100 Up : rediscovering Ripleyville; Heritage Matters for Ripley Road site

rediscovering Ripleyville’s 100th post : a Heritage Matters update about Bradford Council’s Planning Policy proposal for land on Ripley Road. Your chance to help shape the council’s policy for land near to where the northern site of Bradford’s only industrial village once stood!


Heritage Matters Update

Ripley Road Planning Allocation

Just over a week ago (2016/01/08) I happened across a planning document referring to Ripley Road in West Bowling and the land across from the Edward Ripley & Son’s Laboratory building which dates from 1916 (see photos below).

Laboratory Building Ripley Road southern facade

Laboratory Building Ripley Road

Date plaque Laboratory building

Date plaque Laboratory building

The Allocation Site in 1882

The map below shows that in 1882 the land would have included;

  • Ripleys’ ‘New Shed’ (NS),
  • subsiding pits (SP) for Bowling Dyeworks
  • and a reservoir (Res).

The eastern side of Ripley Road was used for allotments’ with the lower block of Ripley Terrace (Nos 67-85), which featured in a recent post, and the Ripley Ville schools building (Sch) beyond (see photograph).

Ripley Terrace & Schools building c. 1950

Ripley Terrace & Schools building c 1950s

Wider Setting of Site in 1882

The map shows the features above and the allocation site’s wider setting including Bowling Dyeworks and the rest of the northern site of the industrial model village of Ripley Ville.

Super-imposed on this in red are the outline of the site in the proposed allocation (WM2) and the words ‘Registered Historic Park’ used in the planning document to denote Bowling Park.

Planning Policy submission supporting map Ripley Road WM2 site

Site Allocation : Waste Disposal/Management Purposes

There is a proposal that the whole of this site of 2.35 hectares be considered for waste disposal/management purposes.

The link to the pdf of the planning document, which is on Bradford Council’s site is:-


You need to scroll down to pages 28 & 29 for the part relating to Ripley Road.

Mitigation Requirements

The grounds for the policy and allocation appear sound. The key point about the document are the conditions under which the policy and allocation might be applied i.e when an application to develop the site comes in. On this, the document includes the following paragraph under ‘Mitigation Requirements’ ;

Development proposals will need to ensure the significance (including the setting) of the Registered Historic Park to the south-east of the area is not harmed. This will need to be demonstrated through robust analysis in the heritage statement submitted with the planning application.

Awareness Raising

I was at a public consultation meeting when I was shown the document. I did at that time tell the planners attending about Ripleyville. They did not seem to know of its previous existence. It seems to me that there is an opportunity to make the planners aware of the proximity of this part of Ripley Road to;

  • the northern site of Ripley Ville, Bradford’s only industrial model village
  • the pedestrian paths that made and still offer links to what was the Bowling Dyework’s site and Ripley Ville

That mitigation requirement can apply to the Registered Historic Park (Bowling Park) ought to mean that mitigation requirements could be applied to the Ripleyville/Bowling Dyework’s sites. They are of equal significance. Ripley Ville was completed, with the removal and rebuilding of the Alms houses to New Cross Street on the village’s southern site, a year after Bowling Park was officially opened. They date from the same period.

row of Victorian almshouses

Ripley Ville Alms houses on New Cross St, West Bowling

Recent research, summarised in an earlier post which corrects the errors on Wikipedia, makes clear the local and national significance of the Ripley Ville Working Mens Dwellings with their water-closets in the basements.

Grants or Gains

Another possibility is that some kind of planning gain/grant application (e.g. from Landfill Tax) could be looked for. Heritage signage, minor works, path clearance and reinstatement and the planting of trees, shrubs could be used to enhance the setting of what remains of the Victorian industrial landscape and the northern site of the village after demolition and improve access routes to these.


Ripleyville is a crucial but forgotten part of Bradford’s Victorian Heritage. Make your voice heard in the efforts to promote it to its rightful place in the city’s Victorian history and its heritage.

