Towards the Jubilee (1876)

By 1830 the parish of Shipley-cum-Heaton was established with its parish church of St Paul in Shipley. With the building in the 1820s of the Bradford to Keighley turnpike road through the fields at Frizinghall (along what is now Bradford Road and Bingley Road) with a branch down into Shipley centre (Otley Road), the Shipley to Bramley and the Ilkley, Kirkstall and Shipley road, the infrastructure was much improved.

The township was still growing; by the 1831 census it had a population of  1926[1]. Of these there are 946 Females and   980 Males  but only 455 of the males are over 20.  There were now 414 houses,  27 of them uninhabited.  Few of the population were now engaged in agriculture, the majority involved in manufacturing or retail.  There were 10 professional men and 24 females employed as servants. The 1834 Piggott’s Directory lists many of the normal trades for a small town such as Blacksmith, Butcher, Grocer, Joiner, Tailors and Wheelwrights. There are also 39 Woollen Cloth and Worsted manufacturers, together with Maltsters and Millers, Shuttle makers, Scribblers and Clog makers.  There is also a paper manufacturer.  And seven Public Houses[2].

The purity of the water for the wool trade is evidenced by a proposal in 1837 by a Mr Billington, to take water for supply to Bradford from above the weir at Dixon Mill (now Saltaire) “which was said to be perfectly free from contamination and therefore suitable for the purpose.”[3] And it was not just the Aire and the Hall Lane well that gave good water. A 1848 Topographical Dictionary records that  a chalybeate spring[4], superior to that of Harrogate, was on the western side of Baildon Moor. Another, near the Hirst, had been lost when a coal-pit was sunk near it[5].  Does this suggest that Shipley might have become a spa town?

All was, though, not calm.  There had been an attempt to introduce power looms, an action hated by the operatives and the cause of ‘Luddite’ riots in many places. In 1822, a power loom was brought secretly to Mr Jas. Warbrick’s mill at Shipley where it was to be used.  Word, however, quickly spread in the district and large number of enraged weavers arrived at the mill and made threats if the loom was not removed.  It was put onto a cart to be taken away and was protected by constables. However, the workers put the constables to flight, seized and destroyed the hated machine and dragged its rollers and warp in triumph through Baildon[6]. The Reform Act of 1832 had increased the franchise, but in towns only to men with property worth £10/yr.  This still left about 6 in 7 without a vote[7].  Among the movements for political reform were the Chartists, a working men’s movement so called because of its Charter of Six demands. It was strong in the Yorkshire and Lancashire towns. In Bradford the movement was powerful (there was an attempted Chartist uprising in 1840) and the authorities were worried. James Glover, constable of Shipley told magistrates that a Chartist called  John North, was making spears with attachments ‘for the purpose of cutting bridle reins’[8]. The following year (1839) Chartists were noted as exercising with sticks in Fairweather Green (Bradford) and that a Chartist called Shackleton had received and distributed firearms[9]. Fortunately there does not seem to have been any disturbance in Shipley.

In the late 1840s the railway came to Shipley. The first line was laid by the Leeds and Bradford Railway Co. along the Aire valley.  On 1st August 1848 it proudly announced “Leeds and Bradford Railway now open to the Public.[10]” Eighteen trains a day departed from Wellington Street, Leeds and Bradford stations on the hour from 5.00am to 10.00pm, with 12 calling at Kirkstall, Calverley Bridge, Apperley Bridge and Shipley.  At the half-yearly meeting in August the company could announce that Parliament had sanctioned the building of “an extension of the Leeds and Bradford railway from Shipley to Colne with a branch  to Haworth.[11]”  The line involved a deep cutting at Shipley between Low Hall and the Baptist Chapel,  requiring the removal of 150,000 cu yards (~115,000 m3)  of earth and rock and another at Hirst Wood of 70,000 cu yds (~54,000 m3[12].  By February 1847 the line to Keighley was nearly complete apart from the section near Bingley Parish Church called the Bingley Bog. This was swallowing up earth and stones at a rate of “sixty tons per hour” with no appearance of filling up.[13]  The line finally opened in March 1847. The station at Shipley was built shortly afterwards in 1848/9.

