It is possible that the trucks may have been returned filled with limestone, needed for iron smelting, which would have arrived at the nearby canal basin from the quarries at Skipton, but so far I have not found any positive evidence to confirm this. The tramway was closed after the railway reached Bradford in 1846; the area is marked as an ‘old staithe’ in the first OS map of the area.
You should be able to read the names of some of the other roads. Wakefield Road, Bridge Street, and Hall Ings are in their present positions. ‘Dead Lane’ has subsequently, and wisely, been renamed as Vicar Lane. Leeds Old Road is now Barkerend Road. As far as I can tell the numbered areas represent fields. Rather odd looking trees are growing west of the first section of Leeds Road and a rather larger wood is mapped there in the 1800 Bradford plan. It was doomed of course. Within 60 years all the open spaces in this map were covered by urban and industrial development.
There is second coal staithe (or stay) at the junction of Well Street and Hall Ings. This is evidently operated by J.J. & Co. whom I cannot identify. At the opposite end of Wells Street is another ‘new street’ which had been in existence for some years and has now evolved into Market Street. Behind this is a rather sketchily drawn Bradford Beck. The surveyor of the map, or some subsequent user, was evidently interested in the owners of property between Market Street and the beck and has added some names. You probably won’t be able to read them, and in fact they are not easily legible even on the original map. As far as I can make out, reading from top to bottom, they are: Green, Cowling or Crossley, Bradford, Wilkinson, Bank, Armytage, L Lumb, and Hustler.
There are trade directories listing Bradford businesses in 1822 and 1834. Plausible identification of most of these names in Market Street can mostly be made from these directories although it is impossible to be sure.
Thomas Green, grocer and tea dealer 1834
David Crossley, attorney 1834
James Wilkinson, cabinet maker 1822
Thomas Jowett Wilkinson, cabinet maker 1834
Bradford Commercial Bank Co. 1834
Samuel Armitage, plumber & glazier 1834
John Lumb, straw hat maker 1822
Ann Lumb, pawn broker 1822
Thomas Lumb, pawn broker 1834
Most of these trades are not unexpected although it comes as a slight surprise that in the 1820s you could come by a living making straw hats in central Bradford. The name Hustler is more difficult and is most interesting. There was a famous Quaker wool-stapler and canal promoter called John Hustler, but he had died in 1790. I believe he left two daughters but the fact that Market Street boasted two wool-stapler partnerships carrying his surname cannot, surely, be a coincidence. The two partnerships were Hustler & Blackburn and Hustler & Seebohm. The Seebohms were another Bradford Quaker family and establishing a link between the families involved in Bradford’s most famous industry would be another interesting avenue of research, if I can find time.