Shipley, West Yorkshire
Shipley (pronunciation: // SHIP-lee) is a town in the metropolitan borough of the City of Bradford in West Yorkshire, England, by the River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, north of Bradford and north-west of Leeds.
It is within the Metropolitan Borough of the City of Bradford but is outside Bradford itself (it was also outside the pre-1974 Bradford county borough boundaries, forming an urban district in its own right) although the town forms a continuous urban area with Bradford. It has a population of approximately 28,162.
Shipley is located at an important crossing of the River Aire, where the route from Otley to Bradford crosses the route from Skipton to Leeds. As well as this advantageous river location, it is also sheltered, by the millstone crags of Wrose and Windhill to the east, and to the north by Baildon and Hawksworth Moors.
Development in Shipley has always grown upwards and outwards from this crossroads, known locally today as Fox's Corner after the former Fox and Hounds pub that stood there. In medieval times, Shipley consisted of the limited development around that crossroads, and the unenclosed fields at Shipley Fields and the Hirst which were collectively farmed. Beyond these lay the Low Moor, which ran from the modern day Crowghyll to the present Saltaire roundabout, and the High Moor (from Saltaire roundabout, through Moorhead, as far as New Brighton and Noon Nick). These areas consisted of steep, rocky land, unsuitable for early farming practices.. The town was therefore regarded as being bounded to the north by the River Aire, to the east by Bradford Beck, with Cottingley and Heaton lying beyond its western and southern boundaries.
Outlying districts, such as Windhill, were not regarded part of Shipley until the 19th Century. Saltaire became part of Shipley after its foundation in the 1860s, while Windhill, which had previously been part of Idle, became part of the Shipley Urban District in 1894.
The name 'Shipley' derives from the Old English scīp ('sheep', a Northumbrian dialect form, contrasting with the Anglian dialect form scēp which underlies modern English sheep) and lēah ('open ground, such as meadow, pasture, or arable land'). Thus it means 'sheep-clearing' or 'sheep-pasture'.
Early history 
The early history of the town relies heavily on the records of a succession of Lords of the Manor, not all of whom were in permanent residence. The rolls of the manor court have been missing since the 18th century, leaving the records incomplete.
In the 12th century, 'Adam, son of Peter', presumed to be an early Lord of the Manor, granted grazing and iron ore mining rights to the monks of Rievaulx Abbey. Through the Middle Ages the Lords were the 'Earls of Ormande' (sic), possibly the Irish Earls of Ormond, followed by the Gascoigne family. In 1495, Rosamund Gascoigne, a daughter of one of the succession of William Gascoignes who held the title, married Robert Rawson, thought to be related to the Rawson family of Bradford. Their son, William, married a cousin, Agnes Gascoigne, and through this the Rawson family inherited the manor in 1570. 
The Rawsons lived at Over Hall, also known as the Manor House, on the site of the current town hall. The manor estates extended across the site of the modern day Asda supermarket to Northcliff. The family also had interests in Halifax and moved there in the early 18th century, retaining their Shipley estates until the last male heir died in 1745.
By the 19th century the former Rawson estates and those of the Fields, another prominent land-owning family, had become the property of the Earl of Rosse  who also had extensive holdings in nearby Heaton. His legacy has endured to this day in the name of the pub on Saltaire Roundabout, and Rossefield School in Heaton.
Of the lower orders of Shipley at this time not much is known, but there was relief housing offered at the town's expense near Crowghyll.
Industrial Revolution 
Textile manufacture in Shipley dates from pre-industrial times. As the place name indicates, Shipley had a long history as sheep grazing land, so wool was plentiful, and the River Aire was a ready source of water for powering water mills and cleaning processes. There was a fulling mill in Shipley by 1500 and two more by 1559. Another mill was built by the Dixon family along the banks of the Aire in 1635. New Mill on the far side of Hirst Wood was built in the 1740s and by the late 18th century between 9,000 and 10,000 pieces of broadcloth were being fulled annually at Shipley's mills. Much work was still undertaken at home though, workers living alongside 'loomshops' for spinning yarn. These home workshops were once a common site along the River Aire and often had external flights of steps. Examples can still be seen in the cottages known as Jane Hills along the canal in Saltaire.
The industrial era saw an end to this cottage industry. Providence Mill, one of the first steam driven mills was built for Denby Bros. in 1796. Other spinning mills soon followed, including Ashley Mill, Prospect Mill, Red Beck Mill on Heaton Beck (c. 1815), Well Croft Mill (c. 1840s) and Whiting Mill on modern day Briggate..
