Ripley Ville 1936-1970 : More than a Memory



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Beyond the Comment Box : a rRV Invitation


Ex-residents, Visitors to the village, People whose work took them there and Others with knowledge of;

  • the Victorian industrial model village of Ripleyville – ‘the Villa’
  • the various Bowling works of Edward Ripley & Son
  • and the life in this particular part of Bowling between 1936 and 1970.

This your space !

Content for the rRV web-site based on evidence (photographs, illustrations, mementos, souvenirs, objects, documents) that aid Ripley Ville’s rediscovery are invited.

For 2014 the priority for posts on the blog will be contributions that add to our knowledge of; ‘Ripley Ville and its Victorian world 1835-1885’.

Content about the period 1936-1970 need either to shine a light on the village’s Victorian history between 1835 and 1885 or provide cues and clues to what life in the village may have looked like between 70 and 100 years earlier.

see also Adding Content page


Ripley Ville 1935-1970 : More than a Memory

This page is the parent page to a set of pages and blog posts that allows Ripley Ville and its Victorian world to be seen in retrospect; by looking backwards from 1935-1970.

It  provides a space for ex-residents, visitors or researchers to share:-

 photographs, illustrations, mementos, souvenirs, objects, documents of any kind of :-

  • the Villa
  • the various Bowling works of Edward Ripley & Son in West Bowling (not other BDA Works)
  • related to family histories that extend back across two or more generations in the Villa.

The priority for 2014 on the rediscovering Ripley Ville blog continues to be; ‘Ripley Ville and its Victorian world 1835-1885’.

It is difficult in advance to know what might shine a light or offer cues and clues to the village’s Victorian history.

The best way of finding out is to contact me with a description of what you have.


What follows is an example of the kind of content invited during 2014.

The content is taken from a blog post last year.

  • It offers clues and cues of how things might have been in Ripley Ville and its Victorian world (in this case photographs of Vere St and Ellen St beyond)  by what is shown and described.
  • These help us make connections because things that seem relatively unchanged; the Co-op shop, shopping, the terraced houses, life outdoors, washing on the lines, etc.
  • The leap of imagination required to take us back to when Ripley Ville was newly built seems less of a barrier.

I have made small amendments (e g underlining) to the original post to bring out how it meets 2014 priorities.

Options and advice for providing about how content can be passed on in 2014.

Adding Content page

e-mailed Content : Guidelines  page

see also Resource Constraints



Family Connections, Vere St photos and the Co-op shop; Ripleyville in 1950s to 1970s & 1928

Lives spill across boundaries of space and time. In the subjects of an informal family group and portraits taken in a garden we find traces of lives in the 1920s and around them buildings from more than 60 years before, from when Ripleyville was being built. Childhood memories from the 1950s and one family’s connections back across the generations to the Villa and Ripleys’ dyehouse in the early 1900s provide one set of links in this post. The post features photographs taken around 1928 in the garden of 24 Vere St – the ‘posh’ end, where the gardens were generous, with railings and in this case a privet hedge – and it uses one in particular as a window looking backward and forward on life in the Villa across post-war and inter-war periods. The images were sent to me in a recent e-mail by ex-Villa resident Graham Austin. They are scans based on 3 of 4 glass negatives safely removed from 24 Vere St when Graham’s maternal Grandmother died. He calculates that the photos were all taken around 1928/9. (I’ve used the 1928 date.) For the most part in this post I have used Graham’s words as well as the photographs. Many thanks to Graham for copies of the images and for sharing his memories of the Villa, of which what follows are just a selection.

rediscovering Ripley Ville logo in claret and gold

Austin – Kenworthy :   Family history and Ripleyville and Dyehouse connections early 1900s to 1970s

1950s – 1970s

Graham wrote:-

I was actually born in number 24 Vere St in 1949 and lived there with my parents and Grandma (Mums side) for my young years, going to Usher Street School initially, before moving to what was then a shiny new Council Estate built post war by Bradford Council. My Mum and Dad were married at St Bartholomew’s. I was christened there. My Aunt and Uncle were married there and came to live at 33 Sloane Street, just opposite our house, so it was a family affair all round. My cousin was a BR fireman and I spent many hours as a kid at Hall Lane Crossing waiting for him to pass and get a whistle from the driver!  My Mum’s family name was Kenworthy. It was a well-known name in Bradford in the late 50’s through to the late 70’s as my uncle  – my Mum’s brother who was also brought up in number 24 Vere St – built up a good sized removal company and did many a house move (and midnight flit!) and furniture delivery from town centre shops. Plus he had flat wagons which were employed in moving wool bails between mills locally – happy days for me in school holidays on the back of the wagons! I see from the blog that the top end of Vere St, near the Church, which was just about us, was known locally to be a bit posh! I do recall my Grandma instructing me on who I could and couldn’t play out with and some streets were supposed to be out of bounds! All my uncles had cars then and we often had smart cars parked outside number 24 Vere St. I don’t recall many others in the street at that time.