Here’s some things you can do:-

  • Tell people about this article. Copy and send them the link to this 100 Up page : Heritage Matters page; http://wp.me/p2qxEI-2hc
  • Look at the planning document and in your response make sure the planners know about Ripley Ville and take it into account in future planning decisions.
  • Copy & paste the 100 Up : Heritage Matters page link http://wp.me/p2qxEI-2hc into your comments to the planners.

Responses to the planning policy document can be made on-line or by other means. These are identified in page 3 of the document. Here’s the link again.


The relevant paragraphs, including the e-mail address for comments on page three, are:-

How to comment
Comments are invited using the online Comment Form or the paper comment
forms available upon request. While comments not using the form will be accepted
those making comments are encouraged to use the form to assist both the Council
in processing representations but also any Inspectors consideration of comments.
Please note that representations cannot be treated as confidential and will be made
available on the council’s website.
The Council is keen to promote the submission of comments electronically and
would encourage anyone with appropriate facilities, such as email, to make their
responses in this way. Comments should be returned to the Council by using:
Where it is not possible to comment using electronic means, representations can
be sent via mail to:
Bradford District Local Plan
City of Bradford MDC
Development Plans Team
2nd Floor (South) Jacobs Well
Manchester Road
Bradford BD1 5RW
Hand Delivered
to the following planning office
(Mon – Thurs 9am to 5pm, Fri 9am to 4.30pm):
Jacobs Well
Ground floor reception
Manchester Road
Bradford BD1 5RW
published 2016/01/20
Map corrected 12 20 on same day

























Not retiring : retiring rediscovering Ripleyville blog – slowly

a short post – making clear what will be happening with the rRV blog and to clear up any misunderstanding

Not retiring : retiring the rediscovering Ripleyville blog – slowly


I received one almost immediate response to my ‘Beginning of the End’ post about the rediscovering Ripleyville blog. It assumed I was ‘retiring’. For some of those who were of working age during the Thatcher years, retiring now isn’t an option, except to real or relative poverty. It is not something I will be choosing.

As I stated in the previous post;

I will still be researching the Victorian history of the area and writing about it.


… new or consolidated findings about Ripley Ville or Ripley Ville related topics will not be published on this web-site and blog.

rRVblog logo claretandamber

So I’m not retiring; the rediscovering Ripleyville blog is being ‘retired’. Even this won’t happen until the target of 110 or so posts is reached, so it will be ‘retired’ slowly – going out not with a bang but a whimper.

In the interim and until draft or planned posts are published, the rediscovering Ripley Ville web-site and blog will remain accessible. This guarantee is subject to the conditions I outlined in the previous post.


Slimming down and re-orientating commitments

I am, however, slimming down and re-orientating my commitments for the more immediate future; the next 6 to 12 months.

So contrary to previous plans, I am now making no immediate plans for;

  • a new ‘Ripleyville’ web-site (or sites)
  • work on print or e-publications with a focus exclusively on Ripley Ville, Bowling Dyeworks, the Ripleys, or H W Ripley in particular

The reasons will be made clear in the post that follows but as ever such decisions depend on limits of time and resources.

published 2016/09/09

rediscovering Ripley Ville blog : the Beginning of the End

This post announces the beginning of the end for the rediscovering Ripleyville blog and sets out some future arrangements for availability of content and keeping in contact.

rediscovering Ripley Ville logo in claret and gold

rediscovering Ripley Ville blog : the Beginning of the End

110 posts and bow out?

If you have been visiting this site over the past 4 years or are visiting for the first time, you may know or notice that there has been no new post to it since May 6th – nearly 4 months.

It hasn’t been a conscious decision not to post. There are two long draft posts awaiting completion, a third has a provisional title, plans for a forth have been sketched. Things have just stopped. Holidays, other priorities, paid work, good walking weather and, when it comes down to it, a tailing off in motivation are major reasons.

I was motivated to get to 100 posts; a total achieved at the beginning of this year. I wasn’t fully satisfied because some of these posts are very short, others are about the so far unsuccessful attempt to promote a rediscovering Ripley Ville project and set-up a Ripleyville group in parallel to the web-site. They were about organisation rather than the process of historical rediscovery or research findings about Ripley Ville.

