Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for BRADFORD

BRADFORD, a town, a township, a parish, two subdistricts, and a district in W. R. Yorkshire. The town stands at the junction of three fine valleys, amid a diversified, picturesque, hilly country, within the basin of the river Aire, 11 miles W by S of Leeds. It is at similar distance from Keighley, Halifax, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, and Wakefield, and at shorter distances from a number of populous villages; and it maintains crowded intercourse with them all. A canal goes from its centre to the Leeds and Liverpool canal; a railway to Idle 3½. miles, was authorised in 1866; and branch railways go northward, eastward, and southward, passing speedily into lines which ramify toward all parts of the kingdom The town is mentioned in some old records, but does not seem to have made any figure in ancient times. It was described by Leland, in the reign of Henry VIII, as a "pretty quick market town," with a parish church and a. chapel, and "standing much by clothing." It took part with the parliament against Charles I.; twice repulsed a large body of the king's troops; and was stormed and taken by the Earl of Newcastle. Serious riots took place in it, in 1812, resulting in the execution of 17 men; and a strike of its operatives occurred in 1825, continuing ten months, and producing much misery.

The town is chiefly built of fine freestone; and contains many very handsome edifices, both private and public. It includes narrow, ill-constructed streets, but has recently undergone great improvement. It is extending in all directions; and it possesses such suburbs, or goes so nearly into adjacent villages, as to be practically a town for miles. It looks, from the neighbourhood, to be full of factories; it contains some of the finest warehouses in the kingdom; and it may be pronounced to show an aggregate of architectural character equal to that of any manufacturing town of its size. Very great improvements were made up to 1865; other great ones were then in progress. St. George's Hall. in the centre of the town, covers an area of 1,600 yards; presents fronts to three several streets; has a western elevation 75 feet high, with rusticated basement, surmounted by Corinthian columns and pilasters; contains a hall, 152 feet long, 76 feet broad, and 54 feet high, lighted by 16 arched windows; and was erected in 1851-3, at a cost of £13,000. The new exchange is in the Venetian Gothic style; has a chief entrance under a tower and spire 150 feet high; contains a great hall, in form of nave and aisle, 89 feet by 56; and was built in 1864-7, at a cost of about £30,000. The courthouse, at Hall-Fags, is a neat and convenient structure, with lockups in the basement; and was built in 1834, at a cost of £6,250. The debtor's prison, a well-contrived and well managed suite of buildings and yards, was superseded, after the passing of the County Court act, by one in Halifax. The county courthouse, in Manor-row, was built in 1861, at a cost of nearly £4,000; and is in the Italian style, with a frontage of 70 feet in length. The Volunteer barracks stand in the midst of a drill-ground of about 1½ acre; were erected in 1861; and comprise a drill-room of 97 feet by 60, and several other spacious apartments. The theatre and opera-house was erected in 1865, and is an ornamental edifice. Peel's monument, in Peel-place, shows a fine statue of Sir Robert Peel, by Behnes. The office of the Old Bank, erected in 1868, is a handsome edifice in the Gothic style. Several ranges of warehouses, of recent erection, are splendid and extensive. One of these, that of Messrs. Milligan, Forbes, and Co., adjoins St. George's hall, and is not much inferior to that pile in magnificence; another, that of Messrs. John Foster and Son, called Foster's buildings, is equally beautiful and imposing; another, that of Mr. Hastings, in Swain-street, is in a style which has been termed the eclectic Gothic; another, that of Mr. Abcrcrombie, built in 1862, has a height of four or five stories, with 15 windows in the length; and others, erected in 1863-5, are similarly splendid.

