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Bingley Town Centre
Bingley is located in West Yorkshire
 Bingley shown within West Yorkshire
Population 19,884 (2001)
OS grid reference
   – London  210 miles (338 km) 
Metropolitan borough City of Bradford
Metropolitan county West Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BINGLEY
Postcode district BD16
Dialling code 01274
Police West Yorkshire
Fire West Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Shipley
List of places

Bingley is a market town in the metropolitan borough of the City of Bradford, in West Yorkshire, England. It is situated on the River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The town has a population of 19,884 according to the 2001 Census.[1]

Local travel links include Bingley railway station in the town centre and Leeds Bradford International Airport, which is located 10 miles (16 km) from the city centre. The B6265 (Main Street), connecting Bingley to Keighley, runs through the town centre.

Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Bingley appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Bingheleia".


  • History 1
    • Founding 1.1
    • Norman times 1.2
    • Medieval 1.3
    • Tudor times 1.4
    • Industrial Revolution 1.5
    • Post Industrial 1.6
    • Criminal 1.7
  • Road history 2
    • Post relief road Bingley 2.1
  • Governance 3
  • Transport 4
  • Climate 5
  • Education 6
  • Cultural 7
  • Notable people 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10



Bingley was probably founded about the time of the Saxons; certainly its name is Saxon in origin. Bingley was founded by a ford on the River Aire. This crossing gave access to Harden, Cullingworth and Wilsden on the south side of the river.

Bingley's entry in the Domesday Book. 1086 AD

Norman times

In the Domesday Book of 1086, Bingley is listed as "Bingheleia", with the following entry:

m In Bingheleia hb. Gospatric iiij car' tra e' ad gld. tra ad ii car' Ernegis de burun h't. & Wast' e'. T.R.E. val, iiij lib'. Silva past' ii leu' lg' & i lat'. Tot' m' e iiij leu' lg' & ii lat'

Which roughly translated reads:

In Bingheleia, Gospatric has a manor of four carucate of land to be taxed, land for two ploughs. Ernegis de Burun has it and it is waste. In the time of King Edward the Confessor it was valued at four pounds. Woodland pasture two leagues long and one broad. All the manor is four long and two broad.


The ford was superseded by Ireland Bridge. In medieval times Bingley was a manor which extended several miles up and down the Aire valley, extending upstream to Marley on the outskirts of Keighley and downstream to Cottingley. Bingley became a market town with the grant of a Market Charter in 1212 by King John.

According to the poll tax returns of 1379, Bingley had 130 households, probably around 500 people. The nearby towns of Bradford, Leeds and Halifax had about half this population. At this time Bingley was the largest town in the area.

No records tell of how Bingley fared in the Black Death that swept Europe in the 14th century. Approximately one third of all the people in Europe died of this plague, sometimes wiping out whole towns and villages. According to the 1379 Poll tax records, the nearby town of Boulton had no survivors worth taxing. It seems Bingley may have got off relatively lightly.

Tudor times

In 1592 Bingley was shown on a map by Yorkshire map-maker Christopher Saxton as a single street with about 20 houses on each side. The church sits at the west end of the street opposite a single large house, possibly a manor house. Since Bingley was a market town, the market stalls would have been set up on either side of the main street. One of the oldest buildings in Bingley is a coaching inn, the Old White Horse Inn, situated on the flatter north bank of the River Aire by Ireland Bridge.

Industrial Revolution

Bingley Five Rise Locks.

Like many towns in the West Riding, Bingley prospered during the Industrial Revolution. The Bingley section of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal was completed in 1774, linking the town with Skipton, and Bradford via the Bradford Canal. The canal passes through the town centre and ascends the side of the valley via the Bingley Five Rise and Bingley Three Rise Locks. Several woollen and worsted mills were built and people migrated from the surrounding countryside to work in the them. Many came from further afield such as Ireland in the wake of the Irish Potato Famine. A railway and line goods yard were constructed bringing further trade. During this period the villages of Gilstead and Eldwick became conurbated with Bingley. The Bingley Building Society was founded in this period.

