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Bingley is a market town in the metropolitan borough of the City of Bradfordmarker, in West Yorkshire, Englandmarker. It is situated on the River Airemarker and the Leeds and Liverpool Canalmarker. The town has a population of 19,884 according to the 2001 Census.

Local travel links include Bingley railway stationmarker in the town centre and Leeds Bradford International Airportmarker, which is located 7 miles from the city centre. The B6265 (Main Street), connecting Bingley to Keighleymarker, runs through the town centre.

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



Bingley was probably founded about the time of the Saxons; certainly its name is Saxon in origin, meaning “Bing's clearing”, though this would not be the original spelling or pronunciation of Bing. Bingley is thought to have been founded around a ford on the River Airemarker. This crossing gave access to the villages of Harden, Cullingworthmarker and Wilsdenmarker on the south side of the river. As well as the ford on the river, the other feature likely to have influenced Bing's decision and to foster Bingley's growth is the constriction of the Aire valley at the upstream side of the Bingley settlement.

Norman times

Bingley's entry in the Domesday Book.
1086 AD
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The ford was superseded by Ireland Bridgemarker a few metres upstream. In medieval times Bingley was a Manor which extended several miles up and down the Aire valley, extending to Marley upstream which is now on the outskirts of urban Keighleymarker and Cottingleymarker downstream. Bingley became a Market town with the grant of a Market Charter in 1212 by King John. One of the oldest buildings in Bingley is the coaching inn the Old White Horse Innmarker, conveniently situated on the flatter north side of Ireland Bridge. Administratively during this period Bingley was part of the Wapentake (later hundred) of Skyrackmarker, which was in turn part of the West Riding of Yorkshire.

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. It is shown 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.

Industrial Revolution

Bingley Five Rise Locks.
Damart buildings
Like most towns of the West Riding, Bingley prospered from the Industrial Revolution. The Bingley section of the Leeds and Liverpool Canalmarker was completed in 1774, linking Bingley with Skiptonmarker, and with Bradfordmarker via the Bradford Canal. It travels through the centre of Bingley & then climbs dramatically up the side of the valley in the famous Bingley Five Rise Locksmarker and not quite so famous Bingley Three Rise Locksmarker. Several Woollen mills were founded and people migrated in from the surrounding countryside to work in the mills. Many came from further afield such as Ireland, especially in the wake of the Irish Potato Famine. A railway line was constructed through Bingley including a goods yard in the centre of Bingley bringing further trade. During this period the villages of Gilsteadmarker and Eldwickmarker became conurbated with Bingley. The Bingley Building Society was founded in this period.

Post Industrial

Bingley College was opened in 1911 with Helen Wodehouse as the first 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 sixteen thousand teachers and provided Bingley inhabitants with a workplace and lots of customers for local shops and services.

The Beeching Axe demolished the goods yard, though the station which recently celebrated its centenary, still serves trains to Leedsmarker, Bradfordmarker, Skiptonmarker, Morecambemarker and Carlislemarker. The textile mills have over the years largely been replaced by cheaper labour overseas. The Damart mill still stands and trades in textiles. Since 1995 the tannery, Bingley Mill & Andertons have all been converted into flats. In 1974 the West Riding of Yorkshire was replaced by the new metropolitan county of West Yorkshire and the Bingley Urban District Council was dissolved. Bingley now became a ward in the Bradford metropolitan districtmarker. 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 substantial blocks of flats. In the wake of the Thatcherite reforms of council housing the majority of the council estate has now changed into private hands and a substantial portion has been knocked down and rebuilt as private housing. In recent years Bingley has become relatively prosperous once more as a desirable suburb of Bradford. The Bingley Permanent Building Society merged with the Bradford Equitable Building Society to form the Bradford & Bingley Building Societymarker (now a bank) in 1964. It was decided to site the corporate headquartersmarker in Bingley. This brought several thousand jobs to the town but the building itself did not meet with universal acclaim.

Post relief road Bingley

Panoramic view over Bingley
In 2004 the Bingley Relief Road opened. The £47.9 million road stretches from Crossflattsmarker to Cottingleymarker, threading through Bingley between the railway & the canal. One of the most expensive parts of the construction was moving a 150 metre 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 U.K (After the nearby Hebden Bridgemarker [23021]). 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. Plans are also afoot to remodel the Myrtle Walk shopping precinct, 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.[23022]


* First Group: the 619 between Bradford and Bingley, the 615 / 616 services between Bradford and Eldwick and the 622 / 623 services between Eldwick and Scholes.
* Keighley and District: 662 between Bradford and Keighley and the 760 between Leeds and Keighley and the 727 / 729 services between Keighley and Cullingworth.
  • The Leeds and Liverpool Canalmarker passes through Bingley. There are several flights of locks in the Bingley section of the canal, the famous Five Rise Locksmarker, the smaller Three Risemarker and a further two lock flight at Dowley Gap. The canal climbs steeply up the side of the valley through this section.


Bingley provides a full range of primary and secondary schools. The secondary schools are Beckfoot Schoolmarker and Bingley Grammar Schoolmarker. The grammar school was founded in the 16th century and is one of the oldest schools in the country. Heatherbank School was a former school of Bingley which closed in the 1970s.


Bingley has hosted an annual live music event, Bingley Music Live, in Myrtle Park since 1991. Bingley Little Theatre is both a venue and a major amateur group, with eight productions a year as well as studio pieces.

Notable people


External links

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