When taken together with the content in the web-site pages, accessed through the navigation bar, getting to 110 posts on Ripley Ville looked like a better upper target. It could yield 100 items on Victorian or more recent history on the topic. That would be when the rRV blog could and should bow out.

That being the case and whatever happens beyond this point, I need to come clean. It can’t be put off any longer. The rediscovering Ripley Ville blog is at the beginning of its end.

Site Content :  Future Availability

If there are:-

  • no changes in the terms under which the blog is hosted
  • no password or content security issues
  • no clear copyright breaches in its use

the site will remain as it is.

Future Plans

I will still be researching the Victorian history of the area and writing about it. Beyond the posts I have indicated as pending, new or consolidated findings about Ripley Ville or Ripley Ville related topics will not be published on this web-site and blog.

I will be doing a short second post that explains, as far as I can, what I will be doing next  – at least in scope and intended direction if not detail.

Future Contact : Twitter & Facebook

I am now on Twitter and can be followed @ripleyvillebob.

If you are not familiar with it, Twitter comes with a person to person text messaging service. Need to make contact or want to keep in contact – give it a try.

I have also very recently set up a personal Facebook page. It is for close family and a few ‘friends’ only at the moment, while I develop it and get used to it. I would hope to expand this to a Victorian Local History interest group (or groups?). As I understand it, one to one and one to many group messaging would then be available through Facebook.


Copyright R L (B0b) Walker 2016

published 01/09/2016


The Ripleys’ use of water in the Bowling valley,Titus Salt & the Bowling Tough : early 1850s

Before Ripley Ville was built. More on the Ripleys’ use of water from Bowling Beck and elsewhere from the Bowling valley in the early 1850s, the complaints of Walkers Co against them and the connections to Titus Salt and the ‘Bowling Tough’.

Copyright R L (Bob) Walker 2016 All rights reserved.



The Ripleys’ use of the water of the Bowling valley, Titus Salt and the Bowling Tough : early 1850s

Previous post & this post

I have had a bit more time to look at the archive documents related to the case of Wood & Walkers and the Ripleys in the early 1850s. This post is a follow up to the previous one. I have updated that one from when it was first published last month on April 1st. It now conforms with the newer information. This helped to firm up the date for the original parts of the affidavit of Benjamin Murgatroyd. As Superintendent of Bowling Dyeworks, he had first-hand information about changes at the Works and their use of water and dyewares in worsted dyeing between 1830s and early 1850s; information not available elsewhere.

This post goes into more detail on;

  • the grounds for the complaint and the court case of John Wood, William Walker and Charles Walker (Walkers & Co) against Edward and Henry William Ripley (the Ripleys)
  • and the defense of the Ripleys’ actions as prepared by their solicitors.

Titus Salt became involved in an earlier case, a more general objection by Bradford’s worsted manufacturers to the Ripleys’ actions in 1853 and more directly in the case of Walkers & Co and the Ripleys.

The ‘Bowling Tough’, so called, played a part in the Ripleys’ defense.

Continue reading →

Benjamin Murgatroyd & Bowling Dyeworks 1835 to 1855

Before Ripley Ville was built. In this post; a first-hand description of changes to Bowling Dyeworks and worsted dyeing from Works’ Superintendent and practical dyer, Benjamin Murgatroyd, circa 1835 to 1855 and evidence on how Bowling Beck was used and misused.

Copyright R L Walker 2016 All rights reserved


This nearly had to be a post about not doing a post. Its seven weeks since the last one. I have been reviewing archive documents for south Bradford, covering the ten years 1852-1862 and related to the ‘Water Dispute, Messrs Ripley v. Bradford Corporation’ . It has been a long slog and I’m still not finished. I was planning to post an apology explaining the silence, then on Monday last week I had a jack-in-a-box moment. From all the archive boxes and documents over the previous weeks one just jumped out at me.