These smaller mills eventually gave way to larger premises which could combine all the processes of worsted production on one site. The first was Joseph Hargreaves' Airedale Mills (demolished 1970s), Salts Mill (built 1853 and now a gallery and restaurant complex), an enlarged Well Croft Mill (demolished 1950s) and Victoria Mills near the canal adjoining the present Inland Revenue Office.. Hargreaves employed 1,250, Salt initially 2,500 and by 1876 total employment in the mills was 6,900.
The growth in textile production also stimulated the growth of associated supply industries. Famous local employers included loom makers, Lee and Crabtree, WP Butterfield's galvanised containers and Parkinson and Sons machine tool makers.
The other major effect of this industrialisation was the vast expansion in housing stock. Titus Salt's model village at Saltaire is a well-known example of this, but Hargreaves too had cottages built for his workers around the town centre and his mill. He built 92 back-to-backs along modern day Market Street and Central Avenue in an area which came to be called Hargreaves Square or simply The Square. The houses were built by filling in the old courtyards of the town. The population of the township thus grew from just over 3,000 in 1851 to 10,000 by 1869.
It was then that the remaining landowning families - the Rosses, the Crompton-Stansfields and the Wainmans - took advantage of the demand for housing by selling off their less productive land on the Low Moor and High Moor. Houses for the better off were built in Sunny Bank and Hall Royd in the 1840s, 1850s and 1860s. Kirkgate was lined with villas from the 1860s, some of which still stand. Middle class houses began to grow up in the Nab Wood and Moorhead districts too. In 1870 a tranche of land in the latter area was sold by the widowed Countess of Rosse to build five streets of terraces. The pub on Saltaire Roundabout that still bears her name dates from that time.
Post-War redevelopment 
The decline of the textile industry saw the demolition of many of Shipley's mills. Of the major ones, only Salts Mill and Victoria Mills remain and have been converted to other uses.
Of more concern in the immediate post-war period was the deteriorating housing stock. In the 1950s, the back-to-backs of Hargreaves' Square were condemned as a slum and the site redeveloped. The redevelopment took with it several of the town's historic buildings - Shipley Old Hall (1593), which stood at the junction of Kirkgate and Manor Lane and of which a few fragments of roof drainage and a roof truss survive in Crowghyll Park, Shipley Hall (1734), which stood at the junction of Market Street and Otley Road, and ended life as the headquarters of Windhill Cooperative Society and possibly Hudson Fold House (1629).. In fact, of the major Victorian town centre buildings, only the Old Bradford Bank (now Barclays), Sun Hotel and the Conservative Club survive. The slums were replaced with low-rise modern retail outlets, a central square which serves as an outdoor market and an underground indoor market situated beneath a tall, brutalist market hall tower which is a visible landmark for many miles around. Until recently the tower had a 'man' striking a bell to mark the hours.
A second phase of clearance in 1966 saw the construction of Asda, a library, swimming pool and health centre. Croft House (1729), a stone built farmhouse which later served as a school and the local Labour Party headquarters was a casualty of this development. By 1970 2,900 slum houses had been demolished.
The Otley and Leeds Roads were widened in the early 1970s, at the expense of The Fox and Hounds Hotel after which Shipley's main road junction, Fox's Corner, was named.
Local government 
Shipley Local Board was formed in 1853. Originally the Board met at the Sun Hotel near the market. Then, in 1880, it moved to the old Manor House, up until its demolition in 1915. In 1894, Shipley Urban District Council was constituted with 15 councillors, and Shipley came to incorporate the Windhill district, formerly part of Idle. An attempt was made to gain Borough status in 1898, but this failed. Shipley Town Hall was built in 1932, as part of a scheme to relieve high unemployment during the Great Depression and was opened by the Earl of Harewood. This became the seat of Shipley's administration for the next four decades.
For many years, Shipley opposed joining Bradford for local government purposes whenever it was proposed. A large protest march marked the third attempt in 1937. In 1974 after local government reorganisation, merger into Bradford seemed inevitable, and no resistance was offered. The town is now represented by three councillors on Bradford Council.
Shipley constituency was created in 1885, and its first ever MP was Joseph Craven.
Tourist attractions 
In Shipley is a World Heritage Site: the village of Saltaire, which was planned by the industrialist Sir Titus Salt to house the workforce at his mill. Salt built the mill beside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal for the manufacture of alpaca and woollen cloth. Salts Mill is no longer used for textile production, but now contains the 1853 Gallery, dedicated to the work of David Hockney, along with a variety of shops, restaurants and local businesses, including Pace Micro Technology.