The town and its suburbs, till a recent period, were scantily provided with Established places of worship. Only three were here in 1840; but several were soon afterwards erected; and a plan was subsequently formed by the Church Building Society, to erect ten more within five years, and was well advanced, in 1863, toward completion. The parish church, or St. Peter's, is perpendicular English, of the time of Henry VI.; has a square tower, of a later date, buttressed to the top, and crowned with pinnacles; underwent recent, entire, interior renovation, including the construction of a fine oaken roof; and contains a beautiful, canopied, sculptured font, a monument to the mathematician Sharpe, who died in 1742, a rich sculptural monument by Flaxman to a gentleman of the name of Balme, and many other monuments. Christ church was built in 1814; and is a plain Gothic structure, with low pinnacled tower. St. James' church was built in 1839, and is a handsome edifice. St. Luke's church, at Broomfields, the fourth of the ten of the Church Building Society, was erected in 1862; is in the decorated English style; has a south transept and a north-eastern tower; and contains 700 sittings. St. Thomas' church, near Cropper-lane, West-gate, the fifth of the ten, was built in the same year; is also in the decorated English style, with 700 sittings; has a western bell-turret, 70 feet high; and will have likewise a tower and spire 140 feet high. All Saints church, at Hortongreen, another of the ten, was opened in the early part of 1864; stands on ground which required solid underpinning; and cost upwards of £10,000. St. Michael and All Angels church was built in 1868, and is late first pointed. The Independent chapel, in Horton-lane, was built in 1863, is in ornate renaissance style, and cost above £11,000: two Baptist chapels, in Manningham-lane and Horton-lane, were built about the same time, at costs of £6,000 and £7,000; six other dissenting chapels were built in 1866-9; and some others are recent and good. The places of worship, in 1851, were 12 of the Church of England, with 10,026 sittings; 1 of the United Presbyterian church, with 639 s.; 6 of Independents, with 3,568 s.: 3 of Particular Baptists, with 2,825 s.; 2 of General Baptists, with 600 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 1,000 s.; 1 of Unitarians, with 490 s.; 1 of Moravians, with 286 s.; 12 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 7,070 s.; 1 of New Connexion Methodists, with 773 s.; 5 of Primitive Methodists, with 1,980 s.; 3 of the Wesleyan Association, with 1,440 s.; 3 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 810 s.; 1 of Brethren, with 100 s.; 1 of Latter Day Saints, with 400 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 380 s.

The free grammar school dates from the time of Edward VI.; was rebuilt in 1830; is a spacious and elegant structure, containing a good library; has an endowed income of £431; and entitles its scholars to be candidates for the Hastings exhibitions in Queen's college, Oxford. New schools, in connexion with St. James' church, were built in 1860. There were, within the borough, in 1851, 27 public day schools, with 5,946 scholars; 89 private day schools, with 3,633 s.; and 59 Sunday schools, with 16,077 s. There are an Arts' exhibition, a mechanics' institute, a public library, a philosophical society, a temperance-hall; and, in the neighbourhood, theological training-schools, for Independents, Baptists, and Wesleyans. There are also cavalry barracks, an infirmary, a fever hospital of 1869, a dispensary, a workhouse, two large ornate cemeteries, and a grand, recent, public park. The town has a head post office,‡ two telegraph stations, two banking offices, and six chief inns. Markets are held on Monday and Thursday, and fairs on 3 March, 17 June, and 9 Dec. Manufactures of worsted yarn and worsted stuffs have long been carried on; manufactures of damask, moreen, and mixed worsted and silk goods are now extensive; manufactures of cotton fabrics engage attention; alpaca manufacture was introduced, and is carried on, at Saltaire, 4 miles distant; and extensive iron-works, together with abundant supplies of iron ore and coal, exist at Bowling and Low Moor, in the neighbourhood. The town is a seat of sessions, and a pollingplace; and publishes three weekly newspapers. It was incorporated in 1847, under a mayor, fourteen aldermen, and forty-two councillors; and it sends two members to parliament. Its municipal and parliamentary limits are co-extensive; and comprise the townships of Bradford, Bowling, Horton, and Manningham. Direct taxes in 1857, £55,998. Electors in 1868, 5,189. Pop. in 1841, 66,715; in 1861, 106,218. Houses, 22,518. Dr. John Sharpe, the archbishop, and Abraham Sharpe, the mathematician, were natives; and Dr. Scoresby, the arctic navigator and scientific writer, was for some time vicar.