About the same time there were moves to supply gas lighting to Shipley. The Shipley Gas Light Company was formed in 1846 and put a bill to Parliament for “lighting with gas the township of Shipley, the village of Windhill and the neighbourhood  thereof…”. The Preliminary Enquiry into the feasibility of the scheme was headed by Mr Samuel Clegg, one of the pioneers of the gas industry. The proponents of the scheme said that Shipley had  16 worsted and woollen mills employing over 1,000 people, plus several hundred clothiers who worked in their own dwellings. So in the district about 3,000 were employed in the worsted and woollen industry. Gas lighting would be helpful for these mills and houses as much productive work was lost in the dark winter evenings. Gas lighting was also healthier than the current oil lamps. The shop keepers, and businesses would benefit as would people going to and from the railway station and to their homes by having the streets more secure by being lit by gas. There was one established church (St Paul’s), 4 chapels and several public schools which were not supplied with gas[14]. Royal assent was given in April.  The first AGM of the company was held in the Sun Inn on 30th July 1847. The gasworks (alongside the canal near Gallows Bridge) completed,  Shipley was lit with gas in November 1847[15]. By 1852 there were only 39 lights and it was thought that at least another 20 were required.[16]

By 1851 the population of Shipley had risen to 4,909[17] but this was about to receive a boost.

In about 1850, Mr Titus Salt decided to build a new wool factory outside Bradford and chose a site on the banks of the river Aire. The site was that of existing mills, called Dixon Mills, which had been working since 1635 as corn and fulling mills[18].  Salt purchased  these from the then owner, W R C Stansfield, Esq. of Esholt Hall, for a sum of £12,000.  In addition, he purchased land around the mills from several different owners[19]. Salt engaged the services of Lockwood and Mawson, Bradford architects, to design the new premises and Messrs. Fairbairn, of Manchester to design and install the machinery[20].  There were already mills in Shipley: among others at this time were Denby’s mill at Tong Park, Baildon; Providence Mill; Red Beck Mill at Shipley Fields; Old Whiting Mill (the first to have power looms in 1822); Union Mill at Low Well and Well Croft Mill, both in Shipley;  and Hargreaves’ Airedale Mill at Baildon Bridge[21]. Salt’s Mill opened in 1853 and was of such a size that it increased the people employed in spinning and weaving in Shipley to 5,941[22]. Alongside the factory and in the tradition of other philanthropic industrialists, Salt had built a model village for the workers. Started in 1853, this was completed by 1876 and contained houses, washing facilities, school, institute, almshouses and hospital and a Congregational church; but no public houses. By the census of 1861, Saltaire contained 2,510 people, accounting for about 2/3 of the 3826 increase of the population of Shipley between 1851 and 1861[23].   In this period Hargreaves, the owner of Airedale Mills, also had cottages built for his workers around the town centre and his mill. He built 92 back-to-back houses along Market Street and Central Avenue in an area which came to be called Hargreaves Square. The houses were built by filling in the old courtyards. 

Whilst Salt was attempting to create a pleasant environment for his employees, the rest of Shipley was less agreeable. A body comprising one-fifth of the ratepayers of Shipley sent a “memorial” to the General Board of Health asking for an inquiry so that the recent Public Health Act (1848) should be applied to Shipley. A report was compiled by a Mr Ranger where he suggested that one should not suppose that “the feeble jurisdiction of the highway surveyors is any longer adequate to the exigencies of the town and neighbourhood.” He found that deaths from “zymotic diseases” (cholera, diarrhoea, fever, small pox) were above average especially in children. A local surgeon, Mr W Brumfitt testified that poor drainage and sewerage contributed to these results. Indeed the report says that “In the houses of the working class there is a very general absence of  drainage of any kind and the people are compelled to throw liquid refuse in front of their dwellings” or take it to a gully. The Rev. Wm Kelly, vicar of Shipley, commented that “there was a great want of privy accommodation and that some portions of the township were a very dirty and offensive condition.” The present sewers emptied into the Bradford Beck or Leeds Liverpool Canal, polluting both.  Further, there was little water supply for working or middle classes and that people had to stand for 1 or 1½ hours to get water from the Public Well in Hall Lane. There were no waterworks and only 2 pumps. Lighting was inadequate and the three burial grounds were filling up.  Mr Ranger recommended application of the Act and the election of a 9-strong Local Board of Health to make the necessary improvements[24]. The first Board was elected in March 1853 under the chairmanship of Mr Thomas Crabtree and with Mr Jo. Thompson, solicitor, as clerk. They first procured an Act of Parliament to allow them to supply water to Shipley and Windhill and to raise money for this. The Act also allowed the establishment of the separate police force of a sergeant and five constables[25]. The Board afterwards worked towards the improvement of Shipley. 

