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.
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.
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.
Application numbers for all the buildings of Victorian Ripley Ville (1866-1881) revealed on ‘rediscovering Ripleyville’ for the first time. This post lists the planning application numbers for all of the buildings of the Victorian industrial model village of Ripley Ville and their archive location.
Copyright R L (Bob) Walker 2016. All rights reserved.
Planning Applications Numbers : All the buildings of Ripley Ville
The plans submitted to the Borough of Bradford’s council for all the buildings erected between 1866 and 1881 on the northern and southern site of the industrial model village of Ripley Ville are held on micro-fiche at the Bradford Branch of West Yorkshire Archives.
The plans are those submitted to support the planning applications for each building or set of buildings. They were considered for approval by the Building & Improvement Committee of the council. The archive contains the deposited plans for 5 builds:-
- the Working-Mens Dwellings
- the Schools building and Schoolmaster’s house
- the church of St Bartholomew
- St Bartholomew’s Vicarage
- the Alms houses
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.
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.
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,
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