Early 1900s

My Grandparents moved in sometime in the early 1900’s but as I know very little about that bit of the family history I am not sure when. My Granddad was one of the earliest men to drive motor buses, driving ‘Chara’s’ as far as Scotland. The hard life in open cabs, heavy controls and roadside repairs killed him when he was still relatively young. My Grandad on my Dad’s side (Born 1881) spent his working life from a young part-timer in Ripleys’ dyehouse or the ‘dyass’ as it was pronounced. My Great-grandfather – his Dad – also worked there as a labourer.  They did not live in the Villa, but in Bolling and around Bankfoot/Manchester Road.

rediscovering Ripley Ville logo in claret and gold

The photos : Windows on Life in the Villa 1928

Composite of three monochrome photos informal portrait and family group in Vere St garden Of the scanned images, Graham wrote:-

Its amazing to think that photos of my Mum taken as spontaneous snaps during the 20’s will be there to view 80 odd years later, by people who still have an interest in The Villa. It was luck that they survived hidden for 70 years as glass slides, to be found and then developed.

…  the child in the photos is my Mum.

Picture 1 shows a group in our Front garden in Vere St. It shows my mum as the child and to the side of the group it shows a path being built in front of the parlour window, probably by my Grandad. I note he has dumped the spoil on the lawn!

Picture 2 shows my Mum again. The gables mentioned as shown on your plan on the blog, can be seen. Plus the detail of the porches.

(I’ve kept back Graham’s comments on photo 3 for the enlarged version, shown below)

1950s : 24 Vere St and the privet hedge

Graham has sent me detailed descriptions of the internal layout and arrangements of 24 Vere St and 33 Sloane St and these have been passed on to Peter Knowles. Of 24 Vere St, he also writes:-

One of my most vivid memories is the garden. We were lucky, as you will know the Vere St houses had nice long front gardens. We had a privet hedge between ours and next doors, running the length of our front path and if I brushed against it I got filthy from the soot lodged on the branches and leaves. I was then in trouble for making a mess of my clean clothes. It was not until I moved out and went to live in what was then countryside, that I realised trees were not dirty things to be avoided!

The hedge must have had special associations across the generations. Graham also mentions that his Dad went back prior to demolition and got a piece of Privet Hedge which he replanted as a lasting living link and reminder of the family’s time there.

Picture 3 : 24 Vere St – house, garden and view beyond the privet

Monochrome photograph woman standing in garden in front of hedge and railings buildings beyond Of this image, Graham, moving backwards and forward across time, wrote;

Picture 3 shows the houses across the street and also the gable of the Co-op at the bottom of Vere St (scene of my shopping trips 25 years later!). Peter Knowles will also be able to see the porch and front windows of number 20. What is also clear is the iron fencing in between the hedge. As this was pre-war, it is still there and in use!  The railings and gates were all taken for the war effort, my Grandma told me. We had a little bit of railing to the right of our front door between us and number 26. About  three feet and it was obviously cut off at the end. As a kid I couldn’t understand why it was there. I asked my Grandma what is was for – it was painted in the same shabby blue/green as the house.  She told me the railings went in the war along with the garden gate, but she managed to persuade the man with the saw to leave her that bit as a token. I can see washing hanging out further down. It was probably easier than trying to hang it out in a small back yard. To do this the lady of the house would have had to carry all the washing from the scullery, through the back room and the front room to the garden – quite a way. How they ever kept it clean outside in that environment beats me.

Graham’s Memories of the Co-op shop in the 1950s

The Co-op sold all manner of goods from loose products out of barrels and sacks to boxed toys. I recall the main counter in dark wood was on the left as you entered and the assistants wore light coloured aprons. It always seemed to be a bit dark inside. As a very small child I was regularly dispatched to the Co-op at the bottom of Vere Street. The divi number was 21646 and 60 years later it is still fixed in my mind -as I was in lots of trouble if I forgot to give it!

 For a present, I got a wind-up mechanical truck from the Co-op. It had cigarette lighter type flints installed which sparked when it ran. The body was transparent plastic, so you could see the sparks as it ran along the floor!  I can remember now, the time I was bought the sparking toy truck, as it was such a big treat. It was taken from under the counter, wound up and then placed on the counter top, towards the back of the shop and I was mesmerised by the flashing in the darkness of the shop when it ran. I suspect that’s why I was bought it!