Industry was diverse in Shipley at this time. Whilst there had been a woollen sector for many years, in 1848 it was said that “The inhabitants are chiefly employed in the worsted and woollen manufactures, for the former of which there are five, and for the latter, three, mills;”[26]  The same source mentions also the manufacture of paper for pressing (Hirst Mill) and a whiting manufactory[27]. Limestone quarrying and lime kilns were also in use. There were various stone quarries (Crowgill Park was originally one) mentioned in local papers[28]. Iron working/ founding was also in operation. Coal mining continued with collieries “producing coal of excellent quality.”[29]  Brickworks were developed in association with collieries, exploiting both fireclay and brick making shales in the same location as the coal beds. George Heaton (who marked his bricks with G HEATON SHIPLEY) is believed to have introduced firebrick making to Bradford[30]. The Airedale Fireclay Works, Shipley, the Shipley Firebrick Works at Heaton Woods and The Wrose Hill Fire Clay co. at Windhill were established in the mid-1800s.

Shipley also soon had its own Mechanics Institute.  This was an important establishment as it provided an education and advancement route for workers. First mooted 1849, it seems to have been in existence by 1852 as there are reports of lectures being given on a variety of topics and by different people.[31] . In 1855, Rev. Wm Kelly, vicar of Shipley was the president[32].

Amid this industrialisation, Shipley still had an annual Cattle Fair on the Monday after 20th October[33]. This had started more as a barley fair whereat local farmers showed their samples to local maltsters[34].  The 1859 Fair was declared by the local paper that it “… bids fair to excel any of the country fairs in West Yorkshire.”[35]  In 1861 there were still 17 people in Shipley listed as ‘Farmers’[36]. By 1870, though, there was some feeling that the quality was declining – “the show of both horses and horned cattle was meagre in the extreme.”[37]  There is also a mention of a “Shipley Cattle Spring Fair” held on a last Tuesday in April[38]. This was still going in 1883 as it was recorded that John Knott of Bradford was drowned when trying to bathe in the canal whilst returning from the Shipley Fair[39]. And in 1893, Charles Yeadon of Bradford (aged 15) was accused of horse-stealing at Harrogate but claimed to have bought the horse at Shipley Fair three months previously[40].

By 1881 the population of Shipley was assessed as about 15,000[41].

During this period Shipley was served by but two vicars.

The first, the Rev Thomas Newberry, had been appointed vicar at the inauguration of the church as a legal parish in 1928. In those days an incumbent was paid from the interest from an endowment fund. For Shipley this had been started by a bequest from Rev. John Crosse, a former vicar of Bradford, and added to from other sources. This produced about £50/yr.  This was added to by fees from burials and marriages. It is reported that the Church wardens would waylay young couples on their way from Bradford to have marriage banns called and say “Tell yon Vicar that you live in Heaton” so that they could be married in Shipley Church. Marriages rose to 160 in 1833.[42] A note on the flyleaf of the Marriage Register for 1836-7 says “The trees around the churchyard were planted, most of them by me, all of them at my expense on the 5th day of November 1835 – Thos. Newberry”[43]. It is also said that Mr. Newberry first drew the attention of the public to the beauties of Shipley Glen[44].

Rev. Newberry, a bachelor, served the parish for 16 years, until 1845. During his time the Listers of Manningham, Fields of Heaton and Duffields of Bradford were worshippers at the church[45].  

The Rev. William Kelly succeeded Thomas Newberry, and was vicar for 38 years. Like his predecessor, initially Kelly had no vicarage.  However, the £500 needed to remedy this situation was raised, partly  by a gift of £100 from Miss Horsfall and the rest at a Ladies’ Bazaar held in the Oddfellow’s Hall in Shipley in April 1847[46]. The first vicarage was built in 1848 on part of the land given to the church. It proved too small and was enlarged in 1854 and again in 1883.

