IN 2021 archaeology students at the University of Bradford discovered a Victorian street running through the campus. Dating around 1880, it was one of many streets demolished to make way for the expansion of the university in the 1960s.

Prior to the university being built, the area was lined with terraces - in a warren of back yards, outhouses and alleys - as well as schools, shops and a variety of small businesses.

The 2021 dig has inspired academic Dr Carole Binns from the University of Bradford to embark on a fascinating social history project exploring this tight-knit neighbourhood. Her research - Who Lived in a House Like This? - focuses on the area in 1870-80 and during the First World War, which had a significant impact on the community.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Cobbled street visible in University of Bradford dig. Pic: Dr Greg GriffinCobbled street visible in University of Bradford dig. Pic: Dr Greg Griffin (Image: Dr Greg Griffin)

Carole has researched 21 streets within the boundaries of Longside Lane, Carlton Street, Great Horton Road and Shearbridge Road. It was, she says, a remarkably self-sufficient area.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Victorian houses that were demolished for the university construction. Pic: Steven SpencerVictorian houses that were demolished for the university construction. Pic: Steven Spencer (Image: Steven Spencer)

As well as several mills, among them Albert Mill and Beehive Mill, and many other wool-related factories, the streets had an array of small businesses - among them, dressmakers, drapers, grocers, confectioners, butchers, milliners,

chemists, tailors and clogs/boot/shoe sellers.

“I was struck by the unusual occupations,” says Carole, who used Kelly’s Directory, listing businesses and tradespeople in English towns and cities, to find out about working lives in the streets. “There’s a shroud-maker and a skep-maker, who weaved beehives. There were sponge cloth manufacturers, sausage and pie makers, oil merchants, tallow chandlers (candle-makers), dry soap makers, milk dealers, shoe-makers and furniture brokers.”

The range of occupations - from mill-worker to surgeon - reveals a big social mix of residents. Jobs listed include warehousemen, wool-staplers, reed and heald makers, yarn buyers, warrant officer, mechanic, accountant, police clerk, horse-keeper, saddler, chimney sweep, brewer, cabinet makers, blacksmith, plasterer, scenic artist, joiner, schoolmaster, solicitor, dentist, doctor, nurse, piece taker-in, plumber and tanner.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Housing in the community, with university building behindHousing in the community, with university building behind (Image: Newsquest)

“This was a small, very industrious area, with people of various trades and positions living closely together in adjoining streets,” says Carole. “There was very mixed housing - back-to-back houses and terraced houses of varying sizes, with and without yards and gardens, and some larger villas - so there would have been a mix of social classes there, all passing each other in the street.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Aerial view of Listerhills. Pic: Bradford Museums & Galleries ArchiveAerial view of Listerhills. Pic: Bradford Museums & Galleries Archive (Image: Bradford Museums & Galleries Archive)

“Children were educated in Carlton Street School and there was a Methodist presence. Many residents would have attended Wesleyan Methodist Richmond Terrace Chapel.”

There were pubs too - including the Peel Hotel, Tumbling Hill Tavern and the Bowling Green - all now gone.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Peel Hotel - one of the pubs in the community - being demolished The Peel Hotel - one of the pubs in the community - being demolished (Image: Newsquest)

The onset of the First World War brought a huge demographic shift to the area. Carole has worked with Ray Greenhough from the Bradford Roll of Honour Group, who has put together a table listing the number of houses in each street, the number of men who enlisted, and the number who died.

“Ray’s painstaking research shows that several hundred went away to serve in the war. This must have had a huge social and economic impact on the area. Many did not return,” says Carole. “Looking at a CH Wood aerial photograph of the area, I wondered where the war memorial was. Ray has done extensive research into the war memorial that was at Carlton Street School and included names from the area.

“In 1949 the school caught fire and pupils moved to a vacant former grammar school on Manor Row. The school moved to Undercliffe and is now Carlton Bolling School. The war memorial is presumed lost in the fire - Ray couldn’t find any references to it being saved. I think it’s very sad that it’s no longer there, I’d like to explore the idea of replacing it with a plaque.”

As Carole’s project has developed, a more detailed overview has emerged of life on the 21 streets. As well as Ray, she has worked with Tricia Restorick from Bradford Mechanics Institute; Julie Parry, the University of Bradford archivist; Bradford Museums & Galleries Archives; and the Yorkshire Film Archive. Now she’d like to hear from people who lived in or knew the area before the university was built: “I’d like to build up profiles of trades-people who lived in those houses. I’m looking for old adverts and postcards of the area.

“This was an area that supported itself, but not much is written about it. I did online searches and found very little. This is a very important project for Bradford - shedding light on a place that appears to be largely forgotten.”

* Email Dr Carole Binns at