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Eccleshill, West Yorkshire

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Title: Eccleshill, West Yorkshire  
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Subject: Bradford, Greengates, Bradford Industrial Museum, Idle, West Yorkshire, Don Brennan (cricketer)
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Eccleshill, West Yorkshire


Harrogate Road, Eccleshill
Eccleshill is located in West Yorkshire
 Eccleshill shown within West Yorkshire
Population 17,540 
OS grid reference
Metropolitan borough City of Bradford
Metropolitan county West Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BRADFORD
Postcode district BD2 & BD10
Dialling code 01274
Police West Yorkshire
Fire West Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
Councillors Ann Wallace (Liberal Democrats)
Geoffrey Reid (Liberal Democrats)
Ruth Billheimer (Labour)
List of places

Eccleshill is an area, former village, and ward in the City of Bradford Metropolitan District in the county of West Yorkshire, England. The ward population of Eccleshill is 17,540.[1] Eccleshill is a more or less completely residential urban area with very little open space[1] although there is substantial open land directly to the east.

The origins of the name Eccleshill are uncertain. At the time of the Domesday Book the area was known as Egleshill either meaning 'eagles hill' or perhaps named for a Saxon landlord called Aikel or Eckil—alternatively it could mean Ecclesiastical Hill.[2]


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Fagley 2.1
    • Ravenscliffe 2.2
  • Landmarks 3
    • Bradford Industrial Museum 3.1
    • Churches 3.2
  • Governance 4
  • Economy 5
  • Education 6
  • Transport 7
  • Sport 8
  • Events 9
  • Notable people 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


In Roman times the Eccleshill area was crossed by two lanes. One lane was from Dudley Hill via Bradford to Wrose along what is now Norman Lane.[3] The other route was from Bradford to Apperley Bridge down the road now known as Bank.[2]

After the Norman Conquest the lands of Eccleshill were given to William, Earl of Warren.[3] In 1274 ownership of lands passed to the Sheffields and in 1407 to the Bolling family of Calverley then the Scargills, Saviles, Wyatts, Zouches, Stanhopes, Hirds, and then to Jeremiah Rawson.[3]

In the Middle Ages Eccleshill was shunned by church authorities after a supposed incident in which it is said a preacher was stoned to death on the main road though Eccleshill village.[2] This supposed incident is said to be the reason behind naming the main road 'Stony Lane'. The real explanation may be that the road was stony.

Eccleshill Hall was built in 1713 located to the east of Stony Lane on what is now Victoria Road. The hall was demolished in 1878 and all that remains is part of the stone gatepost embedded into a roadside wall.[2]

In 1775 Prospect Chapel also known as Bank Top Chapel was constructed on Lands Lane off Norman Lane.[4] In 1776 Methodist John Wesley (1703-1791) preached there.[4] The building was in use as a chapel until 1854—today it is one of the oldest buildings in Eccleshill.[3] On the opposite side of Norman Lane is Prospect Chapel burial ground, created in 1823.[2]

On the other side of Victoria Road from the Old Mill is a row of houses and street once known as Dobby Row - a dobby being part of an early form of weaving loom - a Dobby loom, itself taking its name from a corruption of the words 'draw boy' - a weaving assistant.[2] Salem Chapel (1825) and Sunday school both now demolished, were built on Dobby Row, an event that was to prompt the renaming of the street to Chapel Street.[2] Salem Chapel burial ground remains on Chapel Street.[2]

Industrial history

The quarrying, pottery, spinning and weaving industries have been located in the area for some time but only quarrying remains today.


In 1837, the Manor Pottery was established on a site east of the Undercliffe Road-Pullan Avenue junction by Jeremiah Rawson, Lord of the Manor, making use of a local bed of fireclay.[5][6] Manor Pottery produced a salt glazed brown stoneware, household utensils, brown and cream crockery, ornaments, garden vases, busts, and statuettes although these did not bear any distinguishing marks.[2][5][6][7] Although the product stood comparison with other local wares, the local market for pottery was eventually supplied by better and cheaper stoneware from Staffordshire, and by 1867 the pottery had been sold to William Woodhead and production switched over to house bricks, firebricks and sewer pipes.[5][7] The kilns were shut down in the early 20th century, and in 1921 the chimney was demolished,[5] however the manor house still remains.[8]


Eccleshill has a number of mills. The Old Mill on Victoria Road was a woollen mill built in the early 1800s and destroyed by fire in 1816.[6] The present building on the site is dated 1863 although parts of it date back to the early 1800s. Victoria Road was previously named Mill Lane—the renaming in 1889 was to mark Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee that year.[2]

In around 1816 Union Mill on Harrogate Road was constructed for the manufacture of woollens.[2] Later a further three storey mill building was added to the south of the site. From 1892 to 1983 John Pilley and Sons owned and operated the mills[9] and so the mills became known as Pilley's Mill. Union Mills had a serious fire in 1905.[10] Today the buildings are a mixture of commercial and light industrial units.