Education work started early.  In 1828 land was purchased from Mr Jonas Bradley in Moor End Road, a school house erected and a Sunday School started[47]. This school was sold by public auction in 1858 and a new National school erected in Church Lane with grants from Government, the National Society and the Ripon Diocesan Society[48] and by public subscription[49] (this building is now the Kirkgate Community Centre). An Infant’s school was added in 1872 and the Upper Schools enlarged in 1886.

Various changes and additions were made to the church. When built the church had no heating.  At a meeting of St Paul’s parishioners in December 1850, it was agreed to form a committee to raise money to provide heating for the church as damp was appearing in the more exposed parts of the building[50]. This was presumably provided as about 10 years later during a service “the air in the church became so impure, owing to the escape of noxious vapour from the heating flues, that members of the congregation were partially suffocated.  Several of them required medical aid…”[51]

In 1859 the East Window was erected by Francis Barnett of York paid for by various donors. At about the same time, gas lighting was installed[52].  Over the next few years were added the Cockshott and Wilson windows (1869) on the North side and the Peel (~1870), Wilkinson (1875) and Beanland (1875) windows on the South.  In 1864 the organ was “enlarged and improved by Messrs Kirtland and Jardine of Manchester.”[53] In 1867 the original peel of 6 bells  received the addition of Tenor and Treble Bells, the gift of William Wright, Esq. of Hirst Mills, Shipley. These were cast by the same maker as the original six, Mears & Stainbank Founders, London.

The original plans had provided for a clock on the bell tower, but through lack of funds this was omitted in the building of the church. In 1867, however, a clock was installed in the tower at a cost of £300, raised by subscription.  The clock had three faces about 10ft (3.0m) in diameter and the fourth, on the east side facing Crowgill Park and down the Aire valley, was 12 ft (3.7m). The clock was set going  at midday on 29 June 1867 by Mrs Kelly, the Vicar’s wife.  It is said that as the clock struck, there were cheers from the 40 gentlemen and ladies who had climbed the tower. Afterwards the clock Committee “repaired to the Sun Hotel where they spent the evening in a most convivial and cheerful manner.”[54]

By 1865, the parish of Shipley-cum-Heaton had grown to about 8,800, largely due to the building of Saltaire. So the parish was split and in January 1865 an Order in Council separated Heaton from Shipley and the Parish Church of Heaton St. Barnabas was erected.

The original grant of land from John Wilmer Field had been for 1 acre (0.4ha), which was sufficient for the church building and a surrounding graveyard. Since cremation did not become legal until 1885 and was not widespread until the next century, burial was the normal practice. The first interment took place on 26 December 1926 and was of Mary, the wife of James Bradley aged 33 years[55]. Mr Ranger’s report said that 900 interments had taken place in the first 25 years[56]. As the parish increased in size the provision for graves became an issue..  The field on the north side of the graveyard was obtained as an extension (the lower graveyard) and opened in 1860. This too filled (in the time of Rev Kelly, there were 6,250 interments[57]) and both upper and lower were closed to new graves by Order in Council in 1881. A new path to the west door was made on land purchased in 1880[58].

The Jubilee (50 years) of St Paul’s was in 1876 and a scheme of re-ordering and improvement was undertaken before that date which produced largely the Victorian interior that we see today. The architects were the Leeds firm of TH&F Healey and the task of supervision fell to Messrs Mason and Fox, the churchwardens. The old box pews were removed from both nave and galleries and replaced by the present oak pews having “low backs and accompanying book-rests and neat book boxes.” These pews were arranged in four blocks, creating aisles in the centre and between the blocks at the sides. The West Gallery and the East end of the North Gallery were removed, this latter to accommodate the organ, which was moved from the West Gallery and re-erected. The present carved oak facings were placed on both the North and the South Galleries and the side walls of the church were boarded to sill-level with pitch pine. Additional gas brackets were installed to increase the lighting. The chancel was extended to make way for the choir and its floor was raised and covered with encaustic tiles. The present pulpit and the carved Caen stone chancel screen were erected. The 7ft high eagle lectern was given by Mrs. Mason. The space which was formerly the old baptistery was converted into a robing room for the choir (the choir started to wear white surplices at this time). At the same time an alabaster font given by Mr. Fox was placed by the tower entrance at the west end of the church.  A new heating apparatus was installed.[59] It was also reported that “the pillars were scraped clean of colour wash”[60], which suggests that before that time they were painted in a colour.

The newspaper report says that the ceiling above the altar was painted blue, picked out with gilt stars[61].


[1]     The Report of the George III Population Act of 1831, Abstract Vol 2 1832 (Google ebooks)

[2]     Extracted from the entry of “professions and trades” for BRADFORD in Pigot’s Directory of 1834. The figures for Wool include those at Windhill, which was then a part of Idle.

[3]     James, History of Bradford, p. 80

[4]     NOTE: A “chalybeate spring” is one that contains a form of iron salts  From the early 17th century this was supposed to have health giving properties.  Notable springs are found at Tunbridge Wells, Cheltenham and Harrogate.

[5]     “Shipley with Heaton”, ‘Shipborne – Shipton-upon-Cherwell’, in A Topographical Dictionary of England, ed. Samuel Lewis (London, 1848), pp. 82-85 [accessed 26 November 2015].

[6]     Illustrated Parish  Handbook 1926, p.29.  The incident is also described in William White, 1831, “HISTORY OF BRADFORD”, History, gazetteer, and directory, of the west-riding of Yorkshire, Vol. 1, Sheffield. p. 436

[7]     ‘Getting the Vote’ in ‘The struggle for Democracy’ National Archives.

[8]     Alfred James Peacock , Bradford Chartism 1838-1840 Issue 36Footnote 179: Deposition of James Glover, 26 July 1838

[9]     ‘LOCAL INTELLIGENCE ‘ The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England), Saturday, April 20, 1839; Issue 5492 He was also reported to have been distributing gunpowder, (Ibid, Saturday, May 18, 1839; Issue 5499) .

[10]    The Bradford & Wakefield Observer; and Halifax, Huddersfield, and Keighley Reporter (Bradford, England), Thursday, August 06, 1846; pg. [1]; Issue 631

[11]    ‘leeds and bradford railway’ The Bradford Observer; and Halifax, Huddersfield, and Keighley Reporter (Bradford, England), Thursday, August 07, 1845; pg. 8; Issue 579

[12]    Harry Speight, 1904, Chronicles and Stories of Bingley and District, London, Elliot Stock. pp.249-50.

[13]    provincial yorkshire Daily News (London, England), Monday, February 1, 1847; Issue 211

[14] ‘SHIPLEY GAS LIGHT BILL’ The Bradford & Wakefield Observer; and Halifax, Huddersfield, and Keighley Reporter (Bradford, England), Thursday, February 04, 1847; pg. 6; Issue 657

[15]    ‘HOME & DISTRICT INTELLIGENCE ‘, The Bradford & Wakefield Observer (Bradford, England), Thursday, November 25, 1847; pg. 5; Issue 699.

[16]    “The Sanitary Condition of Shipley”, The Bradford Observer (Bradford, England), Thursday, December 09, 1852; pg. 6; Issue 979.

[17]    GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, Shipley SubD through time | Population Statistics | Total Population, A Vision of Britain through Time. URL: Date accessed: 26th November 2015

[18]    Bill Hampshire, 2000, The Water Mills of Shipley, Shipley, Shipley Local History Society, p17.

[19]    Rev. R Balgarnie, 1878, Sir Titus Salt, Baronet, His Life and Its Lessons, London, Hodder & Stoughton; Scarborough, S W Theakston & Co.

Copy downloaded from and used with permission of Nemine Juvante (Saltaire) Publications.

[20]    Ibid ,  pp. 75-77

[21]    Hampshire, 2000, The Water Mills of Shipley, p16.

[22]    John James, 1866, Continuation and Additions to the History of Bradford and its Parish, London : Longman, Green, Reader and Dyer; Bradford: Henry Gaskarth, p.237.  It is for the year 1857.

[23]    Ibid, p. 320

[24]    ‘The Sanitary Condition of  Shipley’, The Bradford Observer December 09, 1852; pg. 6; Issue 979.

[25]    ‘Round about Bradford SHIPLEY’ The Bradford Observer, 29 April 1875.

