My job, as a Local Studies Library volunteer, is to review the maps and plans in the reserve collection. Many of these came from Bolling Hall Museum and are now in very a fragile condition. To make a complete assessment of each map would require a far more detailed knowledge of former Bradford than I can offer. Many local historians have kindly helped me by looking at images of maps from their chosen areas. I’m very grateful to them. My intention is identify and catalogue the locality of each map or plan, and also to provide an approximate date. If you discover a mistake please never hesitate to correct me.
The reserve collection is inevitably selective in its portrayal of nineteenth century Bradford. Areas that were sold, developed, or involved in Corporation road-widening schemes, were likely to be surveyed. An example is provided by the accompanying map of Goitside. To explain: a goit or leet is an artificial channel which takes water from a river or beck to power a water-mill and then returns it, at a lower level, to the natural watercourse. Thornton Road was a turnpike created in 1827. The area of interest is between Westgate and Thornton Road crossed by Grattan Road (known until about 1900 as Silsbridge Lane) which runs down the slope diagonally from north-east to south-west.
In the selected map the ‘intended road’ shown being created, at the junction of Thornton Road & Aldermanbury, is modern Godwin Street. Sunbridge Road is not shown but was another modern creation. The Lord of the Manor had the medieval right to a corn-milling monopoly at the Soke Mill, which had stood above Aldermanbury for centuries. Bradford Corporation bought out this right from Mary & Elizabeth Rawson in 1870. Soke Mill goit had taken water from the Bradford Beck and provided power for the mill; it is likely to have been a medieval creation. The cluster of buildings round the mill includes a blacksmith’s and a small school. The whole area was cleared by the 1870s.
Godwin Street is present on the 1871 Bradford Dixon & Hindle map of Bradford, but not an 1861 equivalent. The late 1860s would be an approximate date for the illustrated map. Another reserve map shows that the intention of the planners was to raise the ground surface to culvert the Goit and to finally create Godwin Street at a gradient of 1:12 well above watercourse. The tithe map suggests that the origin of the Goit was from the Bradford Beck near Water Lane. Another reserve map shows a second goit being taken from Middle Brook to service a building called Sam’s Mill.