Keighley

A town with a rich history, home of Cliffe Castle, East Riddleston Hall and the Keighley & Worth Valley Steam Railway.

Keighley sits in the Aire valley alongside the River Aire between Bradford and Skipton.

The town is the main station for the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, a lovingly restored steam line that runs through the heart of Bronte Country, visiting some of Yorkshire’s prettiest villages.

In brief

  • Home base of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway
  • Cliffe Castle, now Keighley Museum
  • East Riddlesden Hall, 17th century Manor House nearby
  • Large shopping centre
  • Timothy Taylor brewery is located here

A bit of history

The name Keighley means “Cyhha’s farm or clearing” and was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1085.

In 1305 King Edward I gave a Lancashire knight, Henry de Kighley, the first charter to hold a market in Keighley. By 1379 the population of Keighley was recorded as 109 people (47 couples and 15 single people).

The town has grown steadily since then. As expected the industrial revolution played a large part in its development, with wool and cotton processing industries established here. As well as mills, there were factories making textile machinery, two of which, Dean, Smith & Grace and Prince, Smith & Stell became particularly well known.

The town was merged into the Metropolitan Borough of Bradford in 1974 causing some resentment at what the people saw as a ‘take over’ by Bradford.

Keighley today

Large shopping centre

‘Airedale Centre’, a large indoor shopping precinct has attracted most of the countries major high street retailers such as Marks and Spencer, the Co-operative, Next, Dorothy Perkins and New Look. Much of the town centre is now traffic-free. Morrisons, Sainsburys and Asda also have major supermarkets in the town.

Keighley and Worth Valley Railway

The heritage steam railway, runs for 5 miles through the valley to Oakworth, Haworth and other parts of Bronte Country. It’s a great way to experience the countryside, enjoy our industrial heritage and, in Haworth, absorb the world of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte.

Visit the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway website

Cliffe Hall

Cliffe Hall, now known as Cliffe Castle, was built from 1828 – 1833. In 1848 the hall was bought by the Butterfield family who had made their money in the textile industry, owning three mills in Keighley. Henry Isaac Butterfield (1819 – 1910) inherited the house in 1874, and began to transform the house renaming it Cliffe Castle in 1878.

By the 1940’s the building was falling into decay and in 1950 Sir Bracewell Smith bought the property and presented it to Keighley as a new public museum.

Visit the Cliffe Castle website

Timothy Taylor Brewery

Timothy Taylor is the maker of several, Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), Champion Beer of Britain award-winning ales such as Landlord, Taylor’s Best Bitter and Golden Best. The brewery supplies numerous pubs in the town and surrounding area.

Visit Timothy Taylor’s website

The Keighley Picture House

The cinema in North Street opened in 1913 making it one of the oldest in Britain. Regretfully, it suffered a brief closure in the mid-1990s so cannot claim that it’s the oldest in continuous operation.