Damart buildings

Post Industrial

Bingley Teacher Training College opened in 1911 with Helen Wodehouse as principal. The first intake of students was 102 women from in and around the then West Riding of Yorkshire. Over the years until its closure in 1979 the college produced approximately 16,000 teachers.

The Beeching Axe demolished the goods yard, though the station which recently celebrated its centenary, still serves trains to Leeds, Bradford, Skipton, Morecambe and Carlisle. The textile mills have largely been closed. The Damart mill still stands and trades in textiles. Since 1995 the tannery, Bingley Mill & Andertons have been converted into flats. The most cramped and outdated terraced housing (in the opinion of the council) was partly replaced with council housing, Bingley Arts Centre and the headquarters of the Bradford & Bingley Building Society. Further council housing was built up the hill towards Gilstead including three tower blocks. In the wake of Margaret Thatcher's reforms of council housing much of the council estate was sold and a substantial portion has been knocked down and rebuilt as private housing. The Bingley Permanent Building Society merged with the Bradford Equitable Building Society to form the Bradford & Bingley Building Society (later a bank) in 1964. It was decided to site the corporate headquarters in Bingley. This brought several thousand jobs to the town but the building itself did not meet with universal acclaim. The building was demolished in spring 2015. The Bradford and Bingley collapsed in the 2008 credit crunch.


Bingley is famous for a number of reasons (Bradford & Bingley Building Society HQ, Damart, the Five Rise Locks), but its most famous son is Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper.[2] Sutcliffe was later convicted of the murders of 13 women and the attempted murder of seven others.

Mark Rowntree, a spree killer, started his murderous campaign in Bingley before moving on to Eastburn and Leeds. He was convicted in 1976 of four murders.[3]

In 1966, a bookie by the name of Fred Craven was brutally murdered in his betting shop on Wellington Street Bingley. Mr Craven, who was well-known in the area because of his short stature (he was 4ft 7in tall) had gone into his shop to collect papers despite there being no racing that day. It is believed that he had £200 in his wallet (£3,200.00 in 2015 prices[4]) which went missing and Mr Craven suffered extensive injuries at the hands of the killer. Because the local constabulary had a very narrow time frame for the murder and the fact the killer must have been covered in blood, they anticipated a quick arrest. As of 2015, his murder remains unsolved.[5][6][7]

Road history

The main road through Bingley has been re-sited twice in its history. In 1904, a new cut of the road heading north west out of the town created a mini-bypass between All Saints Parish Church and the Railway. The cobbled road around the front of the church became 'Old Main Street'. A huge section of the graveyard was taken out to lay the new road and the gravestones were used as flags on the paths around the church. A small section of the graveyard still exists on the east side of the new road bounded by the old path to Treacle Cock Alley and the railway.[8]

Plans had been on the table for a trunk road through Bingley and the Aire valley since at least 1970.[9] In 1992 preparatory work was undertaken to lengthen Park Road bridge so that the Leeds Liverpool Canal could be moved slightly to the east. This work would allow the formation of the new road to be sandwiched between the railway and the canal. In 1998, the then Labour Government, gave the go ahead for the trunk road to be constructed.[9][10]

Post relief road Bingley

Panoramic view over Bingley

In 2004 the Bingley Relief Road opened. The £47.9 million road stretches from Crossflatts to Cottingley, threading through Bingley between the railway and the canal. One of the most expensive parts of the construction was moving a 160-yard (150 m) stretch of the canal. The construction involved the removal of Treacle Cock Alley pedestrian tunnel and the Tin Bridge, which have been replaced by the Three Rise Bridge, and the Britannia Bridge

The effect of the relief road on Bingley has been significant, particularly the noise in the Valley as a result of the overall increase in traffic and the much higher speeds. The previous 36,000 vehicles per day through Main Street reduced significantly. In 2004 the average home price in Bingley rose 30% to £196,850 - the second fastest appreciating area in the UK (after the nearby Hebden Bridge[11]). This shows Bingley is increasingly being seen as an attractive place to live, especially as a base for commuting to Bradford and Leeds.

The full effect of the change in traffic flow has yet to be fully realised, particularly the big increase in congestion that has resulted in neighbouring Saltaire and elsewhere. There are plans for the pedestrianisation of Main Street and the retail sector in general is undergoing a shift reflecting the changing demographics of the town with more beauty, fashion and tourist shops being opened. A new town square was built and opened in December 2007. The redesigned Myrtle Walk shopping precinct was opened in October 2009, currently housing the library and a number of retail stores.

The road was a target of road protest camp where protesters occupied tree houses for nearly two years.[12]


Bingley was part of the Wapentake of Skyrack, which was in turn part of the West Riding of Yorkshire. The ancient parish of Bingley included the chapelry of Morton and several other hamlets, including Cullingworth.[13] In 1866 the parish was divided into the new civil parishes of Bingley and Morton. In 1898 Bingley Urban District was formed. In 1974 the urban district and civil parish were abolished and absorbed into the City of Bradford Metropolitan District in the new county of West Yorkshire. Bingley became a ward in the Bradford metropolitan district.


The A650 trunk road passes through Bingley. Through traffic has been diverted onto the new dual carriageway avoiding the town centre. The road passes north-west to Keighley and south-east to Shipley and Bradford. Bingley is served by a number of bus services including the 619 between Bradford and Bingley, the 615 / 616 services between Bradford and Eldwick and the 622 / 623 services between Eldwick and Scholes operated by FirstGroup, the 662 between Bradford and Keighley, the 760 between Leeds and Keighley and the 727 / 729 services between Keighley and Cullingworth operated by Keighley and District.

The Airedale Line, part of the Metro (West Yorkshire) railway network passes through Bingley. It is operated by Northern Rail. Bingley railway station still has many historical features.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal passes through Bingley. There are several flights of locks in the Bingley section, the famous Five Rise Locks, the smaller Three Rise and a further two lock flight at Dowley Gap. The canal climbs steeply up the side of the Aire valley through this section.


As with all of the United Kingdom, Bingley experiences a maritime climate, characterised cool to mild weather, with often cloudy and damp conditions. This is amplified by Bingley's hilly northern situation. The nearest official met office weather station for which data is available is 'Bingley No. 2", actually located a couple of miles south of the town centre and at a relatively high 262 metres above sea level - More elevated than all of the urbanized area of Bingley. It is therefore likely that temperatures in central Bingley, at as little as 80 metres above sea level, tend to be 1 to 1.5°C milder year round - though on cold clear nights this may be reversed as a temperature inversion takes hold.

The highest temperature recorded since 1980 at Bingley was 31.6°C (88.9°F)[14] during August 1990. More recently the temperature fell to -10.8°C (12.6°F)[15] on 20 December 2010.

Climate data for Bingley No.2, elevation 262 metres (860 ft), 1971–2000
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 5.1
Average low °C (°F) 0.2
Source: YR.NO[16]


Bingley provides a range of primary and secondary schools. The secondary schools are Beckfoot School, Bingley Grammar School and Samuel Lister Academy. Bingley Grammar School was founded in the 16th century and is one of the oldest schools in the country. Heather Bank School was a private preparatory school which closed in the 1970s.


Bradford City Council organises an annual music festival, Bingley Music Live in Myrtle Park. The festival evolved from Music At Myrtle and features a range of musical genres including rock, alternative rock, indie rock and pop music. It is held at the end of August, with one of the days having free admission. First held in 2007, it was shortlisted in the ‘Best New Festival’ category of the Virtual Festival Awards.[17] The ethos of the event is to present high quality music at an affordable price and give a platform for local bands from across West Yorkshire to a large audience.[18] Artists such as The Charlatans, Happy Mondays, Scouting for Girls, The Automatic, Echo & The Bunnymen, Doves, The Zutons, Editors, Calvin Harris, James, The Enemy, Seasick Steve and Professor Green have performed at Bingley Music Live since 2007.

