Category Archives: Parliamentary election 1868

Archive Fridays; Water supply & water use in west Bowling 1865-1871

Copyright R L Walker 2014. All rights reserved (see sidebar right→)

Baths, brewing, brick-making, building a Church, fire-hoses, piggeries, plastering, a public drinking fountain, smoke-houses, stables, water-closets, urinals, ‘1 horse, 2 cows and a duck pond’. This post is about water supply and use in Victorian south Bradford. It gives an update on some of the research I have been doing in Bradford Archives most Fridays over the last couple of months. The significance of Victorian Ripley Ville as an industrial model village and as an example of Working Men’s housing rests largely on the question of whether water-closets were installed. If they were this would be of national significance. In spite of a claim to the contrary, which has appeared on the internet, this question has not been resolved. The research I have been doing has the aim of finding archival evidence for or against the installation of water-closets –  from the time when it was supposed to have happened.

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The scope of the research has been fairly wide but targeted as to dates and location. It has been on water supply, water use and domestic and industrial sewerage management -and the lack of it – in Bradford  between 1865 and 1871. Particular attention has been given to Bowling in south Bradford and the area around where Ripley Ville was built and in which it was built. The time period includes the year in which the Ripleys’ Scheme for building Workmens’ Dwellings in Bowling was announced (15th November 1865) through to the period after a start was made on building the Church of St Bartholomew in Ripley Ville. (1)

This post covers water supply and use during this period and provides a background and context for the installation/non-installation of the water-closets.

plan of basements ripley ville

Plan of basement of one of Messrs Ripleys’ Workmens Dwellings showing W C. Detail from architects drawings 1865 as submitted for building consent. Source : West Yorkshire Archives.

A follow-up post will look at the industrial and domestic sewerage of Bradford in the two years up to 1867. It will include findings from the Reports of the Rivers Commission published in August 1867. This is when the bulk of the Workmen’s Dwellings of the industrial model village of Ripley Ville were likely to have been built for Messrs Ripley. H W Ripley gave evidence to the Commission on what was done at Bowling Dyeworks to prevent pollution of Bowling Beck. His testimony also has direct relevance to the Workmen’s Dwellings of Victorian Ripley Ville because in it he reaffirmed his intention,

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