FROM industry, to pubs, farms, schools and shops - a captivating new book leaves no stone unturned in its focus on a Bradford district.

Compiled and written by local historians and organisers of Low Moor Local History Group, Mary and Geoff Twentyman, ‘Lowdown on Low Moor’ takes the reader on a journey through the history of the area over the years, taking a look at the places, people and events that have made this community what it is today.

From the development of Low Moor Iron Company, which began in 1791, to the Victoria Mills textile manufacturers and the wire works that has existed in Low Moor since the 18th century, through to the more recent chemical companies, this book documents the different industries that have provided employment for local people over the years.

How many people living in the area today know that Low Moor Iron Company provided cannon and shot during the French Revolutionary Wars, as well as wrought iron tyres for Robert Stephenson’s steam railway engines?

This fascinating book looks at the services that have supported the population, from shops to churches, local interest groups and sports teams.

A number of pages of shop advertisements include a wonderful notice for Bartle’s Best Butter Brandy Snap, for sale at L.Bartle in Fountain Street. ‘If you want the BEST a trial will convince you of its superiority’ it says. And there’s Mr T Mallinson’s ‘high class artificial teeth’, for sale ‘at reasonable prices’.

A chapter on schools includes Raw Nook, where, in January 1896, a day ‘beset with driving rain and high winds’ the chimney collapsed into the classroom. Two young children were killed.

Charming pictures of trips and outings feature members of Low Moor Wesleyan reform Church enjoying a charabanc trip to a mystery location and a Wesley Place Church outing to Windermere in the 1950s.

There’s a wonderfully evocative picture of the local home guard in Odsal Road astride their motorcycles.

A mine of information, the book started life as a plan to produce a series of information boards for use on the platforms at Low Moor Station. The proposal was sadly halted due to funding issues, but ‘It occurred to us that we could use the information on the boards to produce a book to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the setting up of Low Moor Local History Group in April of 1995,’ write the authors.

The book, whose pages are produced in the reader-friendly style of the railway notice boards, has been made possible through Connecting People grant from Bradford Council’s South Area Office and a grant from local chemical manufacturing firm Solenis.

Packed with photographs, maps and other documents, the A4-size paperback is an engrossing book, ideal to dip in and out of.

Personalities coming under the spotlight include ‘local lad made good’ Norman Littlewood who built his first two houses in St Mark’s Avenue single-handedly and went on to form a business building houses across the area. ‘He and his wife, Julie, were primary investigators in the battle to save the Odeon cinema,’ the book states.

Other notable figures occupying the pages include John Majerus, the manager at the Low Moor Chemical Company at the time of the devastating Low Moor Munitions explosion in August 1916, which killed 40 people. Helped by foreman William Asquith, John directed the fire fighting and survived the blaze, but later died from the effects of the fumes. Well respected at the company, his coffin ‘was preceded by about 200 workmen.’

Also featured in the book is shopkeeper Percy Nudds who ran a newsagents’ shop at the corner of New Works Road and Cleckheaton Road. Percy was one of the first people outside the works to spot the blaze at the munitions factory.

Well-known local characters such as Judy North who served ginger beer and parkin from her cottage by the bridge appears in the book, as well as Henry Falkner, known as locally as the Low Moor Giant, who lived in a cottage at Dross Hill Side. Henry suffered from acromegaly, a rare condition where the body produces too much growth hormone.

Moving from historic to present times, Low Moor’s personalities from more recent times include Rev Dorothy Ellis who taught French at St Joseph’s RC school and served for many years as honorary curate at Low Moor Holy Trinity Church, and young actor Bradley Johnson who, in 2019, landed the role of Vinnie Dingle in Emmerdale.

The development of housing estates in the area and the existence of old rights of way are documented. Maybe some readers will remember ‘The Tinkler.’

The name may not be in use but the footpath still exists, passing through Markfield Estate.

Pictures of local sports teams include a snap of Low Moor Hotspurs, taken in 1913. The team was formed in 1901, the name inspired by cup winners Tottenham Hotspur. ‘A press cutting from 1961 quotes Walter Smith (aged 78) who says “We nivver won owt during t’five years I laiked wi’ ‘em!’

Carr Lane School Aurora Trophy Winners from 1952/3 also feature.

Much effort and thought has gone into this book - it has so much to enlighten and entertain. No matter how much you may know about Low Moor, there’s more to discover. For those who love both Low Moor and the wider Bradford district, it’s a gem.

*To order Lowdown on Low Moor send a cheque for £13 plus £3.50 p&p (£16.50 total) payable to Low Moor Local History Group, c/o 13 St Abbs Fold, Odsal, Bradford BD6 1EL.

To pay direct to the bank or to pick up a book email for details.