IN the 19th century, when the region's towns and cities developed with the flourishing textile industry, detailed guide books were produced to help increasing numbers of visitors make their most of their stay.

One example was Black's Guide to Yorkshire. It was updated each year and included historical facts about towns and villages, as well as useful information on where to stay, what to see, and places of interest to visit.

Using text from Victorian guide books, Andrew Gill has created a series of booklets bringing to life our towns and cities as they more than 100 years ago.

As well as the original text, he includes images taken from original Victorian and Edwardian photographs, mostly glass 'magic lantern' projection slides, which he has collected for more than 40 years. Mr Gill is a professional magic lantern showman, presenting shows and talks on Victorian optical entertainment.

His latest travel guide, Victorian and Edwardian Bradford, features 50 photographs taken across the district, owned by his Keasbury-Gordon Photograph Archive, combined with text relating to places such as Bradford, Bingley, Saltaire and Pudsey from Black's Guide first published in 1888.

Offering a fascinating insight into leisure and tourism more than a century ago, the book is in three parts: a series of charming old photographs, mostly taken between 1890 and 1930; a detailed visitor's guide to Bradford; and a general history and description of Yorkshire, including information on geology and scenery, "eminent natives", agriculture, manufacturing, railway communication and the population of the North, East and West Ridings and York. The texts is taken from the 1888 guide book. The book also includes a map showing the road and railway network in the 1840s.

"By the end of the 19th century Bradford had some 200 mills and was the centre of Yorkshire's wool trade. With coal, iron and water in abundance, the town prospered and attracted businessmen and tourists," said Mr Gill. "The Black's Guide text and the photographs complement each other and enable us to travel back in time to visit Bradford, an important British city at the height of its manufacturing power,"

Original guide book text promotes Bradford as the "metropolis of the wool trade", with tramways "connecting the town in all directions".

There are suggestions of various places to visit, including "the Art Gallery and Museum, Darley Street (1879) and the Mechanics Institute, rebuilt 1871".

The guide continues: "Near Baildon, one-and-a-half miles from Shipley by rail, is Baildon Hill, a remarkable elevation overlooking the Aire. This hill is 922 feet high. Here there are ancient entrenchments and tumuli.

"Bowling, a mile-and-a-half to the south of Bradford, was the headquarters of the Earl of Newcastle during the siege of Bradford."

"Calverley was the scene of The Yorkshire Tragedy, a play which has been attributed to Shakespeare."

The images offer intriguing snapshots of daily life in the district. Policemen take charge at a tram accident in Bradford; crowds gather at the 'Legrams mill disaster' on September 25, 1908; two girls in Edwardian hats stand at a lamp post on Manningham Lane, as a tram goes by; and a rather serious-looking group of people gather outside Eastbrook Hall for a Bradford Wesleyan Mission procession.

Children run alongside a Bradford street entertainer with a barrel organ; a mobile advertisement for the 'Public Benefit Boot and Shoe Company' pulls up outside a cemetery; a little boy looks up in awe at a travelling cutler (knife sharpener) on a Bradford street; Edwardian day-trippers enjoy a stroll alongside Bingley's Five Rise Locks; a group of men in bowler hats and impressive moustaches prepare to carve at an ox roast in Town Gate, Idle, and Pudsey Park is packed with families, children crammed onto a roundabout.

Some areas are barely unrecognisable, among them Manchester Road in Bradford, Otley Road in Shipley, and Forster Square, complete with tram lines, as it was long before the days of shopping centre age. Others, such as Saltaire Railway Station, remain unchanged.

Before the days of the package holiday and mini break, three bi-planes are lined up at Yeadon Aerodrome, now Leeds Bradford International Airport.


A group of children play at the bottom of Carr Lane in Windhill, next to the Blue Bell Hotel, and other lovely old street scenes, including Gordon Terrace, Saltaire, Briggate, Shipley, Gaythorne Road, West Bowling and Wibsey High Street show soot-blackened stone houses, horse and carts trotting alongside double decker trams, bustling shops, and passers-by, all noticeably smartly-dressed. The age of the casual dresser was a century away.

  •  Victorian and Edwardian Bradford is available from Amazon, priced £4.99 for the print version and £2.99 for an e-book.