Category Archives: Water & sewerage management

Introduction & Sequence : A Series of Linked Posts

More background to water-supply in Bradford in the 1850s and on the ‘Water Dispute’ 1852 -1872 (Messrs Ripley v the Bradford Corporation) : introducing and setting out the sequence for a series of linked posts

Copyright R L (Bob) Walker 2017. All rights reserved.

Introduction & Sequence : A Series of Linked Posts

The Water Dispute 1852 – 1872: Messrs Ripley v the Bradford Corporation

The dispute in summary

In the ‘Water Dispute’ H W Ripley, later the main sponsor for the industrial model village of Ripley Ville, sought to secure rights for himself and his heirs to supply water across a very broad swathe of south Bradford. The area stretched beyond the boundaries of what is now West Bowling, from Park Lane in the west, across to Wakefield Rd in the east and down close to Bradford town centre. Opposing Ripley and nominally, Edward Ripley, his father, was Bradford Corporation. Over the course of the dispute the Corporation acted initially to deny the Ripleys and Bowling Waterworks the right to provide water on a commercial basis either across or along public roads and, in a final legal judgement, in the soil beneath public roads. Having won the court cases that established these rights, the Corporation through a council committee then negotiated with H W Ripley to limit the use of the Ripley’s water-resources to within their own land and property.

Writing the Bradford ‘Water Dispute’ story

The Bradford ‘Water Dispute’ features in regional histories, in books describing the development of national welfare policies and in academic treaties and papers written by Bradford and Leeds University historians. It is, however, largely absent from local popular histories and from ‘folk’ memory.

The dispute was of long duration. The core events, the court cases, occurred during the ten years from 1852 to 1862. Different strands in the background stories to the dispute occurred over slightly earlier periods and periods of different duration.. The Water Dispute, itself, had implications for the water-supply and the installation of water-closets in Ripleys’ dye-works and mills and in the workmen’s dwellings and the schools building of the industrial model village of Ripley Ville. These extend the dispute’s influence into the 1870s.

The background stories are also complex. Two earlier posts looked at the preliminary skirmishes over water-supply related to Bowling Beck and the legal contests between Wood & Walkers and other upstream commercial users. This was before Wood & Walkers eventually took on the Ripleys.

A further series of posts is needed to carry these interlinked stories forward.

A Series of Linked Posts : Sequence

Next Post : Biography H W Ripley and Bradford’s elites, 1848 – 1872 

The next post starts with biography and an assessment of H W Ripley’s wealth and social standing in Bradford in the early 1870s. It then moves backwards to review his commercial activities in south Bradford and his varied roles in the town’s trade and civic life from 1848 to 1858. It ends with a listing of the magistrates of the West Riding in 1850, which includes William Walker, principal partner in Wood & Walkers but also other members of Bradford’s social and political elites.

Following Post : Sanitary Reform and Town Improvement 1847 – 1857

The following post adds further context by drawing together strands of the early history of sanitary reform and town improvement in Bradford. This was shaped both by mid-century knowledge of sanitation and attitudes to this and to town improvement and through the Borough council’s fluctuating relationship with central government. Using some primary but mostly secondary sources this post covers events from Bradford’s incorporation in 1847 up to the Borough Council’s take-over of Bradford Waterworks after 1854.

Taken together the two posts aim to:-

  • show H W Ripley’s somewhat anomalous early arrival among Bradford’s elites,
  • place the Water Dispute within the broader picture of mid-Victorian public health legislation, sanitary reform and town improvement
  • settle out those issues, practical, political and economic, related to water-supply that made it different from sewering.

Water-supply and sewering were different issues for mid-century Bradfordians, for Bradford’s ratepayers and elected representatives and for the Borough council’s officers and contractors for one or more of these sets of reasons.

Copy of 1841 print – so showing its age – from frontispiece in ‘The History of Bradford’ by John James

Topics for Later Posts

The Condition of Bradford 1840 – 1856

Later content posted to the blog will consider the condition of Bradford in the ‘dirty’ 1840s and into the mid-1850s. It will focus in particular on police evidence of the inadequacy of Bradford’s water-supply in 1852. This was the year in which H W Ripley’s intentions to become a supplier of water in south Bradford became very clear.

From competition to Corporation ownership and compromise: Waterworks and reservoirs

The evidence for the inadequacy of Bradford’s water supply will be set against the remedies, plans and actions of the three contestants in the Water Dispute; Bradford Corporation, Bradford Waterworks and the Ripleys (Bowling Waterworks), This later blog content will show that those rival plans were simplified by the Corporation’s purchase of Bradford Waterworks, the legal limits put on the Ripleys and Bowling Waterworks and the adoption of a compromise and, in the views of some, a compromised plan for the building of new reservoirs in the late -1850s and beyond.