Each year Bingley Show is held in Myrtle Park and is one of the largest one day shows in Europe. [19] Its focus is on the horticultural and agricultural nature that reflects Bingley and its environs. The Bingley show has been held every year since 1867 apart from in 2012 when the event was cancelled due to flooding.

Bingley Little Theatre is both a venue and a major amateur group, with eight productions a year as well as studio pieces.

The first Airedale Terrier was bred in Bingley.

Notable people

  • Ian Hutchinson nine times Isle of Man TT winner, 2013 Macau Grand Prix winner and winner of the North West 200 road race. Born 12 August 1979
  • The Ickeringill family, which included the noted Chartists Isaac Ickeringill (b. 1803) and his brother George (b. 1810)[20][21] and Ira Ickringill (spelling accurate) (b. 1836), the Bradford mill founder,[22] inventor and Mayor of Keighley,[23] were born, raised and lived in Bingley.
  • Percy Vear Professional Boxer. Born Crossflatts, Bingley, 12 July 1911
  • Fred Hoyle Astronomer. Born Bingley, 24 June 1915
  • John Braine Author of Room at the Top. Worked in Bingley Library until 1942.
  • Chris Spence Journalist. Born Bingley 8 June 1970
  • Peter Sutcliffe Serial Killer. Born Bingley 2 June 1946
  • Rodney Bewes Actor, most famous role Bob Ferris in The Likely Lads. Born in Bingley 27 November 1938.
  • Muriel Aked Actress, born 9 November 1887 in Bingley, died 21 March 1955 in Settle.[24]
  • Pat Kirkwood Musical theatre actress, lived in Bingley in her later years.[25]
  • William Twiss, (1745–1827), Royal Engineer and designer of the Martello Tower, lived in Bingley on retirement and is buried in All Saints Church, Bingley.
  • Marmozets Band formed in Bingley in 2011.


  1. ^ Census 2001 : Urban Areas : Table KS01 : Usual Resident PopulationOffice for National Statistics : Retrieved 26 August 2009
  2. ^ "The Yorkshire Ripper Story". Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "Chilling threats of a killer...". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  4. ^ "Historical UK Inflation And Price Conversion". Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  5. ^ "Fred Craven - Bradford - 1966 - Fred Craven". Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  6. ^ "‘Ripper shouldn’t ever be released’". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  7. ^ "BBC Inside Out - New claims of Yorkshire Ripper crimes". BBC. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  8. ^ Bingley Conservation Area Assessment (PDF). 2003. 
  9. ^ a b "BRIEF HISTORY OF AIREDALE TRUNK ROAD". Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  10. ^ "SABRE • View topic - Railways diverted for roads". Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ GENUKI: National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland, 1868
  14. ^ "August 1990 Maximum". Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  15. ^ "December 2010 minimum". Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  16. ^ "Climate Normals 1971–2000". YR.NO. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  17. ^ Virtual Festival Awards 2008
  18. ^ Community Pride June 2008 Local free paper produced by Bradford Council
  19. ^ "Bingley Show | About Show". Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "The rise and fall of Wool City". Yorkshire Post. 21 November 2007. 
  23. ^
  24. ^ Muriel Aked at the Internet Movie Database
  25. ^ "Bared on stage: What Prince Philip wrote to star Pat Kirkwood". Yorkshire Post. 3 October 2012. 

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Bingley-Online Bingley Online Community Website
  • This is Bingley A short history of Bingley
  • Ancient Bingley (pdf) transcription of an 1897 book by Joseph Horsfall Turner
  • West Yorkshire Archaeology Service Historical Development of Bingley
  • Bingley Town Centre (pdf) The Masterplan for the revitalisation of Bingley
  • Bingley at DMOZ
  • Bingley and District Local History Society Bingley and District Local History Society website
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