To the north of Shipley, across the River Aire, is a wooded ridge called Shipley Glen (the word "glen" referring to the little valley beneath the ridge). This has long been a popular beauty spot, and in 1895 the Shipley Glen Tramway was built to carry visitors up to the top. The tramway has weathered periods of neglect and even closure, but in 2012 it still ran most weekends through the summer, staffed by volunteers.
Parks and gardens 
Close to the town centre is a small park and bowling green called Crowghyll Park. This formerly served as a quarry and the town's refuse dump. The land was given to church wardens in lieu of common rights when Shipley Common was enclosed and in 1889 it was landscaped. A public playground was opened by Mrs Titus Salt in 1890.
A much larger recreation area is situated on the hill at Northcliff. This consists of playing fields, allotments, woods, and a private golf club. The woods and playing fields were opened to the public by Norman Rae MP and the playing fields are named after him.
Within the village of Saltaire is Roberts Park, built by Sir Titus Salt for his workers' recreation. Shipley Glen lies beyond this.
Theatre and cinema 
There are no longer any theatres or cinemas in Shipley. The Victoria Hall in Saltaire serves as a concert venue, hosting bands such as Fairport Convention. However, there were once a number of entertainment establishments within the district:
- Queen's Palace - Formerly a temperance coffee house, an institution called Queens' Palace Theatre was sited on Briggate around the turn of the 20th century.. It held twice nightly variety shows at 7pm and 9pm. In December 1915 it became Shipley Picture House and remained as a cinema until August 1932. . The building was demolished following a fire in 1960.
- Glen Royal - The same fate met its successor, the Glen Royal Cinema, which was sited slightly further along Briggate. This 1,200 seat "showpiece super-cinema" opened with a showing of Emma on 5 September 1932 and was Shipley's premier cinema during the Golden Age of Hollywood. A Hammond organ was installed in 1936 and it became the first cinema in the area after the Ritz in Bradford to show 3D film. In 1963 it followed the path of many former cinemas, by becoming a casino and bingo hall, and later part of it became a snooker club. In time, it became derelict, before being destroyed by fire like its predecessor in 2013.
- Saltaire Picture House - Saltaire Picture House was on a site opposite the Old Tramshed and opened in 1922, seated 1,500. It later became the Gaumont. The cinema closed in 1957 and the building was demolished soon after.
- Pavilion - The Pavilion Cinema or Pavilion de Luxe on Commercial Street was built in 1912 and known as the 'Bug Ole' or 'Bug Run'. It opened on 2 April 1914. The small seating capacity, 630, gave rise to the motto 'the little theatre with the big reputation'. It closed in November 1956.
- Prince's Hall - Prince's Hall Cinema opened on 24 June 1911 and like the rest of Shipley's cinemas had an organ. It survived for many years, called Unit Four, with half the capacity of the old Prince's Hall It was the last remaining cinema in Shipley until it closed at the turn of the 21st century.
The Shipley branch library is sited on Well Croft in the town centre. It is a branch library of Bradford Central Library. Formerly, the town was also served by the Carnegie Library on Briggate. The magnificent 1906 building, built through a £3000 donation by Andrew Carnegie now stands empty but the Carnegie name persists in nearby Carnegie Drive and the Carnegie Clinic opposite.
Traditionally, non-conformist churches have predominated in Shipley and this is still the case to some extent today. There are four Methodist churches, which feature some splendid Victorian architecture. These are: Northcliffe, built on the site of a previous 'tin chapel', Crag Road, Saltaire and Christ Church at Windhill. Another historically important church is Saltaire United Reformed Church, built in Italianate style at the behest of Sir Titus Salt in 1859. It is a Grade I listed building which attracts many visitors.
The first place of worship in Shipley was the Bethel Baptist Chapel at the top of Chapel Lane, first built in 1758, rebuilt in 1836 and demolished in the early 1970s. Today, only part of the graveyard survives. A second Baptist chapel was built at Rosse Street near the town centre in 1865 and is still in use. There is also a Victorian Salvation Army Citadel on Rhodes Place just off Saltaire Road.
Historically, Shipley was part of the parish of Bradford so did not have its own Anglican church until well into the 19th Century. The first church of that denomination to be built was the Gothic St Paul's on Kirkgate, concecrated by Edward Harcourt, Archbishop of York in 1826. It was built at a cost of £7687.19s.3d, a gift of the nation under the Million Act, on land donated by John Wilmer Field, of the long-standing Shipley land-owning family. The parish of Shipley cum Heaton was created on 30 May 1828 by an order in council of King George IV. St. Paul's is one of an identical pair of churches with Wilsden Church. A graveyard was added in 1860, but by 1895 was full and additional land at Hirst Wood was concecrated. The church seats 1488 and has an organ built by Binns of Bramley in 1892.
