Category Archives: 1835-1850 Early Victorian

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.

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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.

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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

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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;

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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.

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Ripples build and other News

This is a very short post giving news of;

  • an upcoming Textile conference,
  • two posts that have had their passwords removed
  • and the connection between pain, pus, poison and aniline dyes

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1850s Lustrous Orleans : natural or dyed alpaca worsted?

Copyright R L (Bob) Walker 2015 All rights reserved. (see sidebar right →)

Ripley Ville was the last of the Victorian industrial model villages to be built in the old West Riding of Yorkshire. Built between 1866 and 1881, it contained; Workmens Dwellings, a schools building and a school master’s house, an Anglican church, vicarage and alms houses. It was built across two sites to the north and south of Bowling Dyeworks in Bowling to the south of Bradford near what later became Bowling Park.

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This post looks again at the relationship between Bowling Dyeworks and Salts Mill in the mid-Victorian period. This is a largely unexplored relationship but what went on between the two businesses may help us understand why the industrial model villages of Ripley Ville and Saltaire were built, how they compare and how they were paid for. Because you are probably in holiday mood or even on holiday, the post also includes some photographs of alpacas. Most of these are of one being sheared. The more serious aim of the post is to set up a sequence of questions about how the mixed worsted cloths called ‘lustrous Orleans’ were finished. Three questions in that sequence are:-

In the mid 1840s,

  • Would the lustrous Orleans that used alpaca fibre have been dyed or not?
  • Would the dye for lustrous Orleans or other alpaca worsteds be applied to the fibres before weaving, or to the woven cloth?
  • Were Bowling Dyeworks and Messrs Ripley in Bowling likely to have done the dyeing for Salts Mill?
close up colour photograph of head of aplaca

Copyright R L Walker 2014

1840s Lustrous worsteds : natural or dyed alpaca fibre?

Salts Mill, Bowling Dyeworks and lustrous worsteds

Salts and lustrous Worsteds

Lustrous mixed worsted cloths of the mid-19th century that were produced in the Worsted District of Yorkshire used a lustrous fibre in the weft. This was commonly mohair and more famously, at Salts Mill, alpaca but could be angora, vicuna or other fibres. The lustrous weft was usually combined with a cotton warp to give a cloth strength. Aided by the fictionalised description given by Charles Dickens in ‘Household Words’, Titus Salt’s role in buying alpaca fibre at Liverpool Docks from ‘C W & F Foozle & Co’ and working out how to spin it are a staple of the Salts Mill story and part of the folklore of the industrial model village of Saltaire  – just as they were in Worstedopolis (mid to late Victorian Bradford) a century and a half ago. (see Holroyd A, 1973,  pages 9-12)

Alpaca fibre has properties that make it attractive for many reasons. In the mid-nineteenth century it was its lustrous quality and ‘shades and tints’, that led demand in womenswear and fashion cloths.

One of the best contemporary accounts, from Abraham Holroyd, makes this clear. (Holroyd A 1873 page 29)

From page 29, 'Saltaire and its Founder' Abraham Holroyd orig 1873, republished June 2000

From page 29, ‘Saltaire and its Founder’ Abraham Holroyd orig 1873

 Bowling Dyeworks and lustrous worsteds

The Bowling Dyeworks story and its mid century dominance in worsted dyeing was achieved in two-stages;

circa 1830s : achievement of speed, colour fastness and matching in dyeing worsteds black and most particularly for bombazine and cloths of the range that mixed cotton warps and silk in the weft. (1)

circa 1840s : the dyeing of mixed worsteds in the piece (after weaving) across an increasing range of colours. This included the new lustrous Orleans cloths as they were developed and became fashionable.

It is clear that by the early 1880s Bowling Dyeworks was majoring in dyeing mohair fibre and cloths. But what were Edward Ripley & Son doing from the mid 1840s either within their own works or premises available to them?

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Cloth & Memory {2} : Mutable Frame of Reference

Mutable Frame of Reference : inside viewMaxine Bristow’s work ‘Mutable Frame of Reference – Installation – Material’, in the Cloth & Memory {2} exhibition in the Spinning Room at Salt’s 1853 Mill, is conceptually challenging. This post gives a personal but historically contexted reading of the installation that acknowledges the fluid frames, mutability and associative resonances of the work. Through these readings and the memories that the structural frameworks and curtaining evoke, the post settles, unsettlingly, on ideas of ‘warded’ space. From there it moves on to an account of an incident in the early 1860s when the ‘Lancashire Cotton Famine’ was near its peak and then comes back by way of the worsted trade to Bowling Dyeworks, the industrial model village of Ripley Ville and Salts Mill.

This is the second in a series of four posts on the Cloth & Memory {2} exhibition. A previous post has reviewed 6 other exhibits adding a commentary, in the form of supplements, that make connections between the exhibits and worsted dyeing, Bowling Dyeworks and Bradford’s ‘other’ industrial model village; Ripley Ville.

Theoretical underpinning

A future post ‘Colour Supplement’ engages with the theoretical positions that inform Maxine Bristow’s work (see Cloth & Memory {2}, page 38) and within their context uses the idea of ‘the supplement’ to critique Bradford’s understanding of its Victorian history and what this means for its heritage offer. This post revolves around and then enters into the exhibit to settle, unsettlingly on the idea of warded space. This is an idea that connects to the theory of a  ‘surveillance and a carceral society’ , associated with Michel Foucault and his account of structural (epistemic} changes in the relations between state, society and the individual in the early 19th century.

Cloth & Memory {2} : Mutable Frame of Reference

Occupying a central space in the Spinning Room of Salts 1853 Mill in Saltaire, Maxine Bristow’s work ‘Mutable Frame of Reference – Installation – Material’ is designed to be conceptually challenging.  It is one of 23 exhibits in the Cloth & Memory {2} exhibition that runs for its final week until Sunday, November 3rd.

View of whole installation : Mutable Frame of Reference

Image : copyright R L Walker 2013

At a distance, in spite of its central location, the tonal values of the cloths and the runs of matt metal rails allow an assimilation of the installation to the space of the Spinning Room. Approached, incongruities appear. The ‘Scandinavian’ blond-wood, the bent-wood components and smaller dimensions of the railings suggest technologies and a modern structure from the late 1950s or 1960s, certainly from a period that came after the hundred years when the Mill was in its prime.

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