[26]    Topographical Dictionary of England, ed. Lewis, p. 83

[27]    Ibid. White’s 1861 Directory suggests that this is a Joseph Kitson.

[28]    E.g. ‘New York’ quarry (1848), Craven Gill Quarry (1873), Crowgill Quarry (1879) and one owned by Mr J Fyfe (1866) See British Newspapers of Nineteenth Century. British Museum/Gale.

[29]    ‘SHIPLEY AND HEATON’, National Gazetteer 1868,  The Topographical Dictionary of England suggests that there were 3 mines in operation in 1848.


[31]    e.g. see ‘SHIPLEY’, The Bradford Observer (Bradford, England. Thursday, February 26, 1852; pg. 5; Issue 939.

[32]    ‘MECHANICS INSTITUTE SOIREE’ The Bradford Observer (Bradford, England), Thursday, January 10, 1856; pg. 5; Issue 1144.

[33]    Topographical Dictionary of England, ed. Lewis, p. 83

[34]    “Shipley Autumn Cattle Fair” in ‘DISTRICT INTELLIGENCE’, The Bradford Observer (Bradford, England), Thursday, October 27, 1859; pg. 8; Issue 1345.

[35]    Ibid.

[36]    William White, 1861, Directory & Topography of Bradford,

[37]    ‘Spring Fair at Shipley’, The Bradford Observer (Bradford, England), Wednesday, April 20, 1870; pg. 2; Issue 2283.

[38]    ‘OBSERVATORY’ The Bradford Observer (Bradford, England), Thursday, April 28, 1859; pg. 5; Issue 1319.

[39]    DEATHS BY DROWNING’, Liverpool Mercury etc (Liverpool, England), Tuesday, July 31, 1883; Issue 11091.’

[40]    ‘LOCAL & DISTRICT’, The Yorkshire Herald, and The York Herald (York, England), Wednesday, September 25, 1895; pg. 3; Issue 13824

[41]    Ian Watson ‘Shipley – later 19th century’,’.uk/early_history.htm

[42]    ‘Shipley in the last Century’, in Shipley Home Words New Century Supplement, January 1901, p. 7.

[43]    Note in ‘Shipley Home Words’, parish magazine for November 1921.

[44]    “The Vicars of Shipley”, ILLUSTRATED HANDBOOK with an Historical Account OF THE PARISH CHURCH (St Paul) SHIPLEY, 1926, p. 13.

[45]    ‘ROUND ABOUT BRADFORD, The Bradford Observer (Bradford, England), Thursday, May 13, 1875; pg. 7; Issue 3860

[46]    ‘Shipley in the last Century’, 1901, pp. 7-8.

[47]    Ibid, pp.5-6.

[48]    Ibid, p.6.

[49]    ‘Round about Bradford SHIPLEY’ The Bradford Observer, 13 May 1875.

[50]    The Bradford Observer (Bradford, England), Thursday, December 19, 1850; pg. 4; Issue 878

[51]    ‘bad air in church’, The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England), Saturday, February 16, 1861; Issue 7227

[52]    ‘st paul’s church,  shipley’,   The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England), Thursday, June 21, 1860; Issue 7124.

[53]    ‘st paul’s church, shipley’,  The Bradford Observer (Bradford, England), Thursday, May 19, 1864; pg. [1]; Issue 1580.

[54]    ILLUSTRATED HANDBOOK, 1926, p. 30.

[55]    The Churchyard, ‘Shipley Home Words’ , Parish Magazine, November 1926.

[56]    ‘Sanitary Condition of  Shipley’, 1852; pg. 6

[57]    ‘Shipley in the last Century’, 1901, p. 7.

[58]    Ibid, p. 4.

[59]    ‘RESTORATION OF SHIPLEY CHURCH’, The Bradford Observer (Bradford, England), Monday, December 06, 1875; pg. 4; Issue 4037 and information from ‘Shipley in the last Century’, 1901, p. 7 and st paul’s, shipley, a brief history, 1926, p.4.

[60]    The Jubilee Restoration, ‘Shipley Home Words’ , Parish Magazine, November 1926.

[61]    ‘RESTORATION’, Bradford Observer, 1875; pg. 4.

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