Many thanks again to Graham for his e-mails and sharing his memories and the family photos. In a future post I hope to pick up on the Ellen St Co-op shop’s story and take it back another sixty years to 1868, to the very beginnings, when the industrial model village of Ripleyville was still being built.


last updated 2013/09/09

17 responses

  1. Stanley Goulding | Reply

    Living at 34 Saville Street 1954 aged 5 I started at Usher Street and on my way bought a wagon wheel at the CooP Ellen Street quoting mum’s divi number 34781. Amazing what we remember! In those days we walked to school, on my own!

  2. My Grandma owned a few houses in hall lane , her name was Irene Pitts , and her mum Annie hewetson also lived in Hall Lane , my parents moved in Hall lane also , I found what you had to tell us of Rippleyville , very interesting as I was christened at st bartholomews

    1. Hello Sandie, Welcome to the web-site. That sounds like quite a connection to the area. There are comments from ex-residents on the Cictorian Ripleyville Now page and on quite a lot of the older posts on the blog-some in connection to the house used as a vicarage. Glad you found it interesting. Bob

  3. I lived at 77 ripley terrace 1944 t0 1956

    1. Weloome to the web-site Peter. Always good to have contact with ex-residents.


  4. Its nice to see my old places that were my home and play areas .I . love the Villa as it was then known and went into the school for Sunday lessons until it was vandalised ,attended a couple of times the St Bartholomew Church .I always remember the fish and chip shop near the co-op where a lorry backed over a child .I also attended Usher St School and also went to the cinema the Vestra Do you ever remember a helicopter landing in the field at the mill Lane area? On Ripley Terrace no 77 we had an allotment with chickens .Wonderful days

    1. I’m old enough to have lived in the Villa, Peter but did not come to Bradford until 1979. I moved to West Bowling the following year. The Villa site was built over by the time I moved and the new Ripleyville complex already built. Like many others your time in the Villa in the 40s and 50s is fondly remembered. Bob

  5. I was born in 1942 at 10 Vere St.I lived in the villa until 1954 when we moved to Woodside Estate.Most of the residents were then moving to Parkside.I remember the Coop well,also in the picture bottom right is the Locomotive pub.I believe it was a Hammonds house and the other pub in the villa was the Gibson a Trumans house.I went to St Annes school before going to St Bedes Grammar School in 1953.I have many happy memories of my childhood in the villa.I now live in Spain but when I return to Bradford to visit I stll manage to catch up with friends who also lived in the villa.I could go on forever with tales about my childhood there.

    1. Welcome to the web-site Malcolm. There will be names amongst the people who have left comments on other pages and posts that I’m sure you will know.

  6. nice to meet someone from the Villa I lived on 77 ripley terrace

  7. i was born in ripleyville in 1950 i lived there until 1965 went to usher street school, i lived at 14 vere street, my surname was lockett. my grandma lived at no 4 vere street. i remember the coop the shops the pubs the steam trains top and bottom of the streets. my grandma worked in the canteen at the BDA

  8. I was born in 1947 actually in 15 saville st, also lived at 51 ripley terrace and 19 ripley terrace. My name is mick kern, so many wonderful memories

    1. nice to meet you I really loved the Villa days dad was a shoe repairer when we were kids any Photos ? our family had no camera in those days

  9. I was born 1947 and thought I lived at 51 Ripley Terrace but could be 52. My best mate Jimmy Hudson lived on a bit near some allotments. My uncle Reg and his wife also lived on the Terrace. I used to listen to the radio they had, Dan Dare. My first school was also Usher Street. Another neighbour was Josh Mynot (not sure of spelling). Moved to Parkside Road around 9 years old

  10. My name is Billy Hill I lived at 4. Sloane st Ripley Ville. My mates were the powders. The Roystons. I went to usher st 1956 onwards . There was sister Gladys. Margaret and Dorothy Hill and brother Jack Hill. I have a lot of memories of childhood in the villa. If anybody is interested. B

    1. My name is Billy Hill I lived at 4. Sloane st Ripley Ville. My mates were the pownders. The Roystons. I went to usher st 1956 onwards . There was sisters Gladys. Margaret and Dorothy Hill and brother Jack Hill. I have a lot of memories of childhood in the villa. If anybody is interested. We used to play in the dams up by bowling park and in billing hall. Go to fish shop hall lake or daily rd. Go to the tide on tide field. Great place to be playing out. Billy

  11. Jimmy Hudson did live near allotments .I knew the Hudson,s well My Brother Ted was friendly with them Happy days

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