This is a re-post of content that appeared on the blog in mid-November 2012. It shows early versions of content now on the not-yet-a-Wikipedia page for Ripleyville by Peter Knowles. I have left it unedited. It expresses the surprise and excitement and the right notes of caution about the content Peter sent and some of its meaning for rediscovering Ripleyville.
I would at this point just add a number of additional points of caution. With the help and prompting of the ‘Gentlemen of the Villa’ (ex-residents put in touch through this web-site) Peter has done architectural reconstructions for the church of St Bartholomew and the houses of the Villa i.e. projections backwards from the 1960s, while also using large scale maps from the 1890s. The example of St Bartholomews Church, below, indicates one of the stages involved in such a process. For the houses, the full set of architectural drawings and plans have still to be found.
Missing from Peter’s ‘wiki’ are the school master’s house and the building’s of the village’s southern site; the vicarage and the almshouses.
On the water-closets controversy we may have narrowed down what may have happened 1866-69. Peter’s deductions need better evidencing. He also down-plays the water-closets’ significance. This comes both from their historic significance; their installation in a group of Working Mens housing by 1868 (Where is there an earlier example in the UK?) and their place in the Saltaire,West Park Hill, Akroydon, Ripley Ville progression; that is their actual installation in the forth of the industrial model villages built in the Worsted District of the West Riding.
Two detailed post on the ‘Water-closet Controversy‘, in the Members Area, are password protected. They are accessible to ‘Friends of Ripleyville’ registering through the sign-up form (side-bar right) →
The original title of the post was ‘An Amazing Attachment’. It was published 2012/11/17 and follows
An amazing attachment
No not a cat and budgie picture. No, not a heron and frog or some other improbable pair cuddling up – No, this was the 7 page document Peter Knowles e-mailed me earlier this week. “Time Team” step aside – This was a serious recreation of ‘the Villa’, 1950s to 1960s Ripleyville, or to put it more plainly this was detailed drawings of the 3 types of house built in Ripleyville, of adaptations done to the commercial properties, of the architectural punctuation in the rows of terraced houses (where the house were in left and right hand pairs, where the gables to the roofs were), a plan of the northern site of the village, house numbering, drainage, etc.
Are you registering what I am writing, people. This is three Christmases, Divali and Eid all in one! Now the drawings are in Draft form and the final images won’t be on this site next week or even before the end of the year. There is as yet no date for when this will happen.The drawings also need to be subject to serious scrutiny. And Peter has asked for help in verifying the content of the drawings.
All the same this is an amazing e-mail attachment with game-changing significance for the blog and south Bradford’s local history and of much wider significance in terms of how the story of industrial model village’s from the Victorian era can be understood and told.
Peter’s drawings are game-changing because they connect what was built and still stood in the Villa in 1950s/60s through a set of architectural drawings back to what was originally built in Victorian Ripley Ville. They provide a very valuable link.
They don’t answer all the questions about Victorian Ripley Ville but they move the process of rediscovery on – a very long way.
What we really need to find now are the original drawings made by the architects Andrews Son & Pepper, so comparisons can be made.
As he writes in the attachment, Peter is also interested to find if there is any ‘brief’, in existence, to the architects about the houses. This would nominally have been from ‘Messrs Ripley’ but in reality from Henry Wm Ripley or those acting directly for him.
This is likely to be the focus of rediscovering Ripleyville research over the coming months.
This does not mean that the all the little bits of stories that will make the Villa come alive are now not needed. It just means they can be slotted in like missing pieces of a mosaic – with the kind of information Peter has come up with and the original architectural plans providing a background structure for your Ripleyville stories, memories and queries.
My judgement now would be that with the information Peter has and that I have managed to accumulate and with the diligence and co-operation of local and national archives and others who are contributing to this blog, it would be possible to put together a book that would be comparable, for instance, to ‘Saltaire : the Making of a Model Town’ by Neil Jackson Jo Lintonbon and Bryony Staples (2010). I am writing that as a pointer to the significance of the information, rather than any proposal to do that.
Until this point there was always the possibility that what was planned at Ripley Ville; the time period and topic I have most thoroughly researched, would not reveal what was actually built. Peter’s drawings provide a way of projecting backwards what in probability was built.
Mind you we haven’t resolved the issue of the water closets in the cellar and I’m sure detailed examination of these drawings and of whatever drawings, illustrations or photographs that we can still find, will throw up other puzzles and ‘facts’ that don’t fit this theory or that.
last updated 2014/04/02