Idle, West Yorkshire
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The village of Idle and its outskirts make up a mainly residential suburban area in the city of Bradford, West Yorkshire, in England. The area is loosely bordered by the areas of Eccleshill, Wrose, Thackley and Greengates, in the north east of the city.
The borders between the village and its neighbouring areas are not particularly well defined, but there are three distinct areas in the village: the mainly working class area of Thorpe Edge to the south east of the village; the middle class area, centred on the main roads of Highfield Road and Town Lane, west of the village; and the middle class area centred on the main road of Leeds Road, east of the village.
The village centre consists of a small village green, around which are various shops, banks, pubs and eateries, including most of the village's fast food outlets. The village centre is also home to a small library, named 'Idle Library', and Thorpe Primary School, formerly Thorpe Middle School.
Leading down to the village from Highfield Road is the main High Street, with more businesses and pubs, a doctors' surgery and dental practice.
On the High Street is the 'Idle Working Men's Club'. This is perhaps the most well known feature of the village to outsiders, as when its name is read out, on face value it erroneously implies that the club provides a place for 'idle' or lazy working men to drink, rather than simply being a working men's club in the village of Idle. The unique name has acquired the club a cult status around the world, with many clamouring for an official 'Idle Working Men's Pass'. The membership exceeds 1,000, a large number considering the decline of similar working men's clubs throughout the north of England.
Behind the club, in Walter Street is the Idle Citadel Salvation Army Worship Hall built in 1900. The Salvation Army came to Idle in 1884 and took residence in the Old Green Mill on the Idle Green. In 1999 a new community hall was built adjoining the main hall and over the site of the old air-raid shelter.
Other landmarks in the village include the Holy Trinity Parish Church, a large, impressive Victorian church dating from 1830 complete with graveyard and bell tower, and the Stage 84 Performing Arts School, both situated on Town Lane. Many of the houses and buildings in this part of Idle date back almost a century, and provide a significant remnant of Bradford's expansion during the Industrial Revolution.
In 1662 a group of people who would not conform to the Church of England were ejected from the Parish Church and went to worship in secret in Mrs Ledgard's barn. This group eventually founded Upper Chapel Congregational Church in Westfield Lane, and its first building was erected in 1717. This church became the United Reformed Church in 1972. In the 18th and 19th centuries this group of people were host to the 'Idle Academy' which trained ministers for Congregational (Independent) churches. This academy eventually amalgamated with the 'Airedale Academy' in Emm Lane, Bradford but the building is still there. The present church was built in 1952, and the first gift toward the construction came from the Parish Church. It is an amazing building with furniture by the 'mouseman,' and it sits in between the very old buildings, part of which housed the academy. Sadly, it was not well built and joining it to the old buildings has been its downfall. It is up for sale for £300,000 in 2013, the congregation hoping to build a new chapel near by.
Former landmarks include the Idle branch of the YMCA, which was situated in a large former Methodist church building on Town Lane, and the old Watmough's Printing Factory, just off the High Street. These have both recently been demolished to make way for new housing developments.
In the area leading away from the village centre towards Leeds Road, there is a recreational area including football fields, tennis courts, a bowling green and a children's play area. This is known locally as the 'Idle Rec'. Nearby on Leeds Road is the major secondary school Immanuel CE Community College, and the Bradford branch of the British Red Cross. Further down Leeds Road towards the area of Greengates are various pubs and further residential areas.
To the extreme west of the village, immediately on the border with the area of Wrose, is the mostly rural area of Idle Moor. This is a particularly hilly area of the village and provides views over the Aire Valley towards Shipley and Baildon.
The village has no association football team of any real note, however both Thackley F.C. and Eccleshill United F.C. play just outside the village boundaries. These teams both play in the NCEL Premier Division.
- Dickie Watmough, former Bradford City, Blackpool and Preston North End footballer. He won the FA Cup with Preston in 1938.
- Sir Robert Jennings ("Robbie") QC, former President of the International Court of Justice and one time Whewell Professor of International Law at Cambridge University, was born in Idle in 1913 and spent his whole upbringing there until he won the scholarship to Cambridge which set him on his career.
- Hannah Midgley, former Emmerdale actress has lived in Idle for most of her life. She is currently concentrating on her studies but is believed to want to make a return to the small screen in the future.
- Joseph Whitworth, engineer and entrepreneur, was educated at Idle.
- Adrian Edmondson, comic actor, writer, musician and director, was born in Idle.
- James Hanson, Bradford City footballer, comes from Idle and used to work at the Co-Op.
- Michael Rennie, English actor, best known for playing Klaatu in The Day the Earth Stood Still.
- Vic Feather, Trades union leader was born in Idle in 1908.
- Jowett Cars Ltd had a factory in Bradford Road until 1954. Jowett sold the factory to International Harvester who made tractors at the site until the early 1980s. The factory was demolished after International Harvester closed it, and the site is now occupied by a Morrisons supermarket.
- inns and outs. "Idle Working Men's Club". Retrieved 2008-03-20.
- The Guardian, Society (2006-02-22). "Survival of the Slickest". London. Retrieved 2008-03-20.
- Holy Trinity, Idle. "Holy Trinity, Idle". Retrieved 2008-03-20.
- Idle Bell Ringers. "Idle Bell Ringers". Retrieved 2010-08-15.
For a more detailed history of the village and further links, visit the Idle Online website.