is an old market town on the banks of the River Aire, five miles
north of Bradford. Its centre is overshadowed at one end by the
tall chimney of the Damart mill and at the other by the headquarters
of the Bradford and Bingley, now a bank.
walk along the towpath from the Damart factory takes you to the
Five Rise Locks, Bingley's most famous monument and a wonder of
the canal age.
Leeds-Liverpool Canal was the M62 of its day and the energetic can
follow the towpath al the way to Liverpool, another 111 miles according
to the sign.
There is a good view across the town from the top of the locks.
Linger at the pleasant Five Rise Cafe to enjoy home-made cakes and
browse amongst canal ephemera.
Five Rise Locks
Sit outside and watch the narrow boats prepare to descend the canal
rise, a height of 59 feet which took the first boat twenty minutes
back in 1774.
oldest part of the town is centred around the parish church of All
Saints. The church may date from Norman times but what we see today
is essentially sixteenth century or later. The church has a stained-glass
window, crafted by William Morris and Burne-Jones but the organ
prevents visitors easily seeing the window from the interior.
Opposite the church is the Old White Horse, a coaching inn dating
from the days when travellers had to stop to change horses.
Bridge, built in the seventeenth century, takes you across the River
Aire to the Brown Cow pub. The scene of a Chartist riot in 1848
(the present building appears to be more recent), it is now known
for its 'real' ale and Monday jazz nights.
the Riverside Walk back to the centre. A stone along the way shows
the nest of the throstle, or thrush, no doubt because the town is
sometimes referred to as the" throstle's nest of England."
has many small shops but sadly some of those going down towards
the parish church now stand empty. If you feel you need the usual
high-street names you will have to get the bus to Bradford.
has a well-stocked mill shop - the place to go for good, sensible
underwear. Amongst the handful of charity shops is Jubilee Outreach
shop which also stocks Romanian crafts. There are a number of antique
shops both in the town centre and surrounding district.
the Bradford and Bingley is the Myrtle Walk shopping centre, built
in the 1970s and centred around a supermarket. Walk through to reach
the market stalls and library.
Don't be put off by the library entrance - upstairs you will find
a bright interior with very helpful staff and a good selection of
Braine, "angry young man" and author of Room at the Top
was a librarian here. The library building that Braine knew is now
used as a pub and a club.
The remains of a market hall, built in the 18th century, have been
moved to a grassy area on the opposite side of Main Street. Here
too are the village stocks and the old Butter Cross which may have
marked the site of the medieval market.
town does have a good choice of places to eat. We asked people in
Bingley where they went to eat and drink. Ziggy's, a French restaurant
on Main Street, was singled out for the friendliness of its staff
and intimate atmosphere. The Memphis Belle, near the station, was
recommended for its home-cooking.
Grove, the new J.D. Wetherspoon pub, was thought to be a good place
to both eat and drink. The Brown Cow is popular because of its atmosphere
and real ale.
for younger people are not quite so apparant. One person did comment
that the best place for them was on the bus out of town. The Daily
Grind is an indoor skating area.
Arts Centre is the home of the Bingley Little Theatre, regularly
hosting amateur dramatics as well as Gilbert and Sullivan and other
the summer music can also occasionally be heard in nearby Myrtle
Park. You can also picnic in the park or try the café next
to the bowling green. The green formed the walled garden of an old
house which is now the town hall. White rabbits and exotic birds,
including a pekin robin, are kept in cages next to the café.
what of the humble throstle or thrush? Unable to find any connection
to the bird we turned to the secretary of the local history society
who told us that the phrase came from a local poet. We do know,
however, that the Airedale terrier was first bred here 150 years
old school building, now being converted into apartments
While we found much to see on our stroll around the town. Bingley's
best attraction may lie in just being a good place to live.
is surrounded not only by attractive countryside, with the moors
not too far away, but by substantial stone houses. Now derelict
mill buildings are being converted into bijou waterside apartments.
as for the queuing motorists, it looks as though the heavy through-traffic
may soon disappear from the town centre as clearance work begins
for the town's long-awaited relief road.