Benjamin Murgatroyd & Bowling Dyeworks 1835 to 1855

The Water Dispute

The document was in a group of papers connected to the ‘Water Dispute’ but not directly involved in the Ripleys’ dispute with Bradford Corporation. The Dispute itself was about water supply in Bradford; who should have control of it and how best the town could be served. At its heart was the gap between the needs of the town and what was available.(1)  The engineer J F Bateman (1810-1889), fresh from working on the water supply of Manchester, reported in 1852 that there was a twenty-fold gap. Where supply was around half a million gallons a day, from Bradford Waterworks, he calculated that between ten and twenty million gallons a day would be needed for all the town’s needs. In a series of letters he outlined the works and costs of getting to that level of supply.(2)

Affidavit of Benjamin Murgatroyd

The Document

The jack-in-a-box document was the draft of an affidavit, in manuscript form, with crossings out and additions in a second and possibly a third person’s hand.(3)

Unsigned and undated in this draft form, it’s opening paragraph – before crossing outs and additions – stated;

Continue reading →

More on Bowling Lodge and a cost comparison with building a block of Ripley Ville dwellings

More information on who built Bowling Lodge in 1836, how much they were paid, other conditions and how long it took is compared with Cordingley and Peel’s contract for building a block of Ripley Ville Working Men’s Dwellings for H W Ripley in 1867.

Copyright R L (Bob) Walker 2016. All rights reserved.

Building Bowling Lodge in 1836 and a block of Working Mens Dwellings in Ripley Ville in 1867

This post expands on information in three previous posts:-

Planning Application Numbers : All the buildings of Ripley Ville

The plans for Victorian Ripley Ville 1866 – 1881

1836 : H W Ripley as SWCI, the Moulsons, their mark and a [Master] Carpenter and Joiner.

In its first part the post adds:-

  • the names of the plumber, glazier and slater to the masons and the carpenter & joiner contracting to build Bowling Lodge for H W Ripley in 1836,
  • the amount agreed for their payment
  • some conditions to the contracts
  • some stages in the work, completion dates and forfeits

The payments agreed give a probable total for the building costs of the Dwelling House, Coach-house and Stables that was being built, to drawings by the architect Walker Rawsthorne, for H W Ripley’s parents, Edward and Hannah Ripley (nee Murgatroyd). (1)

In the second part of the post, this information is compared with what we know about a single contract for building a block of Working Mens Dwellings in the industrial model village of Ripley Ville some thirty years later.

The third part speculates on the price H W Ripley was paying for a working man’s dwelling to be built in the industrial model village of Ripley Ville.

Bowling Lodge

Contractors and Price for Work

The earlier post revealed that Moulsons, a firm based in West Bowling or little Bowling as it had been called, were contracted to do the Masons work for Bowling Lodge and that John Hargrave, was the contracting Carpenter & Joiner. Hargrave would have made the massive water cistern associated with the water-closet installed in Bowling Lodge, which features in the previous post on Bowling Lodge. The Moulsons work as masons included the laying of the drains. The full list of contractors and the price agreed for their part in the contract are shown in the table below. The space for the signature of the contractor for the plastering is empty in the section of the eighteen-page Specification concerning their work – so we don’t know their name – but the price is given.

Continue reading →

Planning Application Numbers : All the buildings of Ripley Ville

Application numbers for all the buildings of Victorian Ripley Ville (1866-1881) revealed on ‘rediscovering Ripleyville’ for the first time. This post lists the planning application numbers for all of the buildings of the Victorian industrial model village of Ripley Ville and their archive location.

Copyright R L (Bob) Walker 2016. All rights reserved.


Planning Applications Numbers : All the buildings of Ripley Ville

The plans submitted to the Borough of Bradford’s council for all the buildings erected between 1866 and 1881 on the northern and southern site of the industrial model village of Ripley Ville are held on micro-fiche at the Bradford Branch of West Yorkshire Archives.

