MANNINGHAM was one of the four ancient townships which together formed the new Borough of Bradford in 1847. From its boundary with Bradford at White Abbey it reached westwards along Whetley Hill and Toller Lane, past Girlington as far as Daisy Hill and north towards Heaton.

From the mid-19th century, part of it along Manningham Lane was developed as a middle-class residential suburb, with fine streets like Apsley Crescent off Marlborough Road. But Manningham became rather the name applied to the largely working-class district around Carlisle, Heaton and Lilycroft Roads, all dominated by the colossal mills of Samuel Lister, opened in 1873, which employed thousands who lived there, until the 1970s.

It was the textile industry which drew migrants to Bradford in the mid-19th century. These included those fleeing poverty and famine in Ireland, who settled chiefly at the White Abbey end. Also came more wealthy immigrants from Germany, with which Bradford had connections through the wool trade. But the vast majority were from elsewhere in Yorkshire. Typical then were my paternal great-grandparents, photographed outside their Atlas Street home around 1904. Father Frank Tasker was born in Cleckheaton and a blacksmith’s striker, mother Miriam’s father had been born in Pateley Bridge but she at a house in Japan Street. The two girls also were born in Bradford, the elder, Annie, in Beecher Street, the younger, also Miriam, at Atlas Street.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Tasker family outside their home in Atlas Street in 1904The Tasker family outside their home in Atlas Street in 1904 (Image: Paul Jennings)

From the later 19th century and into the years immediately after the Second World War, Manningham, like Bradford as a whole, was a place where most of its people had been born there.

The two girls worked as so-called half-timers from the age of 12; half the time in the mill and the other half at school. School for Manningham children might be Green Lane, whose headmaster for a time was the father of Bradford-born writer JB Priestley, Drummond Road, Whetley Lane or Lilycroft.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Children at Green Lane School in the early 1920sChildren at Green Lane School in the early 1920s (Image: Paul Jennings)

For a family’s needs, there was a range of shops. One of the shopping areas was at the junction of Whetley Hill, Whetley Lane, Toller Lane and Carlisle Road.

On the eve of the Second War, these included a post office, newsagent, bank, grocers, butchers, plumbers, baker, cabinet maker, fish shop, haberdasher, milliner, May Sheung’s Chinese laundry and the Mayfair Dry Cleaners, plus ladies’ outfitter, stationer, costumier, boot repairer, hosier, wireless dealer and chemist. Duckworth and Oak Lanes had a profusion of shops.

Religious needs were met by churches and chapels, from St Jude’s and St Paul’s in the 1840s and later Saints Mary Magalene, Mark, Luke and Philip and for the nonconformists, several chapels and the Fairfield Jubilee Hall. For Roman Catholics, there was St Cuthbert’s in Wilmer Road, which also had a school.

For leisure time, Lister Park, was acquired by Bradford Corporation in 1870 from Lister himself. Its lake, dug in 1879 as part of an unemployment relief scheme, boasted a botanical garden, tennis courts, bowling green, paddling pool and open-air swimming pool - the Lido, which I remember as freezing.

The magnificent Cartwright Hall opened in 1904, an event accompanied by an Industrial Exhibition to promote the city’s trade and industry. Also opened that year was the swimming baths on Drummond Road, which I remember well myself from the swimming club we attended there in the mid-1960s.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Drummond Road swimming baths in 1968Drummond Road swimming baths in 1968 (Image: Newsquest)

There were cinemas on Toller and Oak Lanes and the Marlboro on Carlisle Road, fondly remembered by my mum for its cashier Mrs Nutton and its nickname of the 1940s - the Ranch - from all the Westerns. Opposite was the public library, happily still open.

There was a profusion of pubs, some, like the Upper and Lower Globes, very old, the former dating back to the early 18th century, but most Victorian, like the Mowbray or New Inn, opposite each other on Church and Lily Streets.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A recent photo of the old Marlboro cinema A recent photo of the old Marlboro cinema (Image: Paul Jennings)

From the 1950s there were major changes to Manningham. Slum clearance began in the area with Picton Street, off Green Lane, together with Montgomery Street, Bold Street and Green Lane Court, comprising just over six acres over 200 houses. Nothing good could be said about them, according to the city’s Medical Officer of Health. Not so by its inhabitants perhaps, as one resident remembered the friendly neighbours and looking out for older people.

They were replaced by council housing. Another clearance was streets above Lister’s Mill, home to over 1,300 people, whose names resonated with connections to the mill: Patent, Silk, Beamsley, Chassum (silk waste) and Fairfield Streets. Of the 521 houses covered by the clearance scheme, 484 were deemed unfit for human habitation. Of these, only eight had a bath.

Other demolitions included mum’s former family home at the top of Whetley Hill, and Atlas and Quarry Streets, my aunt’s on Westbourne Road and my own birthplace on the top side of Victor Street.

I knew the district well in the 1960s, the beginning of years of change as new immigrants chiefly from south-east Asia settled there.

Much of the past was still evident, not least in the thousands still working at Lister’s Mill. I remember vividly them pouring on to Beamsley Street at the close of the working day. The collapse of the textile industry from the late 1970s hit Bradford hard, it seems to me, it has never wholly recovered.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Listers Mill and Lilycroft Road Listers Mill and Lilycroft Road (Image: Paul Jennings)

I lived in Manningham again for a few months in the early 1980s, by which time it had become more ethnically and culturally diverse. Many of the old pubs still traded, but their decline paralleled that of pubs across the city and many closed, some, like the Labour Club, attacked in the riots of 2001.

* For more of its history and modern Manningham, the book Manningham: People Through the Mill, published in 2013 by Manningham Mills Community Association, is worth a look.