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Idle, West Yorkshire: Wikis


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The village of Idle and its outskirts make up a mainly residential suburban area in the city of Bradford, West Yorkshire, in England. The area is loosely bordered by the areas of Eccleshill, Wrose, Thackley and Greengates, in the north east of the city.


Area layout

Although the borders between the village and its neighbouring areas are not particularly well defined, it can be said that there are three distinct areas in the village: the predominantly working class area of Thorpe Edge to the south east of the village, the predominantly middle class area centred on the main roads of Highfield Road and Town Lane to the west of the village, and the predominantly middle class area centred on the main road of Leeds Road to the east of the village.

The village centre consists of a small village green, around which are various shops, banks, pubs and eateries, including most of the village's fast food outlets. The village centre is also home to a small library, named 'Idle Library', and the Thorpe Primary School, formerly Thorpe Middle School.

Leading down to the village from Highfield Road is the main High Street, on which are yet more businesses and more pubs. Also on this road is Idle's doctors surgery, and its dental practice.

A particularly amusingly named building present on the High Street is the 'Idle Working Men's Club'. This is perhaps the most well known feature of the village to outsiders, as when its name is read out, on face value it erroneously implies that the club provides a place for 'idle' or lazy working men to drink, rather than simply being a working men's club situated in the village of Idle. Due to its unique name, it has a large, almost cult membership status around the world, with many clamouring for an official 'Idle Working Men's Pass'[1]. The number of members according to the club is well over 1000[2], a staggeringly large number considering the apparent decline of many similar working men's clubs throughout the rest of the north of England.

Other landmarks in the village include the Holy Trinity Parish Church, a large, impressive Victorian church dating from 1830[3] complete with graveyard, and the Stage 84 Performing Arts School, both situated on Town Lane. Many of the houses and buildings in this part of Idle date back almost a century, and provide a significant remnant of Bradford's expansion during the Industrial Revolution.

Former landmarks include the Idle branch of the YMCA, which was situated in a large former Methodist Church building on Town Lane, and the old Watmough's Printing Factory, just off the High Street. These have both recently been demolished to make way for new housing developments.

In the area leading away from the village centre towards Leeds Road, there is a recreational area including football fields, tennis courts, a bowling green and a children's play area. This is known locally as the 'Idle Rec'. Nearby on Leeds Road is the major secondary school Immanuel CE Community College, and the Bradford branch of the British Red Cross. Further down Leeds Road towards the area of Greengates are various pubs and further residential areas.

Idle was previously served by two railway stations, on the Leeds and Bradford line and later on the Great Northern Shipley-Windhill line. Both have now closed.

Idle Moor

To the extreme west of the village, immediately on the border with the area of Wrose, is the mostly rural area of Idle Moor. This is a particularly hilly area of the village and provides views over the Aire Valley towards Shipley and Baildon.

Local Government

The village is located in the ward of Idle and Thackley.

The village is also located in the newly created parliamentary constituency of Bradford East (formerly Bradford North).


The village is home to several cricket pitches and hosts a number of teams, including Idle C.C. who play in the highly regarded Bradford Cricket League.

The village has no association football team of any real note, however both Thackley F.C. and Eccleshill United F.C. play just outside the village boundaries. These teams both play in the NCEL Premier Division.

Notable people

  • Dickie Watmough, former Bradford City, Blackpool and Preston North End footballer. He won the FA Cup with Preston in 1938.
  • Sir Robert Jennings ("Robbie") QC, former President of the International Court of Justice and one time Whewell Professor of International Law at Cambridge University, was born in Idle in 1913 and spent his whole upbringing there until he won the scholarship to Cambridge which set him on his career.
  • Hannah Midgley, former Emmerdale actress has lived in Idle for most of her 15 years-she is currently concentrating on her studies but is believed to want to make a return to the small screen in the future.
  • Joseph Whitworth, engineer and entrepreneur, was educated at Idle.

Jowett Cars

Jowett Cars Ltd had a factory in Bradford Road until 1954. Jowett sold the factory to International Harvester who made tractors at the site until the early 1980s. The factory was demolished after International Harvester closed it, and the site is now occupied by a Morrisons supermarket.


Further reading

For a more detailed history of the village and further links, visit the Idle Online website.

Coordinates: 53°50′N 1°44′W / 53.84°N 1.73°W / 53.84; -1.73



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