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.
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?
rediscovering Ripleyville’s 100th post : a Heritage Matters update about Bradford Council’s Planning Policy proposal for land on Ripley Road. Your chance to help shape the council’s policy for land near to where the northern site of Bradford’s only industrial village once stood!
Heritage Matters Update
Ripley Road Planning Allocation
Just over a week ago (2016/01/08) I happened across a planning document referring to Ripley Road in West Bowling and the land across from the Edward Ripley & Son’s Laboratory building which dates from 1916 (see photos below).
The Allocation Site in 1882
The map below shows that in 1882 the land would have included;
- Ripleys’ ‘New Shed’ (NS),
- subsiding pits (SP) for Bowling Dyeworks
- and a reservoir (Res).
The eastern side of Ripley Road was used for allotments’ with the lower block of Ripley Terrace (Nos 67-85), which featured in a recent post, and the Ripley Ville schools building (Sch) beyond (see photograph).
Wider Setting of Site in 1882
The map shows the features above and the allocation site’s wider setting including Bowling Dyeworks and the rest of the northern site of the industrial model village of Ripley Ville.
Super-imposed on this in red are the outline of the site in the proposed allocation (WM2) and the words ‘Registered Historic Park’ used in the planning document to denote Bowling Park.
Site Allocation : Waste Disposal/Management Purposes
There is a proposal that the whole of this site of 2.35 hectares be considered for waste disposal/management purposes.
The link to the pdf of the planning document, which is on Bradford Council’s site is:-
You need to scroll down to pages 28 & 29 for the part relating to Ripley Road.
The grounds for the policy and allocation appear sound. The key point about the document are the conditions under which the policy and allocation might be applied i.e when an application to develop the site comes in. On this, the document includes the following paragraph under ‘Mitigation Requirements’ ;
Development proposals will need to ensure the significance (including the setting) of the Registered Historic Park to the south-east of the area is not harmed. This will need to be demonstrated through robust analysis in the heritage statement submitted with the planning application.
I was at a public consultation meeting when I was shown the document. I did at that time tell the planners attending about Ripleyville. They did not seem to know of its previous existence. It seems to me that there is an opportunity to make the planners aware of the proximity of this part of Ripley Road to;
- the northern site of Ripley Ville, Bradford’s only industrial model village
- the pedestrian paths that made and still offer links to what was the Bowling Dyework’s site and Ripley Ville
That mitigation requirement can apply to the Registered Historic Park (Bowling Park) ought to mean that mitigation requirements could be applied to the Ripleyville/Bowling Dyework’s sites. They are of equal significance. Ripley Ville was completed, with the removal and rebuilding of the Alms houses to New Cross Street on the village’s southern site, a year after Bowling Park was officially opened. They date from the same period.
Recent research, summarised in an earlier post which corrects the errors on Wikipedia, makes clear the local and national significance of the Ripley Ville Working Mens Dwellings with their water-closets in the basements.
Grants or Gains
Another possibility is that some kind of planning gain/grant application (e.g. from Landfill Tax) could be looked for. Heritage signage, minor works, path clearance and reinstatement and the planting of trees, shrubs could be used to enhance the setting of what remains of the Victorian industrial landscape and the northern site of the village after demolition and improve access routes to these.
Ripleyville is a crucial but forgotten part of Bradford’s Victorian Heritage. Make your voice heard in the efforts to promote it to its rightful place in the city’s Victorian history and its heritage.
Here’s some things you can do:-
- Tell people about this article. Copy and send them the link to this 100 Up page : Heritage Matters page; http://wp.me/p2qxEI-2hc
- Look at the planning document and in your response make sure the planners know about Ripley Ville and take it into account in future planning decisions.
- Copy & paste the 100 Up : Heritage Matters page link http://wp.me/p2qxEI-2hc into your comments to the planners.
Responses to the planning policy document can be made on-line or by other means. These are identified in page 3 of the document. Here’s the link again.
The relevant paragraphs, including the e-mail address for comments on page three, are:-
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)
Another Day at the Archives
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.’
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)
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.
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.
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’.
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
- 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
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,