A History of Rawdon

Persons Places and Prejudices by D. C. Willcock


If you are interested in the general history of Rawdon or the surrounding areas of: -

  • Yeadon
  • Guiseley
  • Carlton
  • Esholt
  • Horsforth

Please enquire to Aireborough Historical Society details below.

If you have any corrections, observations, or comments with regard to this website please contact C. Willcock via the email address charleswillcock at btinternet.com. The original book of which 400 copies were printed in August 2000 is out of print.

Aireborough U.D.C.

Aireborough Historical Society

(Founded 1957 as Aireborough & Horsforth Museum Society)

Registered Charity 258326

Where is or was Aireborough?

Aireborough was a name created in 1937 when Rawdon, Yeadon and Guiseley UDCs all in Airedale were amalgamated. In 1974 it became part of the Leeds Metropolitan District comprising (roughly) LS19 and LS20 Post Codes. The name Aireborough is still retained by a number of voluntary bodies

What is or was Aireborough?

St Oswald's Church Guiseley Pre 1200Guiseley has St. Oswald's Church certainly (before 1200 and possibly pre-Conquest) and which originally included Yeadon, Rawdon and Horsforth in its Parish. In addition to textile mills there were two nationally known manufacturers - Silver Cross (the "Rolls-Royce of Baby Carriages") and Crompton Parkinson, electrical engineers, - to say nothing of Harry Ramsden's world famous fish and chip palace. It also has a large and affluent residential estate, Tranmere Park.

Yeadon Town Hall Yeadon was a traditional Victorian textile village - large mills, large chapels, plenty of pubs and a very distinctive Town Hall. It had many flamboyant characters, a large tarn or dam, and in the 20th Century came the Leeds /Bradford airport and the wartime Avro factory.

Though Rawdon had a few mills, it was and is primarily a residential area. After the railway came to Apperley Bridge in the 1840s the Cragg Wood area was developed with a number of very large mansions for wool millionaires, together with a convalescent, later orthopaedic, hospital and also a Baptist Ministers Training College - both now apartments. Rawdon is backed by the Billing, about 700 ft, from which it is said one can see York Minster the other long distance views on clear days.

There was also a more recent surge of building more modest houses when Leeds City trams came to Rawdon in 1909 and which still continues today wherever sites can be found.

Manor of Lower Woodhouse Rawdon 1590Though not now well served with railway links the whole area is quartered by two main roads - A65 Leeds / Kendal and the A658 Bradford / Harrogate, - with their unending streams of traffic, but they do permit easy access to large and pleasant areas of West Yorkshire. All three areas have been and still are blessed with very good schools.

What Happened to the Museum

When originally founded the Society had hopes of creating a small local museum but some years ago it was decided that this was impractical and to concentrate on educational and social activities and to build up an archive relating to the area.

For any information regarding the: -

  • Society
  • Membership
  • Outings
  • meetings
  • Lectures

Please contact Carlo Harrison E.Mail airbhistory@aol.comalso on facebook: Aireborough Historical Society.

The Archives Group

This meets every Monday, except Bank Holidays, and month of August. In Room 27 (behind the Box Office) in Yeadon Town Hall from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Visitors are very welcome when members of the Group will endeavour to answer any questions they might have relating to the history of the district.

Gifts of: -

  • Books
  • Photographs
  • Maps
  • Old deeds documents etc.

are gratefully received.

Social Activities

Every Spring the Society organizes a weekend coach tour to visit historic buildings and sites. During the Summer there are day excursions and organized walks (not too strenuous) and in the Winter a series of monthly talks.

The Society is an informal and friendly Group and welcomes new members. You do not need a First Class in History though you will not be rejected if you have one! Why not come and join us?




David Charles Willcock Born 5th October 1924 Died 22nd June 2014 aged 89

The content of the website comes from the book "A History of Rawdon" author D. C. Willcock published 2000. 400 copies were printed and sold out immediately.

Born in Horsforth 1924 David Willcock lived most of his life in Horsforth & Rawdon. The only son of Clarence Harry Willcock (Wikipedia entry).

With a keen interest in history the content traces the development of this quintessential English village. Whilst every care was taken in the writing if you feel that there are factual errors please do suggest corrections via the contact form.

For more general enquiries Aireborough Historical Society provides a fantastic resource. D C Willcock was proud to be its Chairman in 2000.

Additional information about Harry Willcock.

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