Heritage Matters

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This page is about how the Victorian industrial model village of Ripleyville was different and how it adds to what we know about the history of Bradford and industrial model villages in the West Riding in the mid-to-late Victorian period.

It introduces:-

  • the Heritage Matters campaign to protect what remains of Ripleyville from neglect or disrepair – or worse.
  • the wider rediscovering Ripleyville project and why there is an opportunity and urgency to do what needs to be done now!

There are links in the side-bar right and towards the end of the page, to Sign-up Forms to be a ‘Friend of Ripleyville’ and to the ‘Heritage Matters campaign’.

rRVlogoVictorian Ripleyville : Pattern village

Follow-on village

Though it overlaps, Ripley Ville (1867 to 1881) was built slightly later than the UNESCO World Heritage site of Saltaire,which was built between 1853 and 1875. Titus Salt’s vision for that village was part of a Victorian consensus across most sections of society and across the Worsted District on what needed to be done in the middle years of the 19th century. Ripley Ville shows what followed on, in the next decade. It shows the different political, religious and moral temper of Bradford and south Bradford in particular .

Images of houses, schools building vicarage and alms houses of Ripleyville

Composite R L Walker 2013

Pattern village

By 1867 a housing market and a choice in housing was starting to become available to those that had the money, Ripley Ville was more of ‘a pattern village’. It picks and mixes buildings and ideas chosen to double guess what working men and their families needed and what H W Ripley and those advising him and carrying through his plans thought was wanted in ‘working mens’ housing and from a village.  Looking back on the process, it can be seen that the village mixes elements of control, experiment, improvisation, and compromise. It eventually achieved its unity in a piecemeal way. Though H W Ripley gave the land for the church of St Bartholomew and the vicarage, the cost of their building was borne elsewhere. The houses were offered for sale both outright sale and on a then novel rent-to-buy scheme. More broadly and against the paternalism of Titus Salt, which was informed by his Christian values, his sense of social responsibility and commercial considerations, Ripleyville springs from a more politico-philanthropic set of calculations.

see also posts on:-     ‘Doing Justice by the Villa’ : The Almshouses – Saving whats left’

Bowling Dyeworks : A Ghost of a Heritage Trail

An Amazing Attachment

rediscovering Ripley Ville logo in claret and goldHeritage Matters

Village demolished, forgotten & misinterpreted

Built between 1866 and 1881, the Victorian industrial model village of Ripleyville has a key place in Bradford’s history. But only the Bowling Dye Works Almshouses survive from the original buildings of the village.

Much that has been written about Ripley Ville in the past is glossed or inaccurate or both.  The village’s decline and the demolition of the remaining buildings on the northern site in 1970 mean that is barely mentioned in official and academic histories. When mentioned it is at risk of misinterpretation because its building is usually mis-dated to 1863-4.

see booklet 1 in the rediscovering series; ‘When was Ripleyville built?’.

Rediscovery protection, recognition

This blog is part of a wider effort to return Ripleyville to its proper place in the history of ‘Worstedopolis’ – Bradford in the mid-late Victorian period – and within the history of industrial model villages of the West Riding.

The blog is seeking to do that through the rediscovery of the village’s past and encouraging the protection and better recognition of what remains.

The blog and the wider rediscovering Ripleyville project depends entirely on the efforts and contributions of volunteers.

We need you to help the project grow and do what it needs to do.

  • Tell your family, friends and people you work with about Ripleyville and the Heritage Matters campaign
  • Leave a comment in support of the campaign

rediscovering Ripley Ville logo in claret and gold

Pressing need & unrivalled opportunity now!

Ancestors : settlement and migration

People lived in Ripleyville for just over 100 years. They first came to live there from other manufacturing towns, from the shire counties of England, from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France, Germany (Prussia), Switzerland and on return from India.

Varied patterns of settlement and larger and smaller migrations mark the village’s existence. Known out migrations from the village, or amongst those with work or other associations to it, took Victorian ancestors to Dakota Territory and Rhode Island in the United States and to South Africa. The blog has already shown that evidence for the Ripleyville story were transported in these migrations.

See posts on James H Exon, a migrant son of Victorian Ripleyville

Residents 1930-1970

Those who lived in the industrial model village of Ripleyville until its demolition in 1970 and with clear memories of it are now in their 50s or older. Up to now, the blog’s oldest contributor lived in Ripleyville as a teenager before WW2.  The e-mails of other contributors show that many have moved from the area, though within these older generations there are also local people and those who had relatives who lived in Ripleyville, or had reason to visit, even if they never lived there themselves.

There is both a pressing need and, with web-based technologies, an unrivalled opportunity for rediscovering Ripleyville now!

This blog, with its followers and those who comment and make contributions to it, is now 15 months into that fascinating journey.

Help make the next year just as exciting.

Support the rediscovering Ripley Ville project

How you can help:-

  • Use the comments box to join in what we do.
  • Tell your family, friends and people you work with about the blog and wider project
  • Sign up as a ‘Friend of Ripleyville

page last updated 2014/01/21

2 responses

  1. Hello Bob,
    I am Sarah, Community Engagement Co ordinator at St Stephens Church in West Bowling. You may have seen that we have had a small group looking at the dyeing heritage of West Bowling – we have planted a raised bed with plants and been doing a bit of gardening; and have had a member whose father worked in the dye works. I am very keen that more in West Bowling understand about the heritage of the area. We are starting to renovate the church to be used increasingly by the community, and would love there to be a heritage centre within a restored building. Would you be interested in assisting at all with this?

    1. Hi Sarah,
      I’m looking for opportunities to promote the industrial model village of Ripley Ville, the ‘Working the Chemistry’ strand on the blog which relates to Bowling Dyeworks in the Victorian period and the Heritage Matters strand that is about getting better recognition and protection for the Ripley Almshouses and maybe other residual structures from the Dye-works. I was looking for ways of doing this a bit more in West Bowling this summer or from September. Why don’t you give me a ring or e-mail me. The contacts and contributions page tells you how.


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