The township consists of the central parts of the borough. Acres, 1,680. Real property, £286,548; of which £2,000 are in mines, £1,034 in quarries, £11,067 in railways, and £12,888 in gasworks. Pop. in 1841, 34,560; in 1861, 48,646. Houses, 10,288. The parish is 15 miles long, and 4 in mean breadth; and comprises the townships of Bradford, Bowling, Horton, Manningham, North Bierley, Thornton, Clayton, Allerton, Wilsden, Shipley, Heaton, Eccleshill, and Haworth,-the last in the district of Keighley, the rest in that of Bradford. Acres, 34,146. Real property, £580,837; of which £10,430 are in mines, £5,881 in quarries, and £18,684 in iron-works. Pop. in 1841, 105,257; in 1861, 156,053. Houses, 33,021. The surface is a picturesque diversity of hill and vale. Some of the seats are Bowling Hall, W. Walker, Esq.; Manningham House, S.Lister Kay, Esq.; Horton House, Mr. Thorpe; and Undercliffe Hall, W. Garnett, Esq. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ripon. Value, £600.* Patrons, Simeon's Trustees. The vicarages of Christchurch, St. James, St. John, St. John-Bowling, and St. Paul-Manningham, and the p. curacies of St. Thomas, St. Luke, St. Jude, St. Andrew, St. Michael and All Angels, and St. Stephen-Bowling, within the borough, are separate benefices. Value of and St. M., each £200;* of St. James, £237;* of St. John, £330;* of St. J.-Bowling, £175;* of St. Paul, £150; * of St. T. and St. Luke, each £300; of St. Jude, £300; * of St. Andrew, £100;* of St. Stephen, £120.* Patron of C., St. J.-Bowling, St. Jude, and St. A., the Vicar of B.; of St. James, J. Wood, Esq.; of St. John, Messrs. Berthon and Preston and the Vicar of B.; of St. Paul, J. Hollings, Esq.; of St. T., St. M. and St. Luke, the Bishop; of St. Stephen,Hardy, Esq. The rectory of Haworth, the vicarages of Bierley, Buttershaw, Oxenhope, Shipley, Denholme, and Wilsden, and the p. curacies of New Leeds, Horton, Bankfoot, Girlington, Wibsey, Low Moor, Clayton, Eccleshill, Laister-Dyke, Heston, and Thornton, also are separate benefices.

The two subdistricts are Bradford-East-End and Bradford-West-End; and the former comprises the part of Bradford township eastward of Broad-Stones, Church-Bridge, and Market-street; while the latter consists of the rest of the township.—The district comprehends also the subdistrict of Bowling, conterminate with the township of Bowling; the subdistrict of Horton, containing the townships of Horton and Manningham; the subdistrict of Thornton, containing the townships of Thornton and Clayton; the subdistrict of Wilsden, containing the townships of Wilsden and Allerton; the subdistrict of Shipley, containing the townships of Shipley and Heaton; the subdistrict of North Bierley, conterminate with the township of North Bierley; the subdistrict of Idle, containing the townships of Eccleshill, Idle, and Bolton; the subdistrict of Pudsey, conterminate with the township of Pudsey; the subdistrict of Calverley, conterminate with the township of Calverleywith-Farsley; the subdistrict of Drighlington, containing the townships of Drighlington and Tong; and the subdistrict of Cleckheaton, containing the townships of Cleckheaton, Wike, and Hunsworth. Acres, 40,334. Poor-rates in 1863, £37,168. Pop. in 1841, 132,161; in 1861, 196,475. Houses, 41,822. Marriages in 1866, 2,294; births, 8,447,-of which 614 were illegitimate; deaths, 5,951,-of which 2,871 were at ages under 5 years, and 57 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 18,143; births, 74,843; deaths, 48,609. The places of worship in 1851, were 32 of the Church of England, with 23,426-sittings; 1 of the United Presbyterian church, with 639 s.; 17 of Independents, with 10,645 s.; 15 of Baptists, with 7,760 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 1,000 s.; 2 of Unitarians, with 490 s.; 3 of Moravians, with 1,131 s.; 43 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 17,301 s.; 3 of new Connexion Methodists, with 1,197 s.; 18 of Primitive Methodists, with 4,122 s.; 5 of the Wesleyan Association, with 1,827 s.; 10 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 1,184 s.; 5 undefined, with 668 s.; 3 of Latter day Saints, with 590 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 380 s. The schools were 66 public day schools with 10,798 scholars; 188 private day schools, with 7,427 s.; 161 Sunday schools, with 32,645 s.; and 52 evening schools for adults, with 1,479 s. Workhouses are in Bradford and Idle townships.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, a township, a parish, two subdistricts, and a district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Bradford CP/AP       Bradford PLPar/PLU/RegD       Bradford RegD       Yorkshire AncC
Place: Bradford

Go to the linked place page for a location map, and for access to other historical writing about the place. Pages for linked administrative units may contain historical statistics and information on boundaries.