Other Anglican churches in the town are St. Margaret's and St. Peter's, which was commissioned in 1888 as an overflow church for St. Paul's and consecrated in 1909 by the Bishop of Ripon. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church of St Theresa Benedicta and St Walburga, usually referred to simply as St Walburga's, sits on Kirkgate just up from St. Paul's.
The Bradford to Bingley Road was constructed in the 1820s and together with Otley Road and Saltaire Road create a triangle framing Shipley centre. These act as the arteries that connect the town to Bradford, Leeds and the Airedale towns.
There is a small bus station in Shipley Market Place.
The Leeds and Bradford line of the Midland Railway opened on 2 July 1846 and was extended to Keighley by March 1847. The Guiseley branch opened on 4 December 1876 and in the same year the completition of the Settle-Carlisle Line put Shipley on the London to Scotland route. In 1885 the old Midland Railway building was replaced by the present station, and by 1900, 400 trains were passing through Shipley each month, carrying 50,000 passengers. 
Shipley railway station has an unusual triangular layout, corresponding to the Skipton to Leeds line, the Leeds to Bradford Forster Square line, and the Bradford to Skipton/Ilkley lines. There is also a railway station in the suburb of Saltaire. Long distance trains run south to London King's Cross and north to Carlisle, while regular local trains connect the town with Leeds, Bradford and Skipton.
The Leeds and Liverpool Canal, now used for pleasure cruising, was once an important navigation linking Shipley to the wider world. The Skipton to Shipley section was completed in 1773 and in 1774 a branch was extended to Bradford. At this time, wharves were established on the north side of modern day Briggate. The Bradford branch was filled in in 1920s, but the rest of the canal remains a feature of the area.
Trams were once an important feature of the Shipley landscape. They ran along both Bradford Road to the south and Saltaire Road to the north as well as between Baildon Bridge and the Branch. The intersection of these lines led to the main road junction of Fox's Corner being given the alternative name of Cobweb Square. The lasting legacy of this transportation is the terminal building on Saltaire Roundabout, now a public house named the Old Tramshed.
The town's first newspaper was the Shipley Times & Express run by stationer and printer, Johnny Walker. The paper was based in a building on the main Shipley crossroads, and the junction was sometimes called Johnny Walker's Corner as well as Fox's Corner. In 1922, Walker sold out to another printer/stationer, Osbaldiston, and the building still stands under his name. The paper itself closed in 1981.
Shipley's main paper now is the Bradford-based Telegraph & Argus, in whose distribution area the town sits. The Telegraph & Argus have also, for many years, produced a free newspaper for the district. Historically, this has been called the Aire Valley (or Shipley) Target, but is now produced as one of four local editions of the Bradford & District Advertiser. 
Notable residents 
Film director, Tony Richardson was born in Shipley in 1928 and directed films including, "Look Back in Anger" in 1959, "The Entertainer" in 1960, A Taste of Honey in 1961 and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner in 1962.
England spin bowler Jim Laker is from Frizinghall which is very close to Shipley. He still holds the world record for the number of wickets taken by one player in a first-class cricket match – 19 out of a possible 20 (Old Trafford 1956, vs Australia). A residential street in the Moorhead district of Shipley has been named Jim Laker Place, in his memory.
TV actor Steven Hartley comes from Shipley.
Joseph Wright, author of the English Dialect Dictionary and one of the earliest users of phonetic notation, was born in nearby Thackley but grew up in Windhill (now east Shipley). He wrote a book, A Grammar of the Dialect of Windhill.
The town today is typical of many of its size. It has one major supermarket, an Asda in the town centre, as well as budget supermarkets and convenience shops around the town. The town has a market hall known for its 1960s brutalist architectural design, in particular its clock tower. There is also a pedestrianised market square, an Arndale Centre, and many other shops. Notable retailers include Laura Ashley, Argos, Boots and, until recently, Woolworths. A pedestrian precinct with some shops and leisure businesses links Asda and its multi-storey free car park with Market Square. This area also includes the Shipley Library. The Kirkgate Centre is the town's major cultural focus and offers regular a range of community activities in addition to holding cultural events including live music, a regular alternative market and world cinema. The town is known to be busy as it is the main route for traffic between Bradford and the towns of Bingley, Keighley, and Skipton.
In popular culture 
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Shipley, West Yorkshire|
- Shipley at the Open Directory Project
- Salts Mill official website
- Shipley College official website
- Photographs of The Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Shipley
- St Paul's Church, Shipley
- The ancient parish of Bradford: historical and genealogical information at GENUKI (Shipley was in this parish).