Tunwell Mill was built as a woollen mill near Tun Well (Town Well) directly south of Stony Lane, although today's Tunwell Mills are not the original mill building.

At the north end of Stone Hall Road is a mill variously known as Stone Hall Shed and Whiteley's Mill where worsted was manufactured.[11] Halfway down Stone Hall Road off to the west stood Victoria Mill, a worsted mill. This mill has been demolished and domestic properties now stand on the site.[2]

Moorside Mills was built on Moorside Road in 1875 by John Moore for worsted spinning.[12][13][14] In 1919 two floors were added and a clock tower as a war memorial to those who had died in the First World War.[10] Ownership of the mill changed hands many times and in 1970 Bradford Metropolitan District Council bought the property from Messrs. W. & J. Whitehead to create the Bradford Industrial Museum.[13]

Eccleshill Mechanics' Institute
The former Eccleshill Mechanics' Institute,* Stone Hall Road

Eccleshill Mechanics' Institute on Stone Hall Road was built in 1868.[15] Charles Bottomley converted the upper floor of the Eccleshill Mechanics' Institute into a 359 seat picture hall which he named Eccleshill Picture House and then opened in 1911.[16] Shortly after this the cinema was renamed 'Picture Palace' but closed in 1931 never running any 'talkies'.[16] Before construction of the building the institute used to meet in the now demolished school buildings at the western end of Chapel Street on a site now occupied by Eccleshill Victoria Conservative Club.

The Railway and Eccleshill Railway Station

In 1874 the Great Northern Railway opened its Laisterdyke - Shipley branch railway, a six-mile double track branch line from Quarry Gap junction in Thornbury to Shipley and Windhill railway station, passing Eccleshill, Idle and Thackley railway stations.[17] Eccleshill railway station opened in 1875.[15] This was located just north of the rail bridge crossing over Harrogate Road. Only the embankment and abutment of one side of the rail bridge remain.[2] The former Station Hotel on Harrogate Road took its name from its proximity to the railway station. The railway station closed to passengers in 1931 although goods traffic continued on the line until 1964.[18] Subsequently the line was taken up and the bridge demolished.

The Palladium / Regal cinema

In 1928 Ralph Dickinson created the purpose-built 1,000 seat Palladium Cinema on Norman Lane, opened in 1929.[16] Later the cinema changed ownership and in 1931 the new owner John Lambert altered the name to Regal.[16] In 1958 the cinema closed for refurbishment and updating, and reopened later that year, but closed finally in 1966.[16] Later with the construction of an extra internal floor the building was used as a bingo hall, a snooker hall and then a fitness centre.[16]


Eccleshill is bounded in the east by Pudsey and Fagley Beck— flowing a short distance directly north under the name Carr Beck to meet the River Aire. To the south is Bradford Moor, round to the west Undercliffe and Bolton, to the north Idle, and to the north-east Greengates.


Fagley is an area to the south-east of Eccleshill ward. The local economy includes a sandstone quarry,[19] and a riding school.[20] Most of the shops including the post office are on Fagley Road running east-west.[21] To the east in Lower Fagley is Fagley's only existing pub, the Blue Pig Inn in rural surroundings next to Fagley Beck, the Leeds Country Way bridle path, and the border with Pudsey.[22][23] The local school is Fagley Primary School[24] and in the east of Fagley is the Fagley Youth and Community Centre.[25]


Ravenscliffe is a housing estate in the north-east of Eccleshill. In Ravenscliffe is a sub post office[26] and The Gateway Community and Children's Centre.[27]


The Monkey Bridge

At the junction of Stony Lane and Victoria Road by the roadside was the 19th century lock-up and a public urinal, however these have been walled up for some considerable time. The lock-up and urinal are over-topped by a section of stone paved walkway with railings known as 'The Monkey Bridge'[3] overlooking a small triangular area of land at the road junction that was the site of the village stocks.

Eccleshill War Memorial

North of Stony Lane is a recreation ground — a grassed former stone quarry with a fenced children's play ground and triangulation pillar.[28] South of Stony Lane is a grassed recreation ground or common with Village Green Status. Eccleshill War Memorial is on the northern side[29] and to the south of the Recreation Ground on Moorwell Place is a terrace of listed former back-to-back weavers' houses[30] and a bowling green.

