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
Location within West Yorkshire
OS grid referenceSE13304763
Civil parish
  • Ilkley
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townIlKLEY
Postcode districtLS29
Dialling code01943
PoliceWest Yorkshire
FireWest Yorkshire
UK Parliament
  • Keighley
List of places
53°55′29″N 1°47′56″W / 53.924697°N 1.798911°W / 53.924697; -1.798911Coordinates: 53°55′29″N 1°47′56″W / 53.924697°N 1.798911°W / 53.924697; -1.798911

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

The village is situated on a north-facing valley side beneath the Cow and Calf rocks and above and to the south of the River Wharfe. It was in the historic West Riding of Yorkshire.


The village's former name was Wheatley. In the 19th century it was noted for its hydropathic establishment that opened on 29 March 1844[1] at a cost of £30,000.[2] It was the third major hydropathic establishment in England, "perhaps the most deeply respected and certainly the longest-lived".[3] Ben Rhydding, the name given to the establishment, 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.[4]


Ben Rhydding is a predominantly residential area of Ilkley, served by a railway station, public house, two petrol stations, two churches and local shops but relying 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 within the travel to work area of Bradford and Leeds.

Location grid[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Durie, Alastair J Water is best: the hydros and health tourism in Scotland 1840-1940 (John Donald, 2006) p.14
  2. ^ Shifrin, Malcolm (3 October 2008). "Ilkley: Ben Rhydding Hydro". Victorian Turkish Baths: Their origin, development, and gradual decline. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
  3. ^ Price, R. (1981), pp.273-74
  4. ^ Upper Wharfedale, by Harry Speight, 1900, from Microsoft Live Search Books

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