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Silsden News - a conservation area

A conservation area is an ‘area of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’ (Section 69 of the Town and Country Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990). Silsden Conservation Area was designated in October 1980, altered as part of the revision of conservation area statements in a report to the Town and Country Planning (Policies and Plans) Sub-Committee in February 1993 and further reviewed as part of an assessment and public consultation process that culminated in the production of this report (put before the Keighley Planning Committee in April 2002).

Kirkgate, SilsdenThe conservation area encapsulates the character of this small industrial settlement and charts its progression from a rural farming village. Its boundary embraces the street pattern of the settlement as it was in the late sixteenth / early seventeenth century and closely follows the line of the beck as it passes through the town. The industrial area that developed to the south during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is also included.

Silsden developed as a settlement in Saxon times at the point where two streams, which form Silsden (‘Cobby’) Beck, meet. The flow of the streams provided the settlement with a powersource, when harnessed by the use of a waterwheel, which largely accounts for its development, primarily as an agricultural village with a corn mill and latterly as an industrial town, housing textile mills and manufacturing firms. It also served to dictate the form of the settlement, which developed linearly along its banks. The beck has therefore played a significant role in the history and shaping of the town of Silsden, which justifies its status as a central element of the conservation area. In a wider sense, it also has a rarity value, as Silsden is one of the few towns in both the District of Bradford and the County of West Yorkshire to retain a watercourse as a visible part of its form.

The boundary of Silsden Conservation Area is centred on the historic street pattern of the town, which has altered very little over the centuries and consequently is a good record of past thoroughfares. In addition, evidence of Anglo-Saxon building patterns is still manifest in its current form, so its archaeological significance is notable. The Domesday Book (1086) records Silsden as a large agricultural estate, which is without doubt the original nature of the settlement. However, the earliest evidence of its actual layout is in the form of a 1610 estate map, which documents the existence of a mill and a number of other structures.

Read the report - which includes pictures and......:

Summary of the Historical Significance of Silsden Conservation Area

  • A record of the historic street pattern of the settlement.
  • Archaeological significance, recording the building patterns of Anglo-Saxon times.
  • A record of the historic development of the town from a farming community to a small industrial mill town and finally to its current form.
  • The beck remains a visible watercourse; this is rare and is an important reminder of its influence in the development of the settlement.
  • The canal is still an important component of Silsden. Its establishment in the 1770s was
    crucial to the development of the town and the whole area, providing a means of transporting goods to market.
  • The grouping of some of the older buildings and the shape of their boundaries is a record of past agricultural methods.
  • Documents the impact of the industrial revolution on a village on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.
  • Its range of building types document sociological changes that occurred during the nineteenth century. Silsden developed as a settlement in Saxon times.

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