The plans are those submitted to support the planning applications for each building or set of buildings. They were considered for approval by the Building & Improvement Committee of the council. The archive contains the deposited plans for 5 builds:-

  • the Working-Mens Dwellings
  • the Schools building and Schoolmaster’s house
  • the church of St Bartholomew
  • St Bartholomew’s Vicarage
  • the Alms houses

Continue reading →

The plans for Victorian Ripley Ville 1866 – 1881

The architects’ plans for the buildings of Victorian Ripley Ville were submitted to Bradford Borough Council between 1866 and 1881. This post uses one of the plans for the schools and a key passage in ‘When was Ripleyville built?’ to look at the sequence in which the village’s ‘Working-Mens Dwellings’ may have been built and by whom. It comments on the significance for rediscovering Ripleyville in having had access to all the architects’ plans 8 years ago, in having full copies now and on the ‘missing’ plans for St Bartholomew’s vicarage.

Copyright R L (Bob) Walker 2016. All rights reserved.


The Plans for Victorian Ripley Ville 1866-1881

My previous post was about half-an-hour at the end of a day at the local archives. It focussed on the water-closet and cistern of Bowling Lodge. Earlier in the same day, I had been getting together 21 x A4 pages of information and drawings. These were copied and printed from microfiches. They were of all, yes ALL, of the original planning applications for the buildings built in Victorian Ripley Ville between 1866 and 1881, including the one for St Bartholomew’s Vicarage – of which more at the end of the post.

I had re-found and re-viewed all the plans before I did the 150th Anniversary post on Ripley Ville on November 15th last year (2015). I made quite extensive notes about each from the microfiches at that time but had found these weren’t comprehensive enough. This time I had scanned and printed them – much easier to double-check what you think you are seeing, notice more of the detail, make calculations, measurements, etc – and you do not need to rely on memory.

Continue reading →

1836 : H W Ripley as SWCI, the Moulsons, their mark and a [Master] Carpenter and Joiner.

This post is about a very early Victorian water-closet. It establishes the time over which the Ripley’s were putting water-closets into their properties by going back to 1836 to look at Bowling Lodge. This was the home of Edward and Hannah Ripley, parents of Henry William Ripley, who was the main sponsor for the Victorian industrial model village of Ripley Ville. It adds just a little to what we know about the Moulsons who built much of Ripleys Mills, gives the specification for the enclosure of the water-closet and the cistern to be made in Bowling Lodge and identifies who is trusted with its making.

Copyright R L (Bob) Walker and/or rediscoveringripleyville.wordpress.com 2015. All rights reserved (see column left for details)


Another Day at the Archives

Bowling Lodge

Another day at the archives. Right at the end I just had time to look at the ‘Specification for a Dwelling House’ (NB3700901) that became Bowling Lodge; the home of Edward and Hannah Ripley. The client for the work is their son, the twenty-two year old Henry William Ripley. The architect responsible for drawing up the specification was Walker Rawstorne. George Sheeran describes him ((1990 : 72) as most active in Bradford between 1830 and 1850 and, interestingly, as using, ‘Neo-classical styles for domestic architecture.’

Continue reading →

Wikipedia on Victorian Ripley Ville : wrong! wrong! wrong!

The account on Wikipedia is wrong on a number of crucial points about the worker’s housing built between 1866 and 1868 in the Victorian industrial model village of Ripley Ville,  These relate to whether water-closets were installed in each of the 196 Working -mens Dwellings”, on the village’s northern site in Bowling, south Bradford. The errors are identified in this post and a better version of events laid out. The post starts with a RVr news update. It ends by emphasising how regrettable the demolition of the village’s northern site is, in heritage terms.

Copyright R L (Bob) Walker 2015 and/or rediscovering Ripleyville. All rights reserved. (see sidebar right)


News Update

Work on the new ‘Ripley Ville rediscovered’ (RVr) web-sites on the Victorian industrial model village of Ripley Ville is behind schedule.

Time has been given over instead to exploring several long trails in archival material about the village’s Victorian beginnings. The searches have focused on the water-closets that are understood to have been built in the basements (cellars) of the 196 Workmens Dwellings of the village.

The water-closet controversy : its importance

If water-closets were installed this would make the houses, in their sanitary status and arrangements, the most advanced then built for the working classes. When taken together with the number installed, this would significantly enhance the importance of Ripley Ville as an industrial model village and of ‘Messrs Ripleys scheme…’ for workers housing.

Continue reading →