Group to spring into action to restore part of village’s past

The drinking fountain in Bailiff bridge and a remaining piece of it, inset
The drinking fountain in Bailiff bridge and a remaining piece of it, inset

A historic monument that was at the heart of Bailiff Bridge is looking to be restored to its former glory.

The drinking fountain was presented to the village in July 1911 by Lady Janet Firth on behalf of Firths carpets.

However, it was knocked down in the 1960s for traffic safety.

Malcolm Silkstone, chairman of the Bailiff Bridge Residents Group, is bidding to restore the fountain.

“We are trying to launch a project to bring it back. We have already spoken to companies who could help with some of the missing parts.

“Many people who worked at Firth Carpets will remember the fountain.

“We have a couple of locations where the fountain could go. The fountain and the tram tracks are part of the heritage of the village and it would be nice to bring back.”

It will not be the first time that part of the village’s heritage would be recognised and remembered.

In 2014 a legacy to remember the 100 year anniversary of World War One and fallen soldiers was completed in Bailiff Bridge Memorial Park.

As well as commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, the memorial also marked the connection between the tram networks between Bradford and Bailiff Bridge, with original tram lines and cobbles incorporated into the scheme.

The installation of the drinking fountain in 1911 was part of a paternal initiative by Firths Carpets to give something back to the community in which the mill was based.

The monument included two stone bowls with taps and a cup on a chain for the public to drink and two horse troughs at opposite ends.

Originally lit by gas, the lantern was later converted to electric. The fountain survived both wars before being unceremoniously torn down in 1962 for traffic safety.

An appeal at the time to have the fountain relocated came to nothing. The damaged and incomplete fountain lay in the council yard at Norwood Green until being relocated to the council’s main storage yard at Elland.

Anybody or business wanting to get involved with the installation of the drinking fountain can call Mr Silkstone on 01484 713880.