Water-supply and Ripley Ville

The water-supply and ‘Water Dispute’ stories need to be taken forward from the mid to late 1850s up to 1866 and the plans for the Ripley Ville and the buildings of the village’s northern site.

Connected Stories

Other connected stories, which may or may not find their way into posts on this blog, include:-

  • the sewering of Bradford, particularly south Bradford and Ripley Ville
  • the series of discussions and decisions that led Bradford Borough’s Sanitary, Baths and Cemetery Committee to require working class housing to be provided with external dry privies and ash pits in preference to water-closets.
  • a continuation of the Ripley Ville ‘Water-closet Controversy’ story. This needs to be moved on from the speculation and counter-speculation of previous posts. They looked at the evidence for installation of water-closets in the various buildings of the village and, most importantly, in the workmen’s houses. That installation, which appears to have been common to all the Ripley Ville dwellings, was in advance of the regional and national standard for such buildings in the mid-1860s. Contrary to what has been stated elsewhere, it then continued in defiance of Bradford Borough regulations.

Copyright R L (Bob) Walker 2017. All rights reserved.

published 2017/03/07

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rediscovering Ripley Ville : the Beginning after the End

A previous post announced ‘the Beginning of the End’ for the rediscovering Ripleyville blog; the slow retirement of the blog while I carry on with research and writing. This post set out what comes after – A New Beginning!

Or is it?

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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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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)

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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. (1) 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.’

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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)

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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.

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Ripley Ville : 150th Anniversary today

Bradford’s only industrial model village, Ripley Ville, has the 150th anniversary of its founding today, 15th November 2015. The village was unique : each and every one of its 196 workman’s dwellings, built between 1866 and 1867, had a water-closet in its basement.

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150th Anniversary

Today is the 150th anniversary of the event in 1865 in south Bradford that promoted ‘Messrs Ripleys scheme for building a number of Working-Mens Dwellings’. The event was a public meeting that took place in Edward Ripley & Son’s Patent Melange Works on Spring Mill Street, west Bowling on the 15th November 1865. At it, a prospectus was made available to those attending and the planned scheme for up to 300 dwellings of three types was explained. From the 20th of November 1865 draft plans of the dwellings were available ‘between Six and Eight O clock’ until ‘Friday 1st December’. In this case ‘Tickets of admission [were] to be had of Messrs Ripley and at the Melange Works’.

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Victorian Ripley Ville : Getting the Best & Doing it Right

Copyright R L (Bob) Walker 2015. All rights reserved. See side bar right →

A previous post on this blog stated that the research needed in rediscovering Ripley Ville was not ‘in any way complete [nor is] what is out there on the internet or in print … adequate to telling the story of Victorian Ripley Ville.’

The proposed new web-sites; Ripleyville.co.uk and Ripleyville.org.uk, will be aiming to improve what this project offers about the old Borough of Bradford’s only industrial model village. This post develops the points about

  • research
  • content now on offer on the internet

It deals in particular with content available about Ripleyville on Wikipedia in comparison with the blog posts and pages on this rediscovering Ripleyville (rRV) web-site. The post’s focus is on the content on the Wikipedia site about Ripleyville’s Working Mens houses and on this rRV site and the Wikipedia site about the village’s original Victorian Vicarage. Issues of transparency and best practice in arriving at the Ripleyville story are raised on both topics.  The post’s overall message is that for Victorian Ripley Ville this web-site leads, while Wikipedia follows.

Getting the Best 1

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Delving into History & rRV Membership

Copyright R L (Bob) Walker 2012-2015. All rights reserved. (See sidebar left)

The first part of this post picks up on Graham Wilkinson’s comment about ‘delving into history’ and outlines an idea for a Victorian history and heritage project for Bowling, south Bradford. The second explains the present and likely future position on Membership of the rRV project and for people who have signed up as ‘Friends’ of ‘rediscovering Ripleyville’. Looking towards the future, the post ends on a positive note.

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See you again?

Copyright R L (Bob) Walker 2012-2015. All rights reserved. (See sidebar left)

This is a “See you again, sometime” post; the type of “good-bye” that is not intended to be final but where you make no immediate plans for when you might meet.

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After three weeks and a follow-up appointment at Bradford Royal Infirmary, the hope is that my ‘something and nothing’ is probably more of a nothing – or at least unlikely to recur.  We shall see. But, with each passing week, the three weeks without doing a post on the blog have confirmed for me that I have made the right decision. For the foreseeable future other priorities, including research on Victorian Ripley Ville, must come first.

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