Keighley has two claims to fame, the first being the pronunciation of it’s name Keeth-lee.
The second item amused me when Bill Bryson asked why the Army used beautiful countryside for munition target practice, rather than a place like Keighley.
“I’ll tell you now and I’ll tell you briefly, I don’t never want to go to Keighley.” John Cooper Clarke
You Are Welcome to Keighley
- Visit Cliff Castle museum to see a good collection of fossils, geological samples, Victorian stuffed animals and the grotto pictured above. Set in a parkland with hillside walks.
- Keighley is the home base of the Keighley and Worth Valley Steam Railway. ‘The steep gradient up the Worth Valley from the Keighley terminus has been a challenge for locomotives ever since the line opened on 15th April 1867. The sound of a steam engine tackling this climb echoes from the steep sides of the valley, while great clouds of steam and smoke add drama to the scene.’ from KWVR site
- Keighley has been a location for several films and TV dramas the best known being The Railway Children. Others include Blow Dry and the film of the Pink Floyd musical The Wall plus several Asian documentaries.
- The TV series episode Sharpe’s Justice, which focuses on the roots of the title character, is actually set in and around Keighley. The local Utley cemetery contains the grave of war hero Christopher Ingham, a veteran of the 95th Rifle Regiment and conflicts against Napoleon. Some local historians believe Mr Ingham’s heroism may have inspired the author Bernard Cornwell’s saga about Major Richard Sharpe, played by Sheffield-born Sean Bean.
- Timothy Taylors has been brewing in Keighley for 150+ years and has supplied Madonna with Landlord a much loved and good strong ale.
- The 17th century East Riddlesden Hall’s tumultuous past, which includes tales of ghosts and dastardly deeds is now managed by the National Trust.
- Keighley has far less textile engineering than in better days but the shopping and indoor market is good value to cheap, reflecting the hard time some of the community are suffering.
- Read the Keighley News for local colour and latest information.
- I am struggling to find 10 items of note even though the rivers Aire and Worth meet in Keighley I can’t say it creates a local beauty spot.
Facts About Keighley
- The population is circa 63,000 and administratively part of Bradford MDC
- Situated at the confluence of the rivers Aire and Worth it is the home of the Worth Valley railway.
- In 1086 the Domesday book spelt the town Chichleau but who knows how that was pronounced. Now you can learn to pronounce Keighley here.
- The Quakers have had a turbulent time in Keighley since 1660 when a number were imprisoned in York Castle by Charles Fairfax for failinf to take the oath of allegiance. The meeting house was moved to Skipton Road
- Methodists fared better after many preaching visits from John Wesley although at least one chapel has now been converted in to a mosque.
- Famed for its industry based around textiles and related engineering it was the base for the first cotton mill in Yorkshire
Keighley Town Centre
- The town centre association have a flyer welcoming you to ‘see Keighley in 45 minutes’. Some marketing promo that is! It starts at the ornate 1885 Midland railway forecourt.
- Cavendish street’s long parade of Edwardian shops and the Cycling club also feature a ‘blue plaque’ to George Bottomley
- The art deco office block was built in 1823 for Halifax building society.
- At the top of the road is the well planned Victorian North Street with the first ever UK public library funded by Andrew Carnegie
- The former Temperance hall is now converted in to a public house
- The former police station is now a civic centre and police museum
- The Keighley Buddhist centre building was originally constructed in 1893 and is opposite the Airedale retail centre
- At the end of North Street is 17th century cross with 18th century buildings and Hattersley Cresent (see above) built to disguise the loom making factory.
- The cross itself now stands outside St Andrews church, built in 1848 on the site of earlier Saxon churches which is fitting as St Andrews is now shared between Methodists and Anglicans.
- Harry Bamforth of postcard fame started showing in 1898 followed by touring cinematography shows.
- Russel street cinema was opened in 1909
- Other edwardian cinemsa included Theater Deluxe Market st. Palace cavendish St., Oxford Hall, cozy Corner, and the Picture House still in use today. The Regent opened on 1920.
- The Ritz was a late comer just pre war.