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The Ben Rhydding Hydro, circa 1858; now demolished

Ben Rhydding is a Wharfedale village in the Metropolitan Borough of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. It is part of the Ilkley urban area and civil parish.

It is situated on a north-facing valley beneath the Cow and Calf Rocks and above and to the south of the River Wharfe, and falls within the historic West Riding of Yorkshire.

The former name for the village area was Wheatley. In the 19th century it was noted for a popular and thoroughly equipped hydropathic establishment, opened in about 1845 at a cost of £30,000. Ben Rhydding, the name given to the establishment was also given to the railway station built to serve it and by which the village subsequently became known, is allegedly the ancient name of the uplands above Wheatley. In a 1900 history of Upper Wharfedale, a footnote describes the circumstances, citing Collyer's History of Ilkley:

Dr. Collyer writes that when Ben Rhydding was building, and the founders were casting about for a name, the matter came up in the "pint-pot parliament", which had sat at the Wheat Sheaf in Ilkley time out of mind. Mr. Hamer Stansfeld (the founder) wanted "a good an ancient name", and was particularly wishful to know what the upland was called in the old times on which Ben Rhydding is built. Nancy Wharton, our hostess, said she knew, and gave us the name Ben (not Bean) Rydding. It had passed out the common memory, but had survived by some good hap in Nancy's mind, and it was from this little seed the name sprang again which has become famous

Ben Rhydding is nowadays a predominantly affluent residential area of Ilkley, served by a railway station, but relying in the main on the town for shopping and civic facilities. It is well within the travel to work area of Bradford and Leeds.


  1. ^ Upper Wharfedale, by Harry Speight, 1900, from Microsoft Live Search Books

External links

Coordinates: 53°55′28″N 1°48′00″W / 53.92444°N 1.8°W / 53.92444; -1.8

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