2004 Boundaries of Wibsey Ward
|1st: David Green (Labour Party)|
|2nd: Ralph Berry (Labour Party)|
|3rd: Lynne Smith (Labour Party)|
Wibsey (population 14,530 - 2001 UK census) is a ward in the Metropolitan Borough of the City of Bradford in West Yorkshire, England. Wibsey is named after Wibsey village which makes up the main part of the ward. As well as the area of Wibsey, the ward includes the area of Bankfoot to the east and much of the area of Odsal. It is located on a ridge which runs from the city centre, up to Queensbury, which has been credited as the highest market town in England.
Wibsey means "Wibba's island", from the Old English personal name Wibba (possessive -s) + ēg (island, marsh). Local road-names, such as Harbour Road, support this meaning. An alternative derivation is that wib is a corruption of Old English with, meaning witheys or willows. Wibsey would thus be "willow island". The terrace of houses in Wibsey called Palm Close, where palm refers to willows rather than the more exotic palm tree would seem to support this theory. Yet another theory has Wibsey as "land or hill of Wigbeort [personal name]".
Under the Danelaw Wibsey was in the wapentake of Morley. It became an independent manor under the Normans when it was granted to the de Lacy family. The whole area had been laid waste during the Harrying of the North and it was up to fifty years before it recovered.
Eventually the manor passed to the Danby family of Farnley, Leeds and was then purchased by the Rookes family of Royds Hall, near Huddersfield and subsumed into a wider estate that also included North Bierley.
By the 19th century, the main development in Wibsey was centred around Holroyd Hill. Elsewhere, small farm cottages (some of which survive today) were the main residences. They formed a ring around Wibsey Slack, an area of marshland, coal mines and slag heaps, whose existence is remembered today in local place names like Slackside and Slack Bottom Road. In fact, Wibsey remained an isolated, rural community until very late in its existence. It was not incorporated into Bradford until 1899. As a result, the medieval system of strip farming was a feature of Wibsey's landscape until well into the 19th century, much longer than elsewhere in England. Wibsey's antiquity is still visible today, with certain houses dating back to the early 17th century.
An Enclosure Act of 1881 laid the way for the development of modern Wibsey. Wibsey Park, North Bierley Cemetery and Harold Park are all direct results of this Act. Further development occurred in the 1920s and 1930s. Odsal council estate dates from this period, as does the area around St. Paul's Avenue.
Wibsey was an important market village and hosts its own horse fair every year on 5 October. Fair Road has a funfair site, which has been established for many generations.
The origins of Wibsey Fair are uncertain. Some believe the monks of Kirkstall Abbey began the fair in the 12th or 13th century to provide an income, although the first documentary evidence comes with a reference in a dispute between former Lords, William Rookes and John de Lacy, to the "Revey Cross, sett up and standing at Revey Nabbe" where a fair was held. This would place the fairground near modern day Buttershaw estate, where roads entitled "Reevy" exist today. By the mid 19th century the fairground was at or near its present site, hence the local road name Fair Road.
Wibsey is also notable for the number of pubs in a small village. The Wibsey Working Men's Club (founded 1905) featured on the BBC's White series, in a film examining the decline of the working men's club, and British working class society in general.
Notable former residents include Yvonne McGregor, many-times cycling world record holder, Frank Whitcombe former Great Britain & Bradford Northern Rugby League international, Mislyn Elie Scotland Team Manager at NIG Commercial Insurance[not relevant] and John Orwin former England Rugby Union captain