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Title: Esholt  
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Subject: Thackley, Idle, West Yorkshire, Bradford, Bradford Industrial Museum, River Aire
Collection: Geography of Bradford, Villages in West Yorkshire
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Esholt, looking along Main Street
Esholt is located in West Yorkshire
 Esholt shown within West Yorkshire
Population 1,495 
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 SHIPLEY
Postcode district BD17
Dialling code 01274
Police West Yorkshire
Fire West Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Shipley
List of places

Esholt is a village between Shipley and Guiseley, in the metropolitan district of the City of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England.

The name "Esholt" indicates that the village was first established in a heavily wooded area of ash trees.[1]


  • History 1
  • Landmarks 2
    • Esholt Waste Water Treatment Works 2.1
  • Sport 3
  • Transport 4
  • Popular culture 5
  • Notable people 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


In the 12th century, the Esholt estate was owned by Syningthwaite Priory, and a Cistercian nunnery dedicated to St Mary and St Leonard was established at Lower Esholt.[2][3] When the nunnery was dissolved in about 1547 the estate was granted to Henry Thompson by Edward VI.[2] In the 17th century Frances Thompson, the heiress of Henry Thompson married Walter Calverley (1629–1694). In 1709 their son Walter Calverley built Esholt Hall, a Queen Anne style mansion house, on the site of the old nunnery.[2] In 1775 the Calverleys sold the estate to Robert Stansfield[2] whose family remained in possession until 1906 when it was sold to Bradford City Council.[4]

To the north of the village was Esholt railway station which opened in 1876[5] and closed in 1940.

In 1892 a notable rail crash occurred nearby at Esholt Junction on the Otley and Ilkley Joint Railway.[6][7]

From 1912 to 1915 Nanson, Barker & Co manufactured the Tiny cyclecar in Esholt.[8] In 1919 after the First World War the company made larger cars under the Airedale brand but went into liquidation in 1924.

During the Second World War land on the estate was used for Airedale Aerodrome. The current owner of the estate, Yorkshire Water, operates a waste water treatment plant on what was the location of the aerodrome.[9] Home farm on the estate is used as a conference and staff learning centre and many buildings have Grade II star listed building status.[10]


Esholt Old Hall,* Church Lane

The manor house, Esholt Old Hall at Upper Esholt is medieval in origin, probably 16th century, and possibly once had a moat. It is well-preserved and has Grade II* listed building status.[10]

Esholt has two public houses, The Woolpack* in Main Street and The Old Barn.[11]

St. Paul's Church*

The Church of Saint Paul was built at a cost of £800 in 1839 by William Rookes Crompton-Stansfield for use as a private family chapel.[12] Historically part of the parish of Guiseley,[13] the Church of St Paul is a successor to the private chapel in the old manor house. It was consecrated in 1853 and the chancel added in 1895.[12] Since 1983 it has been in the combined parish of Guiseley with Esholt.[14]

There are many listed buildings on Esholt Lane,[15] Cunliffe Lane,[16] Chapel Lane,[17] Church Lane,[18] Main Street,[19] St Leonard's Farm,[20] Upper Esholt,[21] The Avenue,[22] and Esholt Hall.[23]

* listed building

Esholt Waste Water Treatment Works

Esholt Waste Water Treatment Works is located on a 300 acres (120 ha) site on the former estate of Esholt Hall,[24] and serves 750,000 people in Bradford and North Leeds.[25] It is Yorkshire Water's second largest waste water treatment plant, exceeded only by Knostrop in Leeds.

As Bradford's population and the textile industry grew in the early 19th century most human waste and industrial effluent drained into Bradford Beck, to the canal basin and on to the River Aire flowing past Esholt.[1]

Frizinghall ventilation shaft

In 1862 a sewage system was begun in Bradford but Bradford Beck was still polluted. In 1869 William Stansfield of Esholt Hall obtained an injunction requiring Bradford Corporation to improve the sewage system so as not to pollute the beck. Bradford Corporation built a treatment works at Frizinghall to treat sewage before the water was put in the river.[26]

Press House, Esholt

When Frizinghall works could not cope with the waste the Esholt estate was acquired for more than £239,000 as the site for a new sewage works. A three-mile long tunnel between Frizinghall and Esholt to connect the sites was completed in the 1920s. Frizinghall works closed in 1926.[4] The tunnel has ventilation shafts in Frizinghall, Wrose[27] and Idle.[28]

In the site's Sludge Disposal Building later known as the Press House, 128 steam filter presses compressed sludge to recover grease (lanolin) which could be used for a variety of applications, and the press residue was sold as fertiliser to meet the cost of operating the plant.[29] After Bradford's woollen textile industry declined, the Press House became roofless and derelict.[29]

Between 2006 to 2009 the waste water treatment plant was modernised. The £44m scheme included the installation of aeration tanks, activated sludge tanks, and sludge digestion facilities.[25] The sludge digestion facility produces biogas that is used in a combined heat and power plant with two CHP engines generating 19 MWh per day which is 44% of the electrical energy requirements of the site.[25][30] Waste products from the works are reprocessed, mixed with green waste and turned into compost.[25] The old percolating filters are obsolete and there are plans to empty them and install photovoltaic panels to generate electricity to power the site, with any excess going to the National Grid.[24][30]

The effluent emerging from the sewage tunnel passes through motorised screens, then through the 64 tonne Spaans Babcock screw generators into the primary settling tanks. The screw generators comprise two 2.6 metres (8.5 ft) diameter, 14 metres (46 ft) long Archimedes' screw hydro-turbine generators installed in series.[31] The generators operate on a head of 8.2 metres (27 ft) with a flow rate up to 2,678 litres per second, generating up to 175 kW, providing 7% of the electrical power required by equipment on the site.[24][30][31] The equipment was installed in 2009 by JN Bentley and is the first site in the UK to use untreated (screened) sewage for hydro power generation.[24]


Esholt Cricket Club[32] and a running club are based at Upper Mill Cottages on Esholt Lane. Also, on Esholt Lane is a golf driving range[33] and near Hollins Hall Hotel an 18 hole golf course.


The 649 Metro bus service to Shipley stops in Esholt.[34]

Popular culture

The Woolpack, Main Street

From 1976 to 1996 Esholt was used for outside location shots for the Yorkshire Television drama series Emmerdale Farm.[35] The series relocated to a purpose built set based on the layout of Esholt on the Harewood estate in Leeds.[35]

During the time when the village was used as a location, the name of the village pub was changed from The Commercial Inn to The Woolpack when the landlord tired of the inconvenience caused by the frequent pub sign changes.

Notable people

The mill owner Sir Henry Mitchell (1824-1898) was born in Esholt and received a knighthood for his support and service to education in Bradford.[36]


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External links

  • Emmerdale Village
  • Esholt: A suitable case for treatment! BBC
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