That people are still finding and coming to the rediscovering Ripleyville blog is both gratifying and at the same time embarrassing, since I haven’t posted anything to it in 8 months. To me the layout now looks tired, the way the blog operates clunky and a lot of the content on the Victorian industrial village of Ripley Ville needs up-dating.
I also have a duty to those leaving comments which I have not been fulfilling – apart from approving them so they can be seen by visitors.
I wish that I could say that all this is going to change. The long silence has been because I couldn’t see how exactly I was going to get back on top of things. Since October last year (2016) a slight worsening of a chronic heart condition means that I have had to curb some activities and go at some others more slowly. For a number of months I did little rRV work.
Stabilisation of my condition means that I am, now, continuing to research both the history Ripley Ville and what came before – in early Victorian Bowling and Bradford. I am pursuing much of the finer details of the story of the industrial model village itself and of this earlier story. I have begun again to write about these topics off-line, off-blog.
That, I’m afraid, is what will be happening into the foreseeable future.
I will still approve comments you leave. There is no intention, as things stand, to make changes to the blog as it stands.
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 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.
My most recent post on Ripleyville in 1969, pre-demolition year, has as yet attracted no comments. It has been clear since this blog started that the life experiences of people who lived in the village could be very different. Of those experiences it has tended to be happy ones that dominate on this blog. Contributions have been skewed in another way. Very little has been written by the women of the Villa; those who were girls, teenagers, young women or young mothers through the 1950s and 60s. Very little has been written on this blog by those who suffered hardship, though, from personal experience, the book by Brian Mynott gives ample evidence that it existed.
Not just bare feet
Aware of these gaps I have been haunted for much of latter part of the week and over the week-end by the account of Ripleyville in the 1960s that I heard in a chance meeting last week. This was with someone who worked with those who were suffering with mental health problems in ‘the Villa’ and who was shocked by conditions of ‘Victorian’ poverty seen there. So I asked them if they would write something for the blog. This what they wrote:-
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