There are many historic wells in Eccleshill, e.g. Moor Well, and Tun Well however there is a holy well off Harrogate Road opposite the end of Ravenscliffe Avenue, close to the site of Eccleshill Railway Station. This well is a well documented historic well and is covered by a manhole cover and located in a private garden.[31]

The school on Fagley Lane was built in 1845, and the former Central Board School on Victoria Road was built in 1886 and stands on the site of Eccleshill Hall and was subsequently renamed Hutton School.[2]

Eccleshill Pool

The Eccleshill (Swimming) Pool is located on Harrogate Road towards Greengates.[32]

To the east of Harrogate Road can be found the Eccleshill NHS Treatment Centre,[33] and playing fields. East of the playing fields is the Eccleshill Community Hospital,[34] Eccleshill Park—an area of grassland, and the Eccleshill Adventure Playground.[35]

Eccleshill has three post offices, one on Harrogate Road, one in Fagley and another in Ravenscliffe. There is also a driving test centre on Victoria Road.[36] Eccleshill Police Station isn't in Eccleshill ward but just outside in Idle.[37] At the western end of Norman Lane is Enterprise 5, a large shopping centre with a Morrisons supermarket together with other shops and stores.

Eccleshill has a number of public houses particularly along Victoria Road and Norman Lane, however several public houses along Harrogate Road have closed in recent years.[38]

Listed buildings

Eccleshill's listed buildings include private houses on Moorside Road,[39] a church, a public house and a private house on Stony Lane,[40] private houses on Stone Hall Road and Back Stone Hall Road,[41] listed farmhouses and former farmhouses on Fagley Lane and Fagley Road,[42] listed three-storey former back-to-back weavers' houses (1851–54) on Moorwell Place,[30] and a listed former Wesleyan chapel (1775) on Lands Lane.[43] and the Manor House off Leeds Road.[8]

Bradford Industrial Museum

Entrance to Bradford Industrial Museum on Moorside Road

In the south of Eccleshill off Moorside Road close to Fagley is the Bradford Industrial Museum in what was Moorside Mills.[13][44] This museum houses machinery from local textile and printing industries and has a row of workers houses. It used to house the popular Horses at Work exhibition but this has now closed.[45]


There are a number of churches in Eccleshill. Originally built in 1854 as a Wesleyan Methodist Church, the Ukrainian Autocephalic Orthodox church is the only listed church building in Eccleshill.[46] Tucked behind this church is a former Wesleyan Sunday School of 1885,[2] now residential accommodation.

St. Lukes church was built and consecrated in 1848. It was designed in a largely Gothic style with a spire, this spire however was removed in the 1970s when the stonework began crumbling.[2] The ecclesiastical parish of Eccleshill takes in Greengates, and Apperley Bridge south of the River Aire.

* Listed building


Eccleshill was an independent township up until 1899 when along with Thornton, Tong, Idle and North Bierley it joined with Bradford.[3][15] As of 2004, Eccleshill ward includes the south-east quadrant of Greengates, Thorpe Edge housing estate, part of Five Lane Ends, Bank Top, the eponymous Eccleshill, Fagley and the Ravenscliffe housing estate.[1]


To the east of Eccleshill near Fagley is a sandstone quarry.[19] Along the south-western end of Victoria Road is the Victoria Industrial Estate including The Old Mill and a variety of commercial and light industrial units.[47] Similarly, nearby Union Mills (Pilley's Mill) is a mixture of commercial and light industrial units.


Eccleshill Library on Bolton Road

To the west in Swain House is the Hanson Academy and off Harrogate Road is Eccleshill North Middle School,[48] while Eccleshill Public Library is on Bolton Road.[49]


The area is served by the First Bradford 640, 641 and 645 Green Line bus services. The main roads through the area are the north—south A658 Harrogate Road, and the A6176 Bolton Road—Pullan Avenue.


Eccleshill United Football Club are currently members of the Northern Counties East Football League Premier Division. Other local sports teams include Eccleshill Badminton Club[50] who use the facilities of Hanson Academy, and Victoria Rangers A.R.L.F.C. and Victoria Rangers A.F.C. who use the facilities of Eccleshill Sports and Social Club.[51] On the Union Mills site next to Pilley's Mill is a reservoir or mill pond known as Pilley's Dam. This reservoir is used for recreational angling and angling competitions and bream, carp, perch and pike can be caught.[52]


The Eccleshill Village Fair is held annually in The Delph a grassed over former quarry north of Stony Lane.[53]

Notable people

See the category People from Eccleshill.

Artist David Hockney (b. 1937) grew up in Eccleshill.[54] TV presenter, journalist, and game show host Richard Whiteley (1943–2005) was born in Eccleshill into a family of mill owners, and lived there in his youth.[11] The company was Thomas Whiteley & Co. (1889–1963) worsted manufacturers[11] based in mill premises off Stone Hall Road. TV presenter and journalist Christa Ackroyd (b. 1957) and actor Duncan Preston (b. 1946) were born in Eccleshill.[55]

Popular Victorian actress and 'postcard beauty' Marie Studholme (1872–1930) was born at Stone Hall, Eccleshill.[56] Inventor Edward Spurr (1907–1998) was brought up in Eccleshill[57] and Yorkshire and England cricketer Don Brennan (1920–1985) was born in Eccleshill.[58]

Arthur Wood (1898–1973), a Yorkshire and England cricketer was born in Fagley[59] and Eric Anderson (1915–1943), a posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross lived in Ashfield Place, Fagley.[60]


  1. ^ a b c "Bradford General Ward Profile". 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Eccleshill History Trail" (PDF). Bradford Metropolitan District Council. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "About us - Eccleshill". Avicenna Medical Practice. 2004. Retrieved 12 December 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Eccleshill Methodist Church". Bradford North Circuit. 14 December 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d Barker, Derek. "Old Bricks - History at your feet". Penmorfa. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c Hartley, John (June 2002). "St Luke's Church Eccleshill". Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
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  10. ^ a b "History of Bradford, Yorkshire - 1900 to 1949". Bradford Timeline. Retrieved 12 December 2009. 
  11. ^ a b c Mangan, Lucy (26 June 2005). "Farewell to a jolly good egg". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 December 2009. 
  12. ^ "Bradford Industrial Museum". BBC Home. Retrieved 12 December 2009. 
  13. ^ a b c "Bradford Industrial Museum". Visit Bradford. Retrieved 12 December 2009. 
  14. ^ "Bradford Industrial Museum & Horses at Work". Culture24. Retrieved 12 December 2009. 
  15. ^ a b c "History of Bradford, Yorkshire - 1850 to 1899". Bradford Timeline. Retrieved 12 December 2009. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f Sutton, Colin (2004). "Bradford - Eccleshill Cinemas History". A History of Bradford Cinemas. Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  17. ^ Bairstow, Martin (1999). The Great Northern Railway in the East Riding. Martin Bairstow.  
  18. ^ Joy, David (1984). A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain Volume VIII South and West Yorkshire. David St John Thomas.  
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  21. ^ "Killinghall Road P.O". Yell. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  22. ^ "The Blue Pig Inn". BradfordOnline. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
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  24. ^ "Fagley Primary School". Bradford Schools Online. 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
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  27. ^ "The Gateway Community Centre". Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  28. ^ "Triangulation Pillar S4196: Eccleshill". Bench Mark Database. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
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  32. ^ "Eccleshill Pool". Bradford Metropolitan District Council. 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2009. 
  33. ^ "Eccleshill NHS Treatment Centre". NHS Healthcare Bradford. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  34. ^ "Eccleshill Community Hospital". NHS Choices. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
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  37. ^ "Welcome to the Eccleshill Neighbourhood page". West Yorkshire Police. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2009. 
  38. ^ "Pubs in Eccleshill". Pubs Galore. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  39. ^ Moorside Road: "2 and 4". , "3". , "6, 8, 10". , "31". , "155". , "223, 225 and 227". , "229 and 231". , "Haigh Fold". , and "1 to 15 Ashfield Place". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  40. ^ Stony Lane: "Ukrainian Autocephalic Orthodox Church". , "Royal Oak Public House". , "9". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
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  44. ^ "Bradford Industrial Museum & Horses At Work". Britain's Finest. Retrieved 12 December 2009. 
  45. ^ Winrow, Jo (16 August 2011). "'"Consultation on Bradford heavy horses 'was a sham. Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
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  48. ^ "Eccleshill North Middle School, Greengates". Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
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  50. ^ "Eccleshill Badminton Club". Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
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  57. ^ "Bradford's forgotten inventor Edward Spurr". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. 16 June 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  58. ^ "Don Brennan". ESPN cricinfo. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  59. ^ Warner, David (2011). The Yorkshire County Cricket Club: 2011 Yearbook (113th ed.). Ilkley, Yorkshire: Great Northern Books. p. 382.  
  60. ^ "Sfax War Cemetery Tunisia". Retrieved 23 February 2013. 

External links

  • The Eccleshill History Trail, PDF
  • Cinemas of Eccleshill
  • The Eccy Meccy
  • Eccleshill at DMOZ
  • Sport: Eccleshill Badminton Club, Eccleshill Road Runners.
Eccleshill ward
  • BCSP (Internet Explorer only)
  • Council ward profile PDF.
  • Ward Labour Profile Eccleshill
  • BBC election results
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