New pebbles in the Ripley Ville pond. Previous ripples felt now.

Copyright R L (Bob) Walker. All rights reserved (see side bar right →)

This post looks to the future for this WordPress hosted rediscovering Ripleyville web-site, blog posts and the rediscovering Ripleyville project. It reveals a plan to gradually move most of its content. This will be split between TWO NEW Ripleyville web-sites. It also notes two events that suggest small changes may be occurring in how Bradford’s Victorian Heritage offer is made. These give encouragement for future activities around rediscovering Ripleyville.

New pebbles in the pond

New web-sites

If you have done any recent search on the internet for Ripleyville, you may have found that two web-sites, and, each show a ‘site under construction’ notice. These domain names were registered more than three years ago, when I was first looking for a web-presence for ‘rediscovering Ripleyville’. The present WordPress set-up was, however, a cheaper option for something that was then a trial. WordPress was also easier for an oldie-newbie like me to set up and learn to use. I expect to still be using WordPress but you will eventually find the content you are looking for on Ripleyville and related topics through the simpler or the web addresses.

These ‘site under construction’ notices are statements of intent. It is unclear how long the construction of each web-sites will take. Two sites will, however, allow a separation of contents and purposes. A simplified layout, more intuitive feel and easier use of each will also be an aim. Priority will be given to the completion of the site.

What this new site will be like:-

  • Content will include finished articles, history and heritage products on ‘Victorian Ripley Ville’, including but not limited to those in the proposed ‘rediscovering Ripleyville series’.
  • Victorian Ripley Ville will be interpreted in its broadest sense.
  • Articles and products will focus on the 50 year period 1835 – 1885 and the promotion of understanding of that Victorian period.
  • I expect there to be a blog on process and progress in developing articles and history products including research processes.
  • This site will be the Social Enterprise hub for Ripley Ville related activity.
  • The content or products will be copyright and for sale, or for licenced use.
  • Advertising from local firms or those with offerings related to the Victorian period may be carried


The working title for this new site is ‘Ripleyville rediscovered’. The name is intended to indicate that knowledge has moved on, both since the very end of 2008 when ‘When was Ripleyville built?’ was published and from Spring 2012 prior to the launch of the present site and blog. In response to this, pages on this site on the village, H W Ripley and Bowling Dyeworks amongst others, will be updated and improved during transfer. Additional articles and features will also appear. So in short, the move will be from rRV to RVr.

The new working title does not mean that research is in any way complete or that what is out there on the internet or in print is adequate to telling the story of Victorian Ripley Ville. A lot remains to be done. Some of it on Wikipedia, so not my responsibility, needs to be undone or done better.

A linked post to follow will develop a number of these points and pick up on the tightened copyright statements that now appear on this blog and web-site. The post will also tell you how you can be involved in the social enterprise process related to ‘Ripleyville rediscovered’ and in shaping and contributing to the second web-site. So look out for the next post on the blog.

The plans for the site are less clear.

It seems logical that it should include activities like;

  • promotion of Victorian Ripley Ville in present day Bowling,
  • campaigns to preserve the alms houses or other significant physical structures relating to Bowling’s Victorian heritage,
  • support of ideas like the Three Spades project or developing capacity for a Community Heritage survey along the Northcliffe model as outlined in the previous blog-post.
  • inviting members and servicing a ‘Friends of Ripleyville’ group

or features like;

  • an embedded or linked facility for peer to peer contributions for ex-residents or those with ancestors with connections to Ripleyville, Bowling Dyeworks, or the three generations of the Murgatoyds, Ripleys and Milligans or their associates.
  • content that explained and promoted Victorian Ripley Ville, as well as providing an account of its decline and demolition to people living and working local to the sites of Ripleyville and to potential visitors.


It is intended that both sites will be spun off from this ‘rediscovering Ripleyville’ site and eventually replace it. In the interim and as from March 2nd you may find that this site will be carrying some advertising. I hope you don’t find it too annoying!

Techie talk and easing content contribution

Updated versions of WordPress allow a larger number of file formats for text and image, audio and video files. This should expand how content can be contributed to either site.

The down side on the technical bit is that, at this point in time, I have absolutely no idea how to migrate content from one site to another nor knowledge of the impact of the moves for links.

Resource Constraints

It is unlikely that the range of content or features listed for would be undertaken in the absence of a steering group or a properly constituted group to fund-raise, support and manage this part of the project. It is possible – though not preferable – to take forward a Social Enterprise project as a single person, provided separate accounts are kept, properly managed and externally audited.

Split but overlapping

It is hoped that  by the separation of content, features, aims, organising structures and principles the two sites, when up and running, will give people interested in Ripleyville a place to go that meets their particular needs. There will still be overlap. The present site has tried to meet the needs of these differing groups within one site. This has been much less successful in the past year. The split should, however, help resolve issues identified as far back as May 2013, when the diagram below first appeared on this blog.


