A prosperous and thriving small town within the Bradford Metropolitan district sitting on both the River Aire and the Leeds-Liverpool canal.

Bingley is a thriving small town within the Bradford Metropolitan district. Sitting on both the River Aire and the Leeds-Liverpool canal, it is a prosperous, sought after suburb. The area, though, was hit badly in the ‘credit crunch’ of the mid-2000s when one of the town’s major employers, the Bradford & Bingley, collapsed.


In brief

  • Sought-after Bradford suburb
  • Good shopping street with wide range of restaurants and pubs
  • Famous Bingley Five Rise Locks on the canal close-by
  • Local playhouse and arts centre
  • Annual music festival held in Myrtle Park

A bit of history

Bingley grew as a Saxon settlement around a ford over the River Aire. The name means “Bing’s clearing” and it was significant enough in size by 1086 to have been recorded in the Domesday Book.

In medieval times the area was a Manor which extended some miles up and down the Aire valley, almost to Keighley upstream and Cottingley downstream. It became a Market town in 1212 when King John granted it a Market Charter. By 1379 it was larger than the nearby towns of Bradford, Leeds and Halifax.

Bingley Five Rise Locks

Bingley Five Rise Locks*

Like most towns of the West Riding, Bingley prospered from the Industrial Revolution. The Bingley section of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal was opened in 1774, linking the town with Skipton and Bradford. The famous Bingley Five Rise Locks, and not quite so famous Three Rise Locks, were built to take the canal up the side of the valley.

Several woollen mills were built and a railway line followed bringing further trade.

* Picture taken by Michael Spiller 23/5/4

Bingley today

Bradford and Bingley building

Bradford & Bingley building**

The wool trade has disappeared overseas although the Damart mill still produces clothing. Bingley is now pretty much a dormitory town for people travelling to work in Bradford and Leeds. This has resulted in the town becoming relatively prosperous once more.

The Bradford and Bingley Building Society decided to place it’s corporate headquarters in Bingley bringing several thousand jobs to the town. The Society converted to a Bank in 2000 but collapsed in the 2008 credit crunch with a large number of jobs lost.

**© Copyright David Spencer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence