Ben Rhydding

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Ben Rhydding
Ben Rhydding hydropathic establishment - circa 1858.jpg
The Ben Rhydding Hydro circa 1858 – since demolished
Ben Rhydding is located in West Yorkshire
Ben Rhydding
Ben Rhydding
 Ben Rhydding shown within West Yorkshire
OS grid reference SE13304763
Civil parish Ilkley
Metropolitan county West Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town IlKLEY
Postcode district LS29
Dialling code 01943
Police West Yorkshire
Fire West Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Keighley
List of places

Coordinates: 53°55′29″N 1°47′56″W / 53.924697°N 1.798911°W / 53.924697; -1.798911

Ben Rhydding is a Wharfedale village in the City of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. It is part of the Ilkley urban area and civil parish.

It is situated on a north-facing valley beneath the Cow and Calf rocks and above and to the south of the River Wharfe, and falls within the historic West Riding of Yorkshire.

The former name for the village area was Wheatley. In the 19th century it was noted for a popular and thoroughly equipped hydropathic establishment, opened in about 1844[1][2] at a cost of £30,000.[3] It was the third major hydropathic establishment in England, "perhaps the most deeply respected and certainly the longest-lived".[4] Ben Rhydding, the name given to the establishment was also given to the railway station built to serve it and by which the village subsequently became known, is allegedly the ancient name of the uplands above Wheatley. In a 1900 history of Upper Wharfedale, a footnote describes the circumstances, citing Collyer's History of Ilkley:

Dr. Collyer writes that when Ben Rhydding was building, and the founders were casting about for a name, the matter came up in the "pint-pot parliament", which had sat at the Wheat Sheaf in Ilkley time out of mind. Mr. Hamer Stansfeld (the founder) wanted "a good an ancient name", and was particularly wishful to know what the upland was called in the old times on which Ben Rhydding is built. Nancy Wharton, our hostess, said she knew, and gave us the name Ben (not Bean) Rydding. It had passed out the common memory, but had survived by some good hap in Nancy's mind, and it was from this little seed the name sprang again which has become famous.[5]

Ben Rhydding is nowadays a predominantly residential area of Ilkley, served by a railway station, pub, two petrol stations, two churches and a few basic shops but relying in the main on the town for shopping and civic facilities. A picturesque nine hole golf course remains as a legacy of the hydropathic hotel. The village is well within the travel to work area of Bradford and Leeds.

Location grid[edit]


  1. ^ Price, Robin (July 1981), "Hydropathy in England 1840-70", Medical History 25 (3): 269–280, doi:10.1017/s002572730003458x, PMC 1139039, PMID 7022064 
  2. ^ Bradley, James; Dupree, Mageurite; Durie, Alastair (1997). "Taking the Water Cure: The Hydropathic Movement in Scotland, 1840-1940" (PDF). Business and Economic History 26 (2): 429. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  3. ^ Shifrin, Malcolm (3 October 2008). "Ilkley: Ben Rhydding Hydro". Victorian Turkish Baths: Their origin, development, and gradual decline. Retrieved 12 December 2009. 
  4. ^ Price, R. (1981), pp.273-74
  5. ^ Upper Wharfedale, by Harry Speight, 1900, from Microsoft Live Search Books

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