Diagram Pulling together Pulling apart and overlaps rRV post May (3) would pick up on subjects, site visitors interests to the left of the diagram. would pick up on those to the right. Elements from the overlapping area may appear on both sites. Copyright R L (Bob) Walker 2013.


Previous ripples felt now

Two recent events suggest small changes may be occurring in how Bradford’s Victorian Heritage offer is made; changes that also give encouragement for future activities around rediscovering Ripleyville (rRV) and for a future Ripleyville rediscovered (RVr). These are the opening of the People and Process Gallery in Salts Mill and the ‘Pick and Mix’ exhibition at Bradford College.

Opening of ‘People and Process Gallery’, 1853 Mill, Saltaire

I was able on the Friday of last week (Feb 20th) to get myself down to the 1853 Mill in Saltaire to view the new ‘People and Process Gallery’ on its third floor. This was its first day of opening.

I’ve put together a composite of images taken from two different dinner services and then a photograph of a pattern book; all appearing in a single display case in the gallery. The plates both feature the iconic alpaca and the motto, ‘Quid non deo juvante’. Usually rendered as ‘What [can a man] not [do] with God helping’, the motto gives expression to Titus Salt’s sense of Christian purpose and of a hand in hand striving towards the achievements made in business and brought about in the creation of Saltaire as an industrial model village. Compare this with H W Ripley’s statement that ‘he was not a churchman’, i .e. someone in the 1870s wishing to promote himself as having no doctrinal or political attachment (as Titus Salt had) to getting equal state funding for non-conformist schools. See also paragraph on Bradford’s other industrial model village, Ripleyville, as a Pattern Village

The crest on the plate to the right appeared on the dinner service used at the grand opening of the first of the Saltaire Mills in 1853. The plate to the right from a later date features the Salts family crest.

The gold lettering of the book reads:-

Patterns of Alpaca Goods



Titus Salt



No.2 Alpaca Goods with Cotton Warps

The pattern book contains samples of the kind of mixed worsted cloths, combining animal and vegetable fibres, that would have provided one of the challenges for Bowling Dyeworks (Edward Ripley & Son) in dyeing cloth in the piece. Elsewhere in the gallery you find the statement that only after the New Mill was completed in 1868 did the firm of Titus Salt have its own dye-works in Saltaire. The exact relationship between the firms of Titus Salt and Edward Ripley & Son in Bowling and the mediating role of Bradford’s merchants in bringing mixed worsteds on to the market around 1840 and thereafter remains to be rediscovered.

It is part of the Colour Supplement at present missing from Bradford’s history and its heritage offer. That the ‘People and Process Gallery’ now exists and that it contains exhibits such as the pattern book and acknowledges the lack of a dye-works on site until 1868 gives encouragement to further exploration. This is to be warmly welcomed. Following on from the Cloth & Memory exhibitions and in particular Cloth & Memory 2, the gallery helps to confirm Salts Mill as a place where we can reflect on and renew how we think not only of Saltaire but of Worstedopolis; Victorian Bradford.

The public realm works in hand now and the new management plan for Saltaire as a World Heritage site can only add to that opportunity.


Composite from exibits People and Process Gallery 1853 Mill

Composite R L (Bob) Walker 2015


Bradford Pick and Mix” exhibition : Bradford College

This exhibition ran from 13th Jan to Feb 18th 2015. You can see accounts of it, its exhibitors and images at;

For an account of the creation of the renamed Dye House Gallery that housed it and the origins of the Pick and Mix name of the exhibition, see;

I wasn’t able to get to the exhibition, so I need to restrict myself to the links and a few short observations.

My observations are firstly about the re-naming of the venue and then the prominence given to the image opening in the first link above.

The use of spaces for worsted dyeing, like Bradford College’s Dye House Gallery, and the selection of the table-top colour chemistry image to promote the space and Pick and Mix exhibition to be welcomed. The hope must be that this augurs well for further promotion, wider access and to greater understanding of those parts of the Textile Archive of the college including the collection it has ‘inherited’ from the Bradford-based Society of Colourists and Dyers and which was moved from the Colour Museum.

A renewal of Bradford’s Heritage offer that gives full weight to it’s Colour Supplement, the history of its dyers, dyeworks and innovations in dyeing in the growth of Worstedopolis, stir by stir, ripple by ripple gets nearer. The story of Ripley Ville as a model industrial village is enriched and bound together through innovations at Bowling Dyeworks, H W Ripley as practical dyer and its ‘Working the Chemistry’ strand found on this site and to be carried forward into the new sites.


Copyright R L (Bob) Walker 2015. All rights reserved.

2015/03/03 corrections made 2015/03/10

updated 2016/01/09





2 responses

  1. Thankyou Bob Glad The Riplely ville Site Is Getting Going Again

    1. Nice to hear from you Stella. Expect to do another post within next 7-14 days. May be quiet again after that to try and get one of the new web sites in some sort of shape. Bob

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