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Farnhill and Kildwick History Group

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Very little has been formally written or documented about the history of Farnhill or Kildwick. The aim of this group is to research and present its findings on this web site. Anyone who has information or memories to contribute please contact the web administrator. We usually meet each month in the Village Institute, please check the Events Diary for details. New members are always welcome. Regular updates and new articles feature here, so please bookmark this page.

What's new link      100 years ago link      Slideshows link      Mysteries link
     Anecdotes link      Group photos link

Last updated: 25/08/2018

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Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Exhibition - From Farnhill to the Front

From Farnhill to the Front - Exhibition    
The Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project will be holding a major exhibition in the Institute building, Main Street, Farnhill, on Saturday November 10th, between 10am and 4pm. Admission free.

For now, just put this date in your diary. Further details will follow, nearer the time.

Craven and the First World War - Summer 2018 newsletter

Craven and the First World War
A newsletter outlining all the WW1-related events in the Craven area this Summer can be viewed here.

We are always pleased to hear about topics of historical interest that we might research - some of our most interesting articles have started out as suggestions made by visitors to this website. If you have any information on the history of Farnhill or Kildwick that you'd like to share with us, or would like us to investigate further, please email

Even if all you have is a short personal anecdote about life in our two villages, please write. We might be able to include your contribution on our Anecdotes & Snippets page.

A Selection from our Archive

Each month we aim to display a different selection of items from our archive of photographs and documents.

Click on image to view larger picture or to leave a comment.

Do you have any interesting items to contribute to the archive ?
Please contact

New and Updated Items
Last updated: 25/08/2018

What's new this month ?


Some short histories of Farnhill and Kildwick     Updated 25/08/2018

We thought you might to take a look at what other people have written about the history of Farnhill and Kildwick:

"The Villages of Craven - Farnhill" (an article from the Craven Herald of April 26th 1876)

"Kildwick Hall - Historical Sketch" by J.J. Brigg

"A History of Kildwick notes for a lecture given by Will Cowling in 1951

Some "Notes on Farnhill" written by George Bottomley in 1950.     !!! NEW !!!


Belgian WW1 refugees in Airedale     Updated 25/08/2018

At the start of WW1, as German troops overran their country, over 250,000 Belgians came to Britain as refugees. It was the single largest influx in the country's history.

Some of them came to this area and this article, updated with photographs and information about the refugees in Crosshills, tells their story.

Anecdotes link

Anecdotes and Snippets

This month's anecdote is about a 19th century vicar of Kildwick and why he had stone flags used as flooring in Kildwick School.

Click here to read more.

100 years ago link

Farnhill and Kildwick 100 years ago

100 years ago this month there was the depressingly typical news of local men wounded and gassed. However, had people but known it, this month also saw a turning-point in the war with the breaking of the German line (and morale) during the Battle of Amiens.

Other recent additions and updates


A working life at Woodrow's Mill - a memoir of Alec Hargreaves     First posted 28/07/2018

In the later years of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th, most employment was provided by the very many local mills.

The loss of two mills in Farnhill at the end of 1905 and early in 1906 - see below - had a devastating effect on local people: they no longer had work on their doorstep they had to bicycle or walk to work; some chose to move to other townships.

One of the nearby mills that continued to provide work was Woodrow's at Junction.

Charles Alexander Hargreaves, known as Alec, left school at the age of 13, in 1906, and - apart from serving abroad during WW1 - was at Woodrow's Mill for all his working life, a total of 49 years.

Towards the end of this time he wrote a memoir of his period there: A working life at Woodrow's Mill.


Farnhill Mills - 1905 and 1906     Updated 28/07/2018

Two destructive mill fires in Farnhill, one in December 1905 and the other in March 1906, effectively ended industrial development within the village, as well as causing significant unemployment and hardship. We've updated our slideshow of photographs of the mill fires - including the only known image of Farnhill Mill before it burned down - and some of a third mill in Farnhill which, although it closed in 1906, is still in use today.

View a slideshow of photographs taken at the time.

You can also read our article about the devastating fires of 1905 and 1906.


Chartism in Farnhill and Kildwick     Updated 30/06/2018

Chartism was a Victorian era working class movement for political reform in Britain between 1838 and 1848.

We've updated our article on the impact of the Chartist Movement in Farnhill and Kildwick with information recently discovered about two men from the village who fought in WW1 and who were members of former Chartist families.

Part 1 - 1815 to 1845
Part 2 - 1848...a turning point in history when history refused to turn (A J P Taylor) - Updated 30/06/2018 - with new Appendix


Kildwick and Farnhill Brass Band (1866-1936)     Updated 30/06/2018

Another update to our piece on the Kildwick and Farnhill Brass Band. This update includes information about the sad decline of the band in the 1920s and, on a more positive note, recollections from a man who was part of the band when it won the 1905 Crystal Palace contest.


Jonas Davy – the Farnhill Detective     First posted 25/04/2018

Charles Wilcock, a good friend of the History Group, has been researching his forebears and his written us an article about one of them. His name was Jonas Davy and he went on to be a detective with the Bradford Police Force.

Originally written as a piece for the Bradford Police Museum, here is the story of Jonas Davy - the Farnhill Detective.

Small map link

Mapping Farnhill and Kildwick slideshow     Updated 28/04/2018

Our archive includes a number of maps of Farnhill and Kildwick. Here are some, dating from 1577 to 2012 in approximately chronological order, made into a slideshow. It's interesting to see how views of the area have changed.

We've updated this slideshow with further maps contributed to our archive in the past 18 months or so.