Discover Your Local Heritage: Towns and Villages

This page and others like it was designed to help students on my local history courses. For more details go to the Introduction.

Aireborough (Guiseley, Rawdon, Yeadon)

Aireborough Historical Society

Springfield House Guiseley

Springfield House Guiseley

This is a very useful website. I especially like the fact that it has been used, not just as a platform for old photographs, but also for old documents. The group also has a Facebook page.


Baildon and the Baildons; a history of a Yorkshire Manor and family

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Baildon Parish Church

Baildon Parish Church

This monumental work by W. Paley Baildon focuses largely on the Baildon family history, not only in the Aire Valley, but as far afield as Lincolnshire and London. The first volume is of the most interest to the general reader as it gives some of the early history of the community and sketches of places as they existed in Paley Baildon’s time.

Baildon Town Council

The town council’s web site offers several features to help the historian. There is a good outline history of the community by Mike Lawson . More detailed descriptions of individual places and buildings are given in the various self-guided walks which can be downloaded from the Heritage Trails page.


Ancient Bingley or, Bingley, its History and Scenery

Masonic Tombstone, Bingley Churchyard

Masonic Tombstone, Bingley Churchyard

Written by J. Horsfall Turner in 1897, this work provides  very detailed history of Bingley and its surrounding area. Like many Victorian authors Turner’s interpretation of archaeological evidence is somewhat questionable. However, his medieval and contemporary material is more generally reliable.

Friends of St Ives Estate

Lady Blantyre’s Rock

Lady Blantyre’s Rock

The Friends are a very active heritage group which organizes walks and other events on the St Ives Estate. They also run the newly opened visitor centre. Their Facebook has a very useful history of the estate and of the Ferrand family.

Bradford: Online

The Antiquary

Bradford’s Coat of Arms

Bradford’s Coat of Arms

This is the Journal of the Bradford Historical and Antiquarian Society. Local libraries may have some of the volumes and, if so, they can provide useful information. The majority of them have not been digitized but as election of articles are now online on the Society’s website.

Bradford Canal – That seething cauldron of all impurity.

A short video by Michael De Greasley, a graphic designer and maker of computer simulations. The video traces the route of the former Bradford Canal from its junction with the Leeds-Liverpool to the town centre. There’s lots of old photographs and the computer model of the centre of the area around the cathedral which is very helpful in in visualising what the canal basin must have looked like. I’d have to disagree with his identification of Spink Well as the place where the Bradford Boar used to drink: the Boar’s Well is s few hundred yards further along the footpath shown in the film. However, the material on the canal itself seems spot on and all in all it’s a very watchable video.

Bradford Conservation Areas

All Saints Church Little Horton Green Bradford

All Saints Church Little Horton Green Bradford

Looking at conservation area assessments can often provide a way into studying a historic community as they will provide an outline history and describe the buildings and other features which contribute to a ‘sense of place’.  The link here is to a list of all the conservation area assessments for the whole of Bradford District. These include, not only assessments for Bradford itself but also for outlying towns and villages such as Ilkley and ,.

The History and Topography of Bradford

Carving over a doorway in Little Germany

Carving over a doorway in Little Germany

Written in 1841 by John James, this work still remains one of the sourcebooks for later writers on the history of Bradford. Like all antiquaries, James is weak on the earlier periods. However, he had access to several medieval documents which are now not easily available: his extracts from court rolls can be particularly informative.

Manningham, Heaton, and Allerton: (townships of Bradford) treated historically and topographically

This work was produced by William Cudworth in 1886. There is a great deal of detail in the book but much of it is concerned with the histories of local families rather than with topographical material.

Rambles round Horton: historical, topographical, and descriptive

Another work by the prolific Bradford historian, William Cudworth. This one was published in 1886. The book is full of detail but locating the site of some of the buildings which he discusses can be difficult as the area has changed substantially over the post hundred years.

Bradford: Books

There are dozens of books about Bradford and the towns and villages that surround it. I would suggest a browse through the local studies section of our library until you find something which interests you. Here one I like:

Bradford in history (J. Hird 1966)

This is a collection of essays on a wide range of topics. I particularly like his treatment of the Bradford boar’s head story.

Cottingley (near Bingley)

Cottingley Net

A small website with some useful photographs and information about the village of Cottingley. A little more detail might be useful but the site would make a good starting point for anyone researching the history of the community.


Ilkley Ancient and Modern

Ilkley Bridge

Ilkley Bridge

Written by Robert Collyer and J. Horsfall Turner and published in 1885, this work provides an extensive study of the history of Ilkley. However, as with all other Victorian works, the interpretation of prehistoric material can be misleading. The work is better when the authors are able to turn to medieval and later documents.


A very useful site which ‘does what it says on the tin’. I particularly like the page which links old photographs to a modern map so that you can locate the images in both time and space.


Vale and Dale: Keighley

There’s lots of detailed information on this site not just about Keighley itself but also about the surrounding region. Articles on the site are detailed and well researched.

Shipley: Books

From Village to Mill Town: Shipley and its Society from 1680-1870

SAM_0704This small book written by George Sheeran and published in 1984 offers a very good concise history of the town during the period in question. There is also a section outlining the best places to visit to see the architectural heritage of Shipley.

Shipley: Online Resources

In the Shadow of the Rosse

This fascinating little book by Ian Watson presents us with an in-depth study of a small plot of land from when it was an open field to the houses we see today. It demonstrates how much information there is out there, if only you have the time and patience to put it all together.

J. Parkinson & Sons

Parkinson’s were the owners of the Canal Iron Works. The site presents an extensive history of the firm with images of the works and the machine tools they made.

 Shipley, A Historical Perspective

This site is written by Ian Watson and provides an outline history of the development of the town as well as several other features. I particularly like the interactive map where you can click on a button to bring up an old photograph of that location.

Shipley Hirst Wood Cemetery Graveyard War Graves WW1 & WW2 West Yorkshire

A short video made up of stills of Hirst Wood Cemetery. As the title suggests it concentrate on the war graves but there are several evocative views of the cemetery in general.

Shipley Photographs and Memories

This Facebook has a very large selection of photograph albums grouped by subject – a treasury of material donated by people who live in and around the town.

 The Water Mills of Shipley

The site of New Hirst Mill

The site of New Hirst Mill

Bill Hargreaves Shipley Historical Society 2009

Although principally about the mills in Hirst Wood this well researched booklet has lots of background information about milling on the river Aire as well as technical details as to how the machinery worked. .

The Water Mills of Shipley (Video)

Another video by Michael De Greasley using material derived from Bill Hampshire’s book on the same subject. There are a couple of nice simulations and I particularly like the animation of a fulling stock. It